A clear picture of Ecumenism

 

A clear picture of Ecumenism

18 March 2017

Dear Βrothers and Sisters in Christ,

An Ecumenistic gathering. Photo source

On the “Sunday of Orthodoxy”, our Church celebrates the victory of the Orthodox faith against its enemies, the iconoclasts, because they wanted to remove the holy icons from our churches and destroy them. Who were these enemies? They were “Orthodox” kings, bishops and patriarchs. 1

The struggle of the Church against heresies is not finished.

Almost 100 years ago a new heresy appeared within the Church—the heresy of Ecumenism—which is insidious, and threatens to completely destroy her today, as Iconoclasm did in the past.

What is Ecumenism?

I will not tell you. I will let a great Saint of our day, the Serbian Archimandrite, Saint Justin Popović tell you about it:

Saint Justin (Popović)

Saint Justin (Popović)

Ecumenism is a common name for the pseudo-christianities, for the pseudo-churches of Western Europe. Within it is the heart of all European humanisms led by the Papacy. All these pseudo-christianities, all these pseudo-churches are nothing more than one heresy next to the other. Their common name is pan-heresy. 2

The great contemporary apologist of Orthodoxy, known to all, Metropolitan of Piraeus Seraphim explains further what Ecumenism is:

The Satan-led and fetid pan-heresy of Ecumenism adopts and legitimizes all heresies as “churches” and attacks the uniqueness, exclusivity and dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. A new doctrine of the Church has now grown, is being taught and is imposed by the Ecumenists; a new ecclesiology, according to which no group can claim exclusively the character of “Catholic and true Church”—whether heretics, or even the Orthodox Church. Every heresy, even the Orthodox Church, is only a piece, a part of this new Ecumenist “church,” and not the entire Church. All together these heresies with the Orthodox Church compose the new Ecumenist Church. 3

metropolitan-seraphim-piraeus

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus

Metropolitan Seraphim continues in the same text, explaining what the aim of Ecumenism is:

As globalization on a political level wants to unite the world and make a world government, a global e-government, a world currency, a global economy, so Ecumenism on a religious level wants to unite all religions (inter-religious Ecumenism) and all heresies (inter-Christian Ecumenism) into a world religion, ignoring and marginalizing the huge, gigantic and chaotic dogmatic differences, and destroy from its foundation the dogmas and the faith of the Orthodox Church.

And he presents the final evaluation of Ecumenism:

Ecumenism is the greatest ecclesiological heresy of all time, because it equalizes all religions and faiths.

Working to unite. Photo source

How is it being accomplished?

But how it is possible to circumvent the profound differences that exist between the “churches” and the religions? In what way does Ecumenism seek to accomplish a feat that seems impossible? Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew promotes this monstrosity in this way: The first step is to unite the “churches.” The unifying link is the “common baptism” of all Christians. As long as we accept that we are all baptized, we all belong to the same “Mega-Church.” Baptismal theology is the basis of Ecumenism. However the engine that powers it is (purportedly) love, which is also the unifying link to unite all religions.

Patriarch Bartholomew’s plan is to unite first with the Pope, whom he accepts as a canonical Hierarch of the Church. His desire is to unite their “churches,” with no change in their faith or worship. The union will take place by a simple recognition that they constitute two “sister Churches,” united in love.

For the last fifty years the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope have not only been dialoguing, they have also been acting. Their common prayers, according to the canons of the Orthodox Church, are forbidden. However this does not stop our Patriarch who has been praying not only with heretical Christians but also with people from many other faiths. His bishops are doing the same in order not to be left behind.

We don’t agree with them, and we distance ourselves from them. We no longer follow them or obey them, because they are betrayers of the faith and they ought to be condemned as heretics by an Orthodox Synod. We cannot wait for such Synod to convene. We wall ourselves from them now, that is, we cease to have communion with them.

“We shall not deny you, beloved Orthodoxy,
nor shall we lie to you, time-honored reverence,
We were born in you, we live in you, and we shall die in you.
And if time shall call us,
we shall sacrifice a thousand times our lives for you.”

Monk Joseph Vriennios
Spiritual Father of St. Mark of Ephesus, + ca. 1435

Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis
Sunday of Orthodoxy, 2017

  1. …who in the Synod of Hiereia in 754 (which they proclaimed to be Ecumenical!) condemned the veneration of icons!

    Thirty-three years later, in 787, a new Synod convened in Nicaea, which condemned the un-Orthodox Synod, and reinstated in the churches and the homes of Christians the holy images (those that were left, which were not destroyed), so that we may worship God the Word Who became man like us for our sake. Therefore we may, actually we must, depict Him, because He was not a ghost, but a real person with skin and bones.

    (Parenthetically let me say that the Protestants do not have icons in their places of worship, which are naked and graceless. Roman Catholics have statues, which our Church does not allow, because they remind us of idols. Although they also have icons, they keep them high, and they don’t venerate them. Indeed, emperor Charlemagne in 794 (only 7 years after the Council of Nicaea) called a Synod in Frankfurt condemning the decisions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the veneration of the holy icons! Eighty-five years later, in 879, a Synod that many Orthodox accept as the Eighth Ecumenical Council condemned this pseudo-synod.)

  2. St. Justin Popovich, “Humanistic Ecumenism” in Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, by Father Justin Popovich, trans. by Asterios Gerostergios (Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1994), p. 169. Also quoted here: “Papism as the Oldest Protestantism”
  3. Source. Translated by Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis.

Article graphics and editing: Tony Hatzidakis

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Comments
  • Joan Swan18 March 2017
    Reply

    Fr. Bless,

    If you cannot propose solutions, other than posturing, as to what the Faifhful can do, to whom we can go, in my humble opinion, you are fueling the fires, to no avail. If you, yourself, are so disappointed with the GOC, why haven’t you gone to another jurisdiction, or is there none to go to? Are they all infected with this heresy? I know you won’t go with the Russians, as Kyrill is no longer the bastion of Orthodoxy, if you ever thought he was, because of his signing that joint declaration with the pope. However, a world of difference between him and the EP. I didn’t see Kyrill at Assisi or at the installation mass of Francis. I know he sent Hilarion of Volokolamsk as a delegate, a grave mistake in my opinion. I would humbly ask you to propose solutions to this problem. Thank you.

    • Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis18 March 2017
      Reply

      Dear Joan,

      Thanks for your remarks. Below are mine.

      If you cannot propose solutions, other than posturing, as to what the Faithful can do, to whom we can go, in my humble opinion, you are fueling the fires, to no avail.

      I don’t have solutions on my fingertips. I address problems, warn of wrong solutions and I propose any good solutions as, if, and when I become aware of any.

      If you, yourself, are so disappointed with the GOC, why haven’t you gone to another jurisdiction, or is there none to go to? Are they all infected with this heresy?

      As you yourself perceive, the choices are limited. When the fog is so dense we cannot see ahead, stay still, till it clears. It always does.

      I know you won’t go with the Russians, as Kyrill is no longer the bastion of Orthodoxy, if you ever thought he was, because of his signing that joint declaration with the pope. However, a world of difference between him and the EP. I didn’t see Kyrill at Assisi or at the installation mass of Francis. I know he sent Hilarion of Volokolamsk as a delegate, a grave mistake in my opinion.

      No, I won’t. You don’t seem to be aware of my post, “The Fall of the Third Rome: Moscow Capitulates to Papism“. Even of greater disappointment than Moscow is ROCOR.

      Did not St. Mark of Ephesus stand alone at the Ferrara-Florence council, with the Greeks and the Russians capitulating, thus effectively effecting unity, although temporary?

      He did, and so do we. Stand up, then, even when you think you are alone. You are not. The Lord will reveal His people.

      I would humbly ask you to propose solutions to this problem.

      I will, when I will have one. It’ll be soon.

      If I am incorrect, please forgive me and cite your source. Thank you.

      You are correct in everything you said. Persevere.

  • Theodore18 March 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for writing this. I too am against ecumenism. Why would anyone want to unite with such a diseased state. I do however have a questioned about baptism. Many orthodox bishops accept the Catholic churchs baptism. Is the baptism valid.? It is obivious their path to salvation is not. It is scholastic not hesychistic.

    • Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis18 March 2017
      Reply

      Dear Theodore,

      Thanks for your input.

      The baptism of Roman Catholics is not the “one baptism” we confess in the Creed, because it is not administered by a priest in the prescribed way: triple immersion.

      What of those cases when they have been admitted to the Church with Chrismation or confession of faith or whatever? The bishops and priests of the Church will give an account of their ill-thought actions, but those they admitted are “in”. There are those who request the true baptism after their admission as a matter of conscience. Send them to me.

  • Athanasios Boeker19 March 2017
    Reply

    Outstanding article!

  • Micke Stensson20 March 2017
    Reply

    Thank you Fr Emmanuel !

  • Makis20 March 2017
    Reply

    Fr. bless! I fear we are missing the most important point when we focus on the outward signes of heterodox baptism. When someone comes to the Ark of Salvation, i.e. when that person converts to Holy Orthodoxy, I suppose in his heart he has completely renounced his former errors and is convinced he has found “the pearl of great price”. Why would he not want to be bapitised?? And when we from our side say we are ORTHOdox, how on earth can we accept a heretical baptism as valid?

  • Seraphim16 December 2017
    Reply

    Dear Father,

    I was troubled by this article, as it seemed to have several inconsistencies and inaccuracies:

    -“Ecumenism” properly speaking, does not refer to a teaching, but a practice of dialogue with other Christians- it is distinguished, by both Catholics and Orthodox, from inter-religious dialogue which does not have full communion as its goal. I see no evidence at all that the Ecumenical Patriarch has as his goal the equalizing of all Christian confessions and even all religions. At the 2016 Council, the text concerning the relation of the Orthodox Church to other Christian confessions opened by identifying the Orthodox Church as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This certainly does not seem like the relativism described in this article. Rather, it follows the writings of Fr. Georges Florovsky, now well known, particularly his “Limits of the Church.” In this piece, Florovsky states that the Church of Christ finds its concrete realization in the Orthodox Church- yet, in some strange way, the Church of Christ makes herself truly present outside of the canonical boundaries of the Church. This does not deny the Orthodox Church the integrity as the Una Sancta of the Creed- it rather states that there are degrees of ecclesiality. One might disagree with this vision, but it is not the crude relativism being described here. Moreover, let us not forget that Elder Sophrony Sakharov, revered today across the Orthodox world, corresponded extensively with Fr. Florovsky and asked that he “keep me on the Royal Road of the Fathers.” He discussed many issues- including this question- with Fr. Florovsky and stated that the fullness of grace belongs to the Orthodox Church- yet grace is present in other Christian confessions to varying degrees. Likewise, St. Justin Popovic- his own negative views of ecumenism being well known- stated that Fr. Florovsky was a deisis on Orthodox theology. And we must not forget the formative role that St. Philaret of Moscow played on Florovsky’s ecclesiology- St. Philaret going so far to describe Western Christianity as a wounded limb of Christ’s Body. Finally, Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, who cooperated with Fr. Arsenie Boca the Wonderworker to translate the Philokalia into Romanian, states in his Dogmatic Theology the same position as Florovsky- that the Church of Christ finds its concrete existence as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in the Orthodox Church- and yet is truly sacramentally operative outside of her canonical boundaries. Fr. Staniloae had, at certain points in his life, the prayer of the heart.

    If we are to condemn this view as heresy, then we number not only the Ecumenical Patriarch with the heretics, but also St. Philaret, Elder Sophrony, and Fr. Staniloae- not to mention the other Saints who apparently did not consider Fr. Florovsky to be a heretic.

    -As to the question of Baptism, it does not appear to me credible to claim that the normative practice of the Church is to baptize all converts, with reception by chrismation being an occasional dispensation due to oikonomia. Consider, as a prime witness, the Commonitorium of St. Vincent of Lerins, the source of the famous Vincentian canon of Orthodox faith: “Always, everywhere, and by all.” As an example of this rule of thumb, St. Vincent points to the controversy between St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome concerning reception of the heterodox into the Church. St. Vincent writes that the Church in his day universally had adopted St. Stephen’s practice- that is, those baptized in the Trinitarian form outside of the Church would be received by chrismation or confession. Far from being a dispensation due to oikonomia, St. Vincent points to this as the universal and obligatory practice of the Church Catholic. The letters of St. Leo of Rome reveal the same- he utterly forbade baptizing those who had already been baptized in the Trinitarian form outside the Church, calling it a defilement of the baptismal font. This practice, witnessed in the first canon of St. Basil the Great (the passage often cited by those in favor of the Cyprianic position is out of context- St. Basil is there describing the arguments of St. Cyprian and the reasons that Cyprian cited, but he goes onto legislate reception by chrismation or confession for those already baptized), was received ecumenically at the Council of Trullo. Economy is a relaxation of the strict letter of the canons for pastoral purposes- reception by chrismation or confession simply cannot be economy when the canons actually prescribe it.

    3. Finally, and perhaps most gravely, you describe the position held by the Ecumenical Patriarch as the greatest ecclesiological heresy of all time. The position of the Ecumenical Patriarch concerning the reality of sacraments outside the canonical boundaries of the Church is by far the most common practice in the Orthodox world- the sole exceptions being essentially the Church of Greece, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (which adopted it relatively recently, in the 1970s), and the Church of Jerusalem. If you are correct that this is the greatest ecclesiological heresy of all time, then virtually the entire Church is in apostasy. If that is indeed the case, then one cannot simply speak on the Internet about severing communion. One must actually do it. I am pleased that you- as well as those who hold your position- have not in fact done so. But I cannot see how this is consistent.

    Forgive me for any offense caused, and asking your blessing,
    Seraphim

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