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Author Topic: Letter to EP Part Two  (Read 856 times) Average Rating: 0
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Those who ignore history tend to repeat it.


« on: January 31, 2003, 05:58:28 PM »

2.
     Your All Holiness, the greatest scandal, however, is caused by the
ecclesiological positions in the document. We shall refer here to fundamental
deviations only.
     In Paragraph 10 we read: “The Catholic Church...(which conducted
missionary work against the Orthodox and) presented herself as the only one
to whom salvation was entrusted. As a reaction, the Orthodox Church, in turn,
came to accept the same vision according to which only in her could salvation
be found. To assure the salvation of “the separated brethren” it even
happened that Christians were rebaptized and that certain requirements of the
religious freedom of persons and of their act of faith were forgotten. This
perspective was one to which that period showed little sensitivity.”
     As Orthodox, we cannot accept this view. It was not as a reaction
against Unia that our Holy Orthodox Church began to believe that she
exclusively possessed salvation, but believed it before Unia existed, from
the time of the Schism, which took place for reasons of dogma. The Orthodox
Church did not await the coming of Unia in order to acquire the consciousness
that she is the un-adulterated continuation of the One, Holy, Catholic, and
Apostolic Church of Christ, because she has always had this self-awareness
just as she had the awareness that the Papacy was in heresy. If she did not
use the term heresy frequently, it was because, according to St. Mark of
Ephesus, “The Latins are not only schismatics but heretics as well. However,
the Church was silent on   this   because   their race is   large and   more
powerful   than ours...and we wished not to fall into triumphalism over the
Latins as heretics but to be accepting of their return and to cultivate
brotherliness.”
     But when the Uniates and the agents of Rome were let loose on us in the
East in order to proselytize the suffering Orthodox by mainly unlawful means,
as they do even today, Orthodoxy was obliged to declare that truth, not for
purposes of proselytism but in order to protect the flock.
     St. Photius repeatedly characterizes the Filioque as a heresy, and its
believers as cacodox.
     St. Gregory Palamas says of the westerner Barlaam, that when he came to
Orthodoxy, “He did not accept sanctifying water from our Church...to wipe
away [his] stains from the West.” St. Gregory obviously considers him a
heretic in need of sanctifying grace in order to come into the Orthodox
Church.
     The statement in the paragraph in question unjustly heaps responsibility
on the Orthodox Church in order to lessen the responsibilities of the
Papists. When did the Orthodox trample upon the religious freedom of the
Uniates and Roman Catholics by baptizing them against their will? And if
there were some excep-tions, the Orthodox who signed the Balamand document
forget that those who were rebaptized against their wishes were descendants
of the Orthodox who were forcibly made Uniates, as occurred in Poland,
Ukraine, and Moldavia. (See Paragraph 11)
     In Paragraph 13 we read: “In fact, especially since the Pan-Orthodox
Conferences began and since the Second Vatican Council, the rediscovery and
the giving of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of
Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus
attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to
his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same
sa-craments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of
Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be the exclusive  
property   of   one   of   our   Churches.   In this context,   it is clear
that every form of rebaptism must be avoided.”
     The new discovery of the Church as communion by Roman Catholics has, of
course, some significance for them who had no way out of the dilemma of their
totalitarian ecclesiology and, therefore, had to turn their system of thought
to the communal cha-racter of the Church. Thus, alongside the one extreme of
totali-tarianism, they place the other of collegiality, always motivated on
the same man-centered level. The Orthodox Church, however, has always had the
consciousness that she is not a simple communion but a theanthropic communion
or a “communion of theosis [deification],” as St. Gregory Palamas says in
his homily on the procession of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the communion of
theosis is not only unknown in but also irreconcilable with Roman Catholic
theology, which rejects [the doctrine of] the uncreated energies of God that
form and sustain this communion.
     Given these truths, it was with deepest sadness that we confirmed that
this paragraph [13] makes the Orthodox Church equal to the Roman Catholic
Church which abides in cacodoxy.
     Serious theological differences, such as the Filioque, Papal primacy and
infallibility, created grace, etc., are receiving amnesty, and a union is
being forged without agreement in dogma.
     Thus are verified the premonitions that the union designed by the
Vatican, in which, as St. Mark of Ephesus said, “the willing are unwittingly
being   manipulated,” (i.e. the Orthodox, who also live under hostile
circumstances ethnically and politically today and are captive to nations of
other religions), is pushed to take place without agreement regarding
doctrinal differences. The plan is for union to take place, despite the
differences, through the mutual recognition of the mysteries and apostolic
succession of each Church, and the application of intercommunion, limited at
first and broader later. After this, doctrinal differences can only be
discussed as theological opinions.
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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.
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