But once union takes place, what sense is there in discussing
theological differences? Rome knows that the Orthodox will never accept her
alien teachings. Experience has proven this in the various attempts at union
up to the present. Therefore, despite the differences, Rome is crafting a
union and hoping, from a humanistic point of view (as her perspective always
is), that, as the more powerful factor, in time she will absorb the weaker
one, that is, Orthodoxy. Fr. John Romanides presaged this in his article “The
Uniate Movement and Popular Ecumenism,” in The Orthodox Witness, Feb. 1966.
We would like to put these questions to the Orthodox who signed this
Do the Filioque, [Papal] primacy and infallibility, purga-tory, the
immaculate conception, and created grace constitute an apostolic confession?
Despite all of this, is it possible for us as Orthodox to recognize as
apostolic the faith and confession of the Roman Catholics?
Do these serious theological deviations of Rome amount to heresies or
If they are, as they have been described by Orthodox Councils and
Fathers, do they not result in the invalidity of the mysteries and the
apostolic succession of heterodox and cacodox of this kind?
Is it possible for the fullness of grace to exist where there is not the
fullness of truth?
Is it possible to distinguish Christ of the truth from Christ of the
mysteries and apostolic succession?
Apostolic succession was first set forth by the Church as a historic
confirmation of the continuous preservation of her truth. But when the truth
itself is distorted, what meaning can a formal-istic preservation of
apostolic succession have? Did not the great heresiarchs often have this kind
of external succession? How can it be possible for them to also be regarded
as bearers of grace?
And how is it possible for two Churches to be considered “Sister Churches
” not because of their pre-Schism common des-cent but because of their
so-called common confession, sanctifying grace, and priesthood despite their
great differences in dogmas?
Who among the Orthodox can accept as the true successor to the Apostles
the infallible one, the one with the primacy of authority to rule over the
entire Church and to be the religious and secular leader of the Vatican
Would this not be a denial of Apostolic Faith and Tradition?
Or are the signers of this document unaware that many Roman Catholics
today groan under the foot of the Pope (and his scholastic, man-centered
ecclesiological system) and desire to come into Orthodoxy?
How can these people who are tormented spiritually and desire holy
Baptism not be received into Orthodoxy because the same grace is supposedly
both here and there? Ought we not, at that point, respect their religious
freedom, as the Balamand declaration demands in another circumstance, and
grant them Orthodox Baptism? What defense shall we present to the Lord if we
withhold the fullness of grace from them who, after years of agony and
personal searching, desire the holy Baptism of our One, Holy, Catholic, and