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Author Topic: Old calenderist question  (Read 9303 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 16, 2007, 04:02:27 AM »

im sorry if this is off topic drewmeister2 but if someone could kindly tell me or send me in the direction of the current relationship with the Old calenderist (OC) church and the Orthodox church at the moment and what is the OC hierarchy like?
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2007, 01:28:47 PM »

Defining the Old Calenderist Church Hierarchy would be difficult as there is no single Old Calendarist Church.  Most of the OC are not in communion with any other OC group for a variety of reasons.  I would venture a guess that their hierarchies are copied off the  Mainline Jursidictions they have  left from for example the Greek Old Calendarists will use as a hierachal model the Greek Orthodox Hierarchal model of the Greek State Church. The same is likely true of the Russian dissenting groups.
The only hierarchal difference i have seen is that I have not heard any of the Old Calendarist Church claiming the title of Patriarch yet.

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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2007, 05:52:04 PM »

I would also caution that it's important to keep straight how you are using the term "Old Calendarist" in a given situation. Old Calendarist or old calendar could sometimes be talking about someone who uses the Old Calendar, which would be the majority of Orthodox Christians. These people are not normally called "Old Calendarist," though, to avoid confusion with groups who call themselves Old Calendarist and are not part of the numerically larger body/communion of Orthodox Christians. So, the Russian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, etc. use the old Calendar and are in communion with each other and 95% of other local Churches. ROCOR was sort of unique in that they seemed to let multiple views within their church, but kept the old calendar. Then there are Old Calendarist groups like the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church, who are Orthodox but avoid communion with the majority of Orthodoxy at this time. And then there are other groups, like Gregory of Colorado, who are Orthodox in name only.

Ok, this is getting convoluted... sorry! Let me try to sum up: generally the term "Old Calendarist" is reserved for groups who are not in commuion with the majority of the Orthodox in the world, sometimes called "World Orthodoxy"; however, the majority of Orthodox in the world use the old calendar. So the term old calendarist describes their stance in relation to other Orthodox bodies, more than their stance on the calendar alone (though they got the name because the new vs. old calendar was one of the issues they felt important). I hope I'm not muddling this.
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2007, 06:04:57 PM »

Or like ACROD which is 50/50 - New/Old, but not an Old Calendarist jurisdiction.
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007, 08:05:24 PM »

Or like ACROD which is 50/50 - New/Old, but not an Old Calendarist jurisdiction.

What do hierarchs of jurisdictions that have both new and old calendar parishes do on various feast/fast days? For example, would they celebrate The Nativity on Dec 25th or Jan 7th?
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007, 11:47:18 PM »

What do hierarchs of jurisdictions that have both new and old calendar parishes do on various feast/fast days? For example, would they celebrate The Nativity on Dec 25th or Jan 7th?

Met. Nicholas personally follows the Julian calendar of the cathedral in Johnstown, PA. When at a parish he celebrates using that parish's calendar, usually. He has been known to make a goof once in a while, such as once at Camp Nazareth which is New calendar. oops... Shocked
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 12:32:38 AM »

im sorry if this is off topic drewmeister2 but if someone could kindly tell me or send me in the direction of the current relationship with the Old calenderist (OC) church and the Orthodox church at the moment and what is the OC hierarchy like?

Well, we would not agree with your distinction between the Old Calendar Church and the Orthodox Church, as we believe we are an Orthodox Church. Some of us would hold an exclusivist position and say we are the Orthodox Church and you are not, which mirrors the belief of some New Calendarists that we are outside the Church; others would state that both Old and New Calendarist Synods are part of the Church and that the Old Calendarist refusal to commune with the New Calendarists is lawful resistance.  Still others would hold a more agnostic view, namely, "we are the Church and you may be but that does not concern us."

Here are some links:

www.ecclesiagoc.gr
www.hotca.org
www.ecclesiagoc.org

Hope that helps.

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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2007, 06:20:02 AM »

As far as I know (and Anastasios, ploase correct me if I'm wrong), the main Old Calendarist/True Orthodox groups are as follows:

Greek
Florinites (HOTCA, GOC)
Matthewites
Synod in Resistance

Russian
Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC)
Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC, the Catacomb Church)
Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCiE)
Genuine Orthodox Church of America
Holy Orthodox Church of North America (HOCNA)

Others
Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Bulgaria
Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania
True Orthodox Church of Georgia
Ukranian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC)
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2007, 09:45:36 AM »

Notice how many of these call themselves "true" or "genuine"? It's my opinion that when people feel they need to call themselves that, it's a sure sign they're not.
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2007, 09:55:07 AM »

UAOC is Old Calendarist?  Never heard that.
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2007, 10:17:51 AM »

Notice how many of these call themselves "true" or "genuine"? It's my opinion that when people feel they need to call themselves that, it's a sure sign they're not.

Thanks for your opinion.  Grin The name comes from the fact that when the Calendar was forcibly changed in Greece in 1924, and our people were meeting in small private homes and chapels accross Greece, being served by Athonite hieromonks before the return of the three bishops in 1935, they needed a way to distinguish themselves from those who were persecuting them (in a true sense--Old Caledarists were arrested, beaten, shot at, etc. through the 1950's).  The State Church referred to us with the pejorative "Old Calendarist" while the people adopted "True Orthodox" for themselves.  What name would you prefer that we call ourselves, might I ask?

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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2007, 10:18:42 AM »

UAOC is Old Calendarist?  Never heard that.

Given that they are ecumenists and phyletists, that is a bit of a stretch. As Justin (Asteriktos) pointed out in another thread, just because someone is on the Old Calendar does not make them an "Old Calendarist."
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2007, 10:32:54 AM »

Thanks for your opinion.  Grin The name comes from the fact that when the Calendar was forcibly changed in Greece in 1924, and our people were meeting in small private homes and chapels accross Greece, being served by Athonite hieromonks before the return of the three bishops in 1935, they needed a way to distinguish themselves from those who were persecuting them (in a true sense--Old Caledarists were arrested, beaten, shot at, etc. through the 1950's).  The State Church referred to us with the pejorative "Old Calendarist" while the people adopted "True Orthodox" for themselves.  What name would you prefer that we call ourselves, might I ask?

I find it incredible that people were willing to endure violence rather than accept that today is July 19. It's an arbitrary demarcation. It's been pointed out many, many times that the Old Calendar and New still keep the same feast-days; that is, a saint celebrated on July 1 on the OC will be celebrated on July 1 on the NC, even though the day they call July 1 is different. Sundays are still Sundays; only the arbitrary number has changed. Who cares if we call today July 19 or 3 or even the sixth of Forgulfran? It doesn't matter. What matters is that we follow Christ and the examples of those who came before who have been made like Christ. In the United States, today is July 19. I could call it the sixth of Forgulfran if I wanted to, but no one would know what I'm talking about. Therefore, I call it July 19. It's as simple as that to me.
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2007, 10:36:49 AM »

As far as I know (and Anastasios, ploase correct me if I'm wrong), the main Old Calendarist/True Orthodox groups are as follows:

Greek
Florinites (HOTCA, GOC)
Matthewites
Synod in Resistance

Russian
Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC)
Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC, the Catacomb Church)
Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCiE)
Genuine Orthodox Church of America  (Archbishop Gregory of Buena Vista)
Holy Orthodox Church of North America (HOCNA) (Allegations aside, did not come out of the Old Calendar movement; that as a later affiliation)

Others
Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Bulgaria
Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Romania
True Orthodox Church of Georgia (This is really just an exarchate of the Synod in Resistance)
Ukranian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) (Totally ecumenist and phyletist)

The Old Calendarist movement in Greece and the Catacomb Church in Russian (Russian True Orthodox Church) are not really the same thing, however, given our shared opposition to ecumenism and modernism, there have been periods of cooperation with one another as for instance when we were in communion with ROCOR.

I have struck through those groups which really cannot claim to be in any way derived from the origins of either movement, in my opinion.

The fact that there are competing groups is scandalous and prevents many who would otherwise embrace our position from doing so.  Without defending such obvious problems (they bother me too), I would remind the reader that of the Greek groups listed above, the first represents the vast majority of the Old Calendarists (in fact, more than all the rest put together) and that the so-called "mainstream" Orthodox are not immune from internal schisms.

As people who have been here awhile know, I am not an overbearing apologist for my Church, but I do post occasionally on the topic to make sure the information is factual, etc.

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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2007, 10:41:11 AM »

Quote
Notice how many of these call themselves "true" or "genuine"? It's my opinion that when people feel they need to call themselves that, it's a sure sign they're not.

Generally I'd agree that sometimes it's a sign of protesting too much. I would say though that such language was sometimes used by your Church Fathers. I'm most familiar with Gregory the Theologian...

"But if you cling to the same opinion, and every thing seems to you of small account in comparison with your own desires, I do not wish to say anything else that may vex you, but this I foretell and protest, that one of two things must happen; either you, remaining a genuine Christian, will be ranked among the lowest, and will be in a position unworthy of yourself and your hopes; or in grasping at honours you will injure yourself in what is more important, and will have a share in the smoke, if not actually in the fire." - Epistle 1

"The most grievous item of all in the woes of the Church is the boldness of the Apollinarians, whom your Holiness has overlooked, I know not how, when providing themselves with authority to hold meetings on an equality with myself.  However, you being, as you are, thoroughly instructed by the grace of God in the Divine Mysteries on all points, are well informed, not only as to the advocacy of the true faith, but also as to all those arguments which have been devised by the heretics against the sound faith..." - Epistle 202

"For God will not forsake us for ever, or abandon the true faith to persecution, but according to the multitude of our pains His comforts shall make us glad." - Gregory the Theologian, Epistle 65
 
On the other hand, Gregory also talked of both "semi-Orthodox" and the other extreme, "ultra-Orthodox":

"For, amid the three infirmities in regard to theology, atheism, Judaism, and polytheism, one of which is patronised by Sabellius the Libyan, another by Arius of Alexandria, and the third by some of the ultra-orthodox among us, what is my position, can I avoid whatever in these three is noxious, and remain within the limits of piety; neither being led astray by the new analysis and synthesis into the atheism of Sabellius" - Oration 2 (As an atheist, I can't help but note that Gregory doesn't define atheism as we do today. I've come across this in other writings of his, where he calls Judaism atheism)

"As, then, in this case, I should have been looking, not so much at the terms used, as at the thoughts they were meant to convey; so neither, if I found something else either not at all or not clearly expressed in the Words of Scripture to be included in the meaning, should I avoid giving it utterance, out of fear of your sophistical trick about terms.  In this way, then, we shall hold our own against the semi-orthodox--among whom I may not count you." - Fifth Theological Oration

No reason to get caught up in terms...
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2007, 10:42:04 AM »

I find it incredible that people were willing to endure violence rather than accept that today is July 19. It's an arbitrary demarcation. It's been pointed out many, many times that the Old Calendar and New still keep the same feast-days; that is, a saint celebrated on July 1 on the OC will be celebrated on July 1 on the NC, even though the day they call July 1 is different. Sundays are still Sundays; only the arbitrary number has changed. Who cares if we call today July 19 or 3 or even the sixth of Forgulfran? It doesn't matter. What matters is that we follow Christ and the examples of those who came before who have been made like Christ. In the United States, today is July 19. I could call it the sixth of Forgulfran if I wanted to, but no one would know what I'm talking about. Therefore, I call it July 19. It's as simple as that to me.

You seem to be comfortable citing how you feel on the issue but I would be more interested in your reasoned criticisms of our positions as stated by our authorities on the matter.

A rather comprehensive book on the matter is "A Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar."  It presents some of the historical, canonical, and liturgical problems of the New Calendar from our point of view.  A few years ago some people politely debated the theses and positions of the book and I found the discussion to be interesting. That is the kind of discussion I am interested in.

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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2007, 10:47:19 AM »

In line with the above, let us also keep in mind that when people were debating homoousios vs homiousios, some people were annoyed at a debate over a iota. Oftentimes, the external issue that the faithful intrinsically rise up to defend (such as a Calendar) has a wider implication theologically (the change of the calendar in the whole context of branch theorism which was on the rise at that time, cf. the letters of Meletios and Venizelos and the "Pan Orthodox" council of 1923).

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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2007, 10:58:17 AM »

Oh boy, where's that popcorn emoticon? This is going to be good.
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2007, 05:50:45 PM »

I've done some research into this subject, and obviously I've not had much time to come up with a true thesis on the matter, but the authorities I've read (among them the book you cited above and the article that is on this site, and also the websites of the various Old Calendarist jurisdictions) seem to have the following complaints about the New Calendar:

1. The Old Calendar is a composition aligning the Julian Calendar with the Jewish Calendar; its purpose was to establish a liturgical and festal cycle for the Church. The New Calendar, however, was created as a reform of the Julian Calendar; its purpose was to be the most scientifically accurate calendar possible.

2. It is not possible to determine whether the Gregorian (or New Julian or simply New) Calendar achieved its goal, but it is possible to determine that the Old Calendar did.

3. The change in the immovable feasts (i.e., feasts which are always celebrated on the same calendar date; e.g. Feast of the Annunciation) while maintaining the movable feasts is inconsistent.

4. The dates on which Pascha can fall exclude the Feast of the Annunciation, eliminating the possibility of a concurrence of the two, and can completely eliminate the Apostles' Fast on certain years.

5. The adoption of the New Calendar was due primarily to a desire to be reconciled with the West and therefore the NC movement is an ecumenist movement.

6. The use of the New Calendar as an alignment with the civil calendar in Western countries is an improper pollution of the Church made to fit in with the world rather than trying to purify it.

Does this seem like a reasonable synopsis?
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2007, 06:05:05 PM »

Minor note:
The "Revised Julian Calendar" is a not the Gregorian calendar, but a more accurate calculation (is claimed mathematically -where's Keble, our resident mathematics prof?). It does appear exactly as the Gregorian because the correction is very minor.

Αριστοκλής, under the EP in a Julian calendar parish.
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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2007, 06:13:12 PM »

The Old Calendar is a composition aligning the Julian Calendar with the Jewish Calendar; its purpose was to establish a liturgical and festal cycle for the Church...it is possible to determine that the Old Calendar did [achieve its goal].

I'd like to see some proof of this assertion. To date, I've read many people say it, but never seen any decent proof from early fathers, synods or imperial law.

Anything after Leo the Wise shouldn't count, but I'll consider it. Anything after the fall of the City is right out. Barring proof from that period, I think this is just wishful thinking.
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2007, 10:20:04 PM »

Similarities Between the Calendar Reform of Patriarch Meletios and the Liturgical Reforms of Patriarch Nikon

•   The elevation of each to his patriarchal throne questioned on canonical grounds for apparently excessive interference by the secular authorities
       o   Venizeles of Greece in the election of Patriarch Meletios
       o   Tsar Alexius in the election of Patriarch Nikon
•   Unilateral, harshly authoritarian manner of enforcing reform
       o   Meletios and his colleague Chrysostomos, Archbishop of Athens, using Greek secular authorities to persecute resistors
       o   Nikon using Russian imperial authority to persecute the Old Ritualists who resisted him
•   Division resulting from both reform efforts
       o   The Old Calendarist synods
       o   The Old Believer Schism of 1666

Regardless of the canonical and dogmatic merits (or absence thereof) of such reform, I think we have to recognize that the appropriate Orthodox approach lies in the Russian concept of sobornost, that spirit which we call conciliarity.  In keeping with Apostolic Canon 34, a patriarch has not the authority to do anything affecting his entire patriarchal jurisdiction without the consent of the synod of bishops that truly represents his primatial district.  In titling his synod of 1923 a "pan-Orthodox Congress," Pat. Meletios and his synod claimed to represent the Orthodox Church universal, despite the fact that the majority of local Orthodox churches, including the three most ancient patriarchates and Moscow, were not represented.

Personally, I follow the Revised Julian (New) Calendar both at church and at home, because I see the merit of the New Calendar and just don't see calendar reform as a dogmatic issue--for much the same reason do I embrace the Nikonite reforms of the 17th Century.  I do sympathize with our Old Calendarists (just as with our Russian Old Believers, with one notable exception), though, in that I agree that Patriarch Meletios and Archbishop Chrysostomos chose a very anti-canonical and divisive way to implement their calendar reforms.  (I'm aware that the Russian Church started to address the issue of calendar reform in their All-Russian Sobor of 1917, but their efforts were tragically cut short by the Bolshevik Revolution.)
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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2007, 10:46:06 PM »

Some unorganized thoughts off the top of my head:

The Reforms of Patriarch Nikon brought two local Orthodox Churches into liturgical harmony--a pattern we see in Church history--while the New Calendar "reform" brought greater disunity.

The reform of the Calendar went beyond a simple liturgical "correction" though, insofar as its context was one of modernism and branch theorism (i.e. this was one "reform" among many aimed at uniting with various elements in the West).  One can see this by reading the correspondence of Venizelos and Meletios on the subject.  The New Calendar was also condemned by previous Orthodox councils as well, and that is problematic for the comparison with Pat Nikon's reforms (some have argued they were only condemning the use of the Gregorian Paschalion, but I have read the relevant text and cannot seem to find that distinction present and furthermore, given that the Churches of Finland and Estonia are on the Gregorian Paschalion, that argument may not be the one people want to use).

I find the subject of schisms to be complex and people want to always compare current divisions to past ones to find simple solutions (I am not saying that Peter the Aleut was doing this, but I am saying this in general).  Old Calendarists like to compare themselves with the Iconodules and St Theodore the Studite, while New Calendarists like to compare us to Old Believers, Novationists, and Meletians (i.e., the losers in past schisms).  No one online seems to ever mention the Arsenites, who are a group I think we have a lot in common with and how I think the situation might ultimately be resolved.

I think that the Calendar per se is not dogmatic but part of the dogmatic tradition of the Church and I am not really willing to define where that tradition ends and where "small-t tradition" begins   (in fact, I don't really believe in a concept of small-t tradition but that is another story).  However, the Calendar is in this case the front end, the representative symbol, the dyke holding back the North Sea.

Ultimately I find that discussions of the Calendar don't go well on webforums because no one takes the time to read the original sources or the arguments from both sides, but instead just presents his or her opinions or feelings on the matter, which I find rather unproductive.

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« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2007, 10:57:29 PM »

Does this seem like a reasonable synopsis?

Yes. I am happy to hear that you have done some research on the matter, and thank you for taking the time to fairly and accurately summarize some of our positions. I'm sorry if I offended you by challenging your "credentials," but I am just weary of taking time to discuss this issue (one I obviously hold dear to me) and finding out the people I am talking with are flippant and don't really care, or just think that the issue is stupid and we Old Calendarists are a bunch of Neanderthals.

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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2007, 11:43:50 PM »

While I assume that Anastasios and some others have already read this, I figured I'd post this article, as I found it interesting when I was looking into the calendar issue.
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« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2007, 12:57:10 AM »

Some unorganized thoughts off the top of my head:

The Reforms of Patriarch Nikon brought two local Orthodox Churches into liturgical harmony--a pattern we see in Church history--while the New Calendar "reform" brought greater disunity.

The reform of the Calendar went beyond a simple liturgical "correction" though, insofar as its context was one of modernism and branch theorism (i.e. this was one "reform" among many aimed at uniting with various elements in the West).  One can see this by reading the correspondence of Venizelos and Meletios on the subject.  The New Calendar was also condemned by previous Orthodox councils as well, and that is problematic for the comparison with Pat Nikon's reforms (some have argued they were only condemning the use of the Gregorian Paschalion, but I have read the relevant text and cannot seem to find that distinction present and furthermore, given that the Churches of Finland and Estonia are on the Gregorian Paschalion, that argument may not be the one people want to use).

I find the subject of schisms to be complex and people want to always compare current divisions to past ones to find simple solutions (I am not saying that Peter the Aleut was doing this, but I am saying this in general).  Old Calendarists like to compare themselves with the Iconodules and St Theodore the Studite, while New Calendarists like to compare us to Old Believers, Novationists, and Meletians (i.e., the losers in past schisms).  No one online seems to ever mention the Arsenites, who are a group I think we have a lot in common with and how I think the situation might ultimately be resolved.

I think that the Calendar per se is not dogmatic but part of the dogmatic tradition of the Church and I am not really willing to define where that tradition ends and where "small-t tradition" begins   (in fact, I don't really believe in a concept of small-t tradition but that is another story).  However, the Calendar is in this case the front end, the representative symbol, the dyke holding back the North Sea.

Ultimately I find that discussions of the Calendar don't go well on webforums because no one takes the time to read the original sources or the arguments from both sides, but instead just presents his or her opinions or feelings on the matter, which I find rather unproductive.

Anastasios
Not that I was comparing Old Calendarists to Old Believers; I was actually looking at the similarities in how both parties were (ill-)treated by heavy-handed patriarchs with pseudopapist ambitions.
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« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2007, 02:03:33 AM »

While I assume that Anastasios and some others have already read this, I figured I'd post this article, as I found it interesting when I was looking into the calendar issue.
Having just read this Canon 15 of the First-Second Council, I summarize it this way:
  • No one has the right to separate from his bishop based solely on his own judgment.
  • But one does have the right, even the responsibility to separate from his bishop if the bishop openly teaches that which has been condemned as heresy by synods or Fathers, even if the bishop has not yet been tried and convicted of teaching such heresy.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong in my interpretation.

I agree that ecumenism is the great heresy of the modern age.  Where I see a problem, though, is in defining from merely our own perceptions and interpretations exactly how certain bishops are teaching ecumenist heresy.  To those with a broader definition of what constitutes ecumenism, many of our bishops are "obviously" teaching this heresy.  Others who have a narrower definition of ecumenism but are no less faithful to Tradition will see these same bishops as teaching Orthodoxy.  Who's correct, especially when so much depends on our differing interpretations of someone else's doctrine and praxis?

IMO, those who break off from the main body of the hierarchy to resist modern reform are justified to do so, and those who don't see anything truly worthy of such resistance are equally justified to remain in the main body where they are.  Neither is any more nor any less Orthodox than the other, but this division does behoove us to address the issue of calendar reform and other modern reforms in the context of a true pan-Orthodox synod, where they should have been addressed in the first place.  I don't see the current division between Old Calendarists and "world Orthodoxy" as a schism, but I would eventually like to not see the division at all.
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2007, 02:20:59 AM »

Peter,

Quote
No one has the right to separate from his bishop based solely on his own judgment... But one does have the right, even the responsibility to separate from his bishop if the bishop openly teaches that which has been condemned as heresy by synods or Fathers, even if the bishop has not yet been tried and convicted of teaching such heresy... Where I see a problem, though, is in defining from merely our own perceptions and interpretations exactly how certain bishops are teaching ecumenist heresy.  To those with a broader definition of what constitutes ecumenism, many of our bishops are "obviously" teaching this heresy.  Others who have a narrower definition of ecumenism but are no less faithful to Tradition will see these same bishops as teaching Orthodoxy.  Who's correct, especially when so much depends on our differing interpretations of someone else's doctrine and praxis? ...IMO, those who break off from the main body of the hierarchy to resist modern reform are justified to do so, and those who don't see anything truly worthy of such resistance are equally justified to remain in the main body where they are.  Neither is any more nor any less Orthodox than the other, but this division does behoove us to address the issue of calendar reform and other modern reforms in the context of a true pan-Orthodox synod, where they should have been addressed in the first place.

Not that it matters since I'm not a member of a Church (so it doesn't effect me), but I'd agree with everything you said here (aside from the couple sentences I took out, which I think are debatable).
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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2007, 03:03:07 AM »

Peter,

Not that it matters since I'm not a member of a Church (so it doesn't effect me), but I'd agree with everything you said here (aside from the couple sentences I took out, which I think are debatable).
So you find debatable that I actually read the material I summarized and that I am able to have my own opinions on things?  How generous of you. Wink

Of course, if you're not a member of a church, what does it matter to us what you think about whether the Old Calendarists are in schism or not?  As you said, it doesn't affect you. Wink


(You do know that I'm playing with you, don't you? Grin)
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« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2007, 03:08:50 AM »

 Tongue

And why do I always spell "affect" with a 2nd e? Anyway, back to the hot potato issue...
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« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2007, 08:34:47 AM »

Peter,

Not that it matters since I'm not a member of a Church (so it doesn't effect me), but I'd agree with everything you said here (aside from the couple sentences I took out, which I think are debatable).

Well, Asteriktos, from our perspective these matters do affect us...and you, but you merely deny that they affect you.  Wink
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« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2007, 10:25:47 AM »

  Who's correct, especially when so much depends on our differing interpretations of someone else's doctrine and praxis?


The problem here is that this is the same reasoning the Ecumenists use to say the Catholics aren't schismatic or heretical.  The canons thankfully aren't written vaguely (unlike government documents lol):

Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles:

"Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed." (This right here is enough to suspend the EP as of what he did last November).

Canon LXV Of the Holy Apostles:

"If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated."

Canon IX of Laodicia (Also approved by the Ecumenical Synods):

"Concerning the fact that those belonging to the Church must not be allowed to go visiting the cemeteries or the so called martyria of any heretics, for the purpose of prayer or of cure, but, on the contrary, those who do so, if they be among the faithful, shall be excluded from communion for a time until they repent and confess their having made a mistake, when they may be readmitted to communion."

Canon XXXIII of Laodicia:

"One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics."

The Extraordinary Joint Conference of the Sacred Community on Mount Athos:

April 9/22, 1980 Full Text

3. Theological dialogue must not in any way be linked with prayer in common, or by joint participation in any liturgical or worship services whatsoever; or in other activities which might create the impression that our Orthodox Church accepts, on the one hand, Roman Catholics as part of the fulness of the Church, or, on the other hand, the Pope as the canonical bishop of Rome. Activities such as these mislead both the fulness of the Orthodox people and the Roman Catholics themselves, fostering among them a mistaken notion as to what Orthodoxy thinks of their teaching.

Interpretation (of Ss. Nikodemos and Agapios):

"Order sustains the coherence of both heavenly things and earthly things, according to St. Gregory the Theologian. So good order ought to be kept everywhere as helping coherence and preserving the established system, and especially among ecclesiastics, who need to know their own standards, and to avoid exceeding the limits and bounds of their own class. But as for Presbyters, and Deacons, and all clergymen they ought to submit to their own Bishop; the Bishops, in turn, to their own Metropolitan; the Metropolitans, to their own Patriarch. On this account the present Apostolical Canon ordains as follows: Any presbyter that scorns his own bishop, and without knowing that the latter is manifestly at fault either in point of piety or in point of righteousness—that is to say, without knowing him to be manifestly either heretical or unjust—proceeds to gather the Christians into a distinct group and to build another church, and should hold services seperately, without the permission and approval of his bishop in so doing, on the ground of his being an office-seeker he is to be deposed; since like a tyrant with violence and tyranny he is trying to wrest away the authority which belongs to his bishop. But also any other clergymen that agree with him in such apostasy must be deposed from office too just as he must; but as for those who are laymen, let them be excommunicated. These things, however, are to be done after the bishop three times gently and blandly urges those who have seperated from him to forgo such a movement, and they obstinately refuse to do so. As for those, however, who seperate from their bishop before a synodical investigation because he himself is preaching some misbelief and heresy publicly, not only are not subject to the above penances, but have a right to claim the honor due to Orthodox Christians according to c. XV of the 1st & 2nd.
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« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2007, 10:38:52 AM »

And that's their story and they're stickin' to it!  Cheesy

Gotta' love those ECafe boys.  Wink
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2007, 10:58:30 AM »

Not that I was comparing Old Calendarists to Old Believers; I was actually looking at the similarities in how both parties were (ill-)treated by heavy-handed patriarchs with pseudopapist ambitions.

Right, although your post sparked my desire to mention that because people often do.  I appreciate your fairness and concern.
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« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2007, 02:02:56 PM »

The problem here is that this is the same reasoning the Ecumenists use to say the Catholics aren't schismatic or heretical.  The canons thankfully aren't written vaguely (unlike government documents lol): 

*Sigh*  Depends on what your definition of Ecumenism is, doesn't it?

Nobody is going to say that Ecumenism isn't a heresy... But if you ask, say, the GOA guys who participate in the various dialogs, they say they aren't ecumenist because they (and we) still acknowledge and hold firm that these other people (Catholics, Protestants, etc) are not part of the Church - they are not in communion, nor should they be until they change.

In fact, if I remember corretly, Branch Theory is specifically rejected in the official GOA dialog literature. 

If you want to condemn them for praying with heretics, that's different - that's a charge that pre-dates ecumenism by over 1000 years.  All ecumenists may pray with heretics, but it doesn't mean that everyone who prays with a heretic is an ecumenist.
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« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2007, 02:38:54 PM »

The problem here is that this is the same reasoning the Ecumenists use to say the Catholics aren't schismatic or heretical.  The canons thankfully aren't written vaguely (unlike government documents lol):
The canons may indeed be very clear, but that's not the point.  The difficulty lies in interpreting and judging one's behavior, which requires to no small degree an assessment of motives.  Are you prepared to read someone else's mind, or at least investigate their documents?
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« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2007, 02:46:00 PM »

The canons may indeed be very clear, but that's not the point.  The difficulty lies in interpreting and judging one's behavior, which requires to no small degree an assessment of motives.  Are you prepared to read someone else's mind, or at least investigate their documents?

Their motives don't matter.  Heresy is heresy lol, economia can't be applied to every canon in Orthodoxy.  Some things just can't be done even if the intent is good.  Plus as you read more things about Ecumenism, I think it will become more clear that their intent is to lead us into false union with the heretics.
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« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2007, 02:52:37 PM »

BTW: this may help with understanding things, Alexandre Kalomiros's book Against False Union http://www.zephyr.gr/STJOHN/per-agai.htm
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« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2007, 02:59:01 PM »

Their motives don't matter.  Heresy is heresy lol, economia can't be applied to every canon in Orthodoxy.  Some things just can't be done even if the intent is good.  Plus as you read more things about Ecumenism, I think it will become more clear that their intent is to lead us into false union with the heretics.
But what you seem to miss is that you're still judging someone else's behavior based solely on your own interpretation.  I'm not implying that the "ecumenists," so called by you, are following some "end justifies the means" ethic whereby they commit heresy with good intent.  I'm saying that they don't think of their behavior as even being ecumenist.  This is why you must try to understand someone else's motivations by talking with them and reading their documents rather than convict them of the motives you project onto them.
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« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2007, 03:16:28 PM »

But what you seem to miss is that you're still judging someone else's behavior based solely on your own interpretation.  I'm not implying that the "ecumenists," so called by you, are following some "end justifies the means" ethic whereby they commit heresy with good intent.  I'm saying that they don't think of their behavior as even being ecumenist.  This is why you must try to understand someone else's motivations by talking with them and reading their documents rather than convict them of the motives you project onto them.

We have and do read their documents, and we know their motives are wrong.  Its not like the Old Calendarists enjoy being seperate, we want the so called official church to return to Orthodoxy.  But because we see what they say and do, we see it necessary to break communion.  Ecumenists is not only my term, but a term used by many of the heirarchs who have condemned ecumenism Smiley.  However, just because they don't think their behavior makes them ecumenists and thus heretics doesn't mean they aren't heretics.  Maybe there is an Eastern Catholic bishop who thinks he preaches the fullness of the faith because he serves the same Liturgy as the Orthodox, etc, is he Orthodox?  No.  Many heretical heirarchs in the history of the Church didn't think what they were doing was heresy and thought they were helping the Church but that didn't matter, they were still in the end deposed and anathematized. 
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« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2007, 03:21:12 PM »

We have and do read their documents, and we know their motives are wrong.  Its not like the Old Calendarists enjoy being seperate, we want the so called official church to return to Orthodoxy.  But because we see what they say and do, we see it necessary to break communion.  Ecumenists is not only my term, but a term used by many of the heirarchs who have condemned ecumenism Smiley.  However, just because they don't think their behavior makes them ecumenists and thus heretics doesn't mean they aren't heretics.  Maybe there is an Eastern Catholic bishop who thinks he preaches the fullness of the faith because he serves the same Liturgy as the Orthodox, etc, is he Orthodox?  No.  Many heretical heirarchs in the history of the Church didn't think what they were doing was heresy and thought they were helping the Church but that didn't matter, they were still in the end deposed and anathematized. 

You still haven't addressed my point, to wit (I have now added emphasis):

*Sigh*  Depends on what your definition of Ecumenism is, doesn't it?

Nobody is going to say that Ecumenism isn't a heresy... But if you ask, say, the GOA guys who participate in the various dialogs, they say they aren't ecumenist because they (and we) still acknowledge and hold firm that these other people (Catholics, Protestants, etc) are not part of the Church - they are not in communion, nor should they be until they change.

In fact, if I remember corretly, Branch Theory is specifically rejected in the official GOA dialog literature. 

If you want to condemn them for praying with heretics, that's different - that's a charge that pre-dates ecumenism by over 1000 years.  All ecumenists may pray with heretics, but it doesn't mean that everyone who prays with a heretic is an ecumenist.
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« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2007, 03:35:15 PM »

You still haven't addressed my point, to wit (I have now added emphasis):


Im sorry I didn't see your post there.  Because there is someone who I believe has explained this much better than I ever could especially in a short amount of time I will refer you to an article that kinda touches on this very subject.  I know it may be a bit long but I think it may help address what you are saying.

The Problem of Conservative New Calendarism       
Friday, 08 June 2007 
A talk delivered by Fr. Maximus (Marretta) to the Inter-Orthodox Conference “Orthodoxy and Modern Ecumenism,” University of Chicago, March 5/18, 2007.

Your Grace, Fathers and Brethren, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to speak to you today about the problem of conservative New Calendarism. By conservative New Calendarists I mean those who consider the institution of the Gregorian calendar and involvement in the ecumenical movement to be misguided, unfortunate, or even to some degree heretical, but nevertheless remain in churches which follow the New Calendar and foster Ecumenism. While conservative New Calendarists rightly consider Orthodoxy to be the one and only true Church of Christ and adhere to Orthodox doctrines and practices with admirable zeal, they find themselves under bishops who deny those doctrines and shun traditional piety. Although this situation is certainly uncomfortable for them, they are obligated to justify it, and to this end employ the following argument: the participation of our bishops in the ecumenical movement is wrong, but it is only an abuse, not a heresy; and if it even descends to the level of heresy, it occurs only on a personal, not an official, level. Thus the church as a whole is not implicated in the heresy, and one may in good conscience continue in communion with the bishops in question. This line of reasoning underlies virtually all serious attempts to justify remaining in the New Calendarist, or Ecumenist church, and not returning to the Old Calendarist, or traditional Orthodox Church.

The argument in itself begs the question of what constitutes an official act; yet actually, the distinction between a heresy official and one unofficial was never made by the Fathers. Church history bears witness that when a bishop proclaimed a heresy while preaching in church, his hearers would immediately break communion with him, while the other bishops of the Church would sever communion as soon as they had ascertained whether he truly did hold such opinions, and had given him an opportunity to recant. This was precisely the case with Nestorius, for example. Nonetheless, I will take up the challenge, and demonstrate that the New Calendar church has unquestionably espoused heretical teachings in the most official capacity possible: that of public proclamation by a Patriarch, and approval of the proclamation by the Synod of the Church.

In 1948 the World Council of Churches was created, a worldwide organization whose sole purpose for existing is to promote Ecumenism and the non-Orthodox ecclesiological principles upon which Ecumenism is based. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and a number of other Orthodox Churches were founding members, and thus showed that they wholeheartedly espouse the Council’s goals and beliefs: indeed, they helped formulate those goals and beliefs. The charter of the Council states:

The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship…In seeking koinonia in faith and life, witness and service, the churches through the council will:

Promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue, and the sharing of human, spiritual, and material resources with one another;
Facilitate common witness in each place and in all places, and support each other in their work for mission and evangelism;
Nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness through processes of education and a vision of life in community rooted in each particular cultural context;
Assist one another in their relationships to and with people of other faith communities;
Foster renewal and growth in unity, worship, mission and service.
In order to foster the one ecumenical movement, the Council will:

Nurture relations with and among churches, especially within, but also beyond its membership;
Establish and maintain relations with national councils, regional conferences of churches, organizations of Christian World Communions, and other ecumenical bodies;
Support ecumenical initiatives at regional, national, and local levels;
Facilitate the creation of networks among ecumenical organizations;
Work towards maintaining the coherence of the one ecumenical movement in its diverse manifestations.
These principles are totally unacceptable for a person with an Orthodox understanding of the Church. They illustrate that the heresy the Orthodox are confronting is not simply union with this or that heretical church (which has not yet happened except in the case of the Monophysites). Rather, the heresy is the idea that heretical groups outside the Church are indeed somehow part of the Church, and that the Orthodox Church is part of a larger whole comprised of both the Orthodox and the heterodox. Now, any statement which gives any ecclesial standing whatsoever to a body outside the Church is a heretical statement, because the Orthodox Church is the entirety of the Church. The other so-called churches are not churches at all, but false assemblies set up in opposition to the one, true Church. They are anti-churches. The charter and mission—even the very name—of the World Council of Churches cuts at the root of Orthodox doctrine by placing all “churches” on the same ontological level. Moreover, the World Council of Churches expressly recognizes only one ecumenical movement; that is, its own. It does not leave any room for a valid “Orthodox Ecumenism” which would seek to convert the heterodox. No one can claim that the purpose of Orthodox involvement in Ecumenism is to witness to Orthodoxy, since the only side of “Orthodoxy” being presented is precisely whatever can be brought into seeming conformity with the principles set out in the World Council of Churches’ charter, a document which, as we have seen, denies the Orthodox teaching on the Church. Ecumenism is the exact opposite of evangelization.

Any church which joins the World Council of Churches thereby embraces the ecclesiological concepts upon which the Council is founded. These concepts become part of the beliefs of the individual church in question. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and the other New Calendarist Churches not only accepted these principles and helped formulate them, but have proven their continued adherence to them in a variety of ways over the past sixty years. Thus, there can be no doubt that the official doctrine of the New Calendarist churches is one of heretical Ecumenism, regardless of the fact that many of the New Calendarist faithful personally disagree with their Churches’ position.

Once the New Calendar churches had espoused the principles of Ecumenism, they were not slow to act upon them in concrete ways. One of the very first major steps which put into practice the ecclesiological teaching of Ecumenism was the lifting of the anathemas of 1054 against the Roman Catholic Church. Patriarch Athenagoras and the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople took this action December, 1965. In a joint statement with Pope Paul VI, they declared that:

They regret the offensive words, the reproaches without foundation, and the reprehensible gestures which on both sides have marked or accompanied the sad events of this period;
They likewise regret and remove both from memory and from the midst of the Church the sentences of excommunication which followed these events, the memory of which has influenced actions up to our day and has hindered closer relations in charity; and they commit these excommunications to oblivion;
Through the action of the Holy Spirit those differences will be overcome through regret for historical wrongs and through an efficacious determination to arrive at a common understanding and expression of the faith of the Apostles and its demands.
The meaning of this official document is clear: the Orthodox condemnation of Latin heresies is “without foundation” and must be obliterated from memory; and we do not yet understand the faith of the Apostles.

In September, 1990, official delegates from all the New Calendarist churches met in Chambesy, Switzerland with official representatives of the Monophysite Churches. They restated those points of Christology on which the Orthodox and Monophysites have always agreed, they ignored or dismissed as semantical misunderstandings those points on which they disagree, and then they declared:

In the light of our agreed statement on Christology as well as of the above common affirmations, we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they have used Christological terms in different ways. It is this common faith and continuous loyalty to the Apostolic Tradition that should be the basis for our unity and communion.

Both families agree that all the anathemas and condemnations of the past which now divide us should be lifted by the Churches in order that the last obstacle to the full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and power of God. Both families agree that the lifting of anathemas and condemnations will be consummated on the basis that the Councils and Fathers previously anathematized or condemned are not heretical.

The Chambesy agreement is an open espousal of the ancient heresy of Monophysitism. Its acceptance by the Orthodox has been made possible by the modern heresy of Ecumenism, which allows two mutually exclusive doctrines to co-exist, while pretending that the truth is either the mean between the two, or the lowest common denominator of the two, or something to be discovered in the future, or simply irrelevant if we all profess love for one another.

Some conservative New Calendarists pretend that the Chambesy agreement is not an official declaration of faith, but rather a series of recommendations by individual theologians, which the Churches are free to accept or reject. The superficiality of this notion, however, is contradicted by the so-called “Pastoral Agreement between the Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria,” which was signed in 2001. This document announces:

The Holy Synods of both the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa have already accepted the outcome of the official dialogue on Christology between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the two official agreements: the first on Christology signed in June 1989 in Egypt and the second also on Christology and on the lifting of anathemas and restoration of full communion signed in Geneva 1990 [that is, in Chambesy], in which it is stated that “in the light of our agreed statement on Christology…we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of Apostolic tradition.” It was agreed to have mutual recognition of the sacrament of Baptism, based on what St. Paul wrote, One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5).

The document further states:

The Holy Synods of both Patriarchates have agreed to accept the sacrament of marriage when it is conducted for two partners not belonging to the same Patriarchate… Each of the two Patriarchates shall also accept to perform all of its other sacraments to that new family of mixed Christian marriage.

This declaration shows clearly that the Patriarchate of Alexandria regards the Chambesy agreement as an official statement of doctrine, and not simply the private judgment of individuals. Moreover, the Patriarchate has officially recognized the Monophysites as constituting a Church as valid and legitimate as the Orthodox Church; indeed, it states that the Orthodox are of “one faith” with the Monophysites.

Even more troubling is the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch under Patriarch Ignatius IV, which was made in June 1991. With respect to it relations with the Syrian Monophysites, the Antiochian Church announced that the following measures would be observed:

“The complete and mutual respect between the two churches for their rituals, spirituality, heritage and holy fathers.
The incorporation of the fathers of both churches and their heritage in general in the Christian education curriculum and theological teaching.
The refraining of accepting members of one church in the membership of the other whatever the reasons might be.
Organizing meetings of both Synods whenever need and necessity might arise.
If two bishops of the two different churches meet for a spiritual service the one with the majority of people will preside.
If one priest of either church happens to be in a certain area he will serve the divine mysteries for the members of both churches, including the divine liturgy and the sacrament of holy matrimony.
If two priests of both churches happen to be in a certain community they will take turns, and in case they concelebrate, the one with the majority of people will preside.
If a bishop of one church and a priest from the sister church happen to concelebrate presiding naturally belongs to the bishop.”
In other words, the Patriarchate of Antioch has entirely abandoned the Orthodox Church and is in full communion with the Monophysites. The Patriarchate has decided that the ecumenical councils—which embody the Church’s definitive expressions of belief—are optional, and that it is not necessary to adhere to them to be part of the Orthodox Church.

Thus, we see the heresy of Ecumenism operating on two levels. On the one hand, the New Calendar Churches accept the basic idea that other Christian bodies are part of the Church, and that the Church is not exclusively synonymous with Orthodoxy. This is Ecumenism in theory. On the other hand, they recognize that specific heretical bodies, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Monophysite Churches, are in fact Orthodox in doctrine; and they have even entered into communion with the Monophysites. This is Ecumenism in practice.

Both of these forms of Ecumenism are operating in the New Calendar Churches on the most official level possible. They have been publicly proclaimed by a Patriarch and ratified by the Holy Synod. It is not possible for them to be any more official then they already are. Moreover, these official actions must not be considered in isolation, but in the context of Ecumenism’s overall effect on the Church. Innumerable hierarchs have made blasphemous statements denying virtually every dogma of Orthodoxy, joint prayers are conducted with heretics on a regular basis, communion is freely given to Roman Catholics and other heterodox, and agreements such as the so-called Balamaand union and the recent appalling statement of the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches are concluded by official delegates from the New Calendarist Churches. These statements affirm the Branch Theory and a host of other errors.

The heresy of Ecumenism has infected not one of the local Orthodox Churches, but all of them. Each of the Patriarchates has contributed in its own way to perverting the Orthodox faith: Constantinople by lifting the anthemas which the holy Fathers laid on the Roman Catholic Church, Alexandria by accepting the Monophysites as Orthodox, Antioch by partaking of the same chalice as the Monophysites, and all the ecumenist Churches collectively by participating in the World Council of Churches and abolishing the Patristic understanding of the Church. All of the ecumenist Churches are in full communion with one another and share the same ecumenist faith: the beliefs of one are the beliefs of all, and each of the Patriarchates supports and encourages the ecumenical gestures of the others.

Our primary question at this point ought to be, what are the faithful to do when their bishops are in heresy? The patristic answer is clear: break communion immediately, because those bishops no longer represent the Church, but a foreign body. It is impossible for Orthodox Christians to hold communion with heretical bishops, inasmuch as a common Eucharistic cup denotes a common faith. St. Cyril of Alexandria states that “the Body of Christ binds us into unity” and “there is no division of belief among the faithful.” And the Apostle Paul asks, “What communion hath light with darkness? Or what concord hath Christ with Belial?”

When the Monothelete bishop Theodosius asked St. Maximus the Confessor why he had cut himself off from communion with see of Constantinople, the saint replied,

In the sixth indiction of the last cycle, Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexendria, published the Nine Chapters [stating that Christ had but a single energy,] which were approved by the see of Constantinople. Soon the novelties proposed in that document were followed by others, overturning the definitions of holy councils. These innovations were devised by primates of the Church of Constantinople: Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, as all the other Churches know very well. This is the reason I, your servant, am not in communion with the throne of Constantinople. Let the offenses introduced by those men be rejected and the abettors deposed; then the way to salvation will be cleared, and you will walk the smooth path of the Gospel unhindered by heresy. When I see the Church of Constantinople walking as she was formerly, I shall enter into communion with her uncompelled, but as long as the scandal of heresy persists in her and her bishops are miscreants, no argument or persecution will win me over to your side.

On another occasion the Eparch of Constantinople asked St. Maximus, “Will you enter into communion with our Church, or not?”

“I will not,” said the saint.

“Why?” asked the Eparch.

“Because it has rejected the rulings of Orthodox councils,” said Maximus.

The Eparch continued, “If that be so, how is it that the fathers of those councils remain in the diptychs of our Church?”

“How do you profit by commemorating them, when you renounce their doctrines?” countered the saint.

Examples such as these could be multiplied almost indefinitely. Suffice to say that the most basic criterion of Orthodox ecclesiology is to refrain from communion with heretical bishops. This applies even before such bishops are condemned by an ecumenical council, as we see from the case of St. Maximus, who broke communion decades before the condemnation of Monoenergism and Monothelitism by the 6th Ecumenical Council.

The sound application of these principles to the present-day situation should be obvious. Anyone who considers himself to be an Orthodox Christian should sever communion with any bishop who preaches, participates in, or furthers Ecumenism directly or indirectly; and he should join himself to those Orthodox Christians who already have ceased ecclesiastical contact with such bishops. Those Christians are precisely the Old Calendarists, or True Orthodox Christians, who rejected the heresy of Ecumenism the moment it appeared, and in no way allowed themselves to be defiled by communion with bishops who alter the faith of the Apostles. When the conservative New Calendarists take this same step, they will be following the path of the Holy Fathers; they will have separated themselves from the heretics, and joined themselves to the assembly of the Orthodox.
 
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« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2007, 04:19:45 PM »

*Sigh*  Depends on what your definition of Ecumenism is, doesn't it?

Nobody is going to say that Ecumenism isn't a heresy... But if you ask, say, the GOA guys who participate in the various dialogs, they say they aren't ecumenist because they (and we) still acknowledge and hold firm that these other people (Catholics, Protestants, etc) are not part of the Church - they are not in communion, nor should they be until they change.

Actually, there are people that say that ecumenism is good and not a heresy and I have heard this with my own ears. And then there are also people who will say "extreme ecumenism" is bad but what they define as "moderate" is still quite extreme, such as when Met Sotirios of Canada broke the bread consecrated by Protestant ministers and handed it out to them while wearing an omophorion in 1983--this is branch theorism.  The Pope sitting on a throne in the Phanar last year and being allowed to bless Orthodox is branch theorism.  The so-called moderates say, "but they did not concelebrate communion together!" (although I have personally witnessed Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy do this before) but really, one cannot say that praying non-Eucharistic services with heretics is ok while concelebration of the Eucharist is not--this is an arbitrary line drawn.  It seems that the moderates who claim ecumenism is wrong but that what is going on is not ecumenism or not extreme ecumenism have to come up with some rather novel theories to accomplish this--such as how I was taught by ecumenists in seminary that Roman Catholics are not heretics (imagine. what are they then?).

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In fact, if I remember corretly, Branch Theory is specifically rejected in the official GOA dialog literature. 

Tony Kyriopoulos, one of the GOA's official ecumenist staff members who I believe represents the GOA to the NCC, came to our seminary class once and told us that we need to find common ground with and realize the truth present in non-Christian religions and that proselytism (read: evangelism in his parlance) is wrong. Or the people who believe that the goal of dialogue is NOT the mass conversion of all heretics to Orthodoxy but rather helping them discover their vestiges of grace and uniting en masse with Orthodoxy on equal terms after "prior divisions" can be worked out (which will never happen, and the only effect of which is to deny people now the clear message that all men and women must convert to the Orthodox faith).

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If you want to condemn them for praying with heretics, that's different - that's a charge that pre-dates ecumenism by over 1000 years.  All ecumenists may pray with heretics, but it doesn't mean that everyone who prays with a heretic is an ecumenist.

That seems like a false dichotomy. Just because we put a name to ecumenism in the 20th century does not mean it did not exist in previous centuries, such as the events described in the book Eustratios Argenti by Timothy Ware.

I must say that reading Old Calendarist material initially did not convince me to become an Old Calendarist; it was the positive exposition of ecumenism by ecumenists that lead me to realize that there was a serious problem. Only then did I reread the Old Calendarist literature and decide where to make my home. I also recognize that not all ecumenists believe in branch theorism, but I do believe that even what passes for "moderate" ecumenism is still far from Orthodox despite good intentions on the part of so-called moderate ecumenists.

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« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2007, 05:34:39 PM »

Actually, there are people that say that ecumenism is good and not a heresy and I have heard this with my own ears.

Like whom?

And then there are also people who will say "extreme ecumenism" is bad but what they define as "moderate" is still quite extreme, such as when Met Sotirios of Canada broke the bread consecrated by Protestant ministers and handed it out to them while wearing an omophorion in 1983--this is branch theorism.  The Pope sitting on a throne in the Phanar last year and being allowed to bless Orthodox is branch theorism.  The so-called moderates say, "but they did not concelebrate communion together!" (although I have personally witnessed Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy do this before)

PM me the whole story of the Met. Sotirios thing... I'm interested.  As for the Pope thing, I didn't like it.  And as for seeing Orthodox and Catholic Clergy concelebrate, I'd also like to hear about that (since you say you saw it, this is one of my few opportunities to get 1st hand accounts instead of hearsay).

but really, one cannot say that praying non-Eucharistic services with heretics is ok while concelebration of the Eucharist is not--this is an arbitrary line drawn.  It seems that the moderates who claim ecumenism is wrong but that what is going on is not ecumenism or not extreme ecumenism have to come up with some rather novel theories to accomplish this--such as how I was taught by ecumenists in seminary that Roman Catholics are not heretics (imagine. what are they then?). 

I wouldn't say the one is wrong while the other isn't - neither is good.  But you're not going to tell me that you think they're the exact same thing, are you?  We've both had enough classes in Sacramental Theology, and done enough reading, to know that they aren't the same.  That's why I don't use the term "Ecumenism" for everything that is going on - if Ecumenism presupposes Branch Theory, then communion sharing is a logical outcome.  If there is no communion sharing, then there is no real espousing of Branch Theory (lex orandi lex credendi).  Their words are empty - they're poorly practicing Orthodox and poorly practicing Ecumenists.

Praying with heretics is different.  Still bad (as evidenced by the strong language of the canons), but different.  I think some of the people accused of Ecumenism are guilty only of this, and shouldn't be grouped together with the more dangerous Branch Theorists, who are able to hide behind the larger mass of "co-prayers."  If you're really committed to eliminating both practices, methinks the best approach would be to separate the Branchers (my definition of real Ecumenists) from the co-prayers.  Once you get the co-prayers to reject the Branch Theorists, then you can concentrate on the prayer issue.

Tony Kyriopoulos, one of the GOA's official ecumenist staff members who I believe represents the GOA to the NCC, came to our seminary class once and told us that we need to find common ground with and realize the truth present in non-Christian religions and that proselytism (read: evangelism in his parlance) is wrong. Or the people who believe that the goal of dialogue is NOT the mass conversion of all heretics to Orthodoxy but rather helping them discover their vestiges of grace and uniting en masse with Orthodoxy on equal terms after "prior divisions" can be worked out (which will never happen, and the only effect of which is to deny people now the clear message that all men and women must convert to the Orthodox faith).

This should be an entire thread unto itself: converting people in the modern world, and how to achieve mass conversion (since it's different now than it was 1000 years ago).

That seems like a false dichotomy. Just because we put a name to ecumenism in the 20th century does not mean it did not exist in previous centuries, such as the events described in the book Eustratios Argenti by Timothy Ware.

I must say that reading Old Calendarist material initially did not convince me to become an Old Calendarist; it was the positive exposition of ecumenism by ecumenists that lead me to realize that there was a serious problem. Only then did I reread the Old Calendarist literature and decide where to make my home. I also recognize that not all ecumenists believe in branch theorism, but I do believe that even what passes for "moderate" ecumenism is still far from Orthodox despite good intentions on the part of so-called moderate ecumenists.

Anastasios

My point was this: praying with heretics actually meant something different back then; it is a seperate issue.  Just as all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, so too are all true Ecumenists praying with heretics, but not all people who pray with heretics are ecumenists.  Sometimes prayer with heretics is worse: in ancient days it was often a sign of the rejection of your own diety.  Sometimes it is less serious, as in the cases of people praying with someone who is dying yet of a different religion.  Don't label all the same.

As such, there are people who participate in the official-type dialogs who are not ecumenists (using branch theory as the definition).  They speak with the others about Orthodoxy, refute points about their own, and are done.  No communion with the others.  No "two-lungs" speak. 
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« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2007, 05:55:39 PM »

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Praying with heretics is different.  Still bad (as evidenced by the strong language of the canons), but different.  I think some of the people accused of Ecumenism are guilty only of this, and shouldn't be grouped together with the more dangerous Branch Theorists, who are able to hide behind the larger mass of "co-prayers."  If you're really committed to eliminating both practices, methinks the best approach would be to separate the Branchers (my definition of real Ecumenists) from the co-prayers.  Once you get the co-prayers to reject the Branch Theorists, then you can concentrate on the prayer issue.

Why just not do it altogether?

The problem that Orthodox Ecumenists set themselves up for is giving off false impressions. Even if it isn't their intention to merge into some super-church as the WCC would have it, their participation within joint-prayer services gives off enough vibes to suggest that these 'representatives' of Orthodoxy are willing to go along with whatever today's Christianity will dish out. Politically-correct silence won't do anything good for the Church. Then again, do Orthodox ecumenists know what is really 'good' for the Church, because of their indecisiveness as Anastasios has pointed out? It is vital, then, that those who participate within these activities need to understand what impressions they are presenting to people who are honestly, sincerely devoted to this happy One World Church vision.

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« Reply #45 on: July 21, 2007, 09:23:09 PM »

Like whom?

Tony Kyriopoulos, Dr Bouteneff (although his version of ecumenism is a more moderate ecumenism--he believes the Orthodox Church is the true Church, but I take issue with his introductory chapter to his book Beyond East and West. He and I have had several discussions over the past few years and I consider him a  friend though, and I respect him much more highly than some of the other ecumenists I have met), Dr Paul Meyendorff who believes it is a sin to marry converts as is Greek practice since they are "already married" (fine if Russian practice sees the marriage consummated or the grace filled in by mutual reception of the Eucharist, but let's not knock standard Greek practice), Bp Hilarion Alfayev in one of his more recent books whose title escapes me, Metropolian Georges Khodr who believes the Holy Spirit is active in Islam (not active charismatically in some Muslims to bring them to Christian baptism but actually in the religion per se--you can find the pertinent quotes online or in the book "Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Movement" by Metropolitan Cyprian, I believe), Dr Bradley Nassif, and various clergy with whom I have spoken over the years who I won't "out" since they were not speaking publicly, to name a few.

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PM me the whole story of the Met. Sotirios thing... I'm interested. 

Since it is public knowledge, I will simply advise you that the video is from Vancouver WCC's meeting and I first saw it in a Synod in Resistance video (although the footage was not from them, it was unaltered WCC stock footage). You can probably find it if you look for it but most of their videos are available here:

http://www.synodinresistance.org/Publications_en/VideoSeriesA.html which show similar footage.


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As for the Pope thing, I didn't like it.  And as for seeing Orthodox and Catholic Clergy concelebrate, I'd also like to hear about that (since you say you saw it, this is one of my few opportunities to get 1st hand accounts instead of hearsay).

I am glad to hear you do not like it. Since I am not a mean-spirited person by nature, I am not going to write the specifics of that concelebration I witnessed but I will PM them to you. Suffice it to say, several years ago I witnessed a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese priest, well known to me (not from Raleigh btw just in case anyone is reading this, I want to make that clear since I hold the Raleigh senior priest in high regard) come to a Byzantine Catholic parish, enter the altar, vest, and concelebrate the entire Divine Liturgy with a Byzantine Catholic priest, including a joint commemoration of both the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch.  When I asked this GOA priest if his bishop knew what he was up to, his response was, yes, my bishop knows all about me, and in fact, this priest is still a priest in the GOA, although retired.

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I wouldn't say the one is wrong while the other isn't - neither is good.  But you're not going to tell me that you think they're the exact same thing, are you?  We've both had enough classes in Sacramental Theology, and done enough reading, to know that they aren't the same.  That's why I don't use the term "Ecumenism" for everything that is going on - if Ecumenism presupposes Branch Theory, then communion sharing is a logical outcome.  If there is no communion sharing, then there is no real espousing of Branch Theory (lex orandi lex credendi).  Their words are empty - they're poorly practicing Orthodox and poorly practicing Ecumenists.

I'm sorry, but this is a dangerous ground to tread on.  Vesting and serving any service with another clergyman is a deposable offense because it obscures the barrier between Orthodoxy and heresy.  Look at the photos of the Orientale Lumen conferences that are put on each year in DC, where you see pictures of RC and Orthodox bishops vested and praying services together.  Those canons say praying with heretics, not just celebrating Holy Communion together--and I question a lot of what I learned in liturgical theology classes by the way.  Of course sharing communion together is a higher act than praying together, but vesting is also a public act of the Church, and when you vest and pray with heretics, this is a flagrant violation of the spirit--not just the letter--of those canons.  To me, saying, "if the Eucharist, deposition, if Vespers, not even if it's bad" is following the letter, not the spirit, although I would argue again that the letter of those canons would say even praying with heretics is deposable. What is the underlying Canon to those canons though? Protection of the faithful.  So the oft-quoted "but what if they come to YOUR Church to pray? then you are still praying with heretics!" does not hold water with me because in that case, the Orthodox are praying the Orthodox prayers, while the heretic joins in.  What is wrong is letting the heretic pray his prayers and you join in with him, because Orthodoxy could be compromised, or letting heretical clergy pray in public with Orthodox clergy, for fear of confusing the faithful.

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Praying with heretics is different.  Still bad (as evidenced by the strong language of the canons), but different.  I think some of the people accused of Ecumenism are guilty only of this, and shouldn't be grouped together with the more dangerous Branch Theorists, who are able to hide behind the larger mass of "co-prayers."  If you're really committed to eliminating both practices, methinks the best approach would be to separate the Branchers (my definition of real Ecumenists) from the co-prayers.  Once you get the co-prayers to reject the Branch Theorists, then you can concentrate on the prayer issue.

I am not so sure that this can be done and again, I think creating a delineation actually is more legalistic than you would intend for it to be.

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This should be an entire thread unto itself: converting people in the modern world, and how to achieve mass conversion (since it's different now than it was 1000 years ago).

Agreed, but let me again speak from personal experience: people who used to tell me I was well enough off as a Byzantine Catholic (yes, Orthodox did tell me this, including an Antiochian priest I know) did not inspire me to convert. The people who told me I was wrong and a heretic are the ones that made me think "I need to look into this." Yes, I am a man and men tend to relate differently than women, and some men are different than others in terms of what approach works. But still, a firm witness seems to be more productive in my opinion, although I would never advocate rudeness.

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My point was this: praying with heretics actually meant something different back then; it is a seperate issue.  Just as all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, so too are all true Ecumenists praying with heretics, but not all people who pray with heretics are ecumenists.  Sometimes prayer with heretics is worse: in ancient days it was often a sign of the rejection of your own diety.  Sometimes it is less serious, as in the cases of people praying with someone who is dying yet of a different religion.  Don't label all the same.

Could you elaborate on what you mean it was different back then?  And most would not say it is wrong to pray with someone who is dying of a different religion. I would pray with them, too--provided I was doing the praying.  Otherwise I would sit quietly with them and provide comfort in any way that I could.

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As such, there are people who participate in the official-type dialogs who are not ecumenists (using branch theory as the definition).  They speak with the others about Orthodoxy, refute points about their own, and are done.  No communion with the others.  No "two-lungs" speak. 

From my readings of the documents of ecumenists--which I did for my class on ecumenism--I came to the conclusion that that is a very small minority of the participants, and partly for this reason, I decided to become an Old Calendarist, because I see ecumenism as directly opposed to missionizing heterodox. Obviously as an ex-heterodox person, I have a vested interest in sharing Orthodoxy with others Wink If this type of thing--refuting misconceptions about Orthodoxy--were the sole gameplan of those in the WCC, who would object?

In Christ,

Anastasios
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« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2007, 09:31:11 PM »

Side note:

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"When I asked this GOA priest if his bishop knew what he was up to, his response was, yes, my bishop knows all about me..."

A most devious answer, don't you think? It is neither yes nor no - lets one apply any answer one wants to hear.
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« Reply #47 on: December 05, 2010, 04:12:36 PM »

After looking for an open thread on this topic not in convert issues (I'd hate to suck them into this), I found this thread to post this reply:
I'm not a fan of the New Calendar but it bears no relevance to the question of whether the OCA is autocephalous or not.

It should also be noted that many OCA parishes are still on the Old Calendar, so the OCA is not a "New Calendarist" organization by any means.

No it does not, but it indicates a willingness to be offside with Russia,

And? It is autocephalous, after all.

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Jerusalem, Mt. Athos, Serbia etc.

And side with Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch etc.

Given what Jerusalem is doing to its flock, I wouldn't cite is for shepherding.

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for the sake of what even it's advocates surely must now concede was an ill-conceived change,

Not in the slightest. How many implemented it was ill conceived, but that wasn't the case over all for the OCA.  The Diocese of AK, for instance, is still all Old Calendar.

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that is at best rapproachment with the secular and heterodox world and at worst is the product of the enemies of Orthodoxy.

It is the best rapproachment with God's Creation and the signs for seasons that He put in the heavens on the fourth day of Creation.

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  Moral and theological leadership demands a return to the Old Calendar.

LOL. It does no such thing.

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Who on earth benefits from the New Calendar?

Those on it.

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Heterodox Protestant and Latin churches and not much more.

They have their own calendar.

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How can half the OCA be fasting,the other half feasting?

Ask Pope St. Victor.

 
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t is as bad as Anglicans with women priests in some diocese and not others with the pretence of meaningful communion.

Thank you for demonstrating what silly lengths things can be taken.
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