(Dateline: OC.net Palace) During the conclusion of the annual OC.net Moderator Renaissance Fair and Abe Vigoda Impersonation Contest, a page reminded the Administrators that the crowds had been waiting patiently for over 30 days to hear the announcement of the June Post of the Month. Refusing to step outside in their matching gambesons, they instead sent the Global Mods out to the balcony of the Palace-Brewpub-Bowling Alley to announce thusly:
"It is our distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the Post of the Month Award for the months of June and July, 2010. They are...
For June 2010 - 88Devin12:
What is so heretical about "ecumenism"?
Christ is in our midst!
I've been pondering this for several weeks now... We all know about the growing controversy about how many Orthodox (as well as former Orthodox in schism) condemn some hierarchs for "ecumenism" and say it's heresy. However, I have yet to read anything "heretical" from any of these "heretical" hierarchs.
Let me clarify something first of all... I believe that the so-called "branch theory" is outright heresy and IMO is what was condemned as "Ecumenism". However, I believe the modern "ecumenical movement" from the Orthodox POV is not heresy.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been repeatedly condemned by many for doing such things as meeting with the Pope, engaging in discussions with Roman Catholics, etc...
We even saw (or read) that Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev was shouted down in Church for being a heretic, but what did he ever say that was so "heretical"? (from what I read, he acknowledged that we aren't in communion w/ RCC and communion should never be administered except in very rare cases)
We know about the controversy of the Esphigmenou monastery, as well as other Old Calendarist Churches and "True Orthodox Churches". who are in schism because of the "ecumenical movement" as well as other controversies, esp. related to the EP.
Even the mere presence of Orthodox clergy/bishops in the WCC has called many to condemn them of heresy.
So I would like to ask, what is so heretical about "ecumenism"? The heresy that was condemned as heresy was pretty much the modern view of the "branch theory". However, there is no Orthodox Christian that accepts this viewpoint, not His All-Holiness +Bartholomew, not Metropolitan Hilarion, not the Orthodox members of the WCC. So what exactly are they condemning?
In my opinion, the modern "ecumenical movement" is completely Orthodox. We are to seek communion with all Christians. We are the One Church, and it is our job to seek to bring the whole world under our wing. This cannot happen if we are an island unto ourselves.
The only way to bring people to Orthodoxy is through discussion. How can they know the way if we don't talk with them?
None of our Bishops believe that any other Church is also the true Church. None accept the "two lung theory" promoted by Pope John Paul II, and none accept the "branch theory". We recognize that the Roman Catholic Church must return to Orthodoxy and reject it's post-schism heresies and mistakes.
On the issue of ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholics... I read that the EP stated that we are looking for a return of communion between Roman Catholics and Orthodox. Yet he is surprisingly chastised for saying this. What is wrong with this?
We should be seeking the return of full communion between the RCC and our Church. Not for the mere sake of union or the ecumenical movement, but because of our call as the Church. The RCC are our brothers, but they are removed from the family. They have been in schism for over 1000 years, they have fallen into false teachings and heresies, they have lost their Apostolic Succession. So it is only right that us, as the Holy Orthodox Church, seek to lead them back home.
What is so wrong about this? I have yet to see any Orthodox bishop say that we are one in the same Church, and that we are completely equivalent and communion should be immediately restored.
As for relations with other faiths... Peace can only come about through dialogue. How can these other faiths understand us if we isolate ourselves from them? We know that every faith has a grain of the truth. However, we also recognize that we are the only ones with the fullness of the truth.
I'm sorry for dragging on, and I know I may be preaching to the choir. But I would like to know what is so wrong about all this, that leads many Orthodox, including monastics, to condemn others, and to even enter into schism with the Church that they are trying so hard to defend. Is it a simply misunderstanding, or do they truly believe that these things are heresy?
Note: I'm not doing this as flamebait, and I'm not looking to start a fight. I honestly am confused about the whole situation. There is so much material out there, much that is bias to one side or the other that it is hard for me to get a good read on the situation.
Also, if this would be better off in the Politics section, please move it there. I put it here because I want the discussion to remain constructive.
And for July 2010 - Thomas:
In Eastern Orthodox Churches, we find a difference between the Roman Catholic ideal that Mary was immaculatly concieved (i.e. without sin) as Orthodox Christians reject the western doctrine of original sin, preferring instead to speak of a tendency towards sin. Orthodox Christians believe Mary was born without sin, but so is everyone else. Generally Orthodox Christians believe that due to her faith and action, and the the grace of God, she did not commit an actual sin during her lifetime. She is held as the ideal that mankind can choose not to send and make the right decisions unlike Eve (and ourseleves) who made many wrong decisions and commit sins.
Here are some quotes from the early Church Fathers who attest to this teaching:
"This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God, is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one." Origen,Homily 1(A.D. 244),in ULL,94
Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin." Saint Ambrose,Sermon 22:30(A.D. 388),in JUR,II:166
"We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin." St. Augustine,Nature and Grace,42(A.D.415),in NPNF1,V:135
"A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns." Holy Martyr Theodotus of Ancrya,Homily VI:11(ante A.D. 446),in THEO,339
“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendor and attraction of human nature; but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born, this nature again regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model truly worthy of God…. The reform of our nature begins today, and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.” – Andrew of Crete (733)
"O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew." St John of Damascus,Homily I in Nativ.(ante A.D. 749),in THEO,200
Archpriest Thomas Hopko in his OCA Catechism from the Rainbow Series The Faith notes that:
"We believe that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. Through her He Who was God before the ages took on our human nature without relinquishing His divine nature or confusing or "meshing" it with the human nature in any way. The Mother of God is often referred to as the "New Eve," for she said "yes" to God whereas the first Eve said "no." We believe that the Mother of God was sinless of her own free will, that she remains ever-virgin, and that she is the "living tabernacle" of God inasmuch as her womb, as one hymn states, becomes "more spacious than the heavens" by carrying within it the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ."
Bishop KALLISTOS (Ware) in his book The Orthodox Church wites:
"Most orthodox theologians reject the idea of ‘original guilt,’ put forward by Augustine and still accepted (albeit in a mitigated form) by the Roman Catholic Church. Men (Orthodox usually teach) automatically inherit Adam’s corruption and mortality, but not his guilt: they are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam."
In summary Most Orthodox Christians believe that that due to her faith and action, and the the grace of God, Mary as the Theotokos did not commit an actual sin during her lifetime and was sinless.
The people responded with their uncreative but still impressive cry of "AXIOI! AXIOI! AXIOI!
" while the GMs went back to resume their duties as Salvatore Tessio and Phil Fish.