SOME REMARKS ON ECUMENISM
by Archimandrite Georgios (Kapsanis)
Abbot of the Monastery Gregoriou
Ecumenism, that is, the movement for the union of the "Churches", as it is carried on today, manifestly has an anthropocentric (man-centered) character, not a theological and spiritual one. It puts aside the Faith (doctrines) and the Tradition of the Church. It vewis the Church chiefly as a human creation. for this reason, basic differences with regard to the Faith, and to the history and conscience of the Church, are not seriously taken into consideration.
There is created by Ecumenism a mentality of diplomacy and compromising, whereby certain doctrinal and other differences me be settled by mutual concessions.
The ecclesiology which underlies Ecumenism is also erroneous. It does not recognize the Orthodox Church as the One, Holy, Universal (Katholik+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬) and Apostolic Church, but regards it as only a part or branch of the Universal Church. For this reason, many Orthodox view Ecumenism as an ecclesiological heresy. Ecumenism does not express Orthodoxy.
We regard Ecumenism as something that leads away from Union. The more it seems to bring union close, the more it does precisely the opposite.
We love the heterodox Christians, and for this reason we want a real and holy union with them. We do not want a mere co-existence with them, or a mere tolerance of the "variaties of faith." For this does not constitute true Christian love.
We cannot negotiate "on equal terms" with the "distorted Christs" of the West - of the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. Neither can we betray the person who aspires for his salvation from the true Christ. For this we may suffer, and we may die, but we cannot compromise.
In particular, as regards Papism, we feel what the Orthodox have always felf, that it distorts the Holy Trinity, puts aside Christ, does not manifest the Church as a Likeness of the Holy Trinity, but instead as a human creation ruled by a single person (monokratoria), and gives to the Holy Spirit only a decorative place. As a result, man is not helped and is not saved.
The Orthodox Ecumenists forget the above, and thus do great injustice to Western Christians, because they do not help them to preceive their unsound state. Also, by what they say they do not express the Faith and the mind-set (phr+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦nema) of the Orthodox Church.
Their justification that all these things are done "diplomatically" constitutes a spiritual fall. It is contrary to the demand of the Gospel that we "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4: 15) It manifests a yielding to the spirit of secularism.
These Ecumenists are neither holier nor wiser than our great Church Fathers, such as Saint Photios, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Cosmas Aitolos, and Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite, to want to change the pious mind-set of the Church and confess another faith, reconciling things that are irreconcilable....
Together with my brethren here at the Holy Mountain of Athos, I humbly entreat the Orthodox Ecumenists not to disregard the voice of the monks of the Holy Mountain, not to proceed to innovations regarding the Faith and the relations with the heterodox, innovations that are contrary to the spirit of Orthodoxy, ignoring the "conscience of the Church".
Otherwise , all their efforts and struggles will have the same fate as similar previous efforts of the Ferrara-Florence type. And they will cause more divisions instead of union. For they will not express the Orthodox conscience. The apt remark has been made that if (the) Holy Mountain does not consent unforced to possible furture "union" or "synod", neither will Orthodoxy consent.
First appeared 'Orthodoxia kai Oumanism+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦s, Orthodoxia kai Papism+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦s, 2nd edition, Hagion Oros, 1995, pages 83-85, 125, 127
Taken here from Victories of Orthodoxy by Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Mass.
Father Georgis when writing this and referring to the Orthodox Ecumenists had in the mind the Orthodox participants at the pseudo-Synod at Balamand in Lebanon.