THE THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUES AND THEIR FAILURE
By Protopresbyter Fr. George D. Metallinos
THE PRE-20TH CENTURY THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUES AND THEIR LEGACY
Faithful to Her identity and Her uninterrupted poemantic praxis towards the heretics and schismatics who left Her bosom, Orthodoxy had embarked on a series of theological dialogues with them1, immediately after the Schism of 1054 and through to the end of the 19th century, catering to their return to the in-Christ Truth. Her dialogues with Western Christianity (initially with Papism, and from the 16th century with the various branches of Protestantism) left an important legacy, which Orthodoxy cannot overlook even in Her current ecumenical relations, in order to preserve Her historical continuity.
Besides, “dialogue” is something that belongs to the essence of Christianity; it was introduced and sanctified by The Creator Himself in the life of mankind. «Come, let us discuss» says God (Isaiah1:18) to His creature. Moreover, our worship is a continuous discussion between Creator and creature, for the salvation of man.
After the time of the Schism (1054), Orthodox fidelity to the apostolic-patristic tradition is expressed positively, in its Orthodox dogmatic-symbolic texts and based on them, the heretical Western delusions are rebutted, with an undisturbed continuance and agreement. Orthodox self-awareness had thus remained vigorous, according to which, «our Orthodox Eastern and Apostolic Church not only does not embrace a heretical dogma, but repels even any suspicions thereof»2.
Also confessed bluntly is that «the Luther-Calvin and Papist dogmas are not consistent with our Orthodox faith, but rather oppose it and are far removed from the truth »3.
It therefore becomes obvious that the only acceptable basis for the reacceptance of any seceded ones whatsoever is the unfalsified identity of the upright Faith and its unreserved acceptance by the heterodox. This by no means comprises an arrogant stance by the Orthodox, inasmuch as the return and the repentance of the heterodox means that they are re-connecting with apostolic-patristic Orthodoxy, which they had deserted. The statement by Saint Mark of Ephesus (the Noble) has preserved its age-old validity, that: «in the divine dogmas there is no place whatsoever for providence or condescension»4.
However, these criteria became unactuated or disappeared, around the end of the 19th century, with the ecclesiastic Leadership tied down by the demands of international politics. Moreover, it was their political goals5 that had marginalized the in-Christ, salvific Truth, which were the main reason for the failure of the dialogues up until the Sacking of the City (1453). The “Reply to the Constantinople Synod of 1895 addressed to Pope Leo XIII” can be regarded as the turning point of this change in stance. According to this response, union can be achieved, “by expectoration of the heretical… innovations and return to the ancient status of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ»6. Consequently, every unification endeavour that does not move within the bounds of the orthodox-patristic tradition but instead aspires «to the passing enjoyment of sin» (Hebr.11:25) is condemned to fail.
«ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT AND ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE»
a) The official announcements
“Ecumenical Movement”7 was the name given from the beginning of the 20th century for the awareness of «the chasm and the differences» between the different Christian groups, especially in the space of the West, and the organizing of a course of friendly relations and contacts between them – the objective being their eventual re-unification8. More specifically, this Movement aspires – «by means of mutual theological, specialized office, as well as by means of meetings between the delegates of the various Churches and Christian groups – to the clarification of the dogmatic and other differences between them, in a spirit of mutual understanding» – in order to seek out the suitable means for an effective rapprochement between themselves, «thus smoothing out in advance the path to the union»9. These official or unofficial meetings were named «Ecumenical Dialogue», which, according to the honest statement by one of the pioneers of Ecumenism, the former Archibishop of America, Iakovos († 1996), «aspired to the unification or the rapprochement of the Churches and thereafter, of religions in general»10.
According to the official statement by the Ecumenical Patriarchate a few years ago: «the Orthodox Church, being fully aware of Her identity and Her responsibility, chose the constructive theological dialogue with the other Christian Churches and confessions… both for the trustworthy projection of Orthodoxy to the rest of the Christian world, but also for the re-connecting of the heterodox to the common theological tradition of the period of the Ecumenical Synods, in the obvious hope for their return to the Faith delivered by the Apostles»11. Furthermore, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had already stated that the purpose of its participation in the Ecumenical Movement was: «to familiarize and impart to the heterodox the wealth of the Faith, its (Orthodoxy’s) worship and its constitution, and its religious –along with its ascetic- experience, and also to be informed about their (the heterodox) new methods and their notions of ecclesiastic lifa and their activities»12. Especially stressed by our Ecumenists is the danger of «isolation» – something that is not reflected –as far as I know- in our pre-20th century ecclesiastic records. Moreover, it is an argument that relates to the impermanence of the present age and its menial objectives, in total antithesis to the words of our Christ to the “Twelve”, when «many of His disciples» abandoned Him, not having accepted His entire Truth. «Do you Too want to go away?» (John 6:66-67).
«Isolation» exists, wherever Christ is absent, as Orthodoxy. Besides, official reassurance is given by the Ecumenical Centre, that «no concerns regarding a supposed betrayal of the Orthodox faith or a weakening of the Orthodox conscience can be expressed, through a sincere dialogue with the other Christian traditions» 13.
However, the first concerns had appeared, even from the start. Fearing the relativization of the Faith, the dogmatologist professor John Karmiris – a collaborator “in principle” with the ecumenical endeavour – felt the need to underline that «the participation of the Orthodox … and their collaboration… has the meaning of a community of love and not a community per dogmatic teaching and Mysteries»14. Analogous criticism was also exercised by the renowned Professor Panayiotis Trembelas, who noted that: «We are assuredly facing the danger of a clime and atmosphere of indifference regarding the distinctions and the differences of the dogma being created, in the midst of which, the mightier and more numerous and the more composed and organized will calmly and imperceptibly absorb the fewer and the more feebly organized»15.
However, a revelatory and especially dynamic critique on the Ecumenical Movement overall was expressed by the blessed Fr. Justin (Popovitch): «Ecumenism –he notes– is a common name for pseudo-Christians, for the pseudo-churches of Western Europe. Inside it can be found the heart of all the European Humanisms, with Papism at the head. All of these pseudo-Christians, all of the pseudo-churches, are nothing more than one heresy side-by-side with another heresy. Their common evangelical name is pan-heresy»16. And he asks himself: «Was it really necessary for the Orthodox Church – that immaculate God-human body and organism of the Godman Christ – to be so monstrously humiliated, that Her representative Theologians, even Hierarchs, would seek organic participation and inclusion in the W.C.C.? Alas, it was an unheard of treason»17.
But the sacred Community of the Holy Mountain, when writing «On the Dialogue of Orthodox and Papists18 as early as 1967, had expressed its concerns, by expressing serious reservations as regards the possibility of “common prayers”, “participations in each others’ liturgical and worshipping synaxes and other acts, which might give the impression that our Orthodox Church accepts the Roman Catholics as a complete (whole) Church and the Pope as a canonical Bishop of Rome»19. A true prophecy, of the happenings of our time!
Furthermore, it has been rightly supported, that «Orthodoxy has no need to hasten towards any dialogue, when they have remained so tenacious and unbudging on the issues of infallibility, primacy, Unia, and the rest of their cacodoxies.
The precipitating of the dialogue under these conditions is equivalent to the spiritual suicide of Orthodoxy. Out of many indications, the impression is given that the Roman Catholics are preparing for a Uniate-style union. I wonder, are the Orthodox who are hastening to the dialogue aware of this?»20.And the confessional conclusion of the Hagiorite Fathers: «The Holy Mountain proclaims that it will not be accepting finished events; by the Grace of God it will remain faithful, as will the Orthodox people of the Lord, to the Faith of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, and out of love for the heterodox as well, who will essentially be helped, when the Orthodox – with their consistent stance – make evident the magnitude of their spiritual illness and how they can be healed»21.
b) The covert Plans
However, secret fermentations also exist in the Dialogue, which inspire even more concern about the sincerity of the official statements, when they are falsified by various methodical plans. It would have been very interesting, if we knew what had transpired on the 5th of January 1964 in Jerusalem, between Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) and Patriarch Athenagoras (1948-1972) when they met – according to Patriarch Athenagoras’ statement: «at 9 o’clock at night, at the Pope’s residence». Athenagoras’ description is particularly revealing: «The two of us went hand-in-hand to his room, and the two of us held a secret talk. What did we say? Who knows what two souls say, when they speak! […] we made a common program, with absolute parity, not with any difference…» 22.
Each one of us can give his own interpretation to those words; however, the course of events confirms the reference to «plans».
The entire pursuant course of the Dialogue confirms the contracting of agreements and programming, in Constantinople’s and Rome’s course23. Besides, in another statement of his, former Primate of America, Iakovos, admits that «the W.C.C. is moving towards the realization of its objective, through the mingling of civilizations, religions and Peoples»24. The purpose of the founding of the W.C.C. was, consequently, none other than the fulfilment of the New Age plans and of Pan-religion – something that is now obvious in our day and age. Prominent Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne such as Germanos (Strenopoulos) of Thyatira do not hesitate to provocatively admit what the true objectives of the inter-Christian dialogue are, by making a lengthy reference to the Decree of 1920, which he had composed together with other professors of the School of Halke: «It is imperative – he said – that, apart from unity (in the narrow sense of the word), the Churches must realize that there is also another, more comprehensive meaning to unity, according to which, all who admit the fundamental teaching of God’s revelation in Christ and who accept Him as Saviour and Lord, must regard each other as members of the same body, and not as strangers». «Without entering into an examination of dogmatic differences that divide the Churches», added the Primate of Thyateira, «we must cultivate precisely that idea of a broader unity…»25. What is obvious here is the theory of a «broader Church», which will demand the marginalization of the faith and the soteriological character of the dogma, as opposed to the apostolic and patristic tradition of all the ages.
But, whatever is happening in the space of the inter-Christian dialogue also applies in our inter-faith policy. And here, the “line” has been given long since, and is determinant. In his above address to the Orthodox Priests of emigrant Hellenism, Patriarch Athenagoras had expressed his conviction that «with the unification of the Churches, we are also walking towards a panhumanity»26.
It was the Vatican’s peremptory desire that the dialogue be conducted, not with theological criteria, but in the clime of a «dialogue of love», which «had to be continued and extended»27. Athenagoras had faithfully followed the desire of Pope Paul VI, and the theological dialogue or dialogue on the faith was subjugated to a dialogue of love – that is, of good relations, sentimentalisms and verbalisms of love. It was in this form of dialogue that the Patriarch also founded the «common Chalice» – the sacramental intercommunion – which, according to his public admission, was already a status quo in 197128. In 1986 the inter-faith meetings and common prayers29 began officially in Assisi of Italy, as synaxes of confessed union – with the Pope as the centre: a spiritual leader, and in practice «Planetary Leader No.2» of the entire world, as he is characterized internationally.
There is, consequently, a glaring coincidence with the dialogues of the Byzantine period30, which were used at the time for serving political expediencies; as such, the targeted union becomes a means, not an objective. It has quite correctly been observed that «the inter-faith dialogues appear to fully relate – in aspect and in practice – with the manner in which syndicalists, politicians and ideologies converse»31. But, according to Fr. Peter Heers, a Dr. of Theology, the method followed by Ecumenism has the following steps: Coexistence-Dialogue-Infiltration-Subversion. «Infiltration» relates to «the alteration of the Orthodox conscience», which is substituted by the «heterodox» one32. Per the «On Ecumenism» Decree of Vatican II, «the communion of all the individual Churches with the Church of Rome is a necessary prerequisite for unification»33. But, according to Athanasius the Great, «it is necessary to first excise every disagreement regarding the faith, and then attend to the examination of matters»34.
There is also, however, the official and public methodical planning of the Dialogue. With the 1920 Decree35, the Ecumenical Patriarchate provided the Charter containing the course of the Orthodox side within the Ecumenical Movement36.
Equally important is the question of who decides about the course of the Dialogue. As noted by Fr. Sarandis Sarandos: «For an important matter such as the Dialogue with the heretic papists, not once has there convened the quorum of universal Bishops, even if with just a few -at least- presbyters and deacons»37. This was a fair observation, because there are Hierarchs of ours who have been protesting about the absence of a proper update.
The ever-memorable professor Constantine Mouratides had accurately diagnosed – already in 1980 – the true objectives of the dialogue: «The supposedly theological dialogue is a papist plot for the disorientation and deception of the Orthodox flock, by subjugating as large a portion of it as possible to the heretic pope of Rome»38.
Furthermore, the disadvantages and the snares of the Ecumenical Dialogue have been very accurately described by the Very Reverend Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: «Ecumenism adopts and legitimizes all the heresies as “Churches”, thus offending the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It expounds, teaches and imposes a new dogma relating to “Church” and a new ecclesiology, according to which, no individual Church has the right to claim exclusively for itself the character of a catholic (universal) and true Church. Each one of them is a segment, a part, but not the whole Church; all of them together constitute “the Church”. But with this method, it is demolishing the borders between truth and delusion, Orthodoxy and heresy, and is applying itself excellently to the sport of demolishing Orthodoxy»39.
FAILURE AND «SUCCESS»!
a) A fruition painful for Orthodoxy
Every endeavour is judged by its fruits. This also applies to the “Ecumenical Dialogue” as a whole. So, what will its fruits be, especially in regard to Orthodoxy and the sacred matter of Christian unity? Because only thus can the success or the failure of every form of Ecumenical Dialogue be evaluated (see Matth. 7:20). The matter, however, of success or failure presupposes a reference to the sides involved in the dialogue, and to their objectives, because success in one case can function as failure in another. Given, therefore, that two magnitudes are involved in the ecumenical dialogue – Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy – will this be the gnomon that the question of ‘where the Ecumenical Dialogue has led to until now’ will initially be answered, so that one can speak of success or failure?
It has been expressed by eminent lips, that the Dialogue is conducted «in accordance with the canonical tradition and the perennial ecclesiastic praxis, on the relations of the Orthodox Church with the heterodox»40. But is that how things are? Unfortunately no! Each dialogue belongs to the core of Orthodoxy’s poemantic opus and has a missionary character. It is a call to an in-Christ (that is, in the upright faith) unity. If the purpose is not «the unity of faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit», but is deviated towards compromises of any kind, it cannot be characterized as an «in-the-truth Dialogue».
When the «outreach of love» towards the others is in practice the subjugation of Orthodoxy to the multi-faceted and polyonymous delusion, with salvation in jeopardy – not only for the interlocutors with Orthodoxy (as they perceive it in our persons), but also for us – then we cannot claim that our dialogue «is being conducted in accordance with the perennial ecclesiastical praxis». .
Reversely, instead of the Orthodox (that is, our ecclesiastic) Faith being the immovable point where the Orthodox should meet with Heterodoxy, it is becoming the «sought after» subject in the dialogue with them. But, it has been proven historically, that in the post-Schism dialogues, «the criterion of patristic tradition comprised the starting point or even the final objective in every theological discussion»41.
1) In today’s dialogues, not a word is spoken about the return of the Heterodox to the One and indivisible Church, which Orthodoxy has been perpetuating in the persons of our Saints. Hence, our current dialogues are leading us, de facto, to the awarding of the heretical delusion (since 1920) with the characterization of the various western heretical groups as “Churches of Christ” (1920 Decree of the Ecumenical Patriarchate).
2) The loudly touted claim that the dialogue –especially with the Latin “Church”– is being conducted «on equal terms» is actually discredited in practice, while simultaneously placing in doubt the truth of patristic tradition, by acknowledging proven heresies as ecclesiastical entities. Thus, the claim «on equal terms» becomes a pretext in order to cover our plight when our interlocutors are talking from a position of power. Besides, this phrase is also indicative of a weakness on our part, as well as of our doubts as to the truth of our tradition43.
3) In the Dialogue, our leaders have been acting as though the union has already taken place, judging by the terminology being used. Is it ever possible, for example, for «neo-Arianism» (Papism, that is) -according to the blessed Fr. Justin Popovic- to be referred to as a «sister and complete Church»? On this point, the former Pope was far more honest, when in 2007 he had denied Protestantism the character of “Church”… albeit having characterized Orthodoxy as «deficient» because it did not accept his primacy! In Balamand (1993), Papism was recognized the way it is, as a «sister Church», while in Porto Allegre (2005) Protestant ecclesiology was accepted, with no official reaction by any local hierarchy. Quite rightly, then, the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos posed the question: Given that «the Church is ONE, according to the Creed and the self-awareness of the Orthodox Church, then how can there be talk of other Christian Churches? It is obvious (he continues) that those other churches are heterodox ones»44.
4) Recognition of ecclesiasticity in heterodox groups signifies that the dialogue is perceived as a «mutual recognition» that approaches the boundaries of a Uniatising stance towards them. The inwardly directed – and «for popular consumption» – placatory reassurances will not save apostasy; only the unwavering patristic stance – which only then is truly a loving stance, also towards the Heterodox.
5) A sad symptom of the dialogue to this day is the broad use (on our part) of the terms «divided Church» and «extended Church» – for facilitating the course towards unification – but detrimental to the Truth. In other words, what is taking place is a dialogue of an academic character/nature, and not one between Orthodoxy, who is fully conscious of Her identity, and Heterodoxy, who is fully aware of its lapse. Thus, every sense of seriousness is lost, to say the least.
6) Such is the character of arbitrary actions; as was, for example, the «lifting of the anathemas» of 1054, but without Rome’s return to the pre-Schism (1054) Faith. The latter however had gone even further, by mentioning in the Latin text the «lifting of excommunication» (1009). Thereafter, the Vatican II (1962-65) imposed «sacramental intercommunion», thus promoting the unification in practice. But Patriarch Athenagoras had also recommended this, to the Orthodox clergy of Europe and the USA in 197245. According to the bold statement of the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, «the acceptance of Vatican II Council on the part of Orthodox Theologians is a deviation from the Orthodox faith and the Theology of the Fathers».
7) Even if the recognition of heterodox baptism «after the completion of the theological dialogue»46 is supported, the awarding of «baptismal Theology» becomes a fact. In practice, situations are imposed that cannot later be doubted, because they generate behaviours that refute Orthodoxy.
8) We have reached the point of making improper use of the «two lungs» theory. And yes, the Ecumenists may be invoking Fr. G. Florovsky and his reference to the pre-Schism situation; however, in the circle of our Ecumenists, its use has been extended, through to post-Schism Christianity also. But, since Papism is regarded as a canonical “Church”, the use of the above expression in today’s situation is obvious.
9) We are silently accepting the papist machinations that aspire to the acceleration of the unification endeavour. Included in the devices of Papism is also the important and fundamental matter of the «Filioque». Its inclusion in the Creed may have been sidestepped by resorting to the «Athanasian Creed» of the 6th – 7th century (Pope John Paul II’s choice47), however, the fact remains that the sacred Symbol of Faith by the 2nd Ecumenical Synod (381) was tampered with.
10) Our Ecumenists resort to every kind of machination for the recognition and the imposition of Papal primacy, given that there is not the slightest interest on the part of the Vatican to sincerely abolish it, seeing that it is its most powerful foothold and the expression of papal absolutism. Papism’s stubborn insistence on its «Primacy of power», which comprises its identity and continues to prevail in practice (in spite of what our Ecumenists claim) within the Latin “Church”, is tragically obvious in the post-Vatican II authored “Catechesis”, with its trustee former Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) 48.
Instead of the Orthodox side lovingly indicating that Papism’s obsession with the primacy – even within its own bosom – is an obsession with a heretical delusion and that it annuls every sense of dialogue with Orthodoxy, it strives with various comical manoeuvres to accept the idea of the primacy – but not as the «primacy of honour» – in Her own body also, in order to facilitate the recognition of the papal primacy. The Pope’s primacy is, after all, inextricably tied to his infallibility49, constituting whatever the term «papal institution» entails, making it the biggest obstacle in the in-truth meeting between Papism and (patristic) Orthodoxy.
11) In the official and unofficial language of our Ecumenists, the Pope is regarded as a canonical bishop, bearer of true priesthood, as if we are in the pre-Schism period. This notion prevailed, after the lifting of the anathemas (1965), but without the lifting of the delusion that had provoked them. So we wonder: where is the difference, between the terminology used for the Pope of Rome: «His Holiness and His Beatitude the Pope» (as chanted in the Orthodox “Pheme” – the Bishops’ Anthem) and the respective one used for the Orthodox Patriarchs of the East?
12) Analogous are the results of the Inter-faith Dialogue so far50; «Common» points are likewise sought in there, but in essence, the Christian truth is being relativized even more51, with the participation of Orthodox Hierarchs in pan-religious common prayers, or with the presence of other faiths in Orthodox liturgical synaxes.
Consequently, the Dialogues are systematically leading to a “surrender to the lowest bidder” with regard to the Orthodox faith – with the support of the monstrosity called «Meta-Patristic Theology» – so that the Ecumenical Dialogue has been rendered an ecclesiological heresy and syncretism.
13) And what can one say of the baleful retreat, at the Vatican’s insistence for Unia52 to also participate in the Dialogue, when it had already been condemned in Vienna and Freising (1990) by the Orthodox AND Roman Catholic sub-committee, but was triumphantly accepted at Balamand53? The protests of the Orthodox led to a (temporary) interruption of the Dialogue in 2000 (Baltimore), only, however, to later resume with Unia present.
The declaration by the Orthodox side that «the Orthodox… are upset by the very existence itself of Unia, which takes them back to grievous times»54, was unfortunately a pointless diplomatic manoeuvre, which only confirms our complete surrender to the dispositions of the Vatican. The appearance alone of the Uniates’ external (Orthodox!) attire in papal synods or liturgical synaxes creates confusion in the faithful of both sides, trapping the insufficiently informed.
14) It is unmistakably obvious by now, that with the ecumenistic hysteria, we are heading (if we haven’t already reached) towards a federal union with western heretical panspermia, robbed of all possibility to influence our interlocutors, while reversely, situations of secularization and de-Christianization are being experienced. We have actually reached the point where the argument that the Orthodox Church can no longer convene an Ecumenical Synod without the participation of the Westerners55 is being projected.
It is therefore justified to ask: How many heretics converted to Orthodoxy thanks to dialogues with them56 and not through missions in the heterodox world undertaken by humble Orthodox Priests and Elders? On the contrary, persistence in the delusion is encouraged, because of the stance of the Orthodox Ecumenistic Leadership.
15) In its every dimension and version, Ecumenism has become a true Babylonian captivity, for the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as all for the local leaderships of the Orthodox Church. The only thing achieved by the Ecumenical DIalogue is the validation of a de-Christianized Western «Christianity» in its entirety.
We shall conclude these ascertainments with the words of the Very Reverend Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, who very astutely summarizes the sorry state of the Ecumenical Dialogue:
«Ecumenism projects the modern, endless ecumenistic theological dialogues, which are governed by a lack of Orthodox confession, a lack of sincerity by the heterodox, an overstressing of love and an understressing of the truth, the practice of not discussing the things that divide, instead, only those that unite; the blunting of the Orthodox criteria, the mutual recognition of ecclesiasticity, of apostolic succession, priesthood, Grace, sacraments, dialogue on equal terms, the pardoning, the acquittal and the awarding of the Trojan Horse of Papism (the accursed and demonic Unia), participation in the pan-Protestant, so-called «World Council of Churches» (or rather, of heresies); the endorsement of mutual, anti-Orthodox announcements, statements and texts (for example Balamand, Porto Allegre, Ravenna e.a.); the common prayers and sacramental intercommunion».
And what can one say about the unacceptable ecumenistic understanding of the words of the Lord «…that all may be one…» (John 17:11, 21), which confirms the complete lack of any association whatsoever with patristic spirituality – and not only among the Heterodox 57.
Such are the sad results that Orthodoxy’s participation in the «Ecumenical Dialogue» has arrived at. The argument, that with our participation, help is being offered to the Heterodox to find their way back to the Truth, has proved itself to be unsubstantial one. It could have been regarded as valid, if the opposite hadn’t occurred, i.e., Orthodoxy entering into a mélange with every kind of delusion, and the spread of confusion in the conscience of the Orthodox flock.
b) Assessment of Ecumenical relations
After all of the above, how can Ecumenism be assessed? Is it possible for the Orthodox side to say that it was conducted successfully and that it had positive results? A successful Dialogue would have meant progress in an in-Truth meeting. And yet, the polyonymous heresy became accepted as a «Church», and not only at a personal level, but also by the local ecclesiastic Hierarchies and Synods.
This is expressed chiefly by the terminology used in the relative documents. With a series of scandalous actions, in a cadre of impermissible tolerance, the consciences of the faithful are being traumatized by the constant disregard of the sacred Canons and the Patristic Tradition.
The relativization of the Orthodox Faith is constantly increasing, while its uniqueness and exclusivity in the sacred matter of salvation is being overlooked. With the anti-patristic language being used, the anti-canonical common prayers58, the exchanged visits and contacts of a secular and political character by both sides, constantly increase the dulling of the differences in the Faith and the leveling of Orthodoxy, while this anti-Orthodox stance by our own people is characterized as an expression of love towards NON-Orthodoxy.
Is it therefore possible, for all of the above to be considered a success for the Orthodoxy of Christ and of the Saints, when Her permanent objective through the ages is the return of the Heterodox-Heretics and those of other faiths to the Flock of Christ, and Her steadfast eschatological objective the word of our Christ: «…and there will be ONE flock and ONE shepherd» (John 10:16), i.e., Christ? Of course not! Ecumenism and its Dialogues – in their current form and course – are a failure of Orthodoxy in Her patristic understanding. The «Orthodoxy» of our Ecumenists has proved itself a mockery and a rejection of the Orthodoxy of our Saints and Her Poemantics; even more so, given that with the Dialogues, not only was unity not promoted, but rather, our differences with the heterodox became more apparent – whom we are nevertheless acknowledging as members of Christ’s Church!
But there is also another aspect to the Dialogue. If, according to the Apostolic-Patristic Faith, the ongoing «Ecumenical Dialogue» as a whole is an uncontested failure, it is also (or at least is imagined) a «success», albeit a deadly one for our Ecumenists and the Heterodox, because it is promoting their aspirations and their objectives, while simultaneously aiding the plans of the New Age and its instruments – both overt and covert.
Pursuant to the stance of the Uniatizing pro-unionists, both before and after the Schism, a matter of spiritual death is being ministered to and promoted faithfully. Today also, as in the past, an enfeebled and heretizing «Orthodoxy» is being drawn and dragged by secular powers that are working for the detriment of man and his salvation, resulting in the elimination of Orthodoxy within a pan-religious, syncretistic mash.
One thing is for sure: The Patristic Orthodox, humble and bloodied by the attacks they have endured, especially in the electronic media, are being vindicated more and more, by having the honour of following in the footsteps of the Confessors and the Martyrs of our Faith – and of the important Leaders of our anti-heretic struggle such as Saints Photios the Great, Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus (“the Noble”) – but also of the entire chorus of unanimously believing souls throughout History.
Indeed, «…there is laid up (for them) the crown of righteousness» (2 Tim.4:8), which the Leaders of Ecumenism have been working towards, by recently announcing the already finalized decision for the… quashing (!!!) of the patristic Orthodox who resist and react to the pseudo-union: «The Orthodox Church regards as condemnable every form of disruption of the Church’s unity by individuals or groups claiming that they are conforming with, or supposedly defending, genuine Orthodoxy»59.
We are inclined to believe that the Pan-Orthodox Synod is in danger of being used as a means by the Ecumenists, for a triumphant awarding of the «Ecumenical Dialogue» and of all its aforementioned juvenilities. Let the «guardian of the Orthodox Faith» stand vigilant – that is, the ecclesiastic body of Clergy and Laity and our monastic world – who have an age-old experience on how to confront those powers, which the Apostle Paul had already warned us about, in the Acts of the Apostles (20:29-30).
Consequently, if the course of the Unifying Dialogue is not revised – which would be equivalent to a massive miracle – and the downhill momentum that was initiated during the Patriarchy of Athenagoras (after 1964) is not intercepted, then the continuation of Ecumenical relations will be even more baleful for the Orthodox.
Translation by A.N.
1. See “Unifying attempts after the Schism and today’s dialogue of Orthodoxy with the Latin church” by Fr. G.Metallinos, in: «Minutes of the Theological Meeting» Primacy, Synodicity and Unity of the Church, Piraeus 2011, p.73-106. Idem: “From Patricity to Post-Patricity – The self-confuting of the Orthodox Leadership” in the “Combattant…..” by Fr. G.Metallinos, Thessaloinki 2012, p.39-61. See also the important (as fundamental) introduction by the memorable Fr. J.Romanides,The Theologian in the service of the Church, during the Ecumenical Dialogue, Athens 1981.
2. Responses…to Oathless Anglicans, in “The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church” by J.Karmiris, vol.Α, Athens 1960-2, p. 791.
3. John N. Karmiris, “The Dogmatic and Symbolic …”, p. 793.
4. Ibid., p. 787.
5. See “Unifying attempts…….” By Fr. G.Metallinos, ibid., p.84 etc.
6. John N. Karmiris, ibid., p.942.
7. Appeared officially in the bosom of Protestantism and the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate began in 1920. See Georges Tarard, “Geschichte de Ökumenischen Bewegung”, Mainz 1964. Protopresbyter George Tsetsis: “The contribution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the founding of the W.C.C.”, Katerini 1988. Fr. G.D.Metallinos: “Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ecumenism”, in his book “On the paths of Romanity”, Athens 2008, p.119-140.
8. See “History of the Ecumenical Patriarchate” by Basil Th. Stavrides, Athens 1967, p.144.
9. Article by Basil Moustakis in the Religious and Moral Encyclopedia, 4 (1964), vs. 1175.
10. Interview with journalist Ms. Mary Pini, in magazine NEMESIS, November 1999.
11. Response by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Memorandum pertaining to the participation of the Orthodox Church in the W.C.C., by the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain, in the magazine THEODROMIA, Jan-March 2009 issue, p.71-72.
12. John N. Karmiris , ibid., p.962.
13. Response by the Ecumenical Patriarchate …….. ibid., p.65.
14. John N. Karmiris , ibid., p.956.
15. P.N.Trembelas: “Our post-Vatican Synod obligations” (reprint from magazine ECCLESIA), Athens 1967, p.58.
16. Blessed Justin Popovic: “The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism”, Thessaloniki 1974, p.224. The much-touted argument by the Ecumenists that the dialogues are conducted “so that we don’t end up in isolation” is debunked, the way it was said by the words of our Lord to His Disciples when His audience had deserted Him: “Do you also want to go?” (John 6:53-67). The delusion of heresy isolates man, whereas Orthodoxy, as the incarnate all-Truth, fills everything with Light!
18. Magazine KOINONIA 1980, Issue No.3, p.125-128.
22. Fr. G.D.Metallinos: ”The Dialogues without the disguise” in his book “Testimonies and Spiritual and Social topics”, Thessaloniki 2010, p.63.
23. Ibid., p.65.
24. Interview in the Newspaper «ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ», 22.8.1972.
25. “From Patricity to Post-Patricity…..” by Fr. G.D. Metallinos, ibid., p.57.
26. Fr. G.D.Metallinos: ”The Dialogues without…, ibid., p.69/70.
27. EPISKEPSIS, No.221/1 Dec. 1979, p.14/70.
28. Fr. G.D.Metallinos: ”The Dialogues without …….” Ibid.,p.63. See article titled “They are concealing the union with the Papists”, PARAKATATHEKE magazine, No. 105/2016. Cmp.Athanasios K. Sakarellos: “The Union of the Churches has been made”, Athens 2007 (especially p.63 etc.)
29. Ibid., p.71 etc.
30. “Unifying attempts after the Schism ……..” by Fr. G.Metallinos, ibid., p.84 etc.
31. Fr. G.D.Metallinos: ”The Dialogues without ……..”, ibid., p.72.
32. Protopresbyter Fr. Peter Heers: “The demonic method of Ecumenism” (Coexistence, Dialogue, Infiltration, Subversion), THEODROMIA magazine 2015/3, p.465-469.
33. Another expression of papist universal primacy.
34. Besides, it is already a known fact that in the ecumenist synods and the dialogues on the faith the Truth is not sought in the holy Fathers, but instead is confessed. Otherwise it is a dialogue of ideologies. (Saint Athanasius the Great, To Monks Everywhere…, ΡΟ 25, 736 Β)
35. “The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church” by J.Karmiris, vol. Β’, p.957-960. (To the Churches of Christ everywhere). According to professor Christos Yannaras, the Encyclical «either substitutes or suppresses the truth of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and the existential mystery of salvation, for the sake of a sociable and pietistic notion of an ideological Christianity». Seeing how in it, «there is not even an hint of the truth» (Truth and unity of the Church, Athens 1997, p.196 etc.).
36. G.D.Metallinos: “Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ecumenism”, in his book “On the paths of Romanity”, Athens 2008, p.133.
37. Archimandrite Sarandis Sarandos: “Ecumenical Steps from Ravenna to Elounda”, THEODROMIA 2009/1, p.95.
38. The Truth about the “Theological” Dialogue between Orthodoxy and Papism, KOINONIA 1980/ Issue 2, p.148.39. Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, “Convening a Local Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece for the examination and condemnation of the pan-heresy of Ecumenism”, THEODROMIA 2013/2, p.219.
40. “Response by the Ecumenical Patriarchate……” ibid., p.70.
41. Ecclesiastic History, Fr. Vlassios Feidas, Vol. Β’, Athens 1994, p.610.
42. “Unifying attempts after the Schism ……..” by Fr. G.Metallinos, ibid., p.90.
43. See Pan.Simatis: “The Patristic Stance in the theological dialogues and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Trikala, Athens 2008, p.30.
44. ORTHODOX TYPOS newspaper, Issue 16, Jan. 2015.
45. Fr. G.D.Metallinos: ”The Dialogues without ……..”, ibid., p.64.
46. “Response by the Ecumenical Patriarchate……” ibid., p.71.
47. Hieromonk Nilus of Vatopedion: “Papism and Ecumenism” in the Minutes of the Inter-Orthodox Scientific Conventionm re “Ecumenism-Creation-Expectations-Disprovals”, vol.Β’, Thessaloniki 2008, p.153.
48. Catechesis of the Catholic Church, Vatican. Cactos Publications, Athens 1996. See Fr.G.Metallinos “The Dialogue on the Papal Primacy” in his book, «Combattant…», Thessaloniki 2012, p.149-156.
49. According to the blessed Justin Popovic «the dogma regarding the Pope’s infallibility… is nothing more than the rebirth of idolatry and polytheism». And according to John Karmiris, «the two dogmas comprising the papal institution – Primacy and Infallibility – are unacceptable to the Orthodox Catholic Church» as is «the chief cause of the pitiful division of the Eastern and the Western Church» (Section 5 Dogmatics. Orthodox Ecclesiology, Athens 1973, p.621 and 645). According to the Vatican II Synod (1962-65), the Pope is infallible, «not only when he officially opining as Pope, but whenever he opines» [Fr. George, Abbott of the Holy Monastery of Hossios Grigorios, “Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism” (Papism), Holy Mountain 2016].
50. See Protopresbyter Fr. Theodore Zisis: “Interfaith Meetings. Denial of the Gospel and an insult to the Holy Martyrs”, Thessaloniki 2003.
51. Characteristic is the statement by the person responsible for those dialogues (!) – the Very Reverend Metropolitan of Switzerland, Damascenos: «This approach, he writes, makes us suddenly acquire an awareness of the fact that –deep down- a church or a mosque… aspire to the same spiritual awarding of man».
52. Fr.Theodore Zisis: “Unia – Recent developments”, Thessaloniki 1994; Fr. G.Metallinos: “Unia: the Face and the Disguise” in the Section: “Unia yesterday and today”, Athens 1992, p.1149 and completed 1993 2.
53. See Fr. John Romanides: Orthodox and Vaticanian Agreement on Uniatism (Balamand, Lebanon, June 1993, in: KAIROS. Honorary Tome to Professor Emeritus Damianos Ath. Doikos, Thessaloniki 1995 (= Meeting of Thessaloniki School of Theology, Vol. 5, p.261-282).
54. Introduction by the Rev. Metropolitan Geron of Pergamos, Metropolitan John: To the synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne (30 August 2015) – typwritten (The problem of Unia).
55. Entirely correct and unanswerable is the observation by the Very Reverend Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim: «The position of His Holiness that the Orthodox Church can no longer convene an Ecumenical Synod on account of the non-participation of the Westerners is entirely erroneous. In essence, he is proclaiming with this position of his that the Orthodox Church is a deficient, weak and incomplete Church, and that it will be a perfect Church, only when it is “united” with Papism and Protestantism, and can thus convene an Ecumenical Synod together with the Westerners. This position however is a far cry from Orthodox Ecclesiology» (Metropolitan Seraphim: Announcement regarding the Synaxis of the «Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne) (Commentary on the Introduction by the Ecumenical Patriarch), THEODROMIA, July-Sept. 2015, p.403.
56. ORTHODOX TYPOS newspaper, Issue dated 5th February 2016.
57. The word of our Lord does not have a socio-political character, but a spiritual one, with direct reference to theopty/theosis (cmp. «so that they may see My glory», v. 24).
58. See the detailed study by Fr. Anastasios Gotsopoulos: «One must not pray together with heretics or schismatics», Patrae 2008.
59. See the Text of the 5th Pre-Synod Pan-Orthodox Convention (Chambesy Geneva, 10-17 October 2015.) And this, without the slightest disposition for self critique by our Leadership, who is claiming papal infallibility and primacy.