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Author Topic: Is it Heresy to be a part of the WCC?  (Read 2234 times) Average Rating: 0
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SouthSerb99
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« on: March 03, 2005, 09:39:46 AM »

I read this article http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/soc_wcc.aspx on the Orthodox Christian Information Center and it really made me wonder.

I have not posted this thread to inspire argument or political debate, but I found many of Hieromonk Sava (Janjich)'s arguments very persuasive.  The article was specifically troubling to me, as a member of the SOC.  I wanted to get some feelings on the issue and what if anything, can be done to effectuate change vis a  vis, membership in the WCC.

I was also at another Orthodox discussion board where a poster was convinced that the Serbian Churches membership in the WCC was a betrayal of the faithful.  Like I said, would love to hear some of your thoughts.
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2005, 11:14:08 AM »

I do not think it's heresy, but I think it could be sinful or a temptation to sin, if the participants compromise Orthodoxy. As some have already pointed out in other threads, it's not like that is going on every dsy and most of the ecumenists are sincere and trying to witness Orthodoxy. I would personally say it's good to have Orthodox there as observers but the signing of those joint texts should immediately stop, and the hierarchs should keep a closer watch on what some of the ecumenists--such as Nissiotis who denied the unicity of Orthodoxy--are saying.
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2005, 11:30:48 AM »

Anastasios,
You are absolutely right !

I am beginning to think that the wholesale withdrawal of ALL Orthodox churches will, at this time, send a bigger message to those whom we are attempting to witness in both the WCC and the national council here in the US.

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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2005, 11:55:58 AM »

What about the notion that we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and many Orthodox ecumenists refer to the RC Church as a "sister" Church.

Well, how can that be, if we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?  They are putting a schismatic (and therefore heretical) Church on par with the true church.  Isn't this heresy?
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2005, 12:35:28 PM »

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What about the notion that we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and many Orthodox ecumenists refer to the RC Church as a "sister" Church.

Well, how can that be, if we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?  They are putting a schismatic (and therefore heretical) Church on par with the true church.  Isn't this heresy?

You say "on par," but what is the context of this parity?  Rome, as an Apostolic see, should be looked upon as such (an ancient and venerable see), but we being Orthoodox also should not be ignorant of the heresies which she bore.  It is our God-given duty to work towards unity, and looking at our brothers with enmity is not working for unity.  It is only through serious discussion that schims are resolved.  I don't understand how some Orthodox can be so arrogant and unwilling to share in discussion with other churches.  It is possible to do so and not concede the truth of Orthodoxy.  There are those EO that believe we OO are schismatic heretics- that is totally unjustified historically and dogmatically.  It makes me wonder what would happen if you put the Greek monks of Mount Athos at one end of a table, and Egyptian monks of St. Anthony's monastery at the other end.  What would they say to each other? 
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2005, 12:42:42 PM »

I don't understand how some Orthodox can be so arrogant and unwilling to share in discussion with other churches.   

Why is it necessarily "arrogance" that leads to this conclusion.  I recenlty read an article (I'm trying to find the link) that said the RC Chruch put out a letter indicating that the term "Sister" Church was not appropriate when referring to the Orthodox Church, since it (the RC Church) is the "Mother" Church.

It seems as though (at least in the RC mind) we are and always will be a subsurvient church.  Isn't even dialogue in this context heretical?

In addition, you neglect the valid points pointed out by Anastasios about "signing our name to documents" which gives certain impressions (see: recognition of baptism).
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2005, 12:57:32 PM »

The Catholic Church's stance is that it is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church just as the Orthodox Church teaches that it is. As such no other Church can be a Sister Church to the One Church.  However, Catholic Ecclesiology, based on St. Augustine, allows that Particular Churches can be out of communion with it yet retain valid Sacraments and as such is a True Church and a Sister Church of the Particular Churches that make up the One Church.  So while the Orthodox Church as an entirety cannot not be considered a Sister Church of the Catholic Church, the various Autocephalous Churches are seen as Sister Churches of the Latin Church, Maronite Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church, etc.

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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2005, 12:58:38 PM »

I am beginning to think that the wholesale withdrawal of ALL Orthodox churches will, at this time, send a bigger message to those whom we are attempting to witness in both the WCC and the national council here in the US.

Wow. That does sound like a good idea. And one presented via a united Orthodox front. What a concept!  Wink

In addition, you neglect the valid points pointed out by Anastasios about "signing our name to documents" which gives certain impressions (see: recognition of baptism).

Regarding the recognition of baptism: were these documents stating that we accepted heterodox baptisms, as is, with no need to be filled and sealed by chrismation? Because that's one definition of "validity," and one that I have (obvious) problems with. Or maybe I just have obvious problems... Wink

It's another thing entirely to say that a heterodox baptism is an acceptable vessel, constructed in an acceptable way to the end that it can indeed be filled, as is, w/the Holy Spirit. As in, if it's done in the name of the Holy Trinity in the proper form, the jar "has no holes" in it and can thus be filled.

Which definitions do the documents address?
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2005, 12:59:07 PM »

As far as the RC view of their primacy, that is one heresy that can be discussed. Otherwise, primacy in itself is not a truly Orthodox concept. There is no ideal of "primacy" in OO understanding, neither was there any primacy in the days of the early church. The ranking of Apostolic sees is in itself nonsense and merely a means of political gain within the church.

Aside from this, Anastasios' points on the signing of is a valid point, and I believe the signings of shared-faith agreements works toward unity one step at a time. For example, Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria and Pope Paul VI (of blessed memory) held a meeting in which terms of certain dogmatic differences had been resolved. Not that comlete unity had been attained, but such signings are advancing the mission of unity.
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2005, 01:04:37 PM »

It is our God-given duty to work towards unity, and looking at our brothers with enmity is not working for unity. It is only through serious discussion that schims are resolved. I don't understand how some Orthodox can be so arrogant and unwilling to share in discussion with other churches.

Well, it's not so much a matter of arrogance.  It's a matter of practicality.  As you yourself said,

... we being Orthoodox also should not be ignorant of the heresies which she bore.

...so, if those with whom we are in dialogue are unwilling to concede that their heresies are heresies and are perfectly content in dealing with each other in their pan-Protestantism, then we really need to go back to mere observer status (or did we ever really have just that status in the WCC?), because all one can truly do is present one's case once, maybe twice, then let it sit...or, as +æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é suggested, just withdraw en masse as a statement.

No anger, no unkind words, just speaking the truth and shaking off the dust.
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2005, 02:07:57 PM »

Quote
I am beginning to think that the wholesale withdrawal of ALL Orthodox churches will, at this time, send a bigger message to those whom we are attempting to witness in both the WCC and the national council here in the US.

I agree, but IMO it has to be an unconditional withdrawal based on principle. Some Churches, like the Orthodox Church of Georgia, have withdrawn, but they did not seem to do so in a way that had any effect. Also, a few years ago the Orthodox participants threatened to withdraw if certain requests/demands weren't met. But this does not send the signal to other WCC participates that we disagree in principle, but merely that we are willing to use our numbers and unique position as the only non-Protestant body for power-plays and political gains. If a withdrawal is to have any impact it must be based on the principle that our participation is not doing any good: that the WCC is not leading anyone to Christ (or the Church), and that it is not unifying Christians. I agree that a total elimination of contact is not necessary, though.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2005, 07:04:33 PM »

Paradosis,

Yep.  I agree with you. 

SouthSerb,

I wish we would pull out of WCC.  It makes me extremely uncomfortable and I'm not sure why we're there.

Demetri,

That's a good idea.
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2005, 07:30:25 PM »

Doesn't Orthodox Info refer to anything it disagrees with as heresy?
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2005, 09:50:23 PM »

Doesn't Orthodox Info refer to anything it disagrees with as heresy?

I'm not sure the answer to that question, but wouldn't it follow that at least at a "worship" and "practice" level, if it is not done the Orthodox way, it is heretic?  I'm isn't that the entire point of Orthodox. We are "The Church", not "A" Church.

Although, I did read an article today on Orthodox Info that specifically said the word "heresy" is over used today.
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2005, 10:08:06 PM »

I'm not too sure if there is a straight anwer to the original question... on the one hand, if, say, the Serbians were to be members of the WCC while these WCC churches were actively trying to convert people in Serbia from Orthodoxy, it may be a problem... on the other hand, this activity isn't going on to the same degree in America, where the situation and relationship is different...

Its for these reasons that I wouldn't disparage the withdrawl of, say, Greece and Serbia where the Protestant missionaries are calling Orthodoxy a non-Christian religion (that's whats happening "in the trenches") from the WCC... I think that sends the message that they aren't happy with the double-talk... But I think the remaining Orthodox members can use the objections of the other churches to attempt to affect change...

Of course, this is an unqualified opinion and all...

As to SouthSerb's comment about the article on Orthodox Info regarding the word "heresy" (I haven't read it myself), I would say that we do need to qualify our use of the word... is a Protestant or RC really as much a "heretic" (not in the polemical way, but as a technical term) as, say, a "heretic" of the 4th century?  Remember, back then (when the canons about relating with "heretics" were written), these heretics were Orthodox and then decided to not only break away from the Church, but also decided to try to poison the true faithful. 

Nowadays, most of your Protestants and RC's have no knowledge of Orthodoxy... maybe the missionaries of the West to Russia still fit the definition, but do the rest, really?  And I think its in that context that we need to evaluate our involvement in the WCC - if they are going to be attacking our faith and trying to convert the masses in Eastern Europe, then maybe not.  But if they pull back their dogs, I can see a possibility for progress.
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2005, 10:35:45 PM »

Matthew 777,
   From what I've read, they don't refer to everything as heresy, but I do still have questions about their positions.  I mean, aren't they a service of ROCOR and those who would be called Old-Believers and, thus, schismatic in themselves.

   My favorite thing about OrthodoxInfo.org is that they don't recognize OCA as canonical, citing its non-recognition by His All Holiness Bartholomew (is this still the case?), yet don't they call His All Holiness a heretic and don't recognize him anyway.  That is where I'm a bit confused.  I mean, how can the site the authority of one whose authority they don't recognize???

Just my two cents,
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2005, 02:35:52 AM »

Actually regarding orthodoxinfo.org it is not a "mouthpiece" for any one jurisdiction but presents a traditionalist Orthodox perspective.  ROCOR is clearly within the Orthodox Church, unless you are also willing to say that those bodies that are in FULL communion with the ROCOR (such as the Patriarchates of Serbia and Jerusalem) are also schismatic.  And if the ROCOR is schismatic which synod of bishops with authority over them, or which pan- Orthodox council condemned them?

Regarding the articles about the OCA - I believe the point was to show that strictly speaking no jurisdiction passes the canon squeky clean... party because of the situation in America.  Thus when some members of certain jurisdictions call themselves "canonical" and hurl anathemas at others it is hypocritical.  Also you may notice that the lastest update shows pictures from a pilgrimage to a new calendar monaster with two bishops from "world Orthodoxy." 

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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2005, 11:02:47 AM »

Matthew 777,
 From what I've read, they don't refer to everything as heresy, but I do still have questions about their positions. I mean, aren't they a service of ROCOR and those who would be called Old-Believers and, thus, schismatic in themselves.

To add to +¥+¦+¦-ä+¦-ü+¦++-é's post, the website in question is not an official ROCOR site and I believe it supports one of the "schismatic" True Orthodox churches. That said, this does not automatically mean the substance of many of the articles are not valid views of the Church. One just must keep the source in mind when things wax polemical.
Quote
My favorite thing about OrthodoxInfo.org is that they don't recognize OCA as canonical, citing its non-recognition by His All Holiness Bartholomew (is this still the case?), yet don't they call His All Holiness a heretic and don't recognize him anyway. That is where I'm a bit confused. I mean, how can the site the authority of one whose authority they don't recognize???

It seems you are a bit confused here - perhaps from the website in question, or maybe not. I DO appreciate your pointing out an apparent paradox, however.
In point of fact, the EP does view the OCA as a fully Orthodox jurisdiction despite some irregularities in its original constitution. The EP does not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA, however (for reasons not necessary to discuss here). When Metropolitan Herman visits His All Holiness Bartholomeos he is received as a metropolitan of the ROC-MP, fully Orthodox, but not as the primate of the OCA. This is a meaningless technical distinction.

I have a question for you...you list yourself as a cathecumen in the Oriental Orthodox communion. Does not this communion also adhere to the very same canons on jurisdiction which, specifically in America, are being violated?

Demetri
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2005, 11:30:15 AM »

Actually +ö++++++-ä-ü+¦+¦, I believe (but I could be wrong, but I am fairly sure) the Orthodoxinfo.com is no longer affiliated with the Greek Schismatics they once were.  Since all thier matieral is support of them is off the webpage and the new pictures of the Holy Mountain and St. Anthony's (plus things I've heard) lead me to believe that they are no longer involved with Metr. Cyprian's TOC.  I'm not sure which juridiction they are a part of now - but their page about the ROCOR is still up. 
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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2005, 11:51:25 AM »

You could be right, +Â¥+¦+¦-ä+¦-ü+¦++-é. Who can keep up with the "out-of-communion boyz"?  Wink
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2005, 12:15:40 PM »

 Huh
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2005, 12:28:55 PM »

Huh

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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2005, 12:38:00 PM »

Aristokleis,
   I am just a catechumen, What Canons are those that you are talking about??? Huh  I am just a beginner.  I am sorry if what I said offended. 

  I just feel a bit dubious about them and their writings, though I have found many great articles on there about Orthodox faith, and, being in an Oriental Orthodox Catechumenate (Coptic to be exact),  we still use a form of the old calendar.

Does ROCA (ROCOR), TOC, etc.  Recognize the EP???  If they don't, how can they call themselves EO???
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« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2005, 12:48:20 PM »

I was refering to the canons concerning overlapping jurisdictions which are among the first three councils, if I remember correctly. It was more of a side question. The OO do have a similar situation in the US, do they not? Just a question, not being accusative here.

As to the status of the Eastern Orthodox communion's various churches, one could study that for years. I am not dismissing your question, but I am not prepared to present BOTH sides of the argument between the churches.

Anyway, you're OO, why worry about us?  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2005, 02:26:21 PM »

We all have overlapping jurisdiction problems.  There are four different EO jurisdiction Churches in and two OO jurisdiction Churches in San Antonio alone.  So much for one city one bishop...LOL.  I don't know, I think a lot of it has to do with the ethnicity factor.   I for one am glad for Overlapping jurisdictions.  If there weren't a Coptic Church, my only OO choice would be Armenian, and their services are in Armenian,  it would take a long time for me to understand.  His Grace Bishop Youssef of the Coptic Diocese of the South, however, has said that diocese churches should find a happy medium between Coptic, Arabic, and English and has a very progressive outlook on bringing English in as a liturgical language of the diocese.

I worry about the EO, cause, despite differences in terminology and communion,  I see you as brothers in Orthodoxy.  I may be a heretic to some, but that is how I see things. laugh
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