TEN REASONS WHY THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE IS NOT ORTHODOX

Written by Vladimir Moss

TEN REASONS WHY THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE IS NOT ORTHODOX

I. The EP’s Heretical Encyclical of 1920.

In January, 1920, Metropolitan Dorotheus, locum tenens of the patriarchal throne, and his Synod issued what was in effect a charter for Ecumenism. It was addressed “to all the Churches of Christ everywhere”, and declared that “the first essential is to revive and strengthen the love between the Churches, not considering each other as strangers and foreigners, but as kith and kin in Christ and united co-heirs of the promise of God in Christ.”

It went on: “This love and benevolent disposition towards each other can be expressed and proven especially, in our opinion, through:

“(a) the reception of a single calendar for the simultaneous celebration of the great Christian feasts by all the Churches;

“(b) the exchange of brotherly epistles on the great feasts of the single calendar..;

“(c) close inter-relations between the representatives of the different Churches;

“(d) intercourse between the Theological Schools and the representatives of Theological Science and the exchange of theological and ecclesiastical periodicals and writings published in each Church;

“(e) the sending of young people to study from the schools of one to another Church;

“(f) the convening of Pan-Christian conferences to examine questions of common interest to all the Churches;

“(g) the objective and historical study of dogmatic differences..;

“(h) mutual respect for the habits and customs prevailing in the different Churches;

“(I) the mutual provision of prayer houses and cemeteries for the funeral and burial of members of other confessions dying abroad;

“(j) the regulation of the question of mixed marriages between the different confessions;

“(k) mutual support in the strengthening of religion and philanthropy.”[1]

The unprecedented nature of the encyclical consists in the fact: (1) that it was addressed not to the Orthodox Churches only, but to the Orthodox and heretics together, as if there were no important difference between them but all equally were “co-heirs of God in Christ”; (2) that the proposed rapprochement was seen as coming, not through the acceptance by the heretics of the Truth of Orthodoxy and their sincere repentance and rejection of their errors, but through various external measures and, by inference, the mutual accomodation of the Orthodox and the heretics; and (3) the proposal of a single universal calendar for concelebration of the feasts, in contravention of the canonical law of the Orthodox Church. There is no mention here of the only possible justification of Ecumenism from an Orthodox point of view – the opportunity it provides of conducting missionary work among the heretics. On the contrary, as we have seen, one of the first aims of the ecumenical movement was and is to prevent proselytism among the member-Churches.

II. The EP’s Uncanonical Election of Meletius Metaxakis.

In 1918 the traditionalist Archbishop Theocletus of Athens was uncanonically defrocked “for having instigated the anathema against [the Cretan Freemason] Eleutherios Venizelos”. Two years later, Theocletus was vindicated. But the damage was done. In his place another Cretan Freemason, Meletius Metaxakis, was enthroned as Archbishop of Athens in November, 1918. However, in November, 1920 he was defrocked “for uncanonical actions” and confined to a monastery on Zakynthos as a simple monk. But by December, 1921 he was Patriarch of Constantinople! How did this transformation of a defrocked monk into Patriarch of Constantinople take place?

Bishop Photius of Triaditsa writes: “Political circles around Venizelos and the Anglican Church had been involved in Meletius’ election as Patriarch. Metropolitan Germanus (Karavangelis) of the Holy Synod of Constantinople wrote of these events, ‘My election in 1921 to the Ecumenical Throne was unquestioned. Of the seventeen votes cast, sixteen were in my favour. Then one of my lay friends offered me 10,000 lira if I would forfeit my election in favour of Meletius Metaxakis. Naturally I refused his offer, displeased and disgusted. At the same time, one night a delegation of three men unexpectedly visited me from the “National Defence League” and began to earnestly entreat me to forfeit my candidacy in favour of Meletius Metaxakis. The delegates said that Meletius could bring in $100,000 for the Patriarchate and, since he had very friendly relations with Protestant bishops in England and America, could be useful in international causes. Therefore, international interests demanded that Meletius Metaxakis be elected Patriarch. Such was also the will of Eleutherius Venizelos. I thought over this proposal all night. Economic chaos reigned at the Patriarchate. The government in Athens had stopped sending subsidies, and there were no other sources of income. Regular salaries had not been paid for nine months. The charitable organizations of the Patriarchate were in a critical economic state. For these reasons and for the good of the people [or so thought the deceived hierarch] I accepted the offer…’ Thus, to everyone’s amazement, the next day, November 25, 1921, Meletius Metaxakis became the Patriarch of Constantinople.

“The uncanonical nature of his election became evident when, two days before the election, November 23, 1921, there was a proposal made by the Synod of Constantinople to postpone the election on canonical grounds. The majority of the members voted to accept this proposal. At the same time, on the very day of the election, the bishops who had voted to postpone the election were replaced by other bishops. This move allowed the election of Meletius as Patriarch. Consequently, the majority of bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who had been circumvented met in Thessalonica. [This Council included seven out of the twelve members of the Constantinopolitan Holy Synod and about 60 patriarchal bishops from the New Regions of Greece under the presidency of Metropolitan Constantine of Cyzicus.] They announced that, ‘the election of Meletius Metaxakis was done in open violation of the holy canons,’ and proposed to undertake ‘a valid and canonical election for Patriarch of Constantinople.’ In spite of this, Meletius was confirmed on the Patriarchal Throne.” [2]

Two members of the Synod then went to Athens to report to the council of ministers. On December 12, 1921 they declared the election null and void. One of the prominent hierarchs who refused to accept this election was Metropolitan Chrysostom (Kavourides) of Florina, the future leader of the True Orthodox Church, who also tried to warn the then Prime Minister Gounaris about the dangers posed by the election of Meletius. The Sublime Porte also refused to recognize the election, first because Meletius was not an Ottoman citizen and therefore was not eligible for the patriarchate according to the Ottoman charter of 1856, and secondly because Meletius declared that he did not consider any such charters as binding insofar as they had been imposed by the Muslim conquerors.

On December 29, 1921, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece deposed Metaxakis for a series of canonical transgressions and for creating a schism, declared both Metaxakis and Rodostolos Alexandros to be schismatics and threatened to declare all those who followed them as similarly schismatic.

In spite of this second condemnation, Meletius was enthroned as patriarch on January 22, 1922; and as a result of intense political pressure his deposition was uncanonically lifted on September 24, 1922! [3] Thus there arrived at the peak of power one of the men whom Metropolitan Chrysostom (Kavourides) called “these two Luthers of the Orthodox Church”. The other Orthodox Luther, Archbishop Chrysostom (Papadopoulos) of Athens, would come to power very shortly…

III. The EP’s uncanonical annexation of vast territories belonging to the Russian and Serbian Churches.

Meletius and his successor, Gregory VII, undertook what can only be described as a wholesale annexation of vast territories belonging to the jurisdiction of the Serbian and Russian Patriarchates. Basing his actions on a false interpretation of the 28th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which supposedly gives all the “barbarian lands” into the jurisdiction of Constantinople, he and his successor created the following uncanonical autonomous and autocephalous Churches on the model of the “Greek Archdiocese of North and South America”:-

1. Western Europe. On April 5, 1922, Meletius named an exarch for the whole of Western and Central Europe. By the time of Gregory VII’s death in November, 1924, there was an exarchate of Central Europe under Metropolitan Germanus of Berlin, an exarchate of Great Britain and Western Europe under Metropolitan Germanus of Thyateira, and a diocese of Bishop Gregory of Paris. In the late 1920s the Ecumenical Patriarch received into his jurisdiction the Russian Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris, who had created a schism in the Russian Church Abroad, and who sheltered a number of influential heretics, such as Nicholas Berdyaev and Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, in the theological institute of St. Sergius in Paris. [4]

2. Finland. In February, 1921 Patriarch Tikhon granted the Finnish Church autonomy within the Russian Church. On June 9, 1922, Meletius uncanonically received this autonomous Finnish Church into his jurisdiction. The excuse given here was that Patriarch Tikhon was no longer free, “therefore he could do as he pleased” (Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky). This undermined the efforts of the Orthodox to maintain their position vis-à-vis the Lutherans. Thus under pressure from the Lutheran government, and in spite of the protests of Patriarch Tikhon, Patriarch Gregory allowed the Finnish Church to adopt the western paschalion. Then began the persecution of the confessors of the Old Calendar in the monastery of Valaam.

“Even more iniquitous and cruel,” continues Metropolitan Anthony, “was the relationship of the late Patriarch Gregory and his synod towards the diocese and the person of the Archbishop of Finland. The Ecumenical Patriarch consecrated a vicar bishop for Finland, the priest Aava, who was not only not tonsured, but not even a rasophore. Moreover, this was done not only without the agreement of the Archbishop of Finland, but in spite of his protest. By these actions the late Patriarch of Constantinople violated a fundamental canon of the Church – the sixth canon of the First Ecumenical Council [and many others], which states, ‘If anyone is consecrated bishop without the consent of his metropolitan, the Great Council declares him not to be a bishop.’ According to the twenty-eighth canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the patriarch cannot even place a bishop in his diocese without the approval of the local metropolitan. Based on precisely this same canon, the predecessors of Gregory vainly attempted to realize his pretensions and legalize their claims to control. This uncanonical ‘bishop’ Aava, once consecrated as bishop, placed a monastic klobuk on his own head, and thus costumed, he appeared in the foreign diocese of Finland. There he instigated the Lutheran government to persecute the canonical Archbishop of Finland, Seraphim, who was respected by the people. The Finnish government previously had requested the Ecumenical Patriarch to confirm the most illegal of laws, namely that the secular government of Finland would have the right to retire the Archbishop. The government in fact followed through with the retirement, falsely claiming that Archbishop Seraphim had not learned enough Finnish in the allotted time. Heaven and earth were horrified at this illegal, tyrannical act of a non-Orthodox government. Even more horrifying was that an Orthodox patriarch had consented to such chicanery. To the scandal of the Orthodox and the evil delight of the heterodox, the highly dubious Bishop Germanus (the former Fr. Aava) strolled the streets of Finland in secular clothes, clean-shaven and hair cut short, while the most worthy of bishops, Seraphim, crudely betrayed by his false brother, languished in exile for the remainder of his life in a tiny hut of a monastery on a stormy isle on Lake Ladoga.” [5]

On November 14/27, 1923, Patriarch Tikhon and the Russian Holy Synod, after listening to a report by Archbishop Seraphim decreed that “since his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon has entered upon the administration of the Russian Orthodox Church, the reason for which the Patriarch of Constantinople considered it necessary temporarily to submit the Finnish Church to his jurisdiction has now fallen away, and the Finnish eparchy must return under the rule of the All-Russian Patriarch.”[6] However, the Finns did not return to the Russians, and the Finnish Church remains to this day within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the most modernist of all the Orthodox Churches.

3. Estonia. In February, 1921 Patriarch Tikhon granted a broad measure of autonomy to the parts of the former Pskov and Revel dioceses that entered into the boundaries of the newly formed Estonian state. On August 28, 1922, Meletius uncanonically received this Estonian diocese of the Russian Church into his jurisdiction, under Metropolitan Alexander. The recent renewal of this unlawful decision by the present Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, nearly led to a schism between the Ecumenical and Russian patriarchates.

4. Latvia. In June, 1921 Patriarch Tikhon granted the Latvian Church a large measure of autonomy under its Latvian archpastor, Archbishop John of Riga, who was burned to death by the communists in 1934. In March, 1936, the Ecumenical Patriarch accepted the Church of Latvia within his own jurisdiction.

5. Poland. In 1921 Patriarch Tikhon appointed Archbishop Seraphim (Chichagov) to the see of Warsaw, but the Poles, whose armies had defeated the Red Army the year before, did not grant him entry into the country. So the patriarch was forced to bow to the Poles’ suggestion that Archbishop George (Yaroshevsky) of Minsk be made metropolitan of Warsaw. However, he refused Archbishop George’s request for autocephaly on the grounds that very few members of the Polish Church were Poles and the Polish dioceses were historically indivisible parts of the Russian Church. [7]

Lyudmilla Koeller writes: “The Polish authorities restricted the Orthodox Church, which numbered more than 3 million believers (mainly Ukrainians and Byelorussians). [8] In 1922 a council was convoked in Pochayev which was to have declared autocephaly, but as the result of a protest by Bishop Eleutherius [Bogoyavlensky, of Vilnius] and Bishop Vladimir (Tikhonitsky), this decision was not made. But at the next council of bishops, which gathered in Warsaw in June, 1922, the majority voted for autocephaly, with only Bishops Eleutherius and Vladimir voting against. A council convoked in September of the same year ‘deprived Bishops Eleutherius and Vladimir of their sees. In December, 1922, Bishop Eleutherius was arrested and imprisoned in a strict regime prison in the monastery of the Camaldul Fathers near Krakow, from where he was transferred to Kovno in spring, 1923’.” [9]

Two other Russian bishops, Panteleimon (Rozhnovsky) and Sergius (Korolev), were also deprived of their sees. The three dissident bishops were expelled from Poland.

In November, 1923, Metropolitan George was killed by an opponent of his church politics, and was succeeded by Metropolitan Dionysius “with the agreement of the Polish government and the confirmation and blessing of his Holiness Meletius IV [Metaxakis]”. Patriarch Tikhon rejected this act as uncanonical[10], but was unable to do anything about it. In November, 1924, Patriarch Gregory VII uncanonically transferred the Polish Church from the jurisdiction of the Russian Church to his own.

5. Hungary and Czechoslovakia. According to the old Hungarian law of 1868, and confirmed by the government of the new Czechoslovak republic in 1918 and 1920, all Orthodox Christians living in the territory of the former Hungarian kingdom came within the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate, and were served directly by Bishops Gorazd of Moravia and Dositheus of Carpatho-Russia.

However, on September 3, 1921, the Orthodox parish in Prague elected Archimandrite Sabbatius to be their bishop, and then informed Bishop Dositheus, their canonical bishop about this. When the Serbian Synod refused to consecrate Sabbatius for Prague, he, without the knowledge of his community, set off for Constantinople, where on March 4, 1923, he was consecrated “archbishop” of the newly created Czechoslovakian branch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which included Carpatho-Russia. Then, on April 15, 1924, the Ecumenical Patriarch established a metropolia of Hungary and All Central Europe with its see in Budapest - although there was already a Serbian bishop there.

“The scandal caused by this confusion,” writes Z.G. Ashkenazy, “is easy to imagine. Bishop Sabbatius insisted on his rights in Carpatho-Russia, enthusiastically recruiting sympathizers from the Carpatho-Russian clergy and ordaining candidates indiscriminately. His followers requested that the authorities take administrative measures against priests not agreeing to submit to him. Bishop Dositheus placed a rebellious monk under ban – Bishop Sabbatius elevated him to igumen; Bishop Dositheus gathered the clergy in Husta and organized an Ecclesiastical Consistory – Bishop Sabbatius enticed priests to Bushtin and formed an Episcopal Council. Chaos reigned in church affairs. Malice and hatred spread among the clergy, who organized into ‘Sabbatiites’ and ‘Dositheiites’.

“A wonderful spiritual flowering which gave birth to so many martyrs for Orthodoxy degenerated into a shameful struggle for power, for a more lucrative parish and extra income. The Uniate press was gleeful, while bitterness settled in the Orthodox people against their clergy, who were not able to maintain that high standard of Orthodoxy which had been initiated by inspired simple folk.” [11]

In 1938 the great wonderworker Archbishop John Maximovich reported to the All-Diaspora Council of the Russian Church Abroad: “Increasing without limit their desires to submit to themselves parts of Russia, the Patriarchs of Constantinople have even begun to declare the uncanonicity of the annexation of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate, and to declare that the previously existing southern Russian Metropolia of Kiev should be subject to the Throne of Constantinople. Such a point of view is not only clearly expressed in the Tomos of November 13, 1924, in connection with the separation of the Polish Church, but is also quite thoroughly promoted by the Patriarchs. Thus, the Vicar of Metropolitan Eulogius in Paris, who was consecrated with the permission of the Ecumenical Patriarch, has assumed the title of Chersonese; that is to say, Chersonese, which is now in the territory of Russia, is subject to the Ecumenical Patriarch. The next logical step for the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be to declare the whole of Russia as being under the jurisdiction of Constantinople…

“In sum, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in theory embracing almost the whole universe, and in fact extending its authority only over several dioceses, and in other places having only a superficial supervision and receiving certain revenues for this; persecuted by the government at home and not supported by any governmental authority abroad; having lost its significance as a pillar of truth and having itself become a source of division, and at the same time being possessed by an exorbitant love of power – represents a pitiful spectacle which recalls the worst periods in the history of the See of Constantinople.” [12]

IV. The EP’s communion with the Russian renovationist heretics and uncanonical deposition of ROCOR Bishops.

In 1922 the so-called “Living Church” came to power in Russia, deposed Patriarch Tikhon, and instituted a programme of modernistic reforms that was very close to those Meletius was to introduce. He promptly entered into communion with the schismatics. As the synod of the “Living Church” wrote to Meletius in 1925: “The Holy Synod [of the renovationists] recall with sincere best wishes the moral support which Your Beatitude showed us while you were yet Patriarch of Constantinople by entering into communion with us as the only rightfully ruling organ of the Russian Orthodox Church.”[13] Moreover, his successors Gregory VII and Constantine VI remained in communion with the “Living Church”.

Patriarch Gregory first called for Patriarch Tikhon’s resignation, and then demanded “that the Russian Metropolitan Anthony and Archbishop Anastasius, who were residing Constantinople at the time, cease their activities against the Soviet regime and stop commemorating Patriarch Tikhon. Receiving no compliance from them, Patriarch Gregory organized an investigation and suspended the two bishops from serving. He asked Patriarch Demetrius [of Serbia] to close down the Russian Council of Bishops in Sremsky-Karlovtsy, but Demetrius refused…”[14]

Gregory then decided to send a special mission to Russia to investigate the church situation there.

Patriarch Tikhon wrote to Gregory: “Attached to the letter of your Holiness’ representative in Russia, Archimandrite Basil Dimopoulo, of June 6, 1924, no. 226, I received the protocols of four sessions of the Holy Constantinopolitan Synod of January 1, April 17, April 30 and May 6 of this year, from which it is evident that your Holiness, wishing to provide help from the Mother Great Church of Christ of Constantinople, and ‘having exactly studied the course of Russian Church life and the differences and divisions that have taken place – in order to bring peace and end the present anomalies’, .. ‘having taken into consideration the exceptional circumstances and examples from the past’, have decided ‘to send us a special Commission, which is authorized to study and act on the spot on the basis and within the bounds of definite orders which are in agreement with the spirit and tradition of the Church’.

“In your Holiness’ instructions to the members of the Mission one of the main points is your desire that I, as the All-Russian Patriarch, ‘for the sake of the unification of those who have cut themselves off and for the sake of the flock, should sacrifice myself and immediately resign from the administration of the Church, as befits a true and love-filled pastor who cares for the salvation of many, and that at the same time the Patriarchate should be abolished, albeit temporarily, because it came into being in completely abnormal circumstances at the beginning of the civil war and because it is considered a major obstacle to the reestablishment of peace and unity’. Definite instructions are also given to the Commission regarding which tendencies [factions] they should rely on in their work.

“On reading the indicated protocols, we were in no small measure disturbed and surprised that the Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the head of the Constantinopolitan Church, should without prior contact with us, as the lawful representative and head of the whole of the Russian Orthodox Church, interfere in the inner life and affairs of the Autocephalous Russian Church. The Holy Councils... have always recognized the primacy in honour, but not in power, of the Bishop of Constantinople over the other Autocephalous Churches. Let us also remember the canon that ‘without being invited, bishops must not pass beyond the boundaries of their own jurisdiction for the sake of ordination or any other ecclesiastical affair.’ For that reason any attempt by any Commission without consulting me, the only lawful and Orthodox First-Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and without my knowledge, is unlawful and will not be accepted by the Russian Orthodox peoples, and will bring, not pacification, but still more disturbance and schism into the life of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has suffered much even without this. This will be to the advantage only of our schismatics – the renovationists, whose leaders now stand at the head of the so-called (self-called) Holy Synod, like the former archbishop of Nizhegorod Eudocimus and others, who have been defrocked by me and have been declared outside the communion of the Orthodox Church for causing disturbance, schism and unlawful seizure of ecclesiastical power.

“I, together with the whole mass of Russian Orthodox believers, and with all my flock, very much doubt that your Holiness has, as you declare, ‘studied exactly the course of Russian church life’. I doubt it because You have not once turned to me for documentary explanations of who is the true and real cause of disturbance and schism.

“The whole Russian Orthodox people long ago pronounced its righteous word concerning both the impious meeting which dared to call itself a Council in 1923, and the unhappy leaders of the renovationist schism… The people is not with the schismatics, but with their lawful Orthodox Patriarch. Allow me also to be sceptical about the measure your Holiness suggests for pacifying the Church – that is, my resignation from the administration of the Church and the abolition, albeit temporary, of the Patriarchate in Rus’. This would not pacify the Church, but cause a new disturbance and bring new sorrows to our faithful Archpastors and pastors who have suffered much even without this. It is not love of honour or power which has forced me to take up the cross of the patriarchy again, but the consciousness of my duty, submission to the will of God and the voice of the episcopate which is faithful to Orthodoxy and the Church. The latter, on receiving permission to assemble, in July last year, synodically condemned the renovationists as schismatics and asked me again to become head and rudder of the Russian Church until it pleases the Lord God to give peace to the Church by the voice of an All-Russian Local Council.” [15]

Relations between Constantinople and the Russian Church continued to be very frosty. Constantine’s successor, Basil III, broke communion with the Living Church in 1929 – but then entered into communion with the Sovietized Moscow Patriarchate of Metropolitan Sergius! When Metropolitan Peter came to power in Russia in April, 1925, he was presented a letter from Patriarch Basil III which called on the “Old Churchmen” to unite with the renovationists. His comment was: “We still have to check whether this Patriarch is Orthodox…” Metropolitan Sergius was also sceptical; he reacted to Constantinople’s recognition of the renovationists as follows: “Let them recognize them; the renovationists have not become Orthodox from this, only the Patriarchs have become renovationists!” [16]

V. The EP’s false “Pan-Orthodox” Council of 1923 and acceptance of the uncanonical papist calendar in 1924.

At the beginning of 1923, a Commission was set up on the initiative of the Greek government to see whether the Autocephalous Church of Greece could accept the new calendar – the first step towards union with the West in prayer. The Commission reported that “although the Church of Greece, like the other Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, is inherently independent, they are nevertheless firmly united and bound to each other through the principle of the spiritual unity of the Church, composing one and one only Church, the Orthodox Church. Consequently none of them can separate itself from the others and accept the new calendar without becoming schismatic in relation to them.”

On February 3, Meletius Metaxakis wrote to the Church of Greece, arguing for the change of calendar at his forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council “so as to further the cause, in this part of the Pan-Christian unity, of the celebration of the Nativity and Resurrection of Christ on the same day by all those who are called by the name of the Lord.”[17]

Shortly afterwards, on February 25, Archimandrite Chrysostom Papadopoulos, was elected Archbishop of Athens by three out of a specially chosen Synod of only five hierarchs – another ecclesiastical coup d’état. During his enthronement speech, Chrysostom said that for collaboration with the heterodox “it is not necessary to have common ground or dogmatic union, for the union of Christian love is sufficient”. [18]

As one of the members of the commission which had rejected the new calendar, Chrysostom might have been expected to resist Meletius’ call. But it seems that the two men had more in common than the fact that they had both been expelled from the Church of Jerusalem in their youth; for on March 6 Chrysostom and his Synod accepted Meletius’ proposal and agreed to send a representative to the forthcoming Council. Then, on April 16, he proposed to the Hierarchy that 13 days should be added to the calendar, “for reasons not only of convenience, but also of ecclesiastical, scientifically ratified accuracy”.

Five out of the thirty-two hierarchs – the metropolitans of Syros, Patras, Demetrias, Khalkis and Thera – voted against this proposal. Two days later, however, at the second meeting of the Hierarchy, it was announced that Chrysostom’s proposal had been “unanimously” approved, but “with absolutely no change to the Paschalion and Calendar of the Orthodox Church”. Moreover, it was decided that the Greek Church would approve of any decision regarding the celebration of Pascha made by the forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council, provided it was in accordance with the Canons…[19]

It was therefore with the knowledge that the Greek Church would support his proposed reforms that Meletius convened a “Pan-Orthodox Council” in Constantinople from May 10 to June 8, 1923, whose renovationist resolutions concerned the “correction” of the Julian calendar, a fixed date for Pascha, the second marriage of clergy, and various relaxations with regard to the clothing of clergy, the keeping of monastic vows, impediments to marriage, the transfer of Saints’ feasts from the middle of the week, and fasting.

However, hardly more than ten people, and no official representatives of the Patriarchates, turned up for the “Pan-Orthodox Council”, so discredited was its convener.[20] And even Archbishop Chrysostom (Papadopoulos) had to admit: “Unfortunately, the Eastern Patriarchs who refused to take part in the Congress rejected all of its resolutions in toto from the very outset. If the Congress had restricted itself only to the issue of the calendar, perhaps it would not have encountered the kind of reaction that it did.” [21]

In his “Memorandum to the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of Greece” (June 14, 1929), Metropolitan Irenaeus of Kassandreia wrote that the council was not “Pan-Orthodox” but “anti-Orthodox”: “It openly and impiously trampled on the 34th Apostolic Canon, which ordains: ‘It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know among them who is the first or chief, and to recognize him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval… But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’. He replaced the Julian calendar with the Gregorian in spite of all the prohibitions relating to it; he decided to supersede the Paschalion which had been eternally ordained for the Orthodox Church by the decision of the First Ecumenical Council, turning to the creation of an astronomically more perfect one in the observatories of Bucharest, Belgrade and Athens; he allowed clerics’ hair to be cut and their venerable dress to be replaced by that of the Anglican Pastors; he introduced the anticanonical marriage and second marriage of priests; he entrusted the shortening of the days of the fast and the manner of their observance to the judgement of the local Churches, thereby destroying the order and unity that prevailed in the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of the East. Acting in this way, he opened wide the gates to every innovation, abolishing the distinctive characteristic of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is its preservation, perfectly and without innovation, of everything that was handed down by the Lord, the Apostles, the Fathers, and the Local and Ecumenical Councils.” [22]

What made the council’s decisions still less acceptable was the reason it gave for its innovations, viz., that changing the Paschalion “would make a great moral impression on the whole civilized world by bringing the two Christian worlds of the East and West closer through the unforced initiative of this Orthodox Church…”[23]

The council was rejected by the Alexandrian, Antiochian and Jerusalem Churches, and by the Russian Church Abroad and the Serbian Church. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) called the calendar innovation “this senseless and pointless concession to Masonry and Papism”.

That the adoption of the new calendar was an abomination in the sight of God was clearly indicated by the great miracle of the sign of the cross in the sky over the Old Calendarist monastery of St. John the Theologian in Athens in September, 1925. In fact the new calendar had been anathematised by the Eastern Patriarchs in three Councils, in 1583, 1587 and 1593, and synodically condemned again in 1722, 1827, 1848, 1895 and 1904. By adopting it, the EP, as the Commission of the Greek Church had rightly declared, became schismatic in relation to the Churches keeping the Church calendar.

VI. The EP’s participation in the World Council of Churches.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate was a founder-member of the WCC. It had participated in several ecumenical conferences with the Protestants since its official espousing of Ecumenism in 1920 and up to the founding congress of the WCC in Amsterdam in 1948. A.V. Soldatov has chronicled the progressive weakening in the Orthodox position during these years: “At the conference [of Faith and Order] in Geneva in 1920 the spirit of extreme Protestant liberalism gained the upper hand. It came to the point that when the Orthodox Metropolitan Stephen of Sophia noted in his report: ‘The Church is only there where the hierarchy has apostolic succession, and without such a hierarchy there are only religious communities’, the majority of the delegates of the conference left the hall as a sign of protest. At the next conference on Faith and Order [in Lausanne] in 1927, victory again went to the extreme left Protestants. The Orthodox delegation, experiencing psychological pressure at this conference, was forced to issue the following declaration: ‘in accordance with the views of the Orthodox Church, no compromises in relation to the teaching of the faith and religious convictions can be permitted. No Orthodox can hope that a reunion based on disputed formulae can be strong and positive… The Orthodox Church considers that any union must be based exclusively on the teaching of the faith and confession of the ancient undivided Church, on the seven Ecumenical Councils and other decisions of the first eight centuries.’ But the numerous speeches of the Orthodox explaining the teaching of the Church on the unity of the Church seemed only to still further increase the incomprehension or unwillingness to comprehend them on the part of the Protestant leaders of Ecumenism. This tendency was consistently pursued by the Protestants at the conferences in 1937 in Oxford and Edinburgh. Summing up this ‘dialogue’ at the beginning of the century, Fr. Metrophanes Znosko-Borovsky remarks: ‘The Orthodox delegates at Edinburgh were forced with sorrow to accept the existence of basic, irreconcilable differences in viewpoint on many subjects of faith between the Orthodox East and the Protestant West.’

“After the Second World War, the World Council of Churches was created. It is necessary to point out that the movements ‘Faith and Order’ and ‘the Christian Council of Life and Work’ were viewed by their organizers as preparatory stages in the seeking of possible modes of integration of ‘the Christian world’. The World Council of Churches differed from them in principle. It set out on the path of ‘practical Ecumenism’ for the first time in world history, declaring that it was the embryo of a new type of universal church. The first, so to speak founding conference of the WCC in Amsterdam chose as its motto the words: ‘Human disorder and God’s house-building’. At it, as Archbishop Vitaly remarks, ‘every effort was made to destroy the teaching on the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’. “[24]

Among the rules of the WCC which bind every member is the following: “A church must recognize the essential interdependence of the churches, particularly those of the same confession, and must practise constructive ecumenical relations with other churches within its country or region. This will normally mean that the church is a member of the national council of churches or similar body and of the regional ecumenical organisation."

Article I of the WCC Constitution reads: "The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures (sic) and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." And the Constitution also declares that the primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to “visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe”.

Further, according to Section II of the WCC Rules, entitled Responsibilities of Membership, "Membership in the World Council of Churches signifies faithfulness to the Basis of the Council, fellowship in the Council, participation in the life and work of the Council and commitment to the ecumenical movement as integral to the mission of the church.”

In accepting these terms the Orthodox churches that entered the WCC clearly accepted a Protestant ecclesiology.

VII. The Apostasy of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.

In 1949 there flew into Constantinople – on US President Truman’s plane – the second Meletius Metaxakis, the former Archbishop of North and South America Athenagoras, who in 1919 had been appointed secretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece by Metaxakis himself. [25] By an extraordinary coincidence Athenagoras was a former spiritual son of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, leader of the Greek Old Calendarists, so that the leaders of the opposing sides in the Church struggle in the early 1950s were, like David and Absalom, a holy father and his apostate son.

Patriarch Maximus was forced into retirement on grounds of mental illness and the 33rd degree Mason Athenagoras took his place. In his enthronement speech he went far beyond the bounds of the impious masonic encyclical of 1920 and proclaimed the dogma of ‘Pan-religion’, declaring: “We are in error and sin if we think that the Orthodox Faith came down from heaven and that the other dogmas [i.e. religions] are unworthy. Three hundred million men have chosen Mohammedanism as the way to God and further hundreds of millions are Protestants, Catholics and Buddhists. The aim of every religion is to make man better.”[26]

In 1960 the Orthodox Churches in the WCC met on Rhodes to establish a catalogue of topics to be discussed at a future Pan-Orthodox Council. “In the course of the debate on the catalogue,” write Gordienko and Novikov, “the Moscow Patriarchate’s delegation suggested the removal of some of the subjects (The Development of Internal and External Missionary Work, The Methods of Fighting Atheism and False Doctrines Like Theosophy, Spiritism, Freemasonry, etc.) and the addition of some others (Cooperation between the Local Orthodox Churches in the Realisation of the Christian Ideas of Peace, Fraternity and Love among Peoples, Orthodoxy and Racial Discrimination, Orthodoxy and the Tasks of Christians in Regions of Rapid Social Change)… Besides working out the topics for the future Pre-Council, the First Conference passed the decision ‘On the Study of Ways for Achieving Closer Contacts and Unity of Churches in a Pan-Orthodox Perspective’, envisaging the search for contacts with Ancient Eastern (non-Chalcedonian) Churches (Monophysites), the Old Catholic, Anglican, Catholic, and Protestant Churches, as well as the World Council of Churches.” [27]

In other words, the Orthodox henceforth were to abandon the struggle against Atheism, Freemasonry and other false religions, and were to engage in dialogue towards union with all the Christian heretics – while at the same time persecuting the True Orthodox and using ecumenical forums to further the ends of Soviet foreign policy in its struggle with the Capitalist West!

It is not recorded that the EP objected to this programme…

Athenagoras’ apostate course received a boost from the WCC’s General Assembly in New Delhi in 1961, which marked the decisive dogmatic break between “World Orthodoxy” and True Orthodoxy. If, until then, it could be argued, albeit unconvincingly, that the new calendarists had not apostasised, and that only a few of their leaders were ecumenist heretics, this could no longer be maintained after the summary statement signed by all the delegates at New Delhi, which declared, among other things: “we consider that the work of creating the One, Universal Church must unfailingly be accompanied by the destruction and disappearance of certain outmoded, traditional forms of worship”.

This was an outright challenge delivered to the Holy Tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! And, having delivered it, the Orthodox delegates seemed to lose all restraint. After the New Delhi congress, convened, appropriately enough, in the centre of the Hindu world, the ecumenical movement climbed into a higher gear, and even, within a decade or two, into the realm of “Super-ecumenism” – relations with non-Christian religions.

Already before the Delhi Assembly, in April, 1961, the Greek Archbishop James of North and South America (a Freemason of the 33rd degree) had said: “We have tried to rend the seamless robe of the Lord – and then we cast ‘arguments’ and ‘pseudo-documents’ to prove – that ours is the Christ, and ours is the Church… Living together and praying together without any walls of partition raised, either by racial or religious prejudices, is the only way that can lead surely to unity.” What could these “pseudo-documents” and “religious prejudices” have been if not the sacred Canons which forbid the Orthodox from praying together with heretics?

Then, in April, 1963, he said: “It would be utterly foolish for the true believer to pretend or to insist that the whole truth has been revealed only to them, and they alone possess it. Such a claim would be both unbiblical and untheological… Christ did not specify the date nor the place that the Church would suddenly take full possession of the truth.”

This statement, which more or less denied that the Church is, as the Apostle Paul said, “the pillar and ground of the Truth” (I Timothy 3.15), caused uproar in Greece and on Mount Athos. However, Athenagoras supported James, calling his position “Orthodox”. From this time on, the two Masons went steadily ahead making ever more flagrantly anti-Orthodox statements. There was some opposition from more conservative elements in the autocephalous Churches; but the opposition was never large or determined enough to stop them…

At a meeting of the Faith and Order movement in Montreal in 1963, a memorandum on “Councils of Churches in the Purpose of God” declared: “The Council [WCC] has provided a new sense of the fullness of the Church in its unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. These marks of the Church can no longer be simply applied to our divided churches, therefore.”

Although this memorandum was not accepted in the end (Fr. George Florovsky objected to it in the plenary session), it showed how the WCC was encroaching on the Orthodox Church’s understanding of herself as the One Church. Indeed, it could be argued that the Orthodox participants had already abandoned this dogma. For as early as the Toronto, 1950 statement of the WCC’s Central Committee, it had been agreed that an underlying assumption of the WCC was that the member-churches “believe that the Church of Christ is more inclusive than the membership of their own body”.[28]

VIII. The EP’s Inter-Christian Ecumenism

At the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference in Rhodes, in September, 1963, it was unanimously agreed that the Orthodox should enter into dialogue with the Catholics, provided it was “on equal terms”. In practice, this meant that the Catholics should abandon their eastern-rite missions in Orthodox territories. The Catholics have never shown much signs of wishing to oblige in this, but they did help to make a dialogue easier by redefining the Orthodox, in Vatican II’s decree on Ecumenism, as “separated brethren”.

On January 5 and 6, 1964, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras met in Jerusalem and prayed together. This was a clear transgression of the canons concerning relations with heretics (Apostolic canon 45). Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens was reported as saying that “while the Pope is going to the Holy Land to kneel before the Saviour’s sepulchre, you (Athenagoras) are going to kneel before the Pope and bury Orthodoxy.”

Further intense activity led, on December 7, 1965, to the “lifting of the anathemas” of 1054 between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. The announcement was made simultaneously in Rome and Constantinople. It included the following words: “Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I with his synod, in common agreement, declare that: a. They regret the offensive words, the reproaches without foundation, and the reprehensible gestures which, on both sides, have marked or accompanied the sad events of this period [viz. In the 11th century]. B. They likewise regret and remove both from memory and from the midst of the Church the sentences of excommunication which followed these events, the memory of which has influenced actions up to our day and has hindered closer relations in charity; and they commit these excommunications to oblivion.” [29]

It should be pointed out, first, that in saying that the schism of 1054 was based on “reproaches without foundation”, the Patriarch was in effect saying that the Papacy was not, or never had been, heretical – although the Papacy had renounced none of its heresies, and Pope Paul VI had reasserted papal infallibility as recently as Vatican II. Secondly, while relations with excommunicated individuals or Churches can be restored if those individuals or Churches repent, anathemas against heresies cannot be removed insofar as a heresy remains a heresy forever.

In the journal Ekklesia Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens denied that the Patriarch had the authority to act independently of the other Orthodox Churches. And he said: “I am convinced that no other Orthodox Church will copy the Ecumenical Patriarch’s action.”[30] From this time, several monasteries and sketes on Mount Athos ceased to commemorate the Patriarch.

On December 15, 1965, Metropolitan Philaret, First-Hierarch of the ROCA, wrote to the Patriarch protesting against his action: “Your gesture puts a sign of equality between error and truth. For centuries all the Orthodox Churches believed with good reasons that it has violated no doctrine of the Holy Ecumenical Councils; whereas the Church of Rome has introduced a number of innovations in its dogmatic teaching. The more such innovations were introduced, the deeper was to become the separation between the East and the West. The doctrinal deviations of Rome in the eleventh century did not yet contain the errors that were added later. Therefore the cancellation of the mutual excommunication of 1054 could have been of meaning at that time, but now it is only evidence of indifference in regard to the most important errors, namely new doctrines foreign to the ancient Church, of which some, having been exposed by St. Mark of Ephesus, were the reason why the Church rejected the Union of Florence… No union of the Roman Church with us is possible until it renounces its new doctrines, and no communion in prayer can be restored with it without a decision of all the Churches, which, however, can hardly be possible before the liberation of the Church of Russia which at present has to live in the catacombs… A true dialogue implies an exchange of views with a possibility of persuading the participants to attain an agreement. As one can perceive from the Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, Pope Paul VI understands the dialogue as a plan for our union with Rome with the help of some formula which would, however, leave unaltered its doctrines, and particularly its dogmatic doctrine about the position of the Pope in the Church. However, any compromise with error is foreign to the history of the Orthodox Church and to the essence of the Church. It could not bring a harmony in the confessions of the Faith, but only an illusory outward unity similar to the conciliation of dissident Protestant communities in the ecumenical movement.” [31]

In 1968 the Fourth General Assembly of the WCC took place in Uppsala. It considerably furthered the ecumenical movement, with the Orthodox, as the new general secretary Carson Blake joyfully pointed out, taking full part in all the sections and committees and not, as often in the past, issuing separate statements disagreeing with the majority Protestant view. Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinov) of Canada said to the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: “At the opening of the Assembly an ecumenical prayer was read in the name of all those assembles: ‘O God our Father, You can create everything anew. We entrust ourselves to You, help us to live for others, for Your love extends over all people, and to search for the Truth, which we have not known…’ How could the Orthodox listen to these last words? It would have been interesting to look at that moment at the faces of the Orthodox hierarchs who had declared for all to hear that they, too, did not know the Truth. Every batyushka of ours in the remotest little village knows the Truth by experience, as he stands before the throne of God and prays to God in spirit and in truth. Even The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is completely subject to the censorship of the communist party, in citing the words of the prayer in its account of this conference, did not dare to translate the English ‘truth’ by the word ‘istina’, but translated it as ‘pravda’ [‘righteousness’]. Of course, everyone very well understood that in the given case the text of the prayer was speaking without the slightest ambiguity about the Truth. Perhaps the Orthodox hierarchs have resorted, in the conference, to the old Jesuit practice of reservatio mentalis, but in that case if all these delegates do not repent of the sin of communion in prayer with heretics, then we must consider them to be on the completely false path of apostasy from the Truth of Orthodoxy… Ecumenism is the heresy of heresies because until now each heresy in the history of the Church has striven to take the place of the true Church, but the ecumenical movement, in uniting all the heresies, invites all of them together to consider themselves the one true Church.”[32]

In 1975, Archbishop Athenagoras of Thyateira and Great Britain published, with the blessing of Patriarch Demetrius, his Thyateira Confession, which declared that the Church is a house without walls which anyone can enter freely and receive “eucharistic hospitality”. And he wrote: “Orthodox Christians believe that the following Churches have valid and true Priesthood or Orders. The Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, the Ethiopian, the Copto-Armenian and the Anglican. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Romania and the Church of Cyprus half a century ago declared officially that the Anglican Church has valid Orders by dispensation and that means that Anglican Bishops, Priests and Deacons can perform valid sacraments as can those of the Roman Catholic Church.”[33] This heretical confession was condemned by Metropolitan Philaret and his Synod.

Also in 1975, at the WCC’s General Assembly in Nairobi, the Orthodox delegates, having signed an agreement to recognize the sacraments of the non-Orthodox delegates, had declared that “the Orthodox do not expect the other Christians to be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and the present and to become members of the Orthodox Church” – which gave the lie to their excuse that they were participating in the ecumenical movement “to witness to the non-Orthodox”.[34]

Again, in 1980, the Ecumenical Press Service declared that the WCC was working on plans to unify all Christian denominations into a single new religion.[35]

Then, in 1982, an inter-denominational eucharistic service was composed at a conference in Lima, Peru, in which the Protestant and Orthodox representatives to the WCC agreed that the baptism, eucharist and ordinations of all denominations were valid and acceptable.[36]

In 1990, a Declaration was agreed at Chambésy in Switzerland between a Joint Commission of theologians of the Orthodox (including the EP) and the Monophysites (called “Oriental Orthodox” in the documents), in which the Orthodox and Monophysites were called two “families of churches” (a phrase unknown to Orthodox ecclesiology).

Paragraph Four of the Declaration said: “The two families accept that the two natures [of Christ] with their own energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation and that they are distinguished only in thought (en qewria).”

This is already completely unacceptable from an Orthodox point of view, and represents a heretical, Monophysite formulation. The two natures and wills of Christ are not distinguishable “only in thought”, but also in reality. Paragraph Seven also speaks of the two natures being distinguishable “only in thought”, which implies, as Ludmilla Perepiolkina points out “an absence of this distinction in reality”.[37]

Paragraph Five states: “The two families accept that the One Who wills and acts is always the single Hypostasis of the incarnate Logos”. However, as Perepiolkina again correctly points out, according to the teaching of St. Maximus the Confessor, “the concept of energy (activity) of nature is attributable only to nature as a whole, and not to the hypostasis. This teaching was affirmed at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. In the Chambésy Declaration, as it is evident from Paragraph Five, natural wills and energies in Jesus Christ are attributed to His Hypostasis. In other words, this Paragraph is a purely Monothelite formula”.[38]

Paragraph Eight states: “The two families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils which form our common heritage. With regard to the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox affirm that, for them, points one through seven are also the teaching of these four later Councils, whereas the oriental Orthodox consider this affirmation of the Orthodox like their own interpretation. In this sense the oriental Orthodox respond positively to this affirmation.”

An unclear statement, about which one thing, however, is clear: the Monophysites do not commit themselves to accepting the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils in the way the Orthodox do, but only “positively respond to their affirmation”, which means nothing in dogmatic terms.

Paragraph Nine states: “In the light of our joint declaration on Christology and the joint affirmations mentioned above, we now clearly realize and understand that our two families have always loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox Faith, and have maintained uninterrupted the apostolic tradition although they may have used the Christological terms in a different manner. It is that common faith and that continual loyalty to the apostolic tradition which must be the basis of our unity and communion.”

This is in flat contradiction to 1500 years of Orthodox Tradition, during which all the Holy Fathers unambiguously affirmed that the Monophysites had not “loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox Faith”, and were in fact heretics. But the modern ecumenists claim that all the six hundred and thirty holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, as well as all the Fathers of all the succeeding Council that condemned Monophysitism, were wrong, and the whole controversy was simply based on some linguistic misunderstandings!

Paragraph Ten of the Declaration states: “The two families accept that all the anathemas and the condemnations of the past which kept us divided must be lifted by the Churches so that the last obstacle to full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and power of God. The two families accept that the lifting of the anathemas and the condemnations will be based on the fact that the Councils and the father previously anathematised or condemned were not heretics.”

So according to these “theologians”, the anathemas against all the Monophysite councils and fathers, including the notorious heresiarchs Dioscurus, Timothy and Severus, lifted! This is a clear and explicit rejection of the Faith of the Seven Ecumenical Councils! Of course, the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches (with the exception of Jerusalem) have already implicitly rejected the Councils and the Fathers by their communion in prayer and the sacraments with all sorts of heretics, and even pagans, the WCC General Assembly in Canberra in 1991 being perhaps the most extreme example. Nevertheless, it is a further and important stage to say explicitly that the Ecumenical Councils were wrong, that the Monophysites should not have been condemned, that they were Orthodox all these centuries although the Holy Fathers and all the saints of the Orthodox Church considered them to be heretics. This is not simply a failure to come up to the standards of the Ecumenical Councils: it is a renunciation of the standards themselves.

In essence, the Local Orthodox Churches, led by the EP, here placed themselves under the anathemas against Monophysitism from the Fourth Ecumenical Council onwards, and must be considered to be “semi-Monophysites”.

The ROCOR and the Greek Old Calendarists quickly condemned the Chambésy agreement.[39] Nevertheless, in 1992 the patriarchate of Antioch entered into full, official communion with the Monophysites. There is every indication that the Moscow Patriarchate wants to go along the same path. The MP’s relations with the Armenian Monophysites are especially close.

Chambésy was followed by the Seventh General Assembly of the WCC in Canberra in 1991, in which the Orthodox delegates blasphemed against the Faith still more blatantly. Thus aboriginal pagans invited the participants to pass through a “cleansing cloud of smoke” uniting Aboriginal spirituality to Christian spirituality!

In March, 1992, the heads of the Local Orthodox Churches met in Constantinople and official renounced proselytism among Western Christians. Of course, this renunciation had been implicit in the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s statements since the encyclical of 1920. But it still came as a shock to see the “Church” renounced the hope of conversion and therefore salvation for hundreds of millions of westerners.

Union with the Monophysites proceeded in parallel with moves for union with the Catholics. In 1994 the Local Orthodox churches signed the Balamand agreement with the Catholics, in which the Orthodox and the Catholics were declared to be sister-Churches in the full sense, “two lungs” of the same organism (with the Monophysites as a “third lung”?). The Balamand Agreement, which was signed on the Orthodox side by Moscow, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Romania, Cyprus, Poland and Finland, declared: “Catholics and Orthodox… are once again discovering each other as sister churches” and “recognizing each other as sister churches”. “On each side it is acknowledged that what Christ has entrusted to His Church – the profession of the apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, the apostolic succession of bishops, and, above all, the one priesthood celebrating the one Sacrifice of Christ – cannot be considered to be the exclusive property of one of our Churches.” The baptism of penitent papists into the Orthodox Church was prohibited: “All rebaptism (sic) is prohibited.” The Orthodox Church “recognizes the Catholic Church in her entirety as a sister Church, and indirectly recognizes also the Oriental Catholic Churches” (the Uniates). “Special attention should be given on both sides to the preparation and education of future priests with regard to the new ecclesiology, (that they may) be informed of the apostolic succession of the other Church and the authenticity of its sacramental life, (so that) the use of history in a polemical manner (may be avoided)”.

This was an official acceptance of the “branch theory” of the Church. There were protests in Greece and Mount Athos, but Patriarch Bartholomew forced the protestors to back down. This was the same Patriarch, the most senior in Orthodoxy, who said a few years later: “Orthodox Christian and modernist, Protestant and modernist, Jew and modernist, Catholic and modernist: however we worship, as long as we abide in our faith and unite it to our works in the world, we bring the living and always timely message of Divine wisdom into the modern world.”[40]

Since the election of the fervently pro-Catholic (and pro-Soviet) Cyril (Gundyaev) as Patriarch of Moscow in 2009, Patriarch Bartholomew has received a powerful ally in his bid to unite the Orthodox Church with Rome. Preparations are now under way for a Council of the Local Orthodox Churches that will rubber-stamp the two patriarchs’ uniate policy.

IX. The EP’s Inter-Faith Ecumenism, or “Super Ecumenism”.

In the early 1980s inter-Christian ecumenism began to be supplemented by inter-faith ecumenism, or “super ecumenism”. In 1983, the Vancouver General Assembly of the WCC was attended by representatives of every existing religion and began with a pagan rite performed by local Indians. The participation of Orthodox hierarchs in religious services with representatives of all the world’s religions required a rebuke – and a rebuke was forthcoming.

First, the Greek Old Calendarist Metropolitan Gabriel of the Cyclades attempted to address the Vancouver Assembly. But he was not allowed to speak by the ecumenists, who thereby demonstrated that they are “tolerant” and “loving” to every kind of blasphemy, but not to the expression of True Christianity. Then the Synod of the ROCA, also meeting in Canada, anathematised ecumenism, declaring: “To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ’s Church is divided into so-called ‘branches’ which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all ‘branches’ or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united in one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or advocate, disseminate , or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema.”[41]

The implication of this anathema was clear: since the EP was a fully participating member of the WCC, it was under anathema and deprived of the grace of sacraments. As I.M. has written: “There is no heresy without heretics and their practical activity. The WCC in its declarations says: The Church confesses, the Church teaches, the Church does this, the Church does that. In this way the WCC witnesses that it does not recognize itself to be simply a council of churches, but the one church. And all those who are members of the WCC are members of this one false church, this synagogue of satan. And by this participation in the WCC all the local Orthodox churches fall under the anathema of the ROCA of 1983 and fall away from the True Church.…” [42]

In spite of this, the EP has continued to have close relations with non-Christian religions, particularly the Jews and the Muslims. In 1989 Patriarch Parthenius of Alexandria declared that Mohammed was an “Apostle of God” – words that many thousands of New Martyrs under the Turkish yoke had refused to utter even on pain of death. This apostasy from the Christian faith drew no rebuke from the EP.

Most recently, Patriarch Bartholomew congratulated Muslims on the end of the Ramadan fast. Fr. Steven Allen writes: “If anyone asks youwhythe Genuine Orthodox Christiansdo not commemorate the present Ecumenical Patriarch, you could, among numerous other items, refer them tothe story at the link below. I pray that it will cause them to think.

http://news-nftu.blogspot.com/2009/09/ecumenical-patriarch-bartholomew.html

“Patriarch Bartholomew is here publicly teaching that the god of Islam is the true God. This is an inescapable conclusion from his asking ‘God Almighty’ to reward the Hagarenes for keeping Ramadan. This by itself makes him a heretic.

“The Mohammedans do not worship the Holy Trinity, and therefore their god is a false god. There is no generic ‘God Almighty’ whom all men - or all ‘monotheists’ -worship, of whom the Holy Trinity is merely a representation or an optional ‘conceptualization’. The Holy Trinity is, simply and absolutely, the only God.

“If the Patriarch truly loved the Hagarenes and wanted the true God Almighty to bless them, he would call upon them to convert to the Faith in the Holy Trinity. If one objects that then he would die for the Faith, for the Moslems would slay him...well, that's good, isn't it? Isn't that what we believe in?”[43]

X. The EP’s Persecution of Confessing Orthodox Christians

In spite of the EP’s supposedly universal “love” that embraces all heretics and even non-Christian religions, it clearly hates one group of people – the truly confessing Orthodox Christians. Thus in 1992 it expelled the confessing monks of the skete of the Holy Prophet Elijah (Russian Church Abroad) from Mount Athos. Again, it has initiated an unprecedented campaign of slander and harassment against the 104 monks of the Athonite monastery of Esphigmenou. The monastery has been subjected to a military siege; its property has been seized; a false monastery called “Esphigmenou” has been created in order to take the place of the genuine monastery of that name; and most recently it has succeeded in having jail sentences served by the Greek courts on the monastery’s Abbot Methodius and twelve of his monks. So the EP today combines the broadest welcome to almost all contemporary heresies while persecuting those who hold to the True Orthodox faith. To him and to those with him the Church proclaims: Anathema!

July 28 / August 10, 2004; revised September 16/29, 2009.



[1] Vasilios Stavrides, Istoria tou Oikoumenikou Patriarkheiou (1453 – simeron) (History of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from 1453 to the present day), Thessalonica, 1987, pp. 248-249 (in Greek).

[2] Bishop Photius, "The 70th Anniversary of the Pan-Orthodox Congress in Constantinople", Orthodox Life, № 1, 1994, p. 41-42.

[3] “To imerologiakon skhism apo istorikis kai kanonikis apopseos exetazomenon (The calendar schism examined from an historical and canonical point of view)", Agios Agathangelos Esphigmenites (St. Agathangelos of Esphigmenou), № 131, May-June, 1992, p. 17 (G); Bishop Photius, op. cit., p. 41.

[4] A History of the Russian Church Abroad, Seattle: St. Nectarios Press, 1972, p. 51.

[5] See Monk Gorazd, "Quo Vadis, Konstantinopol'skaia Patriarkhia? (Where are you going, Constantinopolitan Patriarchate?)", Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Rus’), № 2 (1455), January 15/28, 1992, p. 9 (in Russian).

[6] M.E. Gubonin, Akty Sviateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow, 1994, p. 304 (in Russian).

[7] M.B. Danilushkin (ed.), Istoria Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi (A History of the Russian Orthodox Church), vol. I, St. Petersburg, 1997, p. 197 (in Russian).

[8] For example, on October 22, 1919 the Poles ordered 497 Orthodox churches and chapels, which had supposedly been seized from the Catholics in the past, to be returned to the Catholic Church. See Danilushkin, op. cit., p. 586.

[9] Koeller, "Kommentarii k pis'mu Arkhiepiskopa Rizhskago i Latvijskago Ioanna Arkhiepiskopu Vilyenskomu i Litovskomu Elevferiu ot 2 noiabria 1927 g. (Commentary on the letter of Archbishop John of Riga and Latvia to Archbishop Eleutherius of Vilnius and Latvia)", Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), №№ 3-4, May-June-July-August, 1992, pp. 56-57 (in Russian).

[10] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 320-321.

[11] Monk Gorazd, op. cit.. At the beginning of the Second World War, Metropolitan Dositheus was imprisoned and tortured in Zagreb, and died on January 13, 1945 without returning to consciousness. See “Novij sviashchenno-ispovyednik Dosifej mitropolit Zagrebskij (New Hieroconfessor Dositheus, Metropolitan of Zagreb)”, Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Rus’), № 7 (1628), April 1/14, 1999, p. 3 (in Russian).

[12] Archbishop John, "The Decline of the Patriarchate of Constantinople", The Orthodox Word, vol. 8, no. 4 (45), July-August, 1972, p. 175.

[13] Cited in Bishop Photius, op. cit., p. 42.

[14] See Monk Gorazd, op. cit.

[15] Quoted in Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky), Zhizneopisanie Blazhennejshago Antonia, Mitropolita Kievskago i Galitskago (Life of his Beatitude Anthony, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich), Eastern American and Canadian diocese, 1960, vol. VI, pp. 161-163 (in Russian).

[16] Sokurova, O.B. Nekolyebimij Kamen’ Tserkvi (The Unshakeable Rock of the Church), St. Petersburg: “Nauka”, 1998, p. 32 (in Russian).

[17] Goutzidis, op. cit., p. 76.

[18] Cited in Bishop Photius, op. cit., p. 40.

[19] Goutzidis, op. cit., pp. 74-78.

[20] However, an Anglican hierarch, Charles Gore of Oxford, was allowed to attend one of the sessions and was treated with great honour.

[21] “Oecumenical Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis)”, Orthodox Tradition, vol. XVII, 2 & 3, 2000, p. 9.

[22] Monk Paul, Neoimerologitismos-Oikoumenismos (Newcalendarism-Ecumenism), Athens, 1982, pp. 72-73.

[23] Dionysius Batistes, Praktika-Apophaseis tou en Kon/polei Panorthodoxou Synedriou 1923 (The Decisions of the Pan-Orthodox Congress of 1923 in Constantinople), 1982, p. 57 (G).

[24] Soldatov, "Pravoslavie i Ekumenizm (Orthodoxy and Ecumenism)”, Mirianin (The Layman), July-August, 1992, p. 8 (in Russian).

[25] Pravoslavie ili Smert', № 1, 1997, p. 6 (in Russian).

[26] The newspapers Khronos (20 March, 1949) and Orthodoxos Typos (December, 1968), cited in Hieromonk Theodoretus (Mavros), Palaion kai Neon (The Old and the New), p. 21.

[27] "The Russian Orthodox Church in the System of Contemporary Christianity", in A. Preobrazhensky (ed.), The Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow: Progress, 1988, p. 387.

[28] Ulrich Duckrow, Conflict over the Ecumenical Movement, Geneva: The World Council of Churches, 1981, pp. 31, 310.

[29] Full text in Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, № 1, Spring, 1966, pp. 49-50.

[30] Eastern Churches Review, vol. I, № 1, Spring, 1966, p. 50.

[31] Full text in Ivan Ostroumoff, The History of the Council of Florence, pp. 193-199.

[32] Vitaly, "Ekumenizm (Ecumenism)", Pravoslavnij Vestnik (The Orthodox Herald), June, 1969, pp. 14-30; Moskva (Moscow), 1991, № 9, p. 149 (in Russian).

[33] Athenagoras (Kokkinakis), The Thyateira Confession, London, 1975, p. 61.

[34] “Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Movement”, Orthodox Christian Witness, October 27 / November 9, 1997, p. 2.

[35] Newsletter of the Foreign Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, January-March, 1981, p. 2.

[36] See Archbishop Vitaly, "The 1983 Sobor of Bishops", Orthodox Christian Witness, August 20 / September 2, 1984, p. 4.

[37] Perepiolkina, Ecumenism – A Path to Perdition, St. Petersburg, 1999, p. 251.

[38] Perepiolkina, op. cit., p. 252.

[39] Metropolitan Calliopius of Pentapolis, Prodosia tis Orthodoxias (Betrayal of Orthodoxy), Piraeus, 1991 (in Greek); O Pharos tis Orthodoxias (The Lighthouse of Orthodoxy), October, 1991, № 66, p. 120 (in Greek); Monk Isaac, "Commentary on the latest recommendations of the Joint Commission for theological dialogue between the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches", Orthodox Life, vol. 42, № 3, May-June, 1991; "Dossier sur les Accords de Chambésy entre Monophysites et Orthodoxes (Dossier on the Agreements of Chambésy between the Monophysites and the Orthodox)", La Lumière du Thabor (The Light of Tabor), № 31, 1991 (in French).

[40] Patriarch Bartholomew, Address at Emory University at the Presidential Medal award ceremony, October 31, 1997.

[41] See "A Contemporary Patristic Document", Orthodox Christian Witness, November 14/27, 1983, p. 3; "Encyclical Letter of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia", Orthodox Life, vol. 33, № 6, November-December, 1983, p. 13; Bishop Hilarion of Manhattan, "Answers to Questions Posed by the Faithful of the Orthodox Parish in Somerville, South Carolina", Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, 1992.

[42] “Iskazhenie dogmata 'O edinstve Tserkvi' v ispovedaniakh very Sinodom i Soborom Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitesj (The Distortion of the dogma ‘on the Unity of the Church’ in the confessions of faith by the Synod and Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad)” (in Russian).

[43] Fr. Steven Allen, “NFTU: True Orthodox and Ecumenism News: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Blesses the End of Ramadan”, September 29, 2009.

 

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