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Author Topic: A Statement of Serbian Bishop ARTEMIJE on Ecumenism  (Read 18824 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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Goodbye for now, my friend


« on: February 27, 2005, 04:02:23 AM »

The presentation of Bp. Artemije of Serbia at the 2004 conference on ecumenism in Thessaloniki was recently (2-25-05) posted to the Orthodox-Synod list.

Statement of Bishop ARTEMIJE of Raska and Prizren
Ray of Hope of Orthodox Christians in Serbia who are struggling against
Souldestructive Heresy of Ecumenism

T H E S S A L O N I K I
T H E O L O G I C A L
C O N F E R E N C E

[Dogmas of Orthodox Patristic Traditions, following them we are confirmed
in them and thus we believe and thus we confess, and all heretics and their
every heresy we condemn. Saint Sabba of Serbia]

20 - 24 SEPTEMBER 2004

About

THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH VIS-+Ç-VIS ECUMENISM

Ecumenism is a child of the 20th century. It was born at its outset,
experienced a metamorphosis in the World Council of Churches around the
middle of the century and by its end, it was on its last breath being
fiercely rejected. Unfortunately, it survived this crisis, and continues to
trouble the Church of God in the 21st century.
This theological conference on ecumenism, in our humble opinion, is long
overdue but not hopelessly so. Therefore, we thank God, as well as all those
who worked to make this eminent gathering possible, in order that the issue
of ecumenism may be considered from various perspectives, which should be of
great help to all local Orthodox Churches, as well as the Church as a whole
and every faithful person. It will help the Church take the proper position
toward this,
not only the latest, but also the most dangerous ecclesiological heresy,
which our well-known theologian, Fr. Justin Popovich, consequently called
pan-heresy because it encompasses all heresies previously known in the
history of the Church.
There has been and will be much more discussion at this esteemed gathering
about the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church, as
well as regarding the concept of ecumenism itself. Therefore, we will not
dwell long on these concepts in our presentation. What we are going to
discuss is the question whether or not, to what extent and in what manner
the Serbian Orthodox Church opposes ecumenism; and through whom and in what
manner this opposition has manifested itself and still manifests itself
today.
The realization that not one local Orthodox Church has remained unblemished
and unsullied by the ecumenical pestilence is a painful fact. Some have been
more influenced, others less. But it is also consoling and encouraging that
in every local Orthodox Church there have been and still are shining and
holy examples of individuals and groups who actively oppose, in speech and
writing, the penetration of ecumenism into the fullness of Orthodoxy.1
Perhaps there are not many of them, perhaps they are not connected
sufficiently among themselves and united into a common defensive front but
what is certain is that all of them are first united with the Head of the
Church, the Lord Jesus Christ and with all the Saints of the Orthodox
Church - who throughout the centuries labored and fought for the purity of
the Orthodox Faith - and through the Saints, and by means of them, with each
other. This may be the "little flock" the Lord consoled in His Gospel when
he said "it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Lk
12:32).
========================================
1 The only exception to this rule, unfortunately, is the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, which is in fact the promoter of all ecumenical events and
trends globally. So far not one voice of opposition has been heard from
within this local Church in opposition to the ecumenistic activity, in word
and deed, of the head and representatives of this church. On the contrary,
from there one could frequently hear only words of condemnation and attack
against those throughout Orthodoxy who strive to preserve the "pledge of
faith" unsullied by sick ecumenical evilbelief.
========================================
In the Serbian Orthodox Church the first and most consistent opponent of
ecumenism was and remains Father Justin Popovich of blessed repose, who
motivated others by his example, his words and his deeds, and inspired many
to follow him. Fr. Justin succinctly expressed his Orthodox theological
position on ecumenism in his well-known book The Orthodox Church and
Ecumenism, first published in Thessaloniki in 1974. In this book, Fr. Justin
gave a concise but comprehensive definition of ecumenism. According to him,
"Ecumenism is a collective name for pseudo-Christianities, for the
pseudo-Churches of Western Europe. All European humanisms, headed by Papism,
have given it their wholehearted support. And all these
pseudo-Christianities, all these pseudo-Churches, are nothing other than a
collection of heresies. Their common evangelical name is pan-heresy." Father
Justin believed that he would best show all the abnormality and deformity of
ecumenism as it appears in our time if we reflected it in the mirror of the
One True Church of Christ. And that he did, presenting the Orthodox teaching
(of the
Orthodox Church) about the True Church of Christ, the Church of the Apostles
and Holy Fathers, and Holy Tradition in the most meaningful and succinct
way. Only if one has true and full knowledge of the teaching of Christ is it
possible to readily discern and recognize all false and heretical teachings.
The origins of ecumenism as a movement to unite Christians, its historical
progress and development, as well as the various traps into which many
Orthodox Christians, including quite a few clergy and a good number of
Bishops, fell, and continue to fall, was described and systematically
reported by Hieromonk Sava Janjic of the brotherhood of the Monastery of
Dechani in his book "Ekumenizam i vreme apostasije" [Ecumenism and the Time
of Apostasy] published in Prizren (Kossovo) in 1995. In it ecumenism is
clearly and primarily defined as an "ecclesiological heresy," the purpose of
which is to transform the Body of Christ (the Church) into an "ecumenical
organization," striking thus at very root of the Orthodox faith - the
Church.
Ecumenism, in fact, according to Fr. Sava, seeks to arbitrarily "correct"
the theanthropic teaching of the Lord Christ, reducing it to the level of a
social, humanistic and pacifistic idea, and attempting to replace Christ
Himself with the atheistic and secularized European man. On account of its
clear anti-ecumenical position, Fr. Sava's book was attacked by many and
even banned from being sold in church bookstores; however, no one even
attempted, let alone succeeded, in denying or contesting anything presented
within it.
More recently, nonetheless, the main champion of opposition and resistance
toward ecumenism in the Serbian Orthodox Church has been and remains 'Sveti
knez Lazar' [Holy Prince Lazar], a magazine published by the Diocese of
Raska and Prizren for the past 12 years. This magazine carefully follows all
ecumenical events and provides commentary, articles, reviews and viewpoints
of all those for whom the purity of faith and Orthodoxy is the primary
matter in life, even more important than life itself. It publishes articles
of rebuttal and translations of letters, decisions and the testimony of the
monasteries of the Holy Mountain on various issues.
When, in the field of theology or the domain of practical "ecumenizing," in
the dialogue between Orthodox and non-Orthodox, boundaries would be
overstepped and result in the purity of the Orthodox faith and Church being
brought into question, the voice of conscience would be heard, first from
the monks from the Holy Mountain and then from individual students of
theology and theologians from Thessaloniki, Athens, and other local Orthodox
Churches. Sv. Knez Lazar
would make such reviews, appeals and protests available on its pages, which
greatly contributed to strengthening the resistance to ecumenism in the
heart of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Among such texts were those critical of the decisions reached in Balamand,
including the letter of the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain of Athos
sent to His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the end of 1993;
the Report of the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain of Athos on dialogue
between the Orthodox and the anti-Chalcedonians held in Chamb+¬sy in November
1993, and many others There were similar reviews and reproves from
individuals and groups within the Serbian Orthodox Church itself. Worthy of
mention is a text by novice-monk Ilija entitled "Nesto gore i od ekumenizma"
(Something even worse than ecumenism), where he presents horrible testimony
about ecumenical prayers by Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Muslims at the
beginning of 1992 in Bosnia & Herzegovina. In connection with this, we wrote
a brief commentary, "Bog se ne da ruziti" (God cannot be corrupted) in which
we point out that this kind of trampling on the traditions of the Holy
Fathers and the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church leads directly, by God's
allowance, to inter-ethnic conflict and bloodshed.
The question of ecumenism and the attitude of the Serbian Orthodox Church
toward it, as well as the question of the membership of the S.O.C. in the
World Council of Churches, was also a frequent topic of discussion in those
years at the Holy Assembly of Bishops. We were most often the instigator and
inspirer of these discussions with our communiqu+¬s, as well as articles
published in our magazine Sveti Knez Lazar. This was the very reason why the
Holy Synod of
Bishops issued a decision at the end of 1994 (no. 3128 dated November 17,
1994) for us to prepare and submit a brief overview of the history of the
WCC for the Holy Assembly of Bishops, as well as an examination of the
Serbian Orthodox Church's membership in it. Thus, in carrying out this
decision of the Holy Synod in May of 1995 we submitted the following report
to the Holy Assembly of Bishops from which, we hope, our personal position
toward the WCC
and toward ecumenism is clearly understood.
We explained, first of all, that the very name "World Council of Churches"
is untenable, since the Holy Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council laid
down the dogma that there is one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and
not many, out of which it would be possible to build or create some kind of
"council" or "union" which would be a type of super-Church.
We then briefly presented the history of the creation of the WCC in 1948,
showing that it has its roots in a modern heresy - the pan-heresy that is
called ecumenism, which sprouted up in the lap of Protestantism at the end
of the 19th century in order to meet its particular needs. Only later was
this movement and its anti-ecclesial ideas (such as the so-called "branch
theory") gradually adopted and accepted by individual local Orthodox
Churches, which joined the WCC and became an organic member.
The Serbian Orthodox Church long resisted this temptation of ecumenism.
Finally, however, it, too, became a member of the WCC in 1965 and, making an
effort not to lag behind the example of local Orthodox churches that became
members earlier, took active part in all ecumenical dialogues and activities
regardless as to what extent they were contrary to the tradition of the Holy
Fathers and the canonical regulations of the Orthodox Church.

[What follows are excerpts from the report to the Holy Assembly of Bishops:]

The Creation of the WCC

1. The very name "World Council of Churches" contains the entire heresy of
this pseudoecclesial organization.
The church is One and Catholic, and in it is all Truth, all Grace, and all
that that the Lord brought with Him to the earth and gave to the people, and
left among them for their salvation. The Church is One and Catholic because
it gathers all who desire salvation into one, into wholeness, which is the
Body of the God-Man Christ. Hence the very idea of a "council" or "union" of
churches is unthinkable, inadmissible and unacceptable to the consciousness
and conscience of the Orthodox person.
2. The World Council of Churches was born out of a modern heresy - the
pan-heresy that is called ecumenism. Today the phenomenon of ecumenism is
not anything new and unknown. Quite a bit has been written and said about it
for decades, and it can be rightly said that it is a very complex
phenomenon. Ecumenism is above all an ecclesiological heresy because it
strikes at the very root of Orthodox faith - at the holy Church, attempting
to transform it into an "ecumenical organization" stripped of all the
theanthropic characteristics of the Body of Christ, thus preparing the path
for the Antichrist himself.
The foundations of ecumenism were laid as early as the end of the 19th
century, in 1897, at the conference of 194 Anglican bishops in Lambeth,
England. The basic principles of the future ecumenical union of Christian
"churches" were formulated at this gathering. The Lambeth conference defined
a dogmatic minimum, stemming from the idea that unity should be sought in
the lowest common denominator of theological teachings. This lowest common
denominator should be sought in the Holy Scripture (but outside the context
of the Holy Tradition), in the Symbol of Faith of Nicea and Constantinople,
and in just two holy mysteries: Baptism and the Eucharist. In addition,
there was an emphasis on the so-called "Principle of Tolerance" toward the
teaching of other "churches" in preparation for the introduction of a
"compromise of love." The third invention of the Lambeth Conference was the
famous "branch theory," stemming from the assertion that the Church of
Christ is supposedly a tree of many branches, all of whose branches are
mutually equal and which represent the manifestation of the one Church only
in their collective unity.
Once sown, the evil seed spread quickly. By the beginning of the 20th
century, in 1919, the Protestant "churches" organized a World Mission
Conference in Edinburgh where it was decided to organize a worldwide
Christian movement to address issues of faith and church organization.
Simultaneously active was the Life and Work movement, whose task was to
realize the unity of Christians through their cooperation on issues of
practical life. Out of these two exclusively Protestant movements and with
their unification in 1948 at the first General Assembly in Amsterdam, the
World Council of Churches based in Geneva was created. Sadly, also present
at this assembly, unfortunately, were some of the Orthodox Churches,
including the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of
Greece and the Russian Metropolia in America (today the Orthodox Church in
America).
3. Unfortunately, Orthodoxy did not resist this temptation of modernism and
secularism for long but quickly became infected with it. Among the Orthodox
Churches, the first to make a concession to ecumenism was the Patriarchate
of Constantinople, from as early as January 1920, with its Encyclical "To
the churches of Christ everywhere". Not only does it refer to all local
Orthodox Churches as "churches" but for the first time this name is equally
given to the various
heretical confessions. Thus, at the very beginning of this unfortunate
encyclical it is said: "...rapprochement between the various Christian
Churches and fellowship between them is not excluded by the doctrinal
differences which exist between them..." The Encyclical further appeals that
it is necessary to work on "preparation and advancement of that blessed
union"; it calls various heretical groups "churches that should no more
consider one another as strangers and foreigners, but as relatives, as being
a part of the household of Christ" and "fellow heirs, members of the same
body and partakers of the promise of God in Christ". (Eph. 3:6) As the first
practical step in the building of mutual confidence and love, it is
considered necessary for the Orthodox Church to accept the New (Gregorian)
Calendar, "for the celebration of the great Christian feasts at the same
time by all the churches." This was soon done by the Patriarchate of
Constantinople (and later by some other local Orthodox Churches), which paid
a high price: internal schism both within the Church and among the people.
Other Orthodox Churches resisted this evil temptation for a time. The
Patriarchate of Moscow in particular demonstrated certain signs of caution
toward ecumenism. The Conference of the bishops of local Orthodox Churches
held in Moscow on 8-18 July 1948, on the occasion of the 500-year
anniversary of the proclamation of autocephaly of the Russian Church bore
witness to this. Representatives of the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch,
Russia, Serbia, Romania,
Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania taking part in the
meeting rejected participation in the world ecumenical movement and in the
WCC, which had just been formed, condemning it as a heresy.
4. However, this zealousness of the Orthodox in teaching God's Truth about
the Church, unfortunately, did not last long. Only four years after the
formation of the World Council of Churches, in 1952, Patriarch Athenagoras
of Constantinople issued an encyclical calling on all heads of local
Orthodox Churches to join the World Council of Churches. In spite of the
fact that the reasons for such exhortations were totally trite, clich+¬d and
non-ecclesial (for example, "rapprochement of peoples and nations" for the
purpose of "confronting the great problems which occupy the whole of
humanity"), during the course of the same year (1952) individual Orthodox
Churches rushed to join the WCC. The Ecumenical Patriarchate sent its
permanent representatives to WCC headquarters in Geneva. In 1959 the Central
Committee of the WCC met with the representatives of all the Orthodox
Churches on the island of Rhodes. Since then, ecumenism has penetrated the
walls of Orthodoxy and began like a cancer to consume it from within. After
the Rhodes meeting, the Orthodox began to compete among themselves as to who
would be the most ecumenical.
Beginning in 1961, Orthodox ecumenists began to convene one conference after
another for the purpose of realizing their ecumenistic goals. Thus, in 1964,
a Third Conference was held on Rhodes where the decision was made to conduct
dialogues with heretics "on an equal basis" and each local Orthodox Church
was obligated to establish, independently, "brotherly relations" with
heretics. The ringleader in all of these ecumenical games was Patriarch
Athenagoras, who began a series of meetings with the Pope of Rome, effected
the mutual removal of anathemas from 1054, conducted common prayers, etc.,
later followed by his successors and assistants, Archbishops Iakovos of
North and South America, Stylianos of Australia, Damascene of Geneva, and
many others.
This work on the ecumenical agenda was also accompanied by independent
statements by individual representatives of the Orthodox Churches, not only
those from the Throne of Constantinople - statements which have nothing in
common with the positions and teachings of the Holy Fathers. The boundaries
established by our Fathers between truth and falsehood, light and darkness,
Christ and Belial had been violated. The fundamental task of all the
outpourings of sentimental (in essence, mutually hypocritical) love
supposedly manifested in these statements was to develop a consciousness
among Orthodox Christians that they were brothers in Christ with the
un-Orthodox, and members together of the one and true Church of Christ.
This was stated at meetings and conferences, printed in magazines and books,
and broadcast on radio and television. And all this was supposed to lead to
"a common Cup", i.e. to common communion (intercommunio), which is the basic
goal of the so-called "dialogue of love".
According to Father Justin Popovich, this is in fact "the most evil betrayal
of the Lord Christ, the betrayal of Judas, and the betrayal of the Church of
Christ as a whole".

The Serbian Orthodox Church joins the WCC

Following the example of the other local Orthodox Churches, especially the
Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Serbian Orthodox Church from the very
beginning made an effort to keep in step with the times. Although it was not
yet formally a member of the WCC, it inaugurated close and frequent contacts
with this "council of heresy", as Father Justin has referred to it, and
began to receive official visits from members of the WCC, above all
individuals responsible for sending inter-ecclesial assistance, such as Mr.
Tobias, Mr. Maxwell, and Ms. Meyhoffer, and finally, the General Secretary,
Mr. Visser't Hooft.
Although it is true that the Serbian Church did not have an official
representative-observer at the WCC's Second Assembly in Evanston, U.S.A. in
1954, or at the Third Assembly in New Delhi in 1961, it had a three-member
delegation (headed by Bishop Visarion). At this assembly, there was a
complete turnabout with regard to the participation of local Orthodox
Churches.
Apparently under the pressure from the Communist Soviet government, the
Moscow Patriarchate and all of the Churches in the satellite countries along
with it became members of the WCC. Joining at that time were the
Patriarchates of Moscow, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as the
Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia.
The Serbian Church became a member of the WCC by way of the "back door" and
somewhat dishonorably. Namely, the WCC General Secretary, W.A. Visser 't
Hooft paid a visit to Serbia and proposed that the Serbian Orthodox Church
become a member without necessarily signing certain theological documents
that were dogmatically and canonically unfounded. The Holy Synod of the
Serbian Orthodox Church at that time (not the Assembly of Bishops), with
Patriarch German as its head, decided that the Serbian Church should become
a member. This was accepted and made official at a meeting of the WCC's
Central Committee in Africa, in 1965. Subsequently, the Serbian Church, like
the other local Orthodox Churches, has become an organic member of the WCC.
Through our official representatives (bishops and theologians), we took part
in all later assemblies, conferences, symposiums, meetings, prayer
gatherings and everything else that occurred to the WCC, to which we agreed
without question. The result of this participation was reflected in certain
material aid which the Serbian Orthodox Church periodically received from
the WCC in the form of medicine, medical care and rehabilitation of some
individuals in Switzerland, student scholarships, and financial donations
for certain concrete purposes and needs of the SOC, such as, the
construction of a new building for the Theological School. We paid for these
crumbs of material assistance by losing, on the spiritual plane, the purity
of our faith, canonical consistency and faithfulness to the Holy Tradition
of the Orthodox Church.
The presence of our representatives (and Orthodox representatives in
general) at various and sundry ecumenical gatherings has no canonical
justification. We did not go there in order to boldly, openly and
unwaveringly confess the eternal and unchangeable Truth of the Orthodox
Faith and Church but in order to make compromises and to agree more or less
to all those decisions and formulations offered to us by the non-Orthodox.
That is how we ultimately arrived at Balamand, Chamb+¬sy, and Assisi, which
taken as a whole represent infidelity and betrayal of the Holy Orthodox
Faith.
During this entire period of the decline and ruin of the Church of Saint
Sava in every respect, the only voice that could be heard was that of Father
Justin of Chelije, who was and remains the vigilant and unchanging
conscience of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Deeply feeling and liturgically
experiencing the spirit of Apostolic and Patristic Truth, he wrote,
regarding the ecumenical "labor" of Patriarch Athenagoras: "And the
Patriarch of Constantinople? By his neo-Papist behavior, his words and
deeds, he has scandalized Orthodox consciences for decades, renouncing the
unique and all-saving Truth of the Orthodox Church and Faith, acknowledging
the Roman Pontifex Maximus with demonic pride..." These words clearly
express a mature, sincere and patristic position toward a heretical
Patriarch and a precise diagnosis of the basic intentions of Constantinople,
which the successors of Patriarch Athenagoras are carrying out to this day
under the eyes and with the silent acquiescence of officials from the other
Orthodox Churches.
And what would Father Justin say today?
The only good thing in this whole affair is that our official
representatives and participants in various ecumenical gatherings are not
writing or publishing anything in the church press upon their return home
that would poison the Orthodox people. Frequently, even we Bishops gathered
in Assembly receive no official reports from our brother Bishops who
represent us, which I consider unacceptable.
Taking into account everything we have stated above, on the one hand, and
the eternal and unerring evangelical measure "that every tree can be
recognized by its fruits" on the other, it is as clear as day what we should
do.
At this same Assembly, we must pass a decision that the Serbian Orthodox
Church must withdraw from the WCC and from all similar organizations (such
as the European Council of Churches and others) and put an end to its
participation in all ecumenical and atheistic gatherings.
This must be done for the following reasons:
1. Out of obedience toward the Holy Apostle Paul, who counsels and commands:
"As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have
nothing more to do with him." (Tit 3:10)
2. Because it is consistent with all the holy Canons of the Orthodox Church
against which we have now grievously sinned.
3. Because there is not a single one among the Holy Fathers of the Church
who by his teaching, life and deeds could serve as an example for us that
would justify our joining and continuing to remain in the non-ecclesial
organization of the WCC and others like it.
4. For the sake of the salvation of our souls, of the souls of the flock
entrusted to us, which we have severely scandalized and spiritually harmed
by our ecumenizing to date, as well as for the sake of all those who are
still outside the Ark of Salvation - the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic
Orthodox Church, whom such a decisive and clear action on our part can help
more in seeking and finding the truth and the path to salvation than the
continuation of our colorless and godless association with them."

The Decision to Withdraw

Two years after our report, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian
Orthodox Church decided at its council of May-June 1997 that the Serbian
Church should withdraw from the WCC, that is, it decided that the Serbian
Church should no longer be an organic member of this organization. In the
explanation of this decision, the Bishops stated that the World Council of
Churches was created as an expression of the desire for the establishment of
a unified Church,
especially among the fractions of the Protestant world (beginning in 1910).
As we have seen, the Orthodox Churches, each in its own way, regularly
participated in the so-called Ecumenical Movement, especially after 1920, in
order to realize Christ's commandment "that they may be one" (Jn. 17:11).
In the beginning eminent theologians took part in ecumenism, including the
Holy Bishop Nikolai of Zhicha, Bishop Irinej (Ciric) of Backa, Bishop Irinej
(Djordjevic) of Dalmatia, Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky, Dumitru
Staniloae and others. At every opportunity they witnessed to Eternal Truth
and the position of Orthodox theology that "without unity of faith there is
no unity in the Church as the theanthropic organism of Christ, and there
cannot be". At all ecumenical meetings and assemblies, they separated their
Orthodox positions and decisions in separate conclusions. Only later, with
the forming of the WCC, this principle was gradually
abandoned, and Orthodox representatives increasingly melted into the common
(essentially non- Orthodox) conclusions and decisions. This is especially
demonstrated by the justification presented at the council of the Serbian
Orthodox Church explaining and justifying the decision to withdraw from the
WCC, as follows:
o Because in its activities the WCC has begun to neglect it's original
position regarding the unity in faith as a precondition for the unity of the
Church;
o Because this Council has begun to have the nature of a super-Church and to
behave in this spirit, practically accepting in its activities the Anglican
"branch theory", which is unacceptable to Orthodoxy, and more recently
called the theory of "Christian traditions", according to which the
"traditions" of some Protestant sects (created, for example, in the previous
century) are equated and considered equal with the living Tradition of the
Eastern Orthodox Church, which has existed in continuity since apostolic
times;
o Because the WCC is increasingly influenced by secularism;
o Because of the very organization of the WCC, where Protestant communities
hold the overwhelming majority, the Orthodox Church is always outvoted, and
consequently the Orthodox Church cannot influence the WCC's decisions nor be
adequately represented;
o Because questions of faith and order and unity in faith and the One
authentic Church of Christ are being increasingly neglected in official
circles of the WCC because of pragmatism and everyday secular policies;
o Because official circles of the ecumenical movement are dominated by the
spirit and organization of religious syncretism in practical expression and
implementation (especially after the general assemblies in Uppsala and
Canberra);
o Because instead of trying to reduce existing dogmatic and canonical
differences in the spirit of ecumenism, some of the most important members
of the WCC (for example, the Anglican Church) are introducing new "church"
traditions and practices that they dogmatically justify, customs that
imperil the ethos of the Gospel, and the entire Christian tradition of East
and West (ex. the ordination of women "bishops" and "pastors"), creating a
radically new order, ecclesiology and morality in the "church";
o Because the WCC tolerates some Christian communities among its members
that accept and bless unnatural and anti-natural sexual practices (the
marriage of persons of the same sex - lesbians and homosexuals) that are
"shameful to even hear".
o Because this ecumenical, syncretistic and secularist spirit is also being
transmitted to certain Orthodox circles, especially among the Diaspora and
mixed areas, where intercommunion and prayer meetings with the non-Orthodox
have become a frequent practice - a practice which denies the very ethos and
the patristic manner of thinking and life in the Church (meaning it has a
negative impact on the Church itself);
o Because organic membership in the WCC causes scandals and serious
polarization among local Orthodox Churches within the Fullness of Orthodoxy
(meaning that instead of contributing to pan-Christian unity, this type of
membership directly endangers unity within the Orthodox Church itself, let
alone the ecclesiological unacceptability of these kinds of memberships!);
o Because of all the reasons given above, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the
faithful witness and guardian (together with the other local Orthodox
Churches) of the faith and ethos of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic
Church of Christ, announced its withdrawal from the WCC; and its resignation
as an ORGANIC member of this organization (as has also been done by the
Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Georgian Church). In doing so, however,
the Serbian Church does not withdraw from continuing to work on the "unity
of all" and continuing to cooperate with all, including work with the WCC in
the humanitarian field, as well as in other areas of inter-Christian
responsibility for peace, justice and unity among the peoples and states of
the world.
-+ Taking into account, however, that this is a far-reaching decision that
affects not only the life and mission of the Serbian Church but of Orthodoxy
in general and its salvific mission in the world, the Assembly of Bishops of
the Serbian Church has decided that prior to its final resignation, it will
first forward its position and rationale to the Ecumenical Patriarch of
Constantinople and to all heads of local Orthodox Churches with the proposal
and request that a Pan-Orthodox Conference be convened as soon as possible
with regard to further participation of Orthodox Churches in general in the
World Council of Churches. Only after this consultation would our own local
Church adopt its final position on the issue and share it with the public".
The Decision Sabotaged at the "Thessaloniki Summit" Unfortunately, it soon
became apparent that the concluding points of this decision of the Serbian
Orthodox Church Assembly annulled all the aforementioned compelling reasons
for a final and permanent withdrawal from membership and partnership with
the WCC.
The Thessaloniki Summit of the representatives of all of the Orthodox
Churches was soon held and its "conclusions" prevented the Serbian Orthodox
Church from carrying out its 1997 decision to withdraw from the WCC. It was
as if the purpose of the consultation was to water down and invalidate the
Serbian Orthodox Church's decision. And sure enough, the very next year, in
1998, the Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church offered a new answer to
the submitted question. This second answer, according to the interpretation
of Orthodox Canonist Zeljko Kotoranin, "was not theological but political."
It consisted, first of all, of the unwillingness of the Assembly to protect
its decision of the previous year from falsification, denial and a failure
to implement it, and second, of the adoption of the conclusions reached in
Thessaloniki and the sending of a delegation of the Serbian Church to the
WCC Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe. On the other hand, the essence of the
conclusions of the Thessaloniki gathering was to seek a radical
reorganization of the Council, which did not occur in the next seven years
to the present day. These "conclusions," therefore, remained "a dead
letter." The WCC did not reorganize itself in any respect and become closer
to the Orthodox Church of Christ, nor did any local Orthodox Church
(including the Serbian Church) withdraw from membership in the WCC as a
result of this. The reasons and justifications for withdrawing from
membership from the WCC (as presented in the decision of the S.O.C.
Assembly) are also still valid, as are, unfortunately, the harmful
ecclesiological consequences that follow from that membership.
Thus by its second response the Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church,
abandoning its earlier decision (from 1997) and its justification, continued
and extended its organic participation as an equal member of the World
Council of Churches, guiding itself and its flock down the path of ruin.
Quite simply, extending the membership of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the
WCC is not and cannot be pleasing to God. Those most responsible in the Body
of the Church - the Bishops - are drawing God's fury upon themselves and
their flock by circumventing Church dogma and violating canon law. The
heretical concept of "evangelical
ecumenism" - the Gospel without Christ, salvation without the Church - is
unacceptable to the Orthodox consciousness.
The Sopocani Appeal It is consoling that in the Serbian Orthodox Church
despite the inconsistencies shown by the Holy Synod of Bishops there are
still those who have not reconciled themselves to this outcome and who
continue to openly and boldly come forward against distorted ecumenism and
against those who support it, frequently exposing themselves to open
persecution by individual Bishops. It is worth mentioning some names that
are well-known to the Serbian people. In addition to Zeljko Kotoranin whom
we have already cited, we have Rodoljub Lazic, Miodrag Petrovic, Vladimir
Dimitrijevic, Presbyter Boban Milenkovic and others. The brave monks and
nuns of almost all of the Dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church are
especially consistent in their
opposition to ecumenism "in practice".
The common voice of all of the fighters for the purity of faith and
faithfulness to the Orthodox Church could be heard at the Sopocani Monastery
Meeting, which was held in February of 2001. From this gathering of
monastics, priests and faithful children of the Orthodox Church, guided by
concern and love toward the tradition of St. Sava in their mother Church, an
"Appeal-plea" was sent to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox
Church, which reads as follows:
o That it carry out its decision from 1997 regarding the withdrawal of our
Church from the WCC without delay, pointing out that every local Orthodox
Church has the authority to make and carry out such a decision for itself,
as they joined the WCC individually. The conclusions of the Thessaloniki
Summit are not and cannot be an obstacle to this;
o That it re-examine its attitude toward Roman Catholicism, which all the
Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church, from Photius the Great to Mark of
Ephesus and Justin (Popovich) of Chelije consider a heresy, not a "sister
church," and to stop all common prayer with the Roman Catholics and the Pope
of Rome under the guise of "brotherly love";
o That under no circumstances should it accept the frequently announced
visit of the Pope to the Serbian Church and that certain (frequently heard)
motions toward the introduction of the New Calendar in our Church be stopped
because such an attempt would result in a great schism within our Church, as
in all local Orthodox Churches that have introduced the New Calendar;
o That a inter-church dialogue be initiated in the Serbian Orthodox Church
regarding all contested issues of spiritual life and theology, because it is
the lack of well-intentioned dialogue that leads to internal divisions among
the people into followers of various liturgical, theological and pastoral
schools, some of which introduce innovations foreign to the Holy Tradition.

Conclusion: A Gathering of Trumpeters

Finally, the Sopocani Meeting ends its Appeal by quoting the words of the
Holy Bishop, Saint Nikolai (Velimirovich) regarding the need for zeal and
alertness in the battle for the salvation of our soul: "...If someone says:
The danger to our Church was in the past, and today the danger is gone, he
is terribly wrong. He is a trumpeter who plays to put us to sleep. And in
this age we need as many trumpeters as possible who will play to awaken us,
to arouse us, to prepare us, to defend
ourselves. For the Unmentionable, whom our sacred people and their clergy
prevented from becoming 'embodied in the form of law' [referring to the
Concordat of 1937] nevertheless still walks upon this earth like a ghost,
like a specter - agitating, agitating, agitating."
We would like to conclude our presentation with the prayerful wish that our
Thessaloniki symposium, the Inter-Orthodox Conference on Ecumenism, become a
gathering of trumpeters who by their testimony and their zeal will awaken
the slumbering consciences of the representatives of all of the local
Orthodox Churches, so that all together or each individually, following its
internal voice, withdraw from the World Council of Churches, stop prayerful
and practical participation in the heresy of ecumenism, and thus attest
before the face of the entire world that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic
Church was, is and will forever remain the Orthodox Church, and that outside
it, there is no Church, and that without the Church and unity with the
Church, there is no salvation. This is the only true service to our
neighbor, to those close to us, the only true love toward all non-Orthodox
or heterodox individuals and peoples in the modern world because, according
to
Father Justin, "The only true love is that which ensures those close to us
life eternal."


Bishop ARTEMIJE
Of Raska and Prizren


Translated by Snezana Ivanisevic De Berthet
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2005, 01:58:37 PM »

In all that long rant on Oecumenism, Bishop Artemije failed to demonstrate what Great damage the Oecumenical Movement has done to the Church. All that is effectively done in the Movement is Discussion: conversing about similarities and differences in Faith, Dogmatics, Customs, et cetera. Our discussions with the Protestants has not caused us to remove our Ikons from our Churches, our dialogue with Rome has not led us to insert the Filioque into the Creed or use unleavened bread in the Eucharist, and our conversations with the Monophysites have not lead us to Denounce the Holy Fathers of Chalcedon and Deny the Two Natures of Christ. Thus, as we have not fallen into any of these heresies on account of our discussions, what damage have they done? Perhaps they have even done some good by allowing us to make our case, to present the fullness of the Christian truth.

Shutting ourselves in a Cloistered Community and ignoring the world around us is not the fulfillment of our Faith, we are called to Present to take the Gospel to the World, and that is what His All-Holiness is doing when he initiates and pursues oecumenical dialogue.
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2005, 02:52:36 PM »

That anyone could defend the type of ecumenism practiced by the WCC is to me incomprehensible. Thus, since I can't comprehend it, I can't discuss it with you. All I can do is post what I believe to be the obvious truth, and if you think I'm a sectarian nutball then so be it.

Quote
what damage have they done

His Grace went over that, though he certainly didn't mention all the problems caused by ecumenism.
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2005, 03:01:06 PM »

In all that long rant on Oecumenism, Bishop Artemije failed to demonstrate what Great damage the Oecumenical Movement has done to the Church. All that is effectively done in the Movement is Discussion: conversing about similarities and differences in Faith, Dogmatics, Customs, et cetera. Our discussions with the Protestants has not caused us to remove our Ikons from our Churches, our dialogue with Rome has not led us to insert the Filioque into the Creed or use unleavened bread in the Eucharist, and our conversations with the Monophysites have not lead us to Denounce the Holy Fathers of Chalcedon and Deny the Two Natures of Christ. Thus, as we have not fallen into any of these heresies on account of our discussions, what damage have they done? Perhaps they have even done some good by allowing us to make our case, to present the fullness of the Christian truth.

Shutting ourselves in a Cloistered Community and ignoring the world around us is not the fulfillment of our Faith, we are called to Present to take the Gospel to the World, and that is what His All-Holiness is doing when he initiates and pursues oecumenical dialogue.

I used to think like you until I started reading the actual WCC texts, watching actual WCC footage, and thinking about the effect it has on people looking at Orthodoxy. Once I realized that ecumenism interferes with evangelism, I realized it has to stop. I don't argue against having Orthodox at the WCC and other groups as observers but they need to stop signing all these "joint agreements" that water down Orthodoxy--such as the joint recognition of Orthodox-Roman Catholic baptism (1999), Orthodox-Lutheran baptism (2004), etc.  Have you ever read Nissiotis's statements at the WCC? Even my ecumenism professor thought they were too far--yet nothing happened to Nissiotis. Nothing happened to Metropolitan Sotirios of Canada when, vested in mandyas, he processed into a WCC liturgy in Vancouver carrying the Gospel, and then helped distribute the WCC-consecrated "Eucharist" to the participants! How can an ORTHODOX bishop distribute BREAD to people and call it the EUCHARIST, and nothing happens?  The major problem of Ecumenism is not what has happened or NOT happend in the Orthodox Church but what it has done to our witness; many Roman Catholics and Protestants actually beleive now that the Orthodox think they are in the Church. What a disservice to them.

Again, I used to think anti-ecumenistic statements were a bunch of hyperbole. For whatever reason, they never convinced me. But reading the actual pro-ecumenism stuff and taking a pro-ecumenism class utterly changed my mind.

Anastasios
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2005, 05:45:12 PM »

many Roman Catholics and Protestants actually beleive now that the Orthodox think they are in the Church. What a disservice to them.


Come on now....who really believes that?  "Many" Roman Catholics and Protestants have never even heard of Orthodoxy.  Do you really think "many" people read any of these statements from the WCC?  Do you think "many" people even know what the WCC is? 

I'm not arguing that it's not harmful but let's put things in the proper perspective.  Only a tiny subset of people have even heard of the WCC, let alone read its statements.  Only a tiny subset of people have any concern at all about whether Orthodoxy thinks they are in the Church or not.  I would venture to guess that the vast majority of this tiny subset of strange church-people (all of us here fall into this group, we know about things the average person has never even heard of, let alone care about) are well-educated enough to ascertain for themselves the true position of the Orthodox Church. 

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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2005, 05:52:12 PM »



Come on now....who really believes that? "Many" Roman Catholics and Protestants have never even heard of Orthodoxy. Do you really think "many" people read any of these statements from the WCC? Do you think "many" people even know what the WCC is?

I'm not arguing that it's not harmful but let's put things in the proper perspective. Only a tiny subset of people have even heard of the WCC, let alone read its statements. Only a tiny subset of people have any concern at all about whether Orthodoxy thinks they are in the Church or not. I would venture to guess that the vast majority of this tiny subset of strange church-people (all of us here fall into this group, we know about things the average person has never even heard of, let alone care about) are well-educated enough to ascertain for themselves the true position of the Orthodox Church.



I'm not referring just to the WCC. I am referring to all of the joint efforts of the ecumenists, which color our witness. My friend is an educated Orthodox priest, former Lutheran (Missiouri Synod).  He has friends who actually won't considering joining Orthodoxy because it is in the WCC and other ecumenistic groups.

The argument is that Orthodox being in the WCC helps spread knowledge of Orthodoxy. I am saying that if that is the premise it is false because the people reached in such encounters perceive Orthodoxy on false terms.

When Roman Catholics watch EWTN and see the Patriarch vested with the Pope together, what message do you think they get?

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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2005, 06:11:39 PM »

I'm not referring just to the WCC. I am referring to all of the joint efforts of the ecumenists, which color our witness. My friend is an educated Orthodox priest, former Lutheran (Missiouri Synod). He has friends who actually won't considering joining Orthodoxy because it is in the WCC and other ecumenistic groups.

That's a different argument and a valid one, I might add. 

Quote
The argument is that Orthodox being in the WCC helps spread knowledge of Orthodoxy. I am saying that if that is the premise it is false because the people reached in such encounters perceive Orthodoxy on false terms.

When Roman Catholics watch EWTN and see the Patriarch vested with the Pope together, what message do you think they get?

They (remember they are faithful Roman Catholics) think "isn't is nice that the pope gets along with the guy...who are the Orthodox again?"  They're Roman Catholics, for goodness' sakes, they don't care what Orthodoxy thinks about them.  If they cared, they wouldn't be Roman Catholic, now would they? 

Again, I'm not arguing that these things are wrong but let's put them in proper perspective.  How many people have even heard of the WCC, let alone read any of its statements?  I can guarantee you that I've never met anyone in 'real life' (non-internet) whose heard of any of these things. 
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2005, 06:42:52 PM »

Jennifer,

Yes, if they are RC, they might not care but I am talking more of people who are fence sitting or who might be inclined to think about these things. For instance, when I was a happy Byzantine Catholic, Orthodox who were overly accepting of me lead me to believe that I was ok--I kind of looked at them for justification of me staying put. It was the more strict Orthodox who got me thinking.

I would refine my position to this:

1) Participation in ecumenism beyond observer status risks giving those looking into Orthodoxy the idea that Orthodoxy already accepts them, so they don't need to convert.

2) Participation in ecumenism beyond observer status leads Orthodox aware of such things the idea that the Orthodox accept various non-Orthodox as equal or similar to themselves.

3) #2 trickles down into parish life, "real life", or however you want to phrase it, when participants of #2 go to their parish and especially if they are priests, filter these ideas down into more mundane things. A concrete example: the cradle person doesn't understand why their kid can't get married in a Catholic Church since "we are basically the same" after listening to a presentation on why "we are basically the same."

Anastasios
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2005, 06:43:48 PM »

Paradosis,

I'm sure there's alot we dont understand about each other. For example, I could not possibly understand why someone would be a member of a Church that is not in Communion with World Orthodoxy and the Ancient Orthodox Patriarchates, but there's no reason to discuss it, as we'll never be able to convince, or probably even fully understand, each other.

Now,

I'm not an Oecumenist by any standard, I oppose a blanket +++¦+¦+++++++++¦+¦ on the issue of the Marriage of the Orthodox and Heterodox, and I think it would be prudent to rebaptize Converts to Orthodoxy (or at least offer the option), and I catch alot of flack from the true Oecumenists on these accounts. However, with that said, I have nothing against talking, and the 'agreements' that are signed are watered down documents that tell us nothing but what we already knew, and lets the people at the discussions feel like they've accomplished something. I've read enough of these so-called agreements to know that no one, on either side, ever gives an inch on doctrinal issues (sigining an agreement that says we believe God to be three -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é and one ++-à -â+¦+¦ with the lutherans is hardly watering down Orthodoxy). Concerning our acceptance of Latin and some Protestant baptisms, there was a time when we accepted Arian Baptisms, we didn't even bother to Chrismate them if I recall properly, just a confession of faith consonant with Nicea was all that was needed to admit them to the Church, at least now we're sticking to the Standard of only accepting the Baptisms of those who have a Trinitarian Theology. (I guess this would make St. Athanasios a super-oecumenist...lol Wink )

Also, you're being too hard on Metropolitan Sotirios, as all of us know, if a Bishop is not wearing their ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++, they're not serving a liturgical function, and accordingly, that is the standard that has been set forth for participation in oecumenical 'services.' Moreover, so long as he is not actually preforming the +¦+++¦-å++-ü+¦ and actually consecrating the Eucharist and distributing it (and to do this he would have to have his ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++ on), he's just distributing Bread. These oecumenists are simply trying to be kind and loving towards their fellow men, there has never been any pretenses of communion and never any capitulation on doctrine.

Concerning the Return of the Relics to Constantinople and the Service that Surrounded them, I watched it. No one was vested, except, I believe, for the Grand Archdeakon and his Latin Counterpart; and though there was an unprecedented level of con-celebration for the viewers of EWTN to observe (which is the Right of Constantinople and Rome, they initiated the Excommunications nearly a thousand years ago: if the rift between the Churches is ever to heal, it will have to start with the Oecumenical Patriarch and the Bishop of Rome), what should also be noted is that probably for the first time ever these vewers also saw a Patriarch given EQUAL LITURGICAL STANDING (though Constantinople only Canonically has Rights to Equal Administrative Standing and Equal Authority with Rome, as well as the Right of being the Highest See of Appeal...and Rights to being the Second Patriarchate Liturgically) with their Pope (great lengths were gone to, on both sides, to ensure that both Patriarchs were given equal liturgical standing), this seems to me to be a powerful blow against the Fifth Constitution of the Fourth Lateran Council which tried to subjugate all the other Patriarchates to Rome (not to mention the even more absurd claims of Vatican I).

Finally, concerning whether or not the WCC is an appropriate fourm to present Orthodoxy, why not? Why not use any fourm we have, St. Paul used the Aeropagus, a forum of Pagan Philosophers, to Proclaim the Gospel of Christ, surely the WCC is not considerably more heterodox than that? And what of all the Early Christian Apologists who Debated the Faith with the Pagans, accepting what they could from them, and rejecting the rest. This dialogue and exchange of Ideas with the Non-Orthodox is as old as the Church (where would Christian theology be today if it wasn't for Plato and Plotinus, and the latter was even an ANTI-Christian Apologist, but the influence of Neoplatonic thought on Christian Theology is a discussion for another day), we just have to ensure that we dont sacrifice our Faith and our Dogmas...which we have not and, I am confident, will not.
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2005, 09:59:45 PM »

Dear Greekischristian,

I am suprised by your rationalizations , but if your conscience isn't moved, then what else can I say? I will have to rewatch the video because if I recall correctly, Met Sotirios had an omophore over his mandyas.

Regarding your response to Justin, I don't think you have much to argue with him about. As a member of ROCOR he is in communion with the ancient patriarchates of Jerusalem and Serbia so he's on pretty firm ground from a "You have to be in communion with patriarchates" point of view.

Anastasios
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2005, 10:43:10 PM »

This "novice monk" Ilija complained about:

"(Something even worse than ecumenism), where he presents horrible testimony
about ecumenical prayers by Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Muslims at the
beginning of 1992 in Bosnia & Herzegovina."

Yes, God forbid that three warring parties get together and pray for peace amongst themselves! That's something that Jesus would be opposed to, for sure! All that inconvenient "love your enemies" stuff.

One can read Artemije's statements and easily see why Yugoslavia ripped itself to shreds in the last decade. I see no spirit of charity or forgiveness in what he said.
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2005, 11:07:25 PM »

Anastasios,

If he was wearing his ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++, it's a different issue, then he would be Formally acting in his Episcopal role; not simply on hiw own behalf but on the behalf of the Church. Though it's still wouldn't be a big enough scandal to call for canonical sanctions on the first offence, though mabey a private request for him to refrain from such activities in the future.

I guess I'm just not that easy to scandalize, if someone is doing something extremely damaging to the Church, yes I'll take note and object, but I'm not going to jump all over someone who has a Jewish doctor (dispite the canon against such a situation), or when a woman leaves a husband who abuses here (this too is against the canons of st. basil), or be scandalized when a bishop tries to maintain cordial relations with other Christian sects, even if they are heterodox.
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2005, 11:26:56 PM »

I know people who were told by Orthodox Priests that they could not become Orthodox because of the Balamand Agreement. They were Catholic, what need did they have to become Orthodox? Maybe people would have their "conscience moved" if they had to look someone like that in the eye and explain to them why they were rejected entrance into the one, true Church (eventually these people entered the Church through another jurisdiction). I know a person who was told that he should commune at an Anglican parish since the closest Orthodox parish was "too Protestant" for him (the parish was a former Evangelical Orthodox parish). Perhaps people would have their "conscience moved" if they had to look such a person in the eye and explain to them that, regardless of what might have been said in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, communing at an Anglican Church was just not a good thing to do. These are two examples, there are many others that I would think would wake people up. You know, many times it is the "ultra-traditionalists," the anti-ecumenists who are caricatured as being "internet Orthodox" and out of touch with "real life". On so many levels that is true. However, when it comes to ecumenism, those who are pro-ecumenist seem to be just as divorced from reality as the ultra-traditionalists who see ecumenist boogymen in everywhere. Real people are being denied the Truth (or fulness) of Orthodoxy in real life in real situations. But here people are defending the ecumenism that made such hateful things both possible and necessary. Sad
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2005, 11:28:14 PM »

Anastasios,

If he was wearing his ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++, it's a different issue, then he would be Formally acting in his Episcopal role; not simply on hiw own behalf but on the behalf of the Church. Though it's still wouldn't be a big enough scandal to call for canonical sanctions on the first offence, though mabey a private request for him to refrain from such activities in the future.

I guess I'm just not that easy to scandalize, if someone is doing something extremely damaging to the Church, yes I'll take note and object, but I'm not going to jump all over someone who has a Jewish doctor (dispite the canon against such a situation), or when a woman leaves a husband who abuses here (this too is against the canons of st. basil), or be scandalized when a bishop tries to maintain cordial relations with other Christian sects, even if they are heterodox.

By using the Jewish doctor canon example, I am inclined to believe that you don't have any training in the Orthodox canonical tradition--if I am wrong please let me know--because that oft-cited example is often misinterpreted by people reading it today. I would suggest you read the excellent book Spiritual Dimensions of the Holy Canons by Lewis Patsavos, Holy Cross, 2004, which will give you an understanding of the Orthodox canonical tradition. Once you have that firmly in place, you will be able to understand why some canons still must be enforced strictly while others such as the Jewish doctor example may be relaxed in our modern time, and why it is not all a case of relativism.

Best regards,

Anastasios
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2005, 11:33:54 PM »

I used to not be easily scandalized--read my earlier posts on this forum for instance--and to a certain extent I still don't flip out as much as my self-decribed traditionalist friends. But I do get distrubed by these kinds of things the more I see the difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy that exists. The more I worship in Orthodox churches, see the effect of Orthodoxy on people who live it, etc., I realize more and more the primacy of Orthodoxy and how it is a gift to all.  Anything that comes in the way of Orthodoxy's promotion in my mind must be stopped. And the statements of people like Nissiotis and others in ecumenical forums just plain bother me.  But thankfully, the Church of Greece is moving away from ecumenism, and Russia seems to be also, so perhaps in a few years this problem will not exist.

Anastasios
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2005, 11:47:58 PM »

I know people who were told by Orthodox Priests that they could not become Orthodox because of the Balamand Agreement. They were Catholic, what need did they have to become Orthodox? 

Whenever this is discussed we always have anecdotal evidence.  As a potential convert to Orthodoxy, I've spoken to numerous priests in all of the so-called "World Orthodox" jurisdictions and I have never once been told that as a Catholic, I didn't have to become Orthodox. 

This reminds me of the post here a few months ago about how an Antiochian priest was communing everyone.  I pressed for details and got "I know people" or "someone I know said so." 

These are scandalous charges.  Let's not say them unless we have some proof. 

If you do indeed know people told they didn't need to become Orthodox, I suggest you inform their hierarchs of their disobedience. 

As I wrote earlier, let's put this in proper perspective. 

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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2005, 10:37:16 AM »

greekischristian

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I'm sure there's alot we dont understand about each other. For example, I could not possibly understand why someone would be a member of a Church that is not in Communion with World Orthodoxy and the Ancient Orthodox Patriarchates, but there's no reason to discuss it, as we'll never be able to convince, or probably even fully understand, each other.

"Nice" jab.    Angry

You've undoubtedly opened a whole can of worms with that remark (one which if you were informed on the issues involved, you'd probably have rather left closed...summary: the EP and "the gang" basically don't come out looking too good.)

Quote
However, with that said, I have nothing against talking, and the 'agreements' that are signed are watered down documents that tell us nothing but what we already knew, and lets the people at the discussions feel like they've accomplished something.

I wish this were all that there was too it.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Anastasios has very correctly characterized the situation as one in which the ability of Orthodoxy to witness to the heterodox has been severely hampered.

"Talking" is no problem whatsoever.  If only actual discussion and debate were really going on, instead of an endemic avoiding of the issues which separate Orthodoxy and heterodoxy.  Some may call me a sour puss for putting the matter this way - after all, what's wrong with showing what we all "have in common"?

The problem with this, is that it's not this which is keeping people apart!  It's those pesky doctrinal issues which are doing it - the papacy, the filioque, etc... let alone the countless errors sheltered under the mantle of "Protestantism."

ROCOR in the early days of the WCC actually had observers present, for precisely the reasons you favour; namely, talking to the heterodox and giving a good witness of Orthodoxy.  Unfortunately it became pretty clear, with time, that the WCC and similar bodies were systematically doing more damage than they would ever do good, so they backed out.  If only other Orthodox were so prudent and politically unconcerned!  In fact, ROCOR (from what I understand) even sent witnesses (at the invitation of the Vatican) to Vatican Council II - so it's not for any lack of desire to engage the heterodox that bodies like ROCOR will not have anything to do with conventional "ecumenism."  Quite the contrary - it's because such movements don't work - they actually have the opposite effect (which sadly, is what I think some nominally Orthodox participants may very well want.)

Quote
I've read enough of these so-called agreements to know that no one, on either side, ever gives an inch on doctrinal issues (sigining an agreement that says we believe God to be three -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é and one ++-à -â+¦+¦ with the lutherans is hardly watering down Orthodoxy).

This is where I believe you may be ill-informed - you believe that nothing has been signed by any "higher ups" which could credibly be interpreted as a defection, or at least pastorally ill advised.

Some examples...

- In the United States, representatives from SCOBA signed a joint agreement with reps. of the American Roman Catholic Church (RCC) to the effect that Orthodoxy recognizes RC Baptism in an unqualified way, and even pooh-poohs the oft appealed to practice in Orthodox Churches of "re-"baptizing certain classes of converts.  The problem with such a document should be obvious - at best, I think what could generally be said is that Orthodoxy takes an agnostic view of just what "goes on" in heterodox sacraments, a view founded upon the tension between the generosity/mercy of God (toward wayward children who may not in fact know better) and the strict ecclessiological dogma of "no salvation outside of the Church" (which in Orthodoxy comes with the idea of unauthorized sacraments being "graceless".)   In terms of "recognition", traditionally what could best be said is that if the "form" of the heterodox mystery is acceptable/"valid", the Church can receive such persons in a way in which it is understood that She is legitimizing them and filling in whatever might be lacking (ex. confessional Prots received via Chrismation, RC's via confession/Holy Communion, RC clergy via confession/vesting, etc.)

- The Antiochian Patriarchate has troubled many souls, by it's activities with the Non-Chalcedonians.  Basically, they've tacitly established official intercommunion without definitively resolving the doctrinal issues which separated both parties in the first place; and more importantly, without the consent of other Orthodox Churches (who their relationship with these Non-Chalcedonians indirectly affects.)  For example, agreements already exist where in the case of mixed congregations on special occassions, those with the major presence will have their own clergy officiate for everyone.  There also have been official "canonical transfers" of clergy from the Antiochians to the Non-Chalcedonians (I know of at least one case of this in Europe.)  Thus, while normative "full communion" does not exist, something very short of it certainly does.

There are many more examples like this which one could get into.

You'll have to believe me when I say I am not negatively disposed to heterodox Christians.  Quite the contrary - I'd go so far as to say that my view of some of them (particularly the more traditional Roman Catholics and Non-Chalcedonians) is in the spirit of the more "positive" appraisals of old-school Russian Orthodoxy; but I don't think they're being well served by activities like the above, nor are Orthodox Christians themselves who can be negatively influenced by these activities.

Quote
Also, you're being too hard on Metropolitan Sotirios, as all of us know, if a Bishop is not wearing their ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++, they're not serving a liturgical function, and accordingly, that is the standard that has been set forth for participation in oecumenical 'services.' Moreover, so long as he is not actually preforming the +¦+++¦-å++-ü+¦ and actually consecrating the Eucharist and distributing it (and to do this he would have to have his ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++ on), he's just distributing Bread. These oecumenists are simply trying to be kind and loving towards their fellow men, there has never been any pretenses of communion and never any capitulation on doctrine.

Wow...I'm a little confused by you.  You say you're against certain "ecumenical gestures", yet you don't see a problem with this?  To cite a lack of certain vestments strikes me as an incredibly pharisaical interpretation of the Church's canons against concelebrating with schismatics/heretics.

Quote
Finally, concerning whether or not the WCC is an appropriate fourm to present Orthodoxy, why not? Why not use any fourm we have, St. Paul used the Aeropagus, a forum of Pagan Philosophers, to Proclaim the Gospel of Christ, surely the WCC is not considerably more heterodox than that?

The difference being though, St.Paul was unambiguously calling these people to Christ and the Orthodox Church.  The problem isn't talking to the "unwashed"; hardly.  Christ ate with prostitutes and other public sinners - but He also told them to "go and sin no more".  The Orthodox ecumenists by their words and deeds have not made it clear at all that there is any pressing need for the heterodox (not even couched in the most gentle words) to examine where they've gone wrong and work towards a return to their genuinely Christian roots.

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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2005, 10:42:13 AM »

Paradosis,

Whether or not these events of which you speak have acutally occured, I have my doubts, but even if they did it is not an indictment against the Oecumenical Movement, but against a few ignorant priests. No one that I know of in the Oecumenical Dialogue would prohibit a Catholic from becomming Orthodox (nor would any Catholic involved in these discussions prohibit an Orthodox person from becomming Catholic), this is an understood and unspoken issue at these dialogues, both sides have the same stance, that they will accept converts. Concerning the other example about Encouraging one to Take Communion at an Anglican Church, though I wouldn't agree, I know where they are comming from. Years ago, when the Orthodox Church was not as large as it is in America, our Bishops Encouraged the Faithful to attend Anglican Masses in towns without Orthodox Churches (primarially, so they would not end up going to the Latin Parishes, which were more interested in sheep-stealing than the Anglican Parishes, plus, we had great relations with the anglicans until the 1920's, and ok relations (excepting political issues, at least) until the 1950's). This Idea has not been totally abandoned, though it is not as common on account of how wide spread the Orthodox Church has become, and the problems with the Anglicans. This Combined with the priest having a clearly poor view of the Local Orthodox Parish (there are some Orthodox Parishes that I just wouldn't attend, I'd just stay home instead if I had no other Choice (e.g. the so-called 'Western Rite' Parishes the Antiochians maintain, and perhaps some of the more protestantized parishs)), it's understandable why the suggestion was made. It's not so much a result of the Oecumenical Movement, as a result of a combination of the Priest's opinion of a particular parish, and Traditional policy of the Orthodox Church in this Country.
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2005, 11:15:00 AM »

Anastasios,

I'm not complete ignorant on the Canonical Tradition of the Church, infact in a year or two I hope to be in Thessaloniki, to study the subject at the Doctoral Level. I'm quite familiar with Dr. Patsavos' Book, and have not only read it, but have discussed it with him at considerable length; and on this issue, at least, I can tell you that the good Doctor would certainly side with me (though he'll get on me for being an 'arch-conservative' when I argue that converts from Protestantism should have the opportunity to be 're-'baptized, if they desire it...it's amazing how easily I can go from 'arch-conservative' to 'arch-liberal' depending on the fourm). But in any case, the point of my statement was to demonstrate that the Church does not, nor should she, always apply the +¦+¦-ü+¦+¦+¦ of the Canons; the Canons are the Temporal Manifestations of Eternal Truths, and their applications change as Societies and Cultures change, but they never become obsolete. The Canon about a Jewish doctor came about in a time when the Church was troubled by the proselytism of the Jews, as this is no longer as pressing of an issue, and having a Jewish doctor is not regarded as detrimental to the spiritual life of the Faithful, the canon is no longer enforced in its original severity (but perhaps it could apply to certain Evangelical Protestant doctors if they come from congregations with an especially heavy emphasis on proselytism???...something to think about). So also the Canons about associating with Heretics have to be re-evaluated for the Change in Society and Culture. When these Canons were propagated, the Church was young, and the Heresies were even younger off-shoots, in many cases the Original Heresiarchs still lived and guided their fallen followers. Thus the Church observed that by Cutting them Off from the Community, and letting the Heresy wither on the vine, was a good, and often successful, way of dealing with the problem, and hopefully forcing the heretics' return to the Church. The Situations are different today, With the Latins and Monophysites, they come from Traditions that are as old as ours (though there has been considerable modification in the former), and even the Protestant Churches have been established for nearly half a millenium, they will not simply 'wither on the vine.' Thus we should engage them in discussion, and hold out a brotherly hand in love, hoping to lead them to the fulllness of the Christian truth...no one expects great results overnight, but, for example, a thousand year old Schism with Rome will not heal overnight, especially with the history we have between us; but if we maintain loving and brotherly relations, hopefully one day we can reconcile our differences, and heal the ancient schism, same with the Monophysites. Concerning the Protestants, the dialogue isn't as serious because the differences are so much greater, but at one point they came close to re-uniting the CoE to Orthodoxy, and perhaps they can still have a smaller Success in regard to the remaining Anglo-Catholics.

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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2005, 11:45:15 AM »

Augustine,

First off, my 'jab' came in response to Paradosis' comment: 'That anyone could defend the type of ecumenism practiced by the WCC is to me incomprehensible. Thus, since I can't comprehend it, I can't discuss it with you. All I can do is post what I believe to be the obvious truth, and if you think I'm a sectarian nutball then so be it.' But with that said, I've often been accused of being an apologist for the Oecumenical Throne (usually in more emotional terms like accusing me to be a 'papist' or 'crypto-papist' or...you get the point), and I would be happy to discuss the various Rights and Privileges that are Due to the Most Holy and Oecumenical Throne of Constantinople and New Rome...but not in this thread, if we with to discuss that, we should start another thread dedicated to the subject.

Concerning those 'pesky doctrinal issues' we are making progress, especially with the Latins and the Monophysites. With the Former, they have removed the Filioque from all Rites except the Latin Rite, and there is pressue to even possibly remove it from the Latin Rite, all as a result of oecumeical dialogue, and in regard to the doctrine of Papacy, I made the Statement earlier about the Joint Service for the Returning of the Relics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian to Constantinople, the Pope and Patriarch of Constantinople were given Equal Liturgical Standing, this seems to me to be a big step in the right Direction. In regard to the Monophysites, we've signed a Joint agreement that was essentially a propagation of the Sixth Oecumenical Council, where the Monophysites specifically Stated that Christ had Two Energies and Two Wills, that are 'without confusion, without change, without division, without separation,' that is a HUGE step in the Right direction and a great indicator that the Differences between the Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian Churches may only be Political and Semantic (not that Politics and Semantics are not important, but at least we're making progress towards settling the theological disputes).

Concerning the accepting of Baptism, though I have great sympathies for the views of St. Cyprian and the Council of Carthage over which he presided, I also acknowledge that the Church has never tried to limit the Influence of the Holy Spirit, we can say for certain that we have the Fullness of the Truth, but we cannot say that others are in 'utter darkness' for we cannot limit the work of God. And the Church has long acknowledged this in the Reception of Converts, as is manifested in the Canon 7 of the Second Oecumenical Council and Canons 1 and, if I recall properly, 92 of St. Basil. As the canons, Specifically of St. Basil, say the Church has always had Her Ideal, but has not always been her Practice, as Pastoral Concerns often outweigh the Ideal, thus the Church has long reserved the Right the Accept or Reject the Baptism/Chrismation of various heretical sects, and still enjoys that Ancient Right today.

Concerning the relations between Antioch and the Monophysites, I agree (and many Monophysties with me) that things are Moving too fast between our two Churches, we should take a step back, talk more, and try to come to some solutions to our common differences, political and cultural issues being just as important as Theological ones at this Point in the dialogue. But that doesnt mean that we should break off all relations, as the Anti-Oecumenists here would have us do, but to actually increase dialogue, but be a bit slower in making Changes....people, unfortunately, are too impatient anymore.
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2005, 01:05:42 PM »

Dear Greekischristian,

I can agree with your second post where you demonstrate a through understanding of the canonical tradition, and am glad you profitted from Dr Patsavos's book as I did. If you had posted what you posted as the first post, I would not have disagreed with you at all. But when you wrote:

Quote
I guess I'm just not that easy to scandalize, if someone is doing something extremely damaging to the Church, yes I'll take note and object, but I'm not going to jump all over someone who has a Jewish doctor (dispite the canon against such a situation), or when a woman leaves a husband who abuses here (this too is against the canons of st. basil), or be scandalized when a bishop tries to maintain cordial relations with other Christian sects, even if they are heterodox.

you sounded just like the typical internet blowhard who has no idea how canons are interpreted. Thank you for clarifying what you meant Smiley

Anastasios
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2005, 01:09:04 PM »

PS Greekischristian:

Up until about a year ago I faced the same dillema as you: online people thought I was a "flaming liberal" and in real life people thought I was approaching a Matthewite in my beliefs Wink Well not really but they did think I am pretty conservative. I have taken a more conservative approach as of late but am not comfortable with many of the facets of "traditionalism."

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« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2005, 01:20:54 PM »

One can read Artemije's statements and easily see why Yugoslavia ripped itself to shreds in the last decade. I see no spirit of charity or forgiveness in what he said.

Everyone had to know, I wouldn't let this statement slide "as is".  Evil

Eugenio,

     This comment has no place on this thread.  It is entirely political and has NO value to this discussion.  If you would like to discuss "fault" and lay "blame" for what transpired in the former Yugoslavia, I will gladly take up that discussion with you.

       Furthermore, I find it tragic to read that you equate Bishop Artemije's statements with what "ripped" Yugoslavia apart.  I assume that means "us" Serbs are to blame. 

       Maybe you missed the memo Patriarch Pavle sent out to every Serb... I have a secret copy, but I can never reveal its directives... :flame:

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« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2005, 02:17:29 PM »

I know a person who was told that he should commune at an Anglican parish since the closest Orthodox parish was "too Protestant" for him (the parish was a former Evangelical Orthodox parish).

Paradosis,
When I why moved away from home and my Antiochian parish (former EOC) around 10 yrs ago, a parishoner (who is now a reader) told me to find an Anglican parish if I had to.  Looking back, I give him charity for ignorance at the time, but I agree it is rather disturbing at face value.
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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2005, 03:41:31 PM »

greekischristian,

Let me say first off that I've enjoyed your posts immensely.  I guess one could describe me as one who's still new to the Faith (4 years this Holy Saturday) and waffling between the more "traditionalist" and "ecumenical" views (if I can use those terms without making a caracature of either) regarding calendar, reception of converts and ecumenical activities.  So I can hardly be seen as consistent on this issue!  That having been said, I have a question regarding a comment you made:

 
This Combined with the priest having a clearly poor view of the Local Orthodox Parish (there are some Orthodox Parishes that I just wouldn't attend, I'd just stay home instead if I had no other Choice (e.g. the so-called 'Western Rite' Parishes the Antiochians maintain, and perhaps some of the more protestantized parishs))...

Why the willingness to accept something close to concelebration with heterodox Christians but unwillingness to fellowship with Western-Rite parishes?  I understand the point re: the bishop's not being vested in the WCC setting, but still.  The WRO have been brought into the Church by Orthodox bishops to use a rite that had been approved by a Russian Synod three times over (iirc), and still they are frowned upon.  Why is that?
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« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2005, 04:44:18 PM »

Nothing happened to Metropolitan Sotirios of Canada when, vested in mandyas, he processed into a WCC liturgy in Vancouver carrying the Gospel, and then helped distribute the WCC-consecrated "Eucharist" to the partipants....

Holy cow, he did that?  Yikes. 

Speaking of which, Anastasios, I am quite disturbed by the things that Bishop Vsevolod (Majdansky) of Scopelos did in the '90's concerning an attempt to construct intercommunion between Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox.  Was he ever disciplined for such outrageaous suggestions?  As far as I know, he has only been covertly encouraged, but maybe I have missed something?

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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2005, 04:52:38 PM »

I don't disagree with some of the criticism regarding Orthodox participation in the WCC, but isn't it true that the Orthodox have really been a thorn in the side of the WCC over the past few years? It seems to me like they have really put their foot down and that this is really irrritating the liberal majority in the WCC. The Orthodox have really insisted on re-writing or augmenting various WCC documents. This is apparently because they have an interesting gun held to the head of the WCC. This "gun" is the statis of the Orthodox as a body claiming genuine apostolic succession. Without the Orthodox, the WCC is only a pan-protestant group. Of course, some more traditionally-minded Anglicans and Lutherans would object to this, but this is the gun that the Orthodox hold, nevertheless. Does anyone have any comments regarding this?

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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2005, 05:09:22 PM »

Bob,

Yes, M. Sotiorios did in fact do that.

No, Vsevolod was not publicly chastised which would have been appropriate for a public action.  If he had ordained a Greek person for his diocese, the Ecumenical Patriarch would have been more upset LOL

I agree about the Orthodox becoming a thorn in the side of the WCC. That provoked one Protestant participant to say "the Orthodox need to realize that we are not all going to become Orthodox" as a result of those incidents. That makes me wonder what effect we're really having?  But again, I am for continued observer status (such as the RC Church has).  Also, I think participation in the Faith and Order conference part of the WCC--where papers are presented and people comment, but where they don't sign joint agreements--is good too.

Anastasios
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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2005, 05:21:34 PM »

No, Vsevolod was not publicly chastised which would have been appropriate for a public action. If he had ordained a Greek person for his diocese, the Ecumenical Patriarch would have been more upset LOL

Oh, boy. LOL. ( Sigh.) Thanks for the update, Anastasios. Smiley

Bob
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2005, 06:09:45 PM »

Pedro,

I cant speak for everyone who has negative reactions to the Western Rite parishes, but to me they seem to be the result of people who really dont want to Convert to Orthodoxy, but neither are they happy with Protestantism or Catholicism, the former for obvious reasons of liberalization, and the latter because they'd actually make them conform to some standard and perhaps objections to the Issues that are . If you want to Convert to Orthodoxy, great, but leave your religious baggage that you had before at the door.

On top of that, IF one were to use a Western Liturgy, they could at least use something like the Old Sarum Rite, and not a variation on the BCP (I know some, but not all, of them use a (mutilated) variation of the Sarum Rite, but the BCP is absolutely horrendus (theologically as well as liturgically) for an Orthodox Service, even with the Modifications).

But liturgics aside, my primary concern is that I think people who insist on these rites (in general, though i'm sure there are exceptions) are not fully embracing our Orthodox Traditions, and we are more than just a set of Doctrines, we have Cultures and the People who have practiced these cultures for generations, much of the life that makes us Orthodox is to be found in these cultural expressions, which are now, saddly, all but absent in the West. The fact of the Matter is that there is no Western Orthodox Patriarchate, Rome has left, and these Liturgies, which belong to Rome, left with them. We should focus on the Ancient Liturgical and Cultural gems that we have available to us, that live in the Church and have continuously since their conception: rather than going on a historian's expedition to restore a dead and forgotten past, all the while forgetting the living tradition we have. (on this note, I have the same objection to Liturgists who go into the Past digging up dead Eastern Services, and then trying to Celebrate them with Actual Bishops, Priests, and Deakons...these liturgies and hours may be good for academic research, but they're no longer part of our Tradition, and we should not pretend they are)...we'll I have rambled, but I hope you get my point...if we wish to discuss this further, perhaps we should do it on another thread.
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« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2005, 08:50:45 PM »

Also, you're being too hard on Metropolitan Sotirios, as all of us know, if a Bishop is not wearing their ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++, they're not serving a liturgical function, and accordingly, that is the standard that has been set forth for participation in oecumenical 'services.' Moreover, so long as he is not actually preforming the +¦+++¦-å++-ü+¦ and actually consecrating the Eucharist and distributing it (and to do this he would have to have his ++++++-å++-ü+¦++++ on), he's just distributing Bread. These oecumenists are simply trying to be kind and loving towards their fellow men, there has never been any pretenses of communion and never any capitulation on doctrine.

I'm sorry, but I don't get this at all.  If the account is true, it doesn't matter if he was wearing an omophorion or a clerical suit: he gave people "the Eucharist" as an Orthodox bishop.  Is that not at least a passive recognition of that "Eucharist"? 

(Aside: I thought a bishop needed both the omophorion and an epitrachelion, or at least the latter, as it is the priestly vestment, in order to preside at divine services...I've never seen a Byzantine bishop preside without both.)   

This overly generous defence, which, without meaning offence to greekischristian, is a load of BS in my opinion, is all the more incomprehensible to me in light of:   

Our discussions with the Protestants has not caused us to remove our Ikons from our Churches, our dialogue with Rome has not led us to insert the Filioque into the Creed or use unleavened bread in the Eucharist, and our conversations with the Monophysites have not lead us to Denounce the Holy Fathers of Chalcedon and Deny the Two Natures of Christ.

Where are the Monophysites?  I haven't been able to track them down, and I'd like to chat with them myself. 

With respect, I think you're being nice to Metropolitan Sotirios because he's "one of you".  That's not necessary.  Truth need not fear. 
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« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2005, 09:00:17 PM »

I would ask you GreekisChristian to avoid the term Monophysite. It's actually against our board rules to use that term since we are a pan Eastern and Oriental Orthodox board. It'd be fine if you say Oriental Orthodox, Non-Chalcedonian, Anti-Chalcedonian, or "Non-Byzantine Eastern Churches."

Thanks for your cooperation Smiley

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« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2005, 02:40:57 AM »

If it is against the board's rules, I'll refrain from using the term 'Monophysite' (but for future reference, what is the standing of the term 'miaphysite,' as most non-Chalcedonians woudl not be offended by that term?).

However, if you will forgive me, I wish to make a rather obvious observation: that it has been I, over the last couple of days,who has been accused of being a radical oecumenist, and yet have not once objected to the use of a potentially 'politically-incorrect' term. Yet, my use of a term that has been labeled 'politically-incorrect' has been brought to my attention...Perhaps I'm not as avid an Oecumenist as some here think, or Perhaps many here are more Oecumenist than they would like to admit? Most likely, a little of both.

This brings me to an interesting question: 'Is one standard held up for the Non-Chalcedonians and another for the Catholics?' If so, why? and who are the ones holding to these two different standards simultaneously? I would doubt that it is people in the Old World, I know that Mt. Athos, at least, holds equally hostile views towards both the Catholics and the Non-Chalcedonians. Is this something primarially found in the west amongst the 'anti-oecumenist' converts to Orthodoxy and others living in Western Society? If so, is the opposition really towards Oecumenism, or is it just an unconscience hatred of the West? Perhaps we're getting to the real issue here...just a thought.
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« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2005, 05:34:20 AM »

This brings me to an interesting question: 'Is one standard held up for the Non-Chalcedonians and another for the Catholics?' If so, why? and who are the ones holding to these two different standards simultaneously? I would doubt that it is people in the Old World, I know that Mt. Athos, at least, holds equally hostile views towards both the Catholics and the Non-Chalcedonians. Is this something primarially found in the west amongst the 'anti-oecumenist' converts to Orthodoxy and others living in Western Society? If so, is the opposition really towards Oecumenism, or is it just an unconscience hatred of the West? Perhaps we're getting to the real issue here...just a thought.

Well, greekischristian (one of my favorite writers, Fr. Demetrios J. Constantelos would love that screen-name!), you have hit upon the Achilles Heel of this forum with your first two questions above.

Demetri
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« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2005, 02:50:53 PM »

I'm not sure I understand the questions.  Who is advocating "Catholic bashing"?  I haven't read this thread carefully, but I don't recall seeing anyone calling RC's anything other than RC's.  "Monophysite" is something we (the Church) object to because we don't believe in that teaching (in fact, we condemn it), and it is used often enough as a perjorative.  For non-polemical purposes, we've restricted its use, and recommend other options (e.g., OO, Non-Chalcedonian, Miaphysite).  Similarly, we don't allow the use of "Uniate" for Eastern rite Catholics. 

Re: Old World people and the Athonites.  Based on my limited knowledge and exposure, I think Old World EO in general are more "anti-Catholic" than "anti-OO", simply because they don't have to worry as much about the latter.  The Athonites are more equal opportunity about non-EO, but I think they are more "anti-OO" than "anti-Catholic". 
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« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2005, 03:27:42 PM »

I think what my schoolmate greekischristian is asking is if the "anti-Ecumenist" attitude by some of the members of this board is largely because of some sort of dislike or hatred for the west more than it is founded on theological disagrements and arguments. More often than not, I hear (not necessarily here) arguments based on strict interpretations of the canons and/or arguments that our church is falling into heresy through the dialogues. I find both of these views quite interesting.

On the one hand, those who advocate strict interpretation of the canons regarding our interaction with heterodox obviously don't understand the system of how the canons are applied or even viewed within the Church. That's why the preeminent Canonical Scholar in this country, Dr. Patsavos, doesn't even like using the term "Canon-Law" - because this term is a western idea that some have superimposed on our Canonical Tradition (the preferred term). The Canons are not black-and-white laws to be applied and judged upon, but are guidelines that are there to assist people in their journey to salvation. That's why the Orthodox Hierarchs and Father-Confessors are given the latitude to modify their application within a specific context and set of guidelines - the principles of straight application, oikonomia, and pastoral strictness.

On the other hand, the ones who argue that we fall into heresy don't obviously know what kind of people are involved with the dialogues. I've met some of these individuals, and they wouldn't give up an inch of Orthodox dogma even to save their own life. What their great attempt to do in the context is to find out what language these people are using and then to tell them what we believe using the same language. This way, if they understand and believe we can come together. And if they understand and don't believe - they have no excuse when judgement comes along.  (BTW: this is the same approach that is being used in EO-OO dialogues - there are many who believe that the differences are largely semantic - so by figuring out the language being used in each other's theology, we can indeed find out if this is the case, or if there are deeper doctrinal differences being masked by the language).

Just remember - the same standards we use to judge the Orthodoxy of others will be applied to us by our Savior at the time of His Judgement - and we will not be able to argue our way out of that one.
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« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2005, 05:15:06 PM »

Quote
On the one hand, those who advocate strict interpretation of the canons regarding our interaction with heterodox obviously don't understand the system of how the canons are applied or even viewed within the Church.

While the typical internet "true orthodox" person is a layman (and his trusty copy of the rudder) that is part of a synod of dubious canoncity, that is hardly the case for the traditionalist movement in general.

Keep in mind that by that statement you are condemning many patriarchs and bishops!  Consider Patriarchs Damainos, Diodoros, Eirinaios of Jerusalem supported the Old Calendar (anti- ecumenist) movements in Greece and Romania and have spoken against the ecumenical movement.  Also Metr. Chrysostomos of Florina was quite well respected within the State Church before he join the GOC of Greece.  Also all of the Athonite monasteries are opposed to their Patriarch's involvement in the ecumenical movement (I am not sure if some of thier epistles of protest are online, but they are worth reading) - I think it would be very dangerous to apply your condemnation of tradtionalists to the such holy men as the Athonite fathers.  I am also curious if you believe that the Georgian Hierarchy that pulled out of the WCC "obviously doesn't understand the system of how the canons are applied or even viewed within the Church."
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« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2005, 05:28:21 PM »

While it is true that these esteemed hierarchs have opposed the ecumenical movement, they have not founded their argument only on canonical grounds, but rather attempt to use the canons to bolster their argument.  And within their regions, the Canonical Tradition has a different life - a life that is molded to their particular situation.

You should also note that while the Patriarchs of Jerusalem have supported the "traditionalist" movement, and while Mount Athos has opposed ecumenism, they have also maintained communion with the Patriarchs that have been in Ecumenical dialogues because they see that their Orthodoxy has not been compromised because of it.
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« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2005, 05:40:31 PM »

If it is against the board's rules, I'll refrain from using the term 'Monophysite' (but for future reference, what is the standing of the term 'miaphysite,' as most non-Chalcedonians woudl not be offended by that term?).

That term is fine.

Quote
However, if you will forgive me, I wish to make a rather obvious observation: that it has been I, over the last couple of days,who has been accused of being a radical oecumenist, and yet have not once objected to the use of a potentially 'politically-incorrect' term. Yet, my use of a term that has been labeled 'politically-incorrect' has been brought to my attention...Perhaps I'm not as avid an Oecumenist as some here think, or Perhaps many here are more Oecumenist than they would like to admit? Most likely, a little of both.

I have my personal beliefs and then I am part of a wider group of administrators and moderators who hold their own views. As such on a personal level I hold my personal beliefs, but in my official capacity I enforce the decisions of the group. Also, being polite does not equal being ecumenist.

Quote
This brings me to an interesting question: 'Is one standard held up for the Non-Chalcedonians and another for the Catholics?' If so, why? and who are the ones holding to these two different standards simultaneously? I would doubt that it is people in the Old World, I know that Mt. Athos, at least, holds equally hostile views towards both the Catholics and the Non-Chalcedonians. Is this something primarially found in the west amongst the 'anti-oecumenist' converts to Orthodoxy and others living in Western Society? If so, is the opposition really towards Oecumenism, or is it just an unconscience hatred of the West? Perhaps we're getting to the real issue here...just a thought.

This is not a joint Catholic-Orthodox board, so we do not have the same "anti-polemic" rule in force. If we had created a board specifically for Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, the rules would be different. Some over the months since we implemented this rule have tried to read things into our motives but they are really quite simple: three guys got together one day and made a board. Two of them identify with the Eastern Orthodox Church, one identifies with the Oriental Orthodox Church. In both of these churches, people hold both views that both churches are the same, and others hold views in both churches that the other church is heretical. Since there is no clearly-defined point of view among the current Orthodox hierarchy, we allow a range of opinion to be expressed freely. Before the rules were more strictly enforced, beligerant people who could not accept that many hierarchs disagree with them sought to impose their will on the forum, which led to less freedom of expression. We squashed that and the offenders left--and have not been missed. Interesting that when we implemented those rules a year ago, we were called liberal and heterodox. So be it. I know where I stand, and so do the other OC.net team members.

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« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2005, 05:43:02 PM »



Well, greekischristian (one of my favorite writers, Fr. Demetrios J. Constantelos would love that screen-name!), you have hit upon the Achilles Heel of this forum with your first two questions above.

Demetri

That is hardly an Achilles' Heel at all. Some Eastern Orthodox hierarchs have signed joint agreements recognizing the Non-Chalcedonians (such as Antioch) and vice versa, so we allow the "two familes" language to be expressed, along side the "they are not the same" theory, as an official policy. Individual members of the administration and moderator team have a wider spectrum of views.

Like it or not, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches are a lot closer to each other than Catholicism, and this is a board for Eastern and Oriental Orthodox discussion primarily, not a joint venture between Catholics and Orthodox.

Anastasios
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« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2005, 06:00:02 PM »

I think what my schoolmate greekischristian is asking is if the "anti-Ecumenist" attitude by some of the members of this board is largely because of some sort of dislike or hatred for the west more than it is founded on theological disagrements and arguments. More often than not, I hear (not necessarily here) arguments based on strict interpretations of the canons and/or arguments that our church is falling into heresy through the dialogues. I find both of these views quite interesting.

I don't think that so-called traditionalism has much to do with anti-westernism. ROCOR has a western rite; His Emminence Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory opposed it. I find many converts to the SCOBA variety of Orthodoxy ditching their western images, Western names, Western hymns, and anything Western, while I find many traditional Orthodox having icons of the Holy Trinity in western style, keeping their names at baptism provided there is a saint already--even if it means resurrecting a Western saint pre-schism--etc etc. I don't see a strict correlation.

Quote
On the one hand, those who advocate strict interpretation of the canons regarding our interaction with heterodox obviously don't understand the system of how the canons are applied or even viewed within the Church.

Sure they do. Do you think that Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, who has five academic degrees, has not aware of this? Or Fr George Metallinos? Or Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem of blessed memory? Let's bring this down to a local level. I have read Dr Patsavos's book, I understand his arguments. I know how canons are interpreted (in fact I assumed that greekischristian didn't based on his one flippant remark, but gratefully he showed me to be mistaken). Yet I disagree with the idea that you can say that Protestants are not heretics. Oh I know full well the argument: heretics are those who deny the Trinity. Heretics per se, and heretics by extension (St Theodore the Studite). I am aware of all these distinctions. But St Nikodemos says Latins are heretics and the 8th ecumenical council of St Sophia, Blachernae, the 9th ecumenical council (the Hesychast Synods), the 1483 council, the Councils in Russia, etc., all condemn as heretical beliefs held by Protestants and Roman Catholics today. The 1755 Oros returned the practice of the Church of Constantinople to akreveia. Those councils allowed certain classes of heretics--when their heresy was still fresh--to be received by economia. But 1000 years have passed; we don't need to excercise economia any longer. Back to the topic at hand, you have to make a coherent argument that Protestants are NOT heretics in a canonical sense before you can say that Apostolic 46 is not to be applied strictly, etc., and from what I have learned at seminary, I am not convinced.

Quote
That's why the preeminent Canonical Scholar in this country, Dr. Patsavos, doesn't even like using the term "Canon-Law" - because this term is a western idea that some have superimposed on our Canonical Tradition (the preferred term). The Canons are not black-and-white laws to be applied and judged upon, but are guidelines that are there to assist people in their journey to salvation.

Of course you see people making this mistake all the time.

Quote
That's why the Orthodox Hierarchs and Father-Confessors are given the latitude to modify their application within a specific context and set of guidelines - the principles of straight application, oikonomia, and pastoral strictness.

No disagreements here.

Quote
On the other hand, the ones who argue that we fall into heresy don't obviously know what kind of people are involved with the dialogues. I've met some of these individuals, and they wouldn't give up an inch of Orthodox dogma even to save their own life.

I have met many of the preeminent ecumenists as well and it doesn't change my mind. I think many of them are sincere, and some are helpful to Orthodoxy, but others are not, and some--like Nissiotis--are/were the source of scandal. Also, some are sincerely wrong!

Quote
What their great attempt to do in the context is to find out what language these people are using and then to tell them what we believe using the same language. This way, if they understand and believe we can come together. And if they understand and don't believe - they have no excuse when judgement comes along.

On paper this is how it works and if it were always like this I would be fine with it--remember in an earlier post I said that my opinion is Orthodox should continue to participate in the WCC as observers, and as full participants in the Faith and Order conference. I used to think this way until I started actually taking a class on ecumenism, reading the stuff for myself, and talking to people. Your chief ecumenical officer of the GOA, Tony [sorry don't remember his last name], came to our class and said that we have to accept the validity of the truth claims of Hindus and look for the part of their spirituality that can be redeemed. That is very unpatristic.


Quote
Just remember - the same standards we use to judge the Orthodoxy of others will be applied to us by our Savior at the time of His Judgement - and we will not be able to argue our way out of that one.

If I compromise Orthodoxy I will be judged. And if I am uncharitable I will be judged. But it would be uncharitable for me to fool the heterodox.

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« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2005, 06:02:04 PM »

While it is true that these esteemed hierarchs have opposed the ecumenical movement, they have not founded their argument only on canonical grounds, but rather attempt to use the canons to bolster their argument. And within their regions, the Canonical Tradition has a different life - a life that is molded to their particular situation.

You should also note that while the Patriarchs of Jerusalem have supported the "traditionalist" movement, and while Mount Athos has opposed ecumenism, they have also maintained communion with the Patriarchs that have been in Ecumenical dialogues because they see that their Orthodoxy has not been compromised because of it.

Or, they were afraid of what would happen to them if they pushed too far--witness the attempts of Patriarch Bartholemew to "excommunicate" Patriarch Diodoros in 1993 (as if one patriarch could actually excommunicate another!) and his eviction of the ROCOR monks from Mt Athos in 1992, and his attempts to be rid of Esphigmenou.

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« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2005, 06:08:52 PM »

Actually the Holy Mountain has not remained in communion with the Patriarchate entirely. The actions of Patriarchs Meletios and Athenagoras were so uncanonical that none of the Athonites commorated either of them (and their relationship with the current Patriarch isn't exactly peaches and cream).

Also I believe if the Other Greek/Arab Patriarchates truly had autocephaly from the EP, Patriarch Christoforos of Alexandria would have been even more outspoken about the new calendar and ecumenism.

And it is not so black and white as saying "they never broke communion." Patriarch Damainos concelebrated with Hieromonks from the Romanian Old Calendarists and gave them their chrism - thus while never breaking communion with the Romanian Patriarchate they did support those that did (and unlike the Greeks, the Romanian Old Calendarists have never denied the state church has grace, nor have there been any internal schisms). Patriarch Diodoros visited Metr. Cyprian's monastery in Greece and praised his resistance and holding fast to traditional Orthodoxy. Yet Metr. Cyprian is considered to be a schismatic by both the State Church of Greece and Ecumenical Patriarchate.  When Metr. Chrysostomos of Florina was the last remaining bishop in the GOC, Saint Nikolai of Ohrid (of the Serbian Church) offered to consecrate anoher bishop for the old calendarist Greeks. If such saintly ones viewed the traditionalist Orthodox as non - schismatics, I personally would not be quick to dismiss them as simply ones that broke communion with their mother church.

I would also like to point out that even many bishops in the State Church of Greece are opposed to the Ecumenical movement such of Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos (and interestingly enough his arguments rarely, if ever, draw from the canons) and Metropolitan Avgoustinos of Flrorina. So again I would like to know, do you believe that the above name biships "obviously don't understand the system of how the canons are applied or even viewed within the Church" or was you charactarization of those opposed to ecumenism incorrect?  
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« Reply #43 on: March 01, 2005, 06:09:27 PM »

In their attempts to reach out to the heterodox, many Orthodox ecumenists commit fratricide--and not only against their Old Calendarist brothers. For example, I once was at a lecture where an Orthodox ecumenist said it was sacriligeous for an Orthodox priest to marry someone converting to Orthodoxy who had already been married in a Protestant Church--yet the GOA routinely does that for people wanting to be godparents. This person also said the Orthodox wouldn't marry two Jews after their being baptized because they were "already married", ignoring the fact that baptism is the first sacrament, and there is no sacrament that can be received before it. This person basically attacked the Greek practice. The terms "stupid", "ignorant", "ghetto-mentality", and "blasphemous" were also thrown around in reference to other traditional views. Does this constitute love?

Of course there are freakish traditionalists who are hate-filled. That is why I don't refer to myself as "Anastasios: Traditionalist Orthodox" (no offense to my friend Nektarios; he has a different meaning in mind when he labels himself thusly). I have many traditional beliefs but I don't categorize myself, and I don't see myself as a partisan of any movement. Some of my greatest friends in "real life" are super-liberals but I love them. I think in "real life" we would all be talking about this over some Starbucks and enjoying our time. But on the internet, things are inevitably reduced to argument.

At any rate, I don't take any of this personally and hope you don't either, especially my two seminarian brothers.

Anastasios
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« Reply #44 on: March 01, 2005, 06:16:49 PM »

Hey I also have to plug one of my canon law professors: Archbishop Peter of New York (OCA): I think HE is the preeminent canonist in the USA Smiley Although he would disagree with a lot of what I wrote! Smiley
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