Author Topic: Letter to EP Part Five  (Read 1347 times)

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Letter to EP Part Five
« on: January 31, 2003, 05:55:09 PM »
Representatives of the Orthodox Churches declared the same things at
World Council of Churches conferences. Among them were distinguished Orthodox
theologians, such as Fr. George Florovsky. Thus, at the Conference of Lund in
1952, was declared:
     “We came here not to judge other Churches but to help them see the
truth, to enlighten their thought in a brotherly manner, informing them of
the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, that is to say
, the Greek Orthodox Church, which is unaltered from the apostolic period.”
     At Evanston in 1954:
     “In conclusion, we are obliged to declare our deep con-viction that the
holy Orthodox Church alone has preserved ‘the faith once delivered unto the
saints’ in all of its fullness and purity. And this is not because of any
human merit of ours but because God is pleased to preserve His treasure in
earthen vessels...”
     And at New Delhi in 1961:
     “Unity has been broken and it is necessary that it be won anew. For the
Orthodox Church is not a Confession, not one of the many or one among the
many. For the Orthodox, the Orthodox Church is the Church. The Orthodox
Church has the perception and consciousness that her inner structure and
teaching coincide with the apostolic kerygma and the tradition of the
ancient, undivided Church. The Orthodox Church exists in the unbroken and
continuous succession of the sacramental ministry, of the sacra-mental life,
and of the faith. The apostolic succession of the episcopal office and the
sacramental ministry, for the Orthodox, is truly a component of the essence
and, for this reason, a necessary element in the existence of the whole
Church. In accordance with her inner conviction and an awareness of the
circumstances, the Orthodox Church occupies a special and extraordinary
position in divided Christendom as the bearer and witness of the tradition of
the ancient, undivided Church, from which the present Christian denominations
originate by way of reduction and separation.”
     We could also set forth here the testimonies of the most distinguished
and widely acknowledged Orthodox theologians. We shall limit ourselves to
one, the late Fr. Demetrius Staniloae, a theologian    distinguished   not  
only   for   his   wisdom    but    for   thebreadth and Orthodox mind set of
his ecumenical perspective.
     In many places of his noteworthy book, Towards an Orthodox Ecumenism, he
refers to themes that are relevant to the joint statement [being discussed
here] and bears Orthodox witness. Through it, therefore, the disagreement
between the positions taken in the document and the Orthodox faith shall be
     “Without unity of faith and without communion in the same Body and Blood
of the Incarnate Word, such a Church could not exist, nor could a Church in
the full meaning of the word.”
     “In the case of one who is entering into full communion of faith with
the members of the Orthodox Church and is becoming a member, economia
[dispensation] is understood to give validity to a mystery previously
performed outside of the Church.”
     “In the Roman Catholic view, the Church is not so much a spiritual
organism that is headed by Christ as it is a nomocanonical organization
which, even in the best of circumstances, lives not in the divine but in the
supernatural level of created grace.”
     “In the preservation of this unity, an indispensable role is played by
the unity of faith because the latter wholly bonds the members with Christ
and with one another.”
     “Those who confess not a whole and integral Christ but only certain
parts of Him cannot achieve a complete communion either with the Church or
with one another.”
     “How is it possible for the Catholics to unite with the Orthodox in a
common eucharist when they believe that unity is derived more from the Pope
than from the Holy Eucharist? Can love for the world spring forth from the
Pope, that is, the love which springs from the Christ of the Holy Eucharist?”
     “There is a growing recognition of the fact that Orthodoxy, as the
complete body of Christ, reaches out in a concrete way to take in the parts
that were separated.”
     It is self-evident that two complete bodies of Christ cannot exist.
     Your All Holiness, one has to wonder why the Orthodox proceed to make
these concessions while the Roman Catholics not only persist in but reinforce
their pope-centered ecclesiology.
     It is a fact that the Second Vatican Council [1963] not only neglected
to minimize the primacy and infallibility [of the Pope], indeed, it magnified
these. According to the late Professor John Karmiris, “Despite the fact that
the Second Vatican Council cover-ed over the familiar Latin claims about the
Papacy’s monarchical absolute rule with the mantle of the collegiality of the
bishops, not only were those claims not diminished; on the contrary, they
were reinforced by this Council. The present Pope [John XXIII] does not
hesitate to promote them, even at inopportune times, with much emphasis.”
     And the Pope’s Encyclical, “To the Bishops of the Catholic Church” (May
28, 1992), recognizes only Rome as the “catholic” church and the Pope as the
only “catholic” bishop. The church of Rome and her bishop compose the “
essence” of all other churches. Moreover, every local church and her bishop
simply constitute expressions of the direct “presence” and “authority” of
the bishop of Rome and his church, which determines from within every local
church’s ecclesial identity.”
     According to this papal document, since the Orthodox Churches refuse to
submit to the Pope, they do not bear the character of the Church at all and
are simply viewed as “partial churches.” “Verdienen der titel teilkirchen.”
     The same ecclesiology is expressed in The Ecumenical Guide (“a guide for
the application of principles and agenda regarding ecumenism”) of the Roman
Catholic Church, presented by Cardinal Cassidy to the meeting of Roman
Catholic bishops (May 10-15, 1993, one month before Balamand), with
non-Catholics and indeed Orthodox in attendance.
     The Ecumenical Guide stresses that Roman Catholics “maintain the firm
conviction that the singular Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic
Church, which is ruled by the successor to Peter and by bishops who are in
communion with him,” in as much as the “College of Bishops has as its head
the Bishop of Rome, the successor to Peter.”
     In the same document, many nice-sounding things are said about the need
to develop an ecumenical dialogue and ecumenical education--obviously to
muddy the waters and draw away naive Orthodox by that effective,
Vatican-designed method of unity, i.e. of submission to Rome.
     The method, according to The Ecumenical Guide, is the following:
     “The criteria that were established for ecumenical col-laboration, on
the one hand, are mutual recognition of baptism and the placement of the
common symbols of faith in empirical   litur-gical life; and on the other,
are collaboration in ecumenical educati-on, joint   prayer, and   pastoral  
cooperation in order that we may bemoved from conflict to coexistence, from
coexistence to collaboration, from collaboration to sharing, from sharing to
     Such documents, however, that are full of hypocrisy are generally
received as positive by the Orthodox.  
     We are saddened to ascertain that the joint declaration is founded upon
the Roman Catholic reasoning above. Because of these recent developments
under such terms, however, we begin to ask ourselves if those who claim that
the various dialogues are detrimental to Orthodoxy might be justified after
     Most Holy Father and Despota, in human terms, by means of that joint
declaration, Roman Catholics have succeeded in gaining from certain Orthodox
recognition as the legitimate continuation of the One Holy Church with the
fullness of Truth, Grace, Priesthood, Mysteries, and Apostolic Succession.
     But that success is to their own detriment because it re-moves from them
the possibility of acknowledging and repenting of their grave ecclesiology
and doctrinal illness. For this reason, the concessions by Orthodox are not
philanthropic. They are not for the good of either the Roman Catholics or the
Orthodox. They jump from “the hope of the Gospel” (Col.1:23) of Christ, the
only God-Man, to the Pope, the man-god and idol of western humanism.
     For the sake of the Roman Catholics and the whole world, whose only hope
is unadulterated Orthodoxy, we are obliged never   to accept union or the
description of the Roman Catholic Church as a “Sister Church,” or the Pope
as the canonical bishop of Rome, or the “Church” of Rome as having canonical
Apostolic Succession, Priesthood, and Mysteries without their [the Papists’]
expressly stated renunciation of the Filioque, the infallibility and primacy
of the Pope, created grace, and the rest of their cacodoxies. For we shall
never regard these as unimportant differences or mere theological opinions
but as differences that irrevocably debase the theanthropic character of the
Church and introduce blasphemies.

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.