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Ecumenism: Origins, History, Goals, etc.

A Sombra

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    I have noticed that in discussions of different topics that end up involving Ecumenism on this Forum, it does not seem that it is something that is well understood, nor does it seem that it is understood in relation to the Dogmas, Councils and Traditions of the Orthodox Church. Hopefully, having "Ecumenism" as a topic on the Forum will, at least, make it understood a little bit better than it seems it is here.
    I hope the sniping and nonsense can be kept to a minimum- on the part of all involved, thank you.
    I will first present a Traditional Orthodox view of Ecumenism, and then also present a pro-WCC view. Other materials will be presented, I ask anyone to present pertinent materials. Hopefully, everyone can learn something.
 

buzuxi

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Forget about a traditional point of view of Ecumenism (where no boundaries are defined and even being photographed alongside a heterodox makes you an ecumenist) and forget about a pro-WCC pont of view(heretical) -lets present the Orthodox point of view.

I'll start: The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Fathers, there simply is no other. Any dialogues should always keep this in mind, and the best way to convey this to the heterodox party, is refraining from con-celebrating with them.

 

LBK

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For this thread to make any sense, "ecumenism" has to be clearly defined. Define what you mean by "ecumenism", A Sombra, and then the thread may have some meaning and context. Ecumenism spans the spectrum of "never set foot in a non-Orthodox church, do not associate socially with the non-Orthodox, and don't allow marriage between Orthodox and non-Orthodox", to "all faiths lead to God and salvation", and a myriad of positions in between.

Define what you mean by "ecumenism", and then the thread will (hopefully) be useful.
 

Aristocles

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LOL! We've tried so many times to address exactly that -definition of 'ecumenism'. Unfortunately it seems to be the quickest way to kill a topic.
This time we need to address what is ecumenism vs. false ecumenism (another term bandied about).
 

A Sombra

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Saint Maximos the Confessor- "I write these things not wishing to cause distress to the heretics or to rejoice in their ill treatment—God forbid; but, rather, rejoicing and being gladdened at their return. For what is more pleasing to the Faithful than to see the scattered children of God gathered again as one? Neither do I exhort you to place harshness above the love of men. May I not be so mad! I beseech you to do and to carry out good to all men with care and assiduity, becoming all things to all men, as the need of each is shown to you; I want and pray you to be wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics only in regard to cooperating with them or in any way whatever supporting their deranged belief. For I reckon it misanthropy and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted."
(Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 91 col. 465c).

 These words of Saint Maximos the Confessor seem to be a good introduction to a discussion on Ecumenism. So often we hear about being loving and charitable towards those of other religions. But, what should this charity and love consist of? Should love be shown by never telling these people anything "negative" about their path? Does charity mean we should encourage them in their practice of their respective faiths? The world tells us that, yes, we must avoid any negativity whatsoever, and simply encourage people in their faiths, no matter what they be. The quote from Saint Maximos the Confessor is completely anachronistic today, as it seems the concept of "heresy" is no longer a valid concept-and the possibility that "heretics" might even exist is seen as a ridiculous and hateful idea to hold.
 Someone on this Forum asked recently, "When was ecumenism condemned as a heresy by an Orthodox Council?" When such questions are asked, I sincerely wonder if those who ask have any idea whatsoever about just exactly what Ecumenism is, and what it believes. The WCC is today, and has been for some time, the epitome of the Ecumenist organization; it basically developed the entirety of Ecumenist belief and practice. One of the beliefs of Ecumenism is that the Church of Christ, because of the imperfections of humans, does not yet fully exist; and it can only exist in the future, when humanity can learn to accept the beliefs of all into an all inclusive "Church." This is why Ecumenism has been explained as a "Panheresy:"

  "Ecumenism is the heresy of heresies, because until now every separate heresy in the history of the Church has striven itself to stand in the place of the true Church, while the ecumenical movement, having united all heresies, invites them all together to honor themselves as the one true Church. Here ancient Arianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Iconoclasm, Pelagianism, and simply every possible superstition of the contemporary sects under completely different names, have united and charge to assault the Church. This phenomenon is undoubtedly of an apocalyptic character. The devil has fought in turn, almost in sequence, with Christ's Truth set forth in the Nicaean Symbol of Faith, and has come now to the final and most vitally important paragraph of the Creed: "I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." We say the most important, because all the truths set forth in the Creed are brought into life in the final paragraph, are realized in the Church of Christ, Which gives us not only the true Orthodox Teaching, but also grace-bestowing power to realize these truths, to live by them, only in the Church and through the Church." http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/vitaly.aspx

    The above quote is from a report to the 1967 Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia delivered by then Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinov, 18 Mar 1910-12/23 Sep 2006)-"Already at the Bishops' Council in 1967, Vladika Vitaly delivered a ground-breaking report, revealing the danger of the ecumenical movement. This report became a classic anti-ecumenical document, to this day used as a great authority by believers both in Russia and abroad." http://www.russian-inok.org/page.php?page=english3&dir=english&month=0407

    Some of the documents of the WCC may illustrate the above:

"The relationship between the reception of the results of theological convergence into changed lives and mutual recognition was acknowledged in The Canberra Statement - "The Church as Koinonia: Gift and Calling", when it declared: "The goal of the search for full communion is realized when all the churches are able to recognize in one another the one, holy , catholic and apostolic church in its fullness" and express this in a reconciled common life."
http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-commissions/faith-and-order-commission/i-unity-the-church-and-its-mission/previous-stage-the-nature-and-purpose-of-the-church-a-stage-on-the-way-to-a-common-statement/the-nature-and-purpose-of-the-church-a-stage-on-the-way-to-a-common-statement.html#c10825

"It will be necessary to take these questions into serious consideration if we are to facilitate the movement from common affirmation concerning the Church, through an increasingly agreed understanding of these affirmations, to an even greater recognition of ecclesial reality in other communities than our own, and finally to the need and possibility of establishing, full, visible communion." ibid.

"The Church is the community of people called by God who, through the Holy Spirit, are united with Jesus Christ and sent as disciples to bear witness to God's reconciliation, healing and transformation of creation. The Church's relation to Christ entails that faith and community require discipleship in the sense of moral commitment. The integrity of the mission of the Church, therefore, is at stake in witness through proclamation and in concrete actions for justice, peace and integrity of creation." ibid.

"There is no single pattern of conferring ministry in the New Testament. The Spirit has at different times led the Church to adapt its ministries to contextual needs; various forms of the ordained ministry have been blessed with gifts of the Spirit. The threefold ministry of bishop, presbyter and deacon was by the third century the generally accepted pattern and is still retained by many churches today, though subsequently it underwent considerable changes in its practical exercise and is still changing in most churches today.
The chief responsibility of the ordained ministry is to assemble and build up the Body of Christ by proclaiming and teaching the Word of God, by celebrating baptism and the Lord's Supper and by guiding the life of the community in its worship and its mission. The whole Church and every member, served by the ordained ministry, participates in the faithful communication of the Gospel. Essential to its testimony are not merely its words, but the love of its members for one another, the quality of its service to those in need, a just and disciplined life and its fair distribution and exercise of power.
The primary manifestation of apostolic succession is to be found in the apostolic tradition of the Church as a whole. In the course of history, the Church has developed several means for the handing on of apostolic truth through time, in different circumstances and cultural contexts: the scriptural canon, dogma, liturgical order, structures wider than the level of local communities. The ministry of the ordained is to serve in a specific way the apostolic continuity of the Church as a whole. In this context, succession in ministry is a means of serving the apostolic continuity of the Church. This is focused in the act of ordination when the Church as a whole, through its ordained ministers, takes part in the act of ordaining those chosen for the ministry of the Word and sacrament." ibid.

"Let us listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches! I urge you to re-commit yourselves to this journey towards unity and participate in the Called to be the One Church process." http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/speeches/02-05-07-called-to-be-one.html

  The "One Church" spoken of above is obviously NOT the Orthodox Church . . . the membership of the WCC illustrates those churches that the WCC speaks of above, those churches that the Orthodox will someday be "able to recognize in one another the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in its fullness." (see above) Below is a list of the WCC members:

"The WCC is a fellowship of churches, now 349 in more than 110 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions." http://www.oikoumene.org/en/home.html

 The members of the WCC reflect the different "families" of Christianity:
African Instituted churches
Anglican churches
Baptist churches
The Catholic church
Disciples of Christ / Churches of Christ
Evangelical churches
Friends (Quakers)
Holiness churches
Lutheran churches
Mennonite churches
Methodist churches
Moravian churches
Old-Catholic churches
Orthodox churches (Eastern)
Orthodox churches (Oriental)
Pentecostal churches
Reformed churches
The Salvation Army
Seventh-day Adventist Church
United and Uniting churches
Free and independent churches
http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches.html

   Hopefully this will serve as a brief introduction to Ecumenism as well as the outlook of Traditional Orthodoxy on Ecumenism.
 

A Sombra

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Why not some depicitons of what the Ecumenical movement seeks to do as well as what it has done, and then possibly Orthodox responses to those things.  I have seen too much of, from the Traditionalist Orthodox side-"Ecumenism is bad, " with all communication stopped there immediately as the World Orthodox, Official Orthodox, Ecumenist Orthodox-whatever you want to call them-jump in with "So you are saying the Patriarch is bad," and then it degenerates from there.
Definition of Ecumenism? Whose? That is, no doubt the problem you have had on the Forum here. Maybe some illustrations of Ecumenist activities, WCC rules, etc., as well as the Orthodox response could be helpful.

One problem I have seen on this Forum is that one person will post something, then the next person simply posts a mishmash of nasty comments and things having nothing to do with the first post; then someone else follows up with another not very relevant post; then somehow, someone else posts something that turns the conversation onto a completely different topic...the recently locked topic about "how do believers start thier own jurisdictions" ended up as a sort of argument about the history of Greek Old Calendarism! As stiff and restrictive and uptight as the rules on this forum are, and as arbitrary and narrow-minded as some of the moderators seem to be, the Forum certainly turns out some free-for-all mobody knows where its going topics!
 

Heorhij

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I am no expert, but the way I see it:

1. Of couse we should always maintain that we are the only true Church, there is no other, and we will never deviate from our faith just because we want all Christians to be united.

2. The above does not rule out the possibility and the necessity of talks with the Heterodox Christians.

3. In these talks, we should explain to others who we are, and also take a more critical, non-triumphalist look at ourselves, which will result in our own improvement and, possibly, God willing, in an influx of people into our Church.

Summary: ecumenism is a very good thing. :)
 

lubeltri

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A Sombra said:
Below is a list of the WCC members:

"The WCC is a fellowship of churches, now 349 in more than 110 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions." http://www.oikoumene.org/en/home.html

  The members of the WCC reflect the different "families" of Christianity:
African Instituted churches
Anglican churches
Baptist churches
The Catholic church
Disciples of Christ / Churches of Christ
Evangelical churches
Friends (Quakers)
Holiness churches
Lutheran churches
Mennonite churches
Methodist churches
Moravian churches
Old-Catholic churches
Orthodox churches (Eastern)
Orthodox churches (Oriental)
Pentecostal churches
Reformed churches
The Salvation Army
Seventh-day Adventist Church
United and Uniting churches
Free and independent churches
http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches.html
The Catholic Chuch (meaning that Church united under Jesus Christ and his vicar, the Roman Pontiff) is not and has never been a member of the World Council of Churches.
 

ozgeorge

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Αριστοκλής said:
LOL! We've tried so many times to address exactly that -definition of 'ecumenism'.
That's true! We even have a thread dealing directly with this issue: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9862.0.html

I think we're going to keep stumbling on this block until we (as a Church) do manage to get a clear definition.

 

ozgeorge

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lubeltri said:
The Catholic Chuch (meaning that Church united under Jesus Christ and his vicar, the Roman Pontiff) is not and has never been a member of the World Council of Churches.
It has observer status.
 

Anastasios

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Heorhij said:
I am no expert, but the way I see it:

1. Of couse we should always maintain that we are the only true Church, there is no other, and we will never deviate from our faith just because we want all Christians to be united.

2. The above does not rule out the possibility and the necessity of talks with the Heterodox Christians.

3. In these talks, we should explain to others who we are, and also take a more critical, non-triumphalist look at ourselves, which will result in our own improvement and, possibly, God willing, in an influx of people into our Church.

Summary: ecumenism is a very good thing. :)
Except, that is not what is happening. If what you describe above were what was happening (I think the Faith and Order conference which preceded the WCC worked like that) I don't think anyone would object.
 

ozgeorge

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Deacon Anastasios said:
Except, that is not what is happening. If what you describe above were what was happening (I think the Faith and Order conference which preceded the WCC worked like that) I don't think anyone would object.
I think it is happening to some degree, and I think it was the WCC itself which forced the issue by demanding that the Orthodox delegates make their ecclesiology clear, to which they responded to with the Thessaloniki Communique which states in no uncertain terms that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
 

Heracleides

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I've always found this quote from Wikipedia to be a good summary or standard of what ecumenism is or should be from an Orthodox viewpoint.  The underlined portion is something our hierarchs would do well to remember instead of engaging in all the huggy, kissy, touchie-feelie nonsense that occasionally occurs in some quarters.

"Ecumenism for the Eastern Orthodox did not begin with the Roman Catholic Second Vatican Council. It is the Eastern Orthodox churches' work to embrace estranged communions as (possibly former) beneficiaries of a common gift, and simultaneously to guard against a promiscuous and false union with them. The history of the relationship between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Oriental Orthodox churches is a case in point. Likewise, the Eastern Orthodox have been leaders in the Interfaith movement, and some Orthodox patriarchs enlisted their communions as charter members of the World Council of Churches. Nevertheless, the Orthodox have not been willing to participate in any redefinition of the Christian faith toward a reduced, minimal, anti-dogmatic and anti-traditional Christianity. Christianity for the Eastern Orthodox is the Church; and the Church is Orthodoxy—nothing less and nothing else. Therefore, while Orthodox ecumenism is "open to dialogue with the devil himself", the goal is to reconcile all non-Orthodox back into Orthodoxy."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism
.
 

Heorhij

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Deacon Anastasios said:
Except, that is not what is happening. If what you describe above were what was happening (I think the Faith and Order conference which preceded the WCC worked like that) I don't think anyone would object.
Father Deacon, I was referring to an "ideal picture," to what "should" be happening rather than to what is happening.
 

buzuxi

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I think we can all agree that the Orthodox churches should quit the WCC. The WCC vision as outlined in their constitution does not view the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, as we do. Instead they envision the church in a protestant light with all the varying member congregations are in some way grafted onto the one church.

The WCC maintains that member churches are there- not too change anyone to their dogma, but to learn from each other and discover the "diversity" of Christianity. Another words "divisions" should be replaced with the term "diversity" and a true "unity of faith" should take a back seat to the "rich diversity of faith" found in the christian religion.  For this, there is no reason to continue in the WCC.

Aside from the WCC, I think the most enlightening document in Orthodoxy concerning guidelines for our participation in ecumenism, establishing healthy ecumenism over false ecumenism was issued in 1980 by the Holy Mountain, this document includes meaningful advice about participating in these dialogues which are never mentioned. For instance it makes mention that in these talks the best Orthodox theologians should be used (which is rarely the case). That the Orthodox should exhibit "no haste" in these dialogues and  harbor no optimism as seen from past attempts (ie, council of florence).
I think even the most anti-ecumenist would welcome such a document since representatives from the brotherhood of Esphigmenou participated in its drafting.
Here is the epistle:
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/athos.aspx





 

A Sombra

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True Orthodoxy
by +ARCHBISHOP AVERKY
of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery

Few people today know that the Orthodox Church is nothing less than that Church which has preserved untainted the genuine teachings of Jesus Christ, the very teachings delivered to every subsequent generation of believers. These teachings came down the centuries, from the Holy Apostles, explicated and carefully interpreted by their legitimate successors (their disciples and the holy Fathers), traditioned and conserved unaltered by our Eastern Church which is alone able to prove her right to be called "the Orthodox Church."

The divine Founder of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, said clearly, "I will build my Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her" (St. Matt xvi, 18). To the Church, He sent the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended upon the Apostles, the Spirit of Truth (St. John xv, 16f) Who "manifests all things" to Her and guides Her (St. John xvi, 13), protecting Her from error. Indeed, it was to declare this Truth to men that the Lord came into the cosmos, according to His own words (St. John xviii, 31). And Saint Paul confirms this fact in his letter to his pupil, the bishop Timothy, saying that, "the Church of the living God is the ground and pillar of the Truth" (I Tim iii, 15).

Because She is "the ground and pillar of the Truth," "the gates of Hell cannot prevail against Her." It follows, then, that the true Christian Church—palpably unique since Christ established but one Church—has always existed on earth and will exist to the end of time. She has received the promise of Christ, "I will be with you even unto the end of the age." Can there be the slightest doubt that the Lord refers here to the Church? Any honest and sane judgment, any act of good conscience, anyone familiar with the history of the Christian Church, the pure and unaltered moral and theological teachings of the Christian religion, must confess that there was but one true Church founded by our Lord, Jesus Christ, and that She has preserved His Truth holy and unchanged. History reveals, moreover, a traceable link of grace from the holy Apostles to their successors and to the holy Fathers. In contrast to what others have done, the Orthodox Church has never introduced novelties into Her teachings in order to "keep up with the times", to be "progressive", "not to be left at the side of the road," or to accommodate current exigencies and fashions which are always suffused with evil. The Church never conforms to the world.

Indeed not, for the Lord has said to his disciples at the Last Supper, "You are not of this world." We must hold to these words if we are to remain faithful to true Christianity—the true Church of Christ has always been, is and will always be a stranger to this world. Separated from it, she is able to transmit the divine teachings of the Lord unchanged, because that separation has kept Her unchanged, that is, like the immutable God Himself. That which the learned call "conservativism" is a principal and, perhaps, most characteristic index of the true Church.

Since the TRUTH is given to us once and for all, our task is to assimilate rather than to discover it. We are commanded to confirm ourselves and others in the Truth and thereby bring everyone to the true Faith, Orthodoxy.

Unfortunately, there have appeared in the very bosom of the Church, even among the hierarchy, opinions expressed by well-known individuals which are detrimental to Her. The desire to "march with the times" makes them fear that they will not be recognized as "cultured", "liberal" and "progressive." These modern apostates to Orthodoxy are "ashamed" to confess that our Orthodox church is precisely the Church which was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church to which appertains the great promise that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against Her," and to which He confided the plenum of divine Truth. By their deceit and false humility, by their blasphemy against the Lord, these false shepherds and those with them have been estranged from the true Church. They have given tacit expression to the idea that "the gates of Hell" have "prevailed" against the Church. In other words, these apostates say that our holy Orthodox Church is equally "at fault" for the "division of the churches" and ought now to "repent" her sins and enter into union with other "Christian churches" by means of certain concessions to them, the result being a new, indivisible church of Christ.

This is the ideology of the religious movement which has become so fashionable in our times: "The ecumenical movement" among whose number one may count Orthodox, even our clergy. For a long time, we have heard that they belong to this movement in order "to witness to the peoples of other confessions the truth of holy Orthodoxy," but it is difficult for us to believe that this statement is anything more than "throwing powder in our eyes." Their frequent theological declarations in the international press can lead us to no other conclusion than that they are traitors to the holy Truth.

As a matter of historical fact, the "ecumenical movement"—of which the WCC is the supreme organ—is an organization of purely Protestant origin. Nearly all the Orthodox Churches have joined, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia being the most notable exception. Even those churches behind the "iron curtain" have joined. For some time the Russian Patriarchate resisted, flattering herself with the purity of her Orthodoxy and quite naturally viewing this movement as hostile to Orthodoxy. She has since become a member.

The Russian Synod almost stands alone in her opposition to the "ecumenical movement." How can we explain her isolation from the rest of "global Orthodoxy"? We must understand the situation in terms of the words that "this Must take place" (St. Luke xxi, 9), that is, the "great apostasy" clearly predicted by the Lord (Sol ii, 3-12). "it is permitted by God," as [St.] Ignatius Brianchaninoff said almost a century ago. (Another spiritual father, Theophan the Recluse, announced with grief that the horrendous apostasy would begin within Russia.) [St.] Ignatius wrote: "We are helpless to arrest this apostasy. Impotent hands will have no power against it and nothing more will be required than the attempt to withold it. The spirit of the age will reveal the apostasy. Study it, if you wish to avoid it, if you wish to escape this age and the temptation of its spirits. One can suppose, too, that the institution of the Church which has been tottering for so long will fall terribly and suddenly. Indeed, no one is able to stop or prevent it. The present means to sustain the institutional Church are borrowed from the elements of the world, things inimical to the Church, and the consequence will be only to accelerate its fall. Nevertheless, the Lord protects the elect and their limited number will be filled."

The Enemy of humanity makes every effort and uses all means to confound it. Aid comes to him through the total co-operation of all the secret and invisible heterodox, especially those priests and bishops who betray their high calling and oath, the true faith and the true Church.

Repudiation of and preservation from the apostasy which has made such enormous progress demands that we stand apart from the spirit of the age (which bears the seeds of its own destruction). If we expect to withstand the world, it is first necessary to understand it and keep sensitively in mind that in this present age all that which carries the most holy and dear name of Orthodoxy is not in fact Orthodox. Rather, it is often "A fraudulent and usurped Orthodoxy" which we must fear and eschew as if it were fire. Unlike this spurious faith, true Orthodoxy was given and must be received without novelty and nothing must be accepted as a teaching or practice of the Church which is contrary to the Holy Scriptures and the dogma of the Universal Church. True Orthodoxy thinks only to serve god and to save souls and is not preoccupied with the secular and ephemeral welfare of men. True Orthodoxy is spiritual and not physical or psychological or earthly. In order to protect ourselves from "the spirit of the age" and preserve our fidelity to the true Orthodoxy, we ought firstly and with all our strength live blamelessly: A total and rigorous commitment to Christ, without deviation from the commandments of God or the laws of His holy Church. At the same time, we must have no common prayer or spiritual liaison with the modern apostasy or with anything which "soils" our holy Faith, even those dissidents who call themselves "Orthodox." They will go their way and we will go ours. We must be honorable and tenacious, following the right way, never deviating in order to please men or from fear that we might lose some personal advantage.

The sure path to perdition is indifference and the lack of principles which is euphemistically called "the larger view." In opposition to this "larger view" we put the "rigor of ideas" which, in modernity, it is fashionable to label "narrow" and "fanatical." To be sure, if one adopts the "modern mentality," one must consider the holy martyrs—whose blood is "the cement of the Church"—and the Church Fathers—who struggled all their lives against heretics—as nothing less than "narrow" and "fanatical." In truth, there is little difference between "the broad way" against which the Lord warned and the modem "larger view." He condemned the "broad way" as the way to "gehenna."

Of course, the idea of "gehenna" holds no fear for those "liberals" and avant-garde theologians. They may smugly "theologize" about it, but in rashly and wantonly discussing "the new ways of Orthodox theology" and acquiring a number of disciples, they give evidence that they no longer believe in the existence of Hell. This new breed of "Orthodox" are really no more than modem "scholastics."

In other words, the way of these "progressivists" is not our way. Their way is deceptive, and it is unfortunate that it is not evident to everyone. The "broader" or "larger view" alienates us from the Lord and His true Church. It is the road away from Orthodoxy. This view is sinister, maliciously invented by the Devil in order to deny us salvation. For us, however, we accept no innovations, but choose the ancient, proven way, the way in which true Christians have chosen to serve God for 2,000 years.

We choose the way of fidelity to the true Faith and not the "modern way." We choose faithfulness to the true Church with all Her canons and dogmas which have been received and confirmed by the local and universal Councils. We choose the holy customs and traditions, the spiritual riches of that faith transmitted complete and entire to us from the Holy Apostles, the Holy Fathers of the Church, and the Christian heritage of our venerable ancestors. This alone is the faith of the true Orthodox, distinct from the counterfeit "orthodoxy" invented by the Adversary. We receive only the Apostolic Faith, the Faith of the Fathers, the Orthodox Faith.
http://www.orthodox.net/articles/true-orthodoxy.html
 

SolEX01

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From the last paragraph of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (Dallas, TX) blog On Forgiveness

In the early days of the Church, two friends lived in Antioch: a priest, Sapricius, and a layman, Nicephorus. For some reason that began to argue, and stopped speaking to one another. Meanwhile, a persecution of Christians began, and Sapricius was seized and offered the choice of sacrificing to idols or being condemned to death. Sapricius chose the latter, and the led him to his death. Nicephorus, who had sought reconciliation once before, hurried to ask forgiveness and be reconciled with the martyr. Meeting him on the way to the place of execution, he fell at his knees and begged, "Martyr of Christ, forgive me". Sapricius did not answer him, and turned away. This was repeated several times. Nicephorus followed him to the place of execution, and once again fervently asked his forgiveness, but Sapricius remained unmoved. And what happened?

At the very last minute, from fear of the punishment, Sapricius denied Christ and agreed to offer sacrifice to the idols. The words of the apostle John were fulfilled in him: "He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes" (1 Jn 2:11). Nicephorus, on the other hand, fearlessly confessed himself to be a Christian, and received a martyr's crown.


Replace Sapricius and Nicephorus with your Hierarchs or canonical Orthodox Hierarchs like the EP, MP, etc.  Imagine the above scenario and hopefully one will discover who was the true Orthodox Christian.  ;)

Redacted last 4 words regarding heresy which was a general comment not directed at anyone.
 

PeterTheAleut

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SolEX01 said:
From the last paragraph of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (Dallas, TX) blog On Forgiveness

In the early days of the Church, two friends lived in Antioch: a priest, Sapricius, and a layman, Nicephorus. For some reason that began to argue, and stopped speaking to one another. Meanwhile, a persecution of Christians began, and Sapricius was seized and offered the choice of sacrificing to idols or being condemned to death. Sapricius chose the latter, and the led him to his death. Nicephorus, who had sought reconciliation once before, hurried to ask forgiveness and be reconciled with the martyr. Meeting him on the way to the place of execution, he fell at his knees and begged, "Martyr of Christ, forgive me". Sapricius did not answer him, and turned away. This was repeated several times. Nicephorus followed him to the place of execution, and once again fervently asked his forgiveness, but Sapricius remained unmoved. And what happened?

At the very last minute, from fear of the punishment, Sapricius denied Christ and agreed to offer sacrifice to the idols. The words of the apostle John were fulfilled in him: "He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes" (1 Jn 2:11). Nicephorus, on the other hand, fearlessly confessed himself to be a Christian, and received a martyr's crown.


Replace Sapricius and Nicephorus with your Hierarchs or canonical Orthodox Hierarchs like the EP, MP, etc.  Imagine the above scenario and hopefully one will discover who was the true Orthodox Christian.  ;)
Excellent story for this context, but I don't really appreciate your vague implication that the bishops of A Sombra's communion are heretics.  You could have left your closing comments totally out of your post without diminishing the impact of the story.
 

SolEX01

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PeterTheAleut said:
Excellent story for this context, but I don't really appreciate your vague implication that the bishops of A Sombra's communion are heretics.  You could have left your closing comments totally out of your post without diminishing the impact of the story.
There was no intent on my part to imply that anyone's Communion is a heresy.

Hence, I redacted the last 6 words of my post which lives on in the quote above mine.  :-[  If I offended anyone, my sincere apologies.  :-[ 

Edited post to avoid further confusion.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Seeing that Archbishop Averky's article "What is Orthodoxy" is connected to ecumenism in only the loosest fashion, I saw fit to facilitate discussion of the article as something separate from this thread, so I moved the article and its discussion here:  What is Orthodoxy?
 
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