NEWS – НОВОСТИ

arxaggelos-leukoniko

Αρχίζουν σύντομα στην εκκλησία του Αρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ στο Λευκόνοικο οι εργασίες αποκατάστασης.

Ανακοίνωση του Προγράμματος Ανάπτυξης των Ηνωμένων Εθνών αναφέρει ότι πραγματοποιήθηκαν δύο εκδηλώσεις αυτό τον μήνα όπου παρουσιάστηκε η εργασία που προγραμματίζεται να γίνει, η οποία θα διαρκέσει οκτώ μήνες, θα στοιχίσει 390 χιλιάδες ευρώ και θα χρηματοδοτηθεί εξολοκλήρου από το Πρόγραμμα Βοήθειας της ΕΕ για την τουρκοκυπριακή κοινότητα.

Η βιωσιμότητα των έργων αποκατάστασης πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς εξαρτάται επί τω πλείστον από τη στήριξη των τοπικών κοινοτήτων και την αίσθηση της κοινής ευθύνης, ανέφερε η διευθύντρια του προγράμματος στην Κύπρο Τιτζιάνα Ζενάρο. Πρόσθεσε ότι στον Αρχάγγελο Μιχαήλ “έχουμε βρει μια πολύ θετική και συνεργάσιμη ατμόσφαιρα και είμαι σίγουρη ότι αυτή θα συνεχίσει κατά τη διάρκεια του έργου”.

Πηγές της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής εκφράζουν ικανοποίηση για τη συνεργασία με τη δικοινοτική Τεχνική Επιτροπή για την Πολιτιστική Κληρονομιά και το UNDP για την ανοικοδόμηση της κοινής κυπριακής πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς.

Οι Ε/κ Τάκης Χατζηδημητρίου και Γλαύκος Κωνσταντινίδης ανέφεραν ότι η επαφή με τα μνημεία της ιστορίας και τον πολιτισμό βοηθά τους ανθρώπους να έχουν πραγματικά ανθρώπινες σχέσεις και να εμβαθύνουν την κοινή κατανόηση.

Ο Τ/κ Αλί Τουντζάι δήλωσε ότι η επιτροπή δεν ξοδεύει λεφτά πάνω σε πέτρες. “Μέσω της δουλειάς μας, επενδύουμε στην πολιτιστική πολυμορφία, τον διαπολιτισμικό διάλογο και την πολιτιστική κατανόηση. Το εκτεταμένο συμφέρον και των δύο κοινοτήτων στο μνημείο αυτό, αποτελεί σαφή ένδειξη ότι θεωρείται επίσης ως κοινός πολιτιστικός πλούτος”, είπε.

Ο Ελληνοκύπριος πρόσφυγας Ανδρέας Ιωαννίδης είπε ότι η εκκλησία του Αρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ δεν είναι μόνο για τους θρησκευόμενους, αλλά είναι και σημείο αναφοράς για τους κάτοικους του χωριού και η ανοικοδόμησή του σημαίνει πολλά για όλους.

Η Τ/κ Φατμά Ντερβίς, η οποία διαμένει στο Λευκόνοικο, είπε ότι θέλουμε μόνο καλά πράγματα να συμβαίνουν στο χωριό μας και η ανοικοδόμηση της εκκλησίας μόνο καλό μπορεί να φέρει.

Στην εκκλησία θα γίνουν εκτεταμένες αλλαγές. Στο εσωτερικό του ναού, οι τοιχογραφίες και τα σκαλιστά ξυλόγλυπτα θα σταθεροποιηθούν και θα συντηρηθούν από εξειδικευμένο συντηρητή. Εξωτερικά, η οροφή θα πρέπει να ανακατασκευαστεί όπως και το παλιό σχολικό κτίριο.

Η αυλή και το περιμετρικό τείχος θα αναβαθμιστούν και θα βελτιωθούν, ενώ άλλες εργασίες συντήρησης περιλαμβάνουν τον καθαρισμό επιφανειών, επιδιόρθωση ή και απομάκρυνση παραθύρων και πόρτων.

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Demetrios Tselengidis: On the Surpassing Value of the Spiritual Unity of the Church, Its Brutal Abuse in Crete and the Identification of the Church with its Administration

Letter (Aug. 30, 2016) to the Archbishop and Hierarchy of the Church of Greece on the “Council” in Crete

The well-known and respected Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Demetrios Tselengidis, has issued an important and timely three part analysis of the Cretan Council and the ecclesiological problems and issues surrounding it. The letter was sent to all of the hierarchs of the Church of Greece at the end of August and has been included in the recent publication dedicated to the “Council” of Crete, which we mentioned in an earlier post.

Thessaloniki, 30/8/2016

To: The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

I. Gennadios 14, 115 21 Athens

CC: To all of the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece

Your Beatitude and Holy President of the Synod,

Your Eminences, Holy Hierarchs,

In view of the upcoming convocation of the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy, I would like to lay before you my small “Trilogy”, for I believe that it may in some way aid in the support of the unity of our Church.

This “Trilogy” touches upon the surpassing value of the Spiritual unity of the Church, the brutal abuse of the unity of the Church, and the identification of the Church with its Administration.

I. The Surpassing Value of the Spiritual Unity of the Church

The so-called Holy and Great Council of the Crete was called, according to its originators and organizers, in order to express the unity of the Church. However, the convening of a Pan-Orthodox Council for the purpose of showcasing the unity of the Church is unknown and foreign to the history of the Councils of the Orthodox Church. The truth of the matter, as became apparent after the convening of the Council, is that not only was this ambitious aim not realized, but, rather, events revealed the veiled cunning of its organizers. However, let us examine just what the unity of the Church consists, and in what way this particular “Council” “proclaimed” it.

The unity of the Church, as its foundational attribute, is a given in the very nature of the Church and expresses the Church’s self-understanding, which was historically formulated in the Oros-Decision laid down by the Second Ecumenical Council (381), which then became the Church’s Symbol of Faith (or Creed).

In the Symbol of Faith we confess that we believe “in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” If, however, the Church is “One” – according to our Creed – then, strictly speaking, there cannot be heterodox-heretical Churches.

The unity of the Church, as an attribute of the one body of the Church, is absolutely and irrevocably assured by Her Head, Christ, through the continual presence of the Holy Spirit in Her, already from Pentecost.

To begin with, we must state that the unity of men with the Triune God and between themselves – which constitutes the highest level of unity among men – is the main and essential aim of the entire Divine Economy, which was expressed through the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, but more particularly by the establishment of His Church.

The Church, as the mysteriological body of Christ, is the charismatic space where the unity of the faithful is established, lived and made visible as the image of the unity of the Triune God. Accordingly, then, the theological and ontological presuppositions for the relation of the faithful to the Triune unity are found in the establishment and composition of the Church as the theanthropic body of Christ, in which the faithful are befitted as His organic members. The unfailing unity of the Church is guaranteed by Christ Himself as Her theanthropic Head.

The unity of the Church, per se, is ontologically unbreakable and is institutionally revealed in the faith, worship and administration of the Church. This triple unity is grounded in the three-fold office of Christ and draws from it; namely, the offices of prophet, priest and king. Consequently, these three manifestations of the unity of the Church must be understood as organically inter-dependent, inter-penetrating and inseparably co-ordinated with the one and complete unity of the Church.

The unity of the Church, as a whole, while given mysteriologically, is preserved and cultivated through the observance of the divine commandments and is revealed, par excellence, eucharistically. Consequently, this unity does not exist as a quality of our nature, nor is it, much more, a result of an autonomous activity of men, but rather consists of the fruit and gift of the Holy Spirit, within the context of the mysteriological body of Christ alone, that is, within His one and only Church. This is the case because this unity presupposes the heavenly, uncreated and charismatic birth and therapy of human nature from the ontological illness of sin, through the mystery of Holy Baptism and the gift of uncreated divine grace and energy of the Holy Spirit in the mystery of Holy Chrismation.

Thus, the uncreated Reign of God within the faithful is established irrevocably, which, however, remains active only under the presupposition of the loving observance of the divine commandments, but also the blameless partaking of the divine-acting mysteries of the Church. It is precisely this Reign of God active within the faithful which constitutes their essential ontological unity, firstly with the Triune God and consequently between themselves, for then it is that the charismatic-mysteriological appropriation of the Grace of the Holy Spirit is manifest and the faithful are, in practice, made one Spirit with the Triune God and between themselves. Then, that which unites them – namely, the unifying power – is the uncreated divine love, given and active charismatically within them, the divine glory and Reign, as was lived historically by the elect disciples of Christ during His transfiguration, and later by all of His disciples from the day of Pentecost onward.

The way in which this ecclesiastical unity is brought about is not created but uncreated. This is confirmed for us by the incarnate Hypostatic Truth in His High-Priestly Prayer. The core of the High-Priestly Prayer is concerned with unity, both with regard to its ontological character and the way in which it is acquired and appropriated: “And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them,” says Christ to God the Father, “that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17: 22-23).

In other words, the uncreated Glory and Reign of the Triune God is not only the way in which this Theanthropic unity is realized, but it is also the unique spiritual “key” to the “unspeakable” experience and “incomprehensible” knowledge of this unity, as the manifestation of the uncreated love of God the Father which is imparted through Christ and made one’s own experientially in the Holy Spirit. The degree of the charismatic unity of the faithful, as created beings, is comparable – always analogously – to the degree of the natural uncreated unity which God the Father has with His Son in the Holy Spirit.

From the Scriptural passage above, it follows that the aim of the Triune God for the faithful – clergy, monks, laymen, unmarried and married – is the exactly the same, without exception, for all and to the same degree. The aim is for all to become one Spirit with the Triune God and between themselves, in order for them to reach “unreachably” uncreated perfection and to taste it in this present life, for only in this way can they experientially witness to His perfect and uncreated love and to offer, in obedience to God, their missionary service to a world alienated from God.

Consequently, only in the Holy Spirit, that is, only uncreatedly, can we become one in the Church, for the Holy Spirit, which we receive charismatically through Her, is an uncreated reality. Through this uncreated unity the present life, but also the future eternal life of the faithful, obtains value to the highest degree as the aim of the Triune God in His one and only Church. Within the context of this charismatic unity of the Church, neither the refined idolizations of the married (both spouses and children), nor of the unmarried (clergy or monastic), of any person or institution, have any existential place whatsoever. Thus, if some form of ecclesiastical unity happens to be idolized and clergy of all ranks and laity appear as worshippers, this means that this form of unity is created and autonomous from the Church itself, and, therefore, clearly to be rejected, as foreign to its character.

The perfect and charismatic unity of the Church is, according to St. John Chrysostom, understood and revealed in practice as harmony as to the phronema (mindset) – faith -, but also as harmony as to the internal disposition – love. First of all, however, unity presupposes the same-uniform phronema. Indeed, it is the oneness of mind that, in practice, guarantees unity, whereas love – according to the same Father- derives from the right faith (PG 62, 509). That is precisely the reason that the “ἐν ἑνί στόματι καί μιᾷ καρδίᾳ” [with one mouth and one heart] doxology of the Triune God in the divine worship presupposes not only the faith, but necessarily also a life in the Holy Spirit, which is, most essentially, a life of genuine and uncreated love. With these experiential presuppositions, both the unity of the Church, as a whole, and the unity of the faithful, as members of the Church, have their visual manifestation in the Eucharistic Assembly, within the context of Divine Worship.

From all that has been stated above, we believe that it is clear and absolutely understandable, that, both ontologically and practically, unity with heretics condemned by Ecumenical Councils is totally impossible without their repentance and entry – in accordance with the Holy Canons – into the One and only, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church.

It is, therefore, also obvious that the unconditional and arbitrary “ecclesiasticalization” of heretics by the so-called “Holy and Great Council of Crete” is ecclesiastically unacceptable, void and ineffectual, and constitutes spiritual adultery, which, according to the Old Testament, is an abomination to God, Who is a “zealous” God. This anti-canonical “ecclesiasticalization” in no way binds, ecclesiastically, any Orthodox believer who wants to remain – being truly faithful – true to the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, “a follower” – in this particular way – “of the holy fathers.”

II. The Brutal Abuse of the Unity of the Church

Over the past few decades, those among the ecumenists – whether they be Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests or lay theologians – have often referred to the unity of the Church in an entirely misleading way, extensively misusing the High Priestly Prayer of Christ and especially its central phrase: «ἵνα ὦσιν ἕν», or “that they all may be one”.

The systematic effort to carry out the brutal abuse of the unity of the Church began as early as 1961, fifty-five years ago, with the Pre-Synodical Conferences. Hence, the conclusions of the “Council” of Crete, which are of a dogmatic character, do not simply represent a sudden and serious theological misstep, but rather a pre-planned, systematically promoted and decades-old objective of the advocates of Ecumenism within the Orthodox Church. This “Council” chose whatever was most exalted, most sacred in the Church – Her unbreakable unity, grounded in the Holy Spirit – and profaned it all the while claiming to defend and promote it. At the same time, with the pre-synodical and synodical proceedings – based upon the Organization and Working Procedure of the “Council” of Crete – and all of the accompanying activity, the Spirit-inspired, conciliar way of our Most Holy Church was terribly misrepresented.

In particular, during both the Synaxis of the Primates and representatives of the Autocephalous Churches in Chambésy, Switzerland and the “Council” of Crete, there dominated a deceptive promotion, in a misleading manner, as a frontispiece, of the supreme value of the unity of the Church without, however, the meaning of “the unity of the Church” having been previously determined with all theological exactitude, just as Orthodox ecumenists had previously done with reference to the term “love”.

An unspecified theological unity was systematically projected, and, simultaneously, unity having been made absolute, autonomous and an idol, the bugaboo of division was cultivated psychologically, with the slogan: “we must not be divided.” The result was that the papal view of the “protos” ruled the day and pre-planned, unacceptable concessions and dogmatic discounts were advanced, so that the “phil-adelphi” (love of one’s brother) ecumenist theory of unity was blindly adopted by its admirers as a panacea, and “phil-theia” (love of God) set aside. They promoted the supreme and surpassing value of the High Priestly Prayer, aiming, in an autonomous and unconditional manner, at the condensing of the content of ecclesiastical unity, which the Biblical phrase “that they all may be one” expresses, and they abused it, just as was done by the heterodox Roman Catholics and Protestants. They promoted, in other words, a unity, essentially unspecified, theologically baseless and primarily without presuppositions. Thus, the Hierarchs which gathered in Crete, as ones not walking “in the Holy Spirit and Truth,” did not “rightly divide the word of Truth,” for, in the name of a unity wrongly conceived they made compromises in terms of dogma.

To be even more precise, at the “Council” of Crete, after the theoretically always accepted ontological unity of the Church, as the unity of Her fullness in Christ and in the Holy Spirit with God the Father, was essentially set aside, an attempt was made to synodically ratify a new, strange, two-fold ecclesiology.

The result of the vote of the “unequally yoked” Primates in favor of the council’s 6th text was a heterogeneous “fabrication,” a “grotesque distortion,” a “monstrosity.” This came to pass because of the commingling of Orthodox and heterodox ecclesiology, since the heterodox, those condemned by Ecumenical Councils as heretics, were reckoned to be Churches.

Without considerable theological or spiritual scrutiny, those Hierarchs voting in favor of the text accepted heretics as Churches. They appeared to accepted – theoretically – the ontological unity of the Church while simultaneously recognizing “ecclesiality” among the heretics. Thus, they introduced a new teaching – a cacodox ecclesiology. In practice, they have adopted post-Patristic theology and theological double-mindedness. Instead of the scriptural, “yea, yea,” and “nay, nay” (Mat. 5:37), they accepted the “yea” and “nay” of syncretistic Ecumenism, the theologically and spiritually unacceptable and abominable communion of “light” with “darkness” (see: 2 Cor. 6:14).

However, with the theologically and spiritually repugnant double-mindedness and two-fold ecclesiology introduced by those Hierarchs voting in favor of the 6th text, the character of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is undermined and distorted, the “door” to every Christian heresy is flung open, the pan-heresy of Ecumenism is legitimized synodically and, practically speaking, Orthodox Ecclesiology – defined with great theological precision in the Oros and Symbol of Faith of the Second Ecumenical Council – is distorted.

The Hierarchs which gathered in Crete approved – light-heartedly and without much scrutiny, motivated by a perverted and diabolical “brotherly love” and desire to please men – a counterfeit ecclesiastical unity, which is understood to be a synthesis of the diachronic Spiritual, charismatic experience of the Orthodox Church with a unity of an heretical character, introduced by the deceptive spirits of delusion.

Thus, at the “Council” of Crete the already existing, serious absence of criteria for deceit-free, orthodox theologizing was made apparent. The Spiritual gift of discerning the spirits, foundational for the spiritual leader, was experientially shown to be absent in those who voted in favor of the disputed text. This is so for they confused the Holy Spirit with the unclean spirits, not discerning – in practice – the Holy Spirit, which vivifies the Theanthropic body of the Church, from the unclean spirits, which dominate within the heresies.

Carefully considering the “conciliar” process and the results of the voting, we come to see clearly, but with pain of heart, that those Hierarchs which voted in favor were not looking to Christ but to the “Protos.” Consequently, they were unable to labor as συν-οδικοί [members of the synod, lit. together on the way], literally speaking, since they were not – practically – “following the Holy Fathers,” both in terms of the process of the Way and with respect to the content of the Hypostatic Way. This is apparent, beyond all doubt and most especially, by the results of the vote.

The ecclesiastical responsibility of those Hierarchs who were Synodical Representatives of the Church of Greece in Crete and accepted – passively and in writing – the proposal of their Primate, is immense. And, yet, likewise those Hierarchs who, although not in attendance, have nonetheless passively accepted the mistaken decisions and, moreover, the breech of the synodical decision of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece, also carry a great weight of responsibility.

In practice, those Hierarchs who voted “yea” seemed to seek to please their supposed heads (the Primates) and not Him (the Comforter) Who ordained them as Hierarchs with equal honor. In this way, then, the underlying papism of these Hierarchs was revealed. If we were to speak with academic precision, we could say that here we have a “mutation” of Papal Primacy under the guise of conciliarity, given that this conciliarity was not functioning according to Orthodox presuppositions. During the “Council” there appeared a collective Primacy of the Primates of the Autocephalous Churches. Each group of 24 Hierarchs from each Local Church was effectively immobilized, not having the right to vote. Of course, this papal-type of mutation of the functioning of the “Protos” had already made its practical appearance at the pre-synodical Conferences for the sake of the falsely considered unity of the Church.

That which is scandalously provocative and simultaneously tragic is that even today certain of those Hierarchs who did not participate in the “Council” of Crete, while having a burning interest to avoid divisions between themselves and their Primate, in the name of brotherly love, but maintaining a mistaken understanding of the unity of the Church, are not in the least interested, for the sake of the love of God, in the grave wound caused to the Spiritual unity of the Church – a wound caused by the adoption of their two-fold Ecclesiology, including the inadmissable “ecclesialization” of condemned and unrepentant heretics.

The “Council” of Crete, not only did not work toward the expression of the unity of the Church, as it was supposed to have done, it demolished the existing unity between the Autocephalous Churches and the bishops who represented them. This was made clear by the absence of the four Patriarchates (Antioch, Russia, Bulgaria and Georgia), numbering an overwhelming majority of faithful compared to the ten Autocephalous Churches which were represented at the “Council.” The demolishing of the sought-for ecclesiastical unity also happened in practice and was expressed by those Hierarchs who refused to sign the 6th text.

A double standard was accepted at the “Council” of Crete, as a way of serving the wrongly perceived ecclesiastical unity, as it was applied in the cases of the Autocephalous Churches of Serbia and Greece. In particular, the Primate of the Serbian Church voted in favor of the 6th text, supposedly expressing the decision of the Synod of his Hierarchy, but, in fact, coming into direct opposition with the majority of his synodal bishops (17 out of 24), while the Primate of the Church of Greece ignored the unanimous decision of the Hierarchy of his Church and voted against it for the sake of the falsely understood unity of the Church. In other words, he voted in favor of a unity, independent from the synodical decision of his Church. In this move of his he was supported by the inconsistency shown toward the unanimous synodical decision of the Hierarchy by those 23 other Hierarchs in Crete who signed the text, with the bright exception of the 24th bishop of the retinue.

Likewise, in the case of the Church of Cyprus things were not much better. After the “Council” of Crete had finished, the Primate of the Church spoke ill of the stance taken by four Hierarchs of his Church which did not sign the 6th text and, entirely arbitrarily and in violation of every administrative and spiritual code of conduct, signed on their behalf, for the sake of the falsely considered unity, an action which not only constitutes a papal mentality and a lack of integrity for a man of the Church, but is likewise punishable as a crime.

Thus, the triumphal refutation of the aim of expressing ecclesiastical unity, which was presented as the purpose for which the “Holy and Great Council” of Crete was called, was accomplished – in practice – with the abstention of four Patriarchates, the glaring break in communion of two Patriarchates (Jerusalem and Antioch), the synodically negligent vote in favor of the 6th text by a Primate of an Autocephalous Church (Greece), the refusal of a large number of participating Hierarchs to sign the controversial dogmatic text, and finally, the lack of participation of all of the bishops of the Church.

For all of the above-mentioned theological reasons, the ecclesiastical responsibility of the Hierarchy of our Church, but also of the entire body of the Church, is exceptionally grave and extensive. Fortunately, the devout ecclesiastical body of believers remains faithful to the ecclesiology of the Second Ecumenical Council – ἑπόμενο τοῖς ἁγίοις Πατράσι [following the Holy Fathers] – and rejects outright the two-fold ecclesiology which was introduced and passed by the “Council” of Crete, thus legitimizing “institutionally” the cancer of Ecumenism in the “spotless” body of the Church.

In particular, the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece are obliged to make a responsible decision, first of all personally, but afterwards as a collective body during the next meeting of the Hierarchy, mainly with respect to the 6th text, by which heretics were recognized as Churches at the “Council” of Crete. The devout body of the faithful, as guardians of the faith of the Church (Council of 1848), likewise await an explanation as to why the Primate of their Church did not stand up for the unanimous decision of the Hierarchy. Even more importantly, the faithful await from the Hierarchy a condemnation of the two-fold, heretical, syncretistic and ecumenistic ecclesiology of the “Council” of Crete.

As faithful, we also await, in due time, for initiatives to be undertaken, in cooperation with the four Patriarchates which did not take part in the “Council” of Crete, to convene in the near future a Pan-Orthodox Council which will, with its broader authority, restore – officially and synodically – the shaken ecclesiastical unity, condemn the two-fold ecclesiology of the “Council” of Crete and publish the minutes of the questionable “Council”.

Lastly, we would like to end on a realistically optimistic note. We hold that, with all that we have written above, we remain – as followers of the Holy Fathers – with Christ and His Church, and, consequently, we remain with the present and eschatological Victor. To be sure, having in mind the indisputable Biblical and Patristic Truth that the instigator of all heresy is the devil, it is certain that the deceiver thought that, for the time being, he had won an exceptionally great victory against the Church of Christ with the “Council” of Crete – since all of the Christian heresies were “recognized” as Churches in the 6th text of the Council. It is apparent that he does have every reason to celebrate to the detriment of the Church, for there has never been, in the history of the Church, such a “Council” as this, which legitimized synodically all of the heresies in one text. This reality brings deep anguish and pain to those faithful who are able to become informed and properly understand what is now happening in their Church.

Nevertheless, it is absolutely certain that his joy is already being turned to profound sorrow. This is so because, the devout faithful of the Church, motived by mindful obedience to the Church, diachronically and not undiscerningly to its administration, on account of the experientially lived repentance, ascetic stillness and prayer, will never accept this “Council.” This is how, in practice, the theologically and spiritually shameful decision in favor of the “ecclesiasticalization” of the heresies is overturned.

The “Council” of Crete, for the conscience of the devout body of the faithful of the Church, is as never having occurred.

III. THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE CHURCH WITH HER ADMINISTRATION

The “Council” of Crete, as is well known, neither made reference – diachronically – to previous Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox Councils, nor condemned any of the heresies already condemned by earlier Councils, nor, of course, any of the contemporary heresies – a state of affairs which constitutes an “innovative” dissonance within the history of Orthodox Church Councils.

Astonishingly, however, this “Council” threatens those Orthodox who will take issue with its decisions.

Furthermore, the above “Council” unwittingly confuses the Church, per se, – as the Theanthropic, mysteriological body of Christ – with her administration.

With regard to this most crucial issue we will point out – as succinctly as is possible – the following important points, from the perspective of Orthodox ecclesiology.

Τhe recent ecclesiological aberration of the “Council” of Crete demonstrated, once again, that which is already recorded in the history of our Church. Namely, the Council demonstrated that the synodical system of itself does not mechanically assure the authenticity of the Orthodox Faith. This happens only when the conciliar bishops have active within them the Holy Spirit and the Hypostatic Way, that is, Christ, and so as “syn-odikoi” [Συν-Οδικοί] (which in Greek means, those who go on the Way which is Christ, together with Christ) they are also in practice “followers of the Holy Fathers” [ἑπόμενοι τοῖς ἁγίοις Πατράσι].

Αs was made clear, unfortunately this is not at all obvious in our days. Hence, the argument which is often put forward by both believers and priests and bishops is erroneous, namely, that we will do “whatever the Church says” or “we wait for the Church’s decision”, by which is usually meant, unwisely so, any decision of the Church administration, thus ignoring that there is a clear distinction between the Church, per se, as the Theanthropic, mysteriological Body of Christ and the Church administration, which indeed expresses the Church, but only under certain and clear presuppositions.

The Bishops in their diocese and the Councils of the Bishops on a Local or Pan-Orthodox level constitute the Church administration. These bishops, along with their priests of the Local Churches and the faithful people of God form the Church of Christ. Consequently, the Bishop cannot ignore the priests and the fullness of the Church. This is also shown historically. At the First Apostolic Council – where the “Protos” and President was not the Apostle Peter but James the Brother of the Lord – the Synodical Truth was expressed along “with the whole Church” (Acts 15:22): “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” The “us” referred not only to the Apostles, but also to “those along with them” («οἱ σύν αὐτοῖς»), namely the presbyters, “along with the whole Church” («σύν ὅλῃ τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ»). The whole Church is also the faithful people. Likewise, in the case of First Ecumenical Council, the whole Church expressed Herself in the theological position of a young deacon, Athanasius the Great.

Accordingly, the correctness and universality of a Pan-Orthodox Council is judged infallibly by the fullness of the members of the Church and specifically by the vigilant dogmatic consciousness of the devout body of the Church. This [dogmatic] consciousness [of the pious faithful] constitutes the only interpretative “key” for the ascertainment of the authenticity of Her phronema.

And by dogmatic consciousness we mean the spiritual knowledge which is born – charismatically – in the heart of the faithful by the uncreated Spiritual Grace of their activated Holy Chrismation. It is the condensed spiritual experience within the Church, i.e. the Holy Spirit, which we received, acting within us. This is the only equality between men within the Body of Christ. For this reason also the dogmatic consciousness of the faithful is entirely independent of their worldly learning and their possible intellectual or non-intellectual occupation. So, when this dogmatic consciousness of the members of the Church is activated, it is shown to be the supreme criterion of truth.

It is a fact, arising from the very nature of the Church and witnessed to irrefutably in our ecclesiastical history, that there have been not only patriarchs, metropolitans, and bishops that were heretics but even Pan-Orthodox Councils, which – although they constitute the supreme Administrative organs of the Church – were rejected by the conscience of the body of the Church and were characterized as False or Robber Councils.

And this was because in dogmatic matters the truth does not lie with the majority of the Synodical Hierarchs. The truth, per se, is preponderant. Even when one man expresses it, the truth is the majority over the millions and billions of opposing votes. For the Truth in the Church is not an idea, it is not an opinion. It is Hypostatic. It is Christ himself. For this reason, too, whoever stands opposed to the Truth is cut off from the Church, after having been defrocked and excommunicated, depending on the circumstances.

The truth is the very Spirit of Truth, Which acts and is expressed even by isolated individuals. History has shown this characteristically in the person of Saint Maximus the Confessor, as well as St Mark (Evgenikos), Metropolitan of Ephesus, at the false Council of Florence, who stood as one against the reign of the majority.

Here it is clearly shown that one man gave voice to the mind of the Church and he was justified by Church History, and, moreover, he was sanctified in relation to all the others – the Emperor, the Patriarch and all other participants – who did not expound the truth. Therefore, it is not a matter of numbers, but a matter of Truth or non-Truth. We must not forget this, for it is the qualitative difference between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy in practice. The Orthodox Church does not function in a papal manner. In the Church the Pope does not stand above the Ecumenical Councils, as he does among the papists, nor, of course, is there any individual Pope in our Church who is placed above the Hierarchy of our Church.

Therefore, the criterion in the Church is not that the whole Orthodox Church came together and decided something by majority. It is possible, theoretically, that all the bishops could be present with one, two, three, or just a few of them holding something to the contrary. It does not hold that what the vast majority of the bishops say constitutes a guarantee of Truth and that the body [of the Church] must necessarily accept this. No, this is not how things are in the Church. The criterion of Truth is whether what is said at the Ecclesiastical Councils is “following the Holy Fathers”.

The decisions of this Hierarchal “Conference” of Crete are a matter which the entire Church must evaluate, in Council, in the future, both theologically and definitively. Until this happens, however, every faithful member of the Church can and ought to take a position on the unconfirmed decisions of this “Conference” based upon the criteria of the dogmatic, diachronic consciousness of the Church. The unassailable criteria of this dogmatic consciousness are summed up in the patristic saying: “following the holy Fathers”. This saying is crucial as it pertains as much to the organization and way of the Councils as to their dogmatic teaching.

In other words, if the devout body of the faithful of the Church – as the bearer of Her dogmatic consciousness – either confirms the correctness of the decisions of Church Councils or nullifies decisions of Pan-Orthodox Councils, considering them to be false councils, then it is obvious that it also has the right and the duty to express itself, with fear of God and divine zeal, with respect to the decisions of the “Council” of Crete (cf. Fr. George Florovsky, The Body of Living God; An Orthodox Interpretation of the Church, Armos, Athens, 1999, pp. 80-83).

With the deepest respect,

I kiss your right hand,

Demetrios Tselengidis

Professor of the Theological School

of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Professor Demetrios Tselengidis: original Greek version

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Καλαβρύτων Αμβρόσιος: ”’Ονειδος για την Ορθοδοξία μας”

0-eirinaios

Source:    Rompheia

Για τον Μακαριώτατο Πατριάρχη Ιεροσολύμων κ. ΕΙΡΗΝΑΙΟ κατά καιρούς πολλές φορές έχουμε γράψει στην ιστοσελίδα μας. Σήμερα θα αναφερθούμε για μια ακόμη φορά (την 18η) στο σεπτό πρόσωπό Του, διότι Τον θεωρούμε Μάρτυρα της Ορθοδοξίας! Ευρίσκεται και καθηρημένος από την αρχιερωσύνη Του και έγκλειστος στο μοναχικό κελλί Του! Παρά ταύτα οι Ιεροί Κανόνες, προκειμένου να καθαιρεθή ένας Αρχιερεύς, δύο λόγους προβλέπουν: πρώτον, να έχει πλάνη περί την πίστη καί δεύτερον, να έχει σημειώσει κάποια πτώση στο ηθικό επίπεδο. Ο Μακαριώτατος κ. ΕΙΡΗΝΑΙΟΣ για τίποτε απ’ αυτά δεν έχει κατηγορηθή! Και όμως καθαιρέθηκε, επειδή λειτούργησε κάπου χωρίς την άδεια του διαδόχου Του Πατριάρχου! Του διαδόχου Του στον Πατριαρχικό Θρόνο, τόν οποίο ο Ειρηναίος είχε χειροτονήσει σε Αρχιερέα! Έπειτα, μετά τήν απομάκρυνσή Του από τόν Θρόνο της Ιερουσαλήμ, παραμένει έγκλειστος στό κελλί του, στερημένος από κάθε ανθρώπινη φροντίδα και περιποίηση, παρά τη μεγάλη Του ηλικία! Οι Προκαθήμενοι των κατά τόπους Ορθοδόξων Εκκλησιών, οι οποίοι κωφεύουν στο παρατεινόμενο αυτό έγκλημα, έχουν μεγάλη ενοχή ενώπιον Θεού καί ανθρώπων! Για να μη ξεχνάμε, λοιπόν, αυτό το παρατεινόμενο απάνθρωπο έγκλημα, σήμερα θα σας παρουσιάσουμε ένα κείμενο, το οποίο είναι γραμμένο από τον Αντιστράτηγο ε.α. κ. Ιωάννη Μπαλτζώη. Όσοι, διαβάζοντας το παρακάτω εκτενέστατο κείμενο, θα συγκινηθούν, τους παρακαλώ θερμότατα και από τα βάθη της ψυχής μου να συντονίσουμε τις προσπάθειες μας σε μια προσπάθεια συμπαραστάσεως πρός το Μάρτυρα Πατριάρχη Ειρηναίο με προσευχή. Σας παρακαλώ για μια φορά να γονατίσει ο καθένας μας και να κάνουμε μια πεντάλεπτη προσευχή για την απελευθέρωση του ελεύθερου πολιορκημένου Πατριάρχη κ. Ειρηναίου. Επί πλέον όσοι μπορούν ας καθιερώσουμε να κάνουμε καθημερινως ο καθένας μας ένα κομποσχοίνι, λέγοντες: «Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, ελέησον και ενδυνάμωσον τον δούλον Σου Ειρηναίον. Υπεραγία Θεοτόκε, ελευθέρωσον τον δούλον Σου και Πατριάρχην Ειρηναίον». Ας είναι τούτο μια συμμετοχή μας στο καθημερινό μαρτύριό Του. Και κατά τρίτον στο σημείωμα, που δίδετε στο ιερέα σας με ονόματα για να μνημονευθούν στην αγία Προσκομιδή, παρακαλώ να γράφετε και το όνομα «Ειρηναίου Πατριάρχου» στη στήλη «υπέρ υγείας».

+ ο ΚΑΛΑΒΡΥΤΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΑΙΓΙΑΛΕΙΑΣ ΑΜΒΡΟΣΙΟΣ

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ARCHDIOCESE OF ST. JULIUS IN FULL EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION WITH THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ITALY

Civitas Classis, Sunday, October 9, 2016

By unanimous decision of the Holy Synod of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Italy – BP (Bulgarian Patriarchate) and the Holy Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of St. Julius and Ravenna, His Beatitude Metropolitan Vassilij and His Grace Metropolitan Volodymir , have respectively signed the Tomos of Eucharistic intercomuion.

Short history of the Orthodox Church of Italy:

antoniobasilio

On 6 October 1995 during its ordinary section with Act N ° 264, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria under the presidency of Patriarch Pimen, unanimously, has placed permanently “The Autonomous Diocese of Italy” under the protection of the Metropolitan of Bulgarian ‘ Central and Western Europe.

The July 1, 1997 by decree N ° 190, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Pimen (enthronizated in 1996 in St. Alexander Nevky Cathedral by His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kiev), in its plenary session has granted the status of Autonomy to the Orthodox Church (in) of Italy, which is present throughout the territory national with parishes and communities.

On that date the Bishop Antonio de Rosso which was raised to the dignity of Metropolitan with the title of Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Italy (in) of Italy.

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Bulgaria has declared full, and Canonical Eucharistic Communion with the Metropolitan Antonio de Rosso and the Autonomous Orthodox Church (in) of Italy.

The Orthodox Church in Italy with such act can stand in its interior with complete autonomy regulated by a statute approved by the Holy Synod itself and is in full sacramental communion with other Orthodox Churches (Patriarchate of Kiev, Orthodox Church of Montenegro, etc.)

After returning to the Father of the first Primate of the Orthodox Church (in) of Italy restored by the same (well for almost five centuries has not existed the Italian Orthodoxy), was canonically elected on March 16th , 2009 by the Councill of the Church Metropolitan Basilios. Metropolitan Basilios, consecrated bishop in 1995 by His Holiness Patriarch Volodymir of Kiev and All Rus Ukraine and Co-consecrator of His Eminence Volodymir of St. Julius Island and Classis, took the title of Archbishop of Latium and Metropolitan of All Italy.

His Beatitude Basilios I of Italy is also in full communion with the Orthodox Church of Montenegro,  Autocephalous Church of Greece and Cyprus (traditional), Orthodox Church of Classis (former Archdiocese of St. Julius island and Classis – Patriarchate of Kiev) and the Ukranian Orthodox Church in America.

With the full agreement of the Sisters Churches, the new official name of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Italy, is: 

AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ITALY

And the Title of His Beatitude Vassiljy is:

ARCHBISHOP OF LATIUM, ISLANDS  AND METROPOLITAN AF ALL ITALY

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Source: SOURCE –

7 серпня за юліанським календарем / 20 серпня політичного календаря

 
З 1988 року Його Високопреосвященство Володимир і з 1995 року являється керуючим єпархії Сан-Джуліо УПЦ КП, залишався вірним Української Православної Церкви (тодішнього митрополита Першого Патріарха Київського Мстислава, потім Патріарха Володимира, а з 1995 року до Патріарха Філарета) , і зберігає в недоторканність апостольського спадкоємства і догмати православної віри, всупереч багатьом реаліям, які на сьогоднішній день з’явилися на італійській землі, що надходить з інших коаїн. З достовірних джерел нам стало відомо, що деякі з цих так званих «священиків», на жаль, навіть не отримали дійсного рукоположення згідно Канонів Церкви і вдаючи, що справжні священики, плутають українських та італійських віруючих. Нам прикро, що єпископи, які направляють сюди так званих священиків, немають канонічного права на територію за межами Альп , кожен повинен відповідати за свою територію, але насправді вони поступають неправильно і тому ставлять під загрозу репутацію Української Православної Церкви, стараються завести в блуд вірних нашої Церкви.

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Вельмишановний пане Президенте,
пане Прем’єр-міністре України, пане Голово Верховної Ради!
Шановні представники церков і релігійних організацій! Дорогі брати і сестри!

Сьогодні, коли ми святкуємо 25-річчя з дня проголошення незалежності нашої держави України, ми перш за все возносимо подяку Богу за всі Його благодіяння, що були на нас протягом цих років незалежного буття нашої держави.

Подарований Богом дар незалежності народу є так само цінним, як і дар людської свободи, який дається кожній людині при народженні. Цей дар свободи кожна людина цінує і оберігає, а не рідко готова віддати життя, аби його не втратити. Ціну свободи чудово знає й український народ, який протягом своєї історії пролив багато крові в боротьбі за Віру та Батьківщину.

Безперечно, свобода передбачає також і відповідальність за те, як ми нею користуємося. Зі Святого Письма ми знаємо, що коли вибраний народ дотримувався Божих заповідей, то Господь нагороджував його силою та процвітанням, але коли люди забували про Божі заповіді, то це призводило до занепаду держави.

Тож Церква продовжує нагадувати, що справжнє процвітання народу та країни можливе лише тоді, коли люди живуть згідно з заповідями Божими. Справжні патріоти своєї Батьківщини повинні дбати про свій високий духовний та моральний стан, адже лише добродіяльні та богобоязнені люди можуть принести своїй країні та народу справжню користь.

У ці пам’ятні дні, коли ми згадуємо двадцять п’яту річницю відновлення української державності, ми просимо у Бога миру для нашої країни. У ці часи буремних подій нам як ніколи важливо усвідомити необхідність єдності та любові до ближнього, а також відкинути чвари та забути образи. Усі ми хочемо бачити Україну сильною, могутньою та квітучою, але для цього мало просто говорити про любов до своєї Батьківщини, треба своїми добрими справами свідчити про цю любов. Кожен з нас повинен наполегливо та чесно працювати на своєму місці, щоб докласти дієвих зусиль у розбудову нашої держави.

Сьогодні ми молимося за нашу Українську землю і наш народ, а особливо за тих, хто по-справжньому дбає та захищає Україну, і віримо, що Господь подарує нам мир і процвітання і зішле на всіх нас Своє благословіння.

+ ОНУФРІЙ,
МИТРОПОЛИТ КИЇВСЬКИЙ І ВСІЄЇ УКРАЇНИ,
ПРЕДСТОЯТЕЛЬ УКРАЇНСЬКОЇ ПРАВОСЛАВНОЇ ЦЕРКВИ

Свята Софія
24 серпня 2016 року

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Source: http://risu.org.ua

АРХИЄПИСКОП ТЕЛЬМІСЬКИЙ КОНСТАНТИНОПОЛЬСЬКОГО ПАТРІАРХАТУ ІОВ (ГЕЧА): «ТЕРИТОРІЯ УКРАЇНИ Є КАНОНІЧНОЮ ТЕРИТОРІЄЮ КОНСТАНТИНОПОЛЬСЬКОЇ ЦЕРКВИ»

1 серпня 2016, 11:47 |

Бесідувала Тетяна ДЕРКАЧ

Архиєпископ Іов (Геча). Світлина зі сайту Президента України.Традиційно наприкінці липня українські православні віруючі всіх юрисдикцій святкують День Хрещення Русі. До цих святкувань охоче долучається і українська держава в особі її очільників, а також представники інших помісних Православних Церков. Цього року наурочистих заходах на запрошення Президента України був присутній представник Константинопольського Патріарха, архиєпископ Тельміський ІОВ (Геча), який любязно погодився на інтервю для РІСУ. Прямі відповіді на прямі питання: що чекає Церкви, які не взяли участі у Всеправославному соборі, яка доля маргінальних есхатологічних течій, чому заблоковане питання автокефалії, і чи є надія у православних  українців на автокефалію.

— Владико, які враження від Всеправославного Собору на Криті? Чи все вдалось зробити, що планувалось? Є задоволення від організації та результатів?

— В принципі, Собор відбувся успішно, в тому сенсі, що всі документи, які були підготовлені і узгоджені у всеправославному процесі підготовки, були прийняті. Звичайно, що з декількома поправками, але ці поправки мінімальні, і зміст документів вони не міняють в суті. Тому ми вважаємо, що Собор відбувся успішно. Жаль, звичайно, що чотири Церкви відмовились в ньому взяти участь. Вони відмовились в останню хвилину, тому що в цьому процесі підготовки вони взяли участь, вони підписали документи, які були приготовлені, вони брали навіть участь в організаційних зустрічах місяць до Собору. І Російська Православна Церква навіть була присутня тиждень до Собору під час зустрічі Комітету для підготовки послання Собору. Вони якраз в останню хвилину вирішили не взяти участь у Соборі.

— Це неочікувано було?

— Ми не очікували, звичайно. Нажаль, ці Церкви прийняли таке рішення, і тепер вони несуть за себе відповідальність щодо такого рішення. Але Собор відбувся, як і було заплановано.

— Відсутність цих чотирьох Церков дала привід РПЦ заявити, що вона не визнає всеправославний статус Собору. Але, як відомо з історії, навіть Вселенські Собори не мали представництва всіх існуючих на той час Церков та єпископів. Наскільки позиція РПЦ має рацію?

— В історії Церкви на більшості соборів не було представників з багатьох Церков. І тут теж треба враховувати процес рецепції собору. Хоча на багатьох Вселенських Соборах не було представництва з усіх Церков, але всі Церкви прийняли їх рішення, і це надало цим соборам статусу Вселенських.

— Тобто, участь і рецепція – це поняття паралельні, не обов’язково пов’язані між собою?

— Так. Але з історії ми знаємо також, що були Церкви, які відмовились від участі в деяких Соборах. І за те, що вони відмовились від участі у Соборах, вони залишились поза межами Церкви. Ну, наприклад, Вірменська Церква в V столітті відмовилась від Четвертого Вселенського Халкідонського собору, тому що вона вважала, що проблема монофізитства – це внутрішня проблема Константинопольської Церкви, а її це не стосується. Там були також і політичні питання, пов’язані з цією позицією. Але Вірменська Церква тепер не в єдності з Вселенським православ’ям. Вона – одна з нехалкідонських Церков, яка віками залишається поза межами Вселенської Церкви.

— Отже, історичні наслідки такої відмови можуть бути будь-які?

— Все залежить від рецепції Собору. Собор відбувся, і Церкви, які відмовились брати участь в ньому, тепер несуть відповідальність за своє майбутнє.

— Наразі речники Московської патріархії роблять заяви, що саме Російська Церква має всі важелі та механізми зібрати «справжній» Всеправославний собор. Наскільки ці заяви відображають реальний стан речей?

— Ну, Московська патріархія не вперше хоче так зробити. Подібні спроби були в 1948 році, коли пробували зробити таку всеправославну зустріч в Москві, за радянських часів. І ми знаємо, що їм це не вдалось, і не лише тому, що деякі Церкви відмовились взяти участь. Треба мати на увазі, що Російська Православна Церква не має канонічної підстави для скликання такого Собору.

— В РПЦ активно просувається політична доктрина «Москва – Третій Рим», де Церкві відводиться роль «збирача земель руських». Як на це реагує Вселенська патріархія?

— Цей міф «Москви – третього Риму» побудований на думках, виражених одним російським монахом Філофеєм, який жив у XV-XVI столітті. Це абсолютний міф, тому що в історії Церкви і в канонічному розумінні немає першого-другого-третього-четвертого Риму. Є старий Рим, який був центром Римської імперії, центром європейської цивілізації, і був новий Рим – нова столиця Римської імперії. Нема першого, другого – є старий Рим і новий Рим. Третьому-четвертому-п’ятому – не бувати.

І це історія не тільки Церкви, не тільки історія імперії – це історія людської цивілізації. Церкви Римська і Константинопольська сьогодні несуть спадщину цих двох Церков. Вони є спадкоємцями цієї політичної, церковної, людської історії, і для них є канонічні зв’язані з цим підстави і привілеї.

— В православному світі, а в РПЦ це дуже яскраво виражено,  зараз набирають голос течії, які до Восьмого, Дев’ятого та подальших Вселенських Соборів ставляться дуже агресивно, есхатологічно, відповідно, до організатора того ж Критського собору, Вселенського патріарха – дуже, м’яко кажучи, критично. Чи є такі есхатологічні течії з політичним підтекстом загрозою для єдності Вселенського православ’я? Взагалі, наскільки серйозним викликом для православ’я є конфлікт по лінії «фундаменталізм – екуменізм»?

— Такі течії є маргінальні,  незважаючи на кількість прихильників. Вони не висвітлюють позицію Церкви.

— Але в Російській Церкві з ними не борються, а використовують.

— Такі тенденції дуже небезпечні і погибельні. І тому Церква як така не може ці маргінальні позиції сприймати. Тому що такі позиції не висвітлюють істину християнської віри і християнської місії.

Бачте, дехто любить вживати принцип чисел. І думає, що чим більше прихильників, то тим вони могутніші чи справедливіші. Якщо ми знову повернемося до історії Церкви, то в IV столітті аріани були дуже чисельні, могутні, і навіть такі великі фігури Церкви, як святий Григорій Богослов, святий Василій Великий переживали, чи Церква зможе вижити. Але незважаючи на чисельність прихильників аріанства, Церква ніколи не сприйняла таких позицій, тому що аріанська доктрина була маргінальною і не відповідала істині християнської віри та християнської доктрини.

Пізніше, за часів боротьби з монофелітством, у VII ст. преподобний Максим Сповідник був майже єдиним прихильником православної віри. Майже всі, більшість людей була прихильниками монофелітства. Але остаточно монофелітство було засуджене Cобором, і Максим Сповідник, який був єдиним зі своєю позицією, кінець кінців переміг. Так що тут з числами з маргінальними позиціями не треба будувати якісь концепції, теорії чи плани. І не треба тут переживати.

— Історично переможе саме істина, а не чисельність або агресивність маргіналів?

— Саме так.

— Дозвольте перейти до питання автокефалії.  Питання проголошення автокефалій було винесено за дужки Всеправославного собору як конфліктне і таке, з якого немає все православного консенсусу.  Чому це питання викликає стільки суперечок? Адже автокефалія – це природній засіб організації церковного управління.

— В процесі підготовки Всеправославного собору питання автокефалії і її проголошення стояло, і було обговорено. І навіть існують тексти документів, які були виготовлені. Я розкажу взагалі про процес, щоб розуміти, на чому все зупинилось. Вивчення питання почалося з того, що вважалось, що Вселенський патріархат – єдиний патріархат в православному світі, який має право надавати автокефалію – і з історичних, і з канонічних причин. Тому що в історії всі нові автокефалії, які появились, починаючи з XVI ст., з появою Російської Православної Церкви до наших днів, – це колишні території Вселенського патріархату, яким він дарував автокефалію. А з канонічних причин, тому що Вселенський патріархат займає в православному світі перше місце.

Під час обговорення питання автокефалії на всеправославному рівні в дусі консенсусу було сказано: «Ні! Константинополь не може сам надавати автокефалію. Треба додати, що для дарування автокефалії має бути згода і звернення від тієї Церкви, від якої якась частина хоче отримати автокефалію». Тут можна взяти приклад актуальний, то якщо Україна хоче отримати автокефалію, то Константинополь не може сам її надати, треба щоб було звернення від Російської Православної Церкви, оскільки Україна в даний момент знаходиться в її лоні.

Тоді, в рамках підготовки до Всеправославного собору, Константинопольський Патріархат пішов на компроміс, погодився з тим, що автокефалію може надати Константинополь тільки за згодою і з проханням Церкви, в якій частина знаходиться.

Пішли далі. Дійшли до приготовлення Томоса – документа, який проголошує автокефалію даної Церкви, і в якому згадуються всі пункти, яких нова Церква має дотримуватись, всі вимоги, які вона має виконувати. Знову було питання, що цей Томос підписує тільки Константинопольський патріарх. В рамках дискусії було сказано: «Ні! Його мають підписати всі глави, всі предстоятелі помісних Церков. Тому що вони мусять бути згідні, мусять признавати оцю нову Церкву». Знову Константинопольский патріархат пішов на компроміс і сказав: «Добре. Будуть підписувати Томос всі предстоятелі помісних Церков».

— А кожен підпис – це переговори?

— Так.

Отже, Константинополь пішов на компроміс. Дійшло до питання підпису Томосу. З історії ми знаємо, що Томоси підписувались Константинопольським Патріархом, який після свого підпису ставить слово «Проголошує». Тому що Вселенський Патріарх як перший, як возглавляючий свій Синод – він проголошує автокефалію. А за ним просто ставили підписи члени Синоду Константинопольської Церкви без жодного слова. Тому що проголошує глава, а інші просто своїм підписом підтверджують, що це офіційний, дійсний документ. І Константинополь хотів пристосувати цю практику і сказати: «Константинопольський Патріарх підписує Томос зі словом «Проголошує», а інші предстоятелі, як раніше члени Синоду, просто ставлять за ним свій підпис за порядком православних диптихів». Знову була дискусія, і знову нова вимога: «Ні! Інші патріархи теж мусять якесь слово добавити після свого підпису». І Константинополь знову пішов на компроміс. І сказав: «Ну, тоді зробимо так: Константинопольський Патріарх підписує і ставить слово «Проголошує», а інші патріархи підписують і ставлять слово «Співпроголошує» — по принципу літургічного богослужіння». Адже коли звершується Божественна літургія, то завжди служить перший, якого ми вважаємо предстоящим на службі, а інші співслужать.

— Логічно.

— І знов представники Московського патріархату не погодились – з цим словом «Співпроголошує».  Вони хотіли, щоб кожний патріарх підписував зі словом «Проголошує». І тут уже на цьому Вселенський Патріархат не погодився. Не із-за своєї честі чи з якоїсь політичної причини. Просто тому, що це нелогічно і неправильно. Проголошувати може тільки один чоловік, а інші, які з ним, можуть співпроголошувати. Але не може кожний проголошувати по-своєму. І на цьому це питання було заблоковане. І з того часу, коли були ці засідання у 2009 році, якщо не помиляюсь, воно залишилось заблоковане.

Себто: це питання автокефалії було розглянуто, дійшли до компромісного тексту, але із запитання як ставити підписи під Томосом, все було заблоковано. І тому питання вирішили не включати у повістку дня. Для Константиноля це значить, що питання автокефалії зараз залишається за статусом кво, так, як воно було на самому початку розгляду цього питання(тобто всі погоджені компроміси вважаються недосягнутими – Т.Д.). Тому що всі компромісні варіанти, по яких була згода, не дійшли до заключення.

— Перші автокефалії умовно називаються древніми, потім була друга хвиля – нові автокефалії, починаючи з РПЦ, і вони вже були якісно трохи інші. На Вашу думку, потреба в новітній хвилі автокефалій – це природній процес, чи свідчення певних проблем всередині православ’я? Чи готове Вселенське православ’я до третьої, новітньої хвилі появи автокефалій?

— Яка різниця між першою хвилею і другою хвилею? Фактично друга хвиля починається у XVI ст. столітті з надання автокефалії Російській Православній Церкві. В чому різниця першої хвилі та другої хвилі, чому статус трохи інший? В тому, що древні центри, до яких входив і Рим (але питання Риму – це інше питання в даний момент) – Константинополь, Олександрія, Антіохія, Єрусалим і Кипр – це Церкви, які були стверджені на Вселенських соборах. А як ми знаємо, це є принцип Церкви, і навіть фундаменталісти з цим погоджуються і повторюють, що Православна Церква мусить дотримуватись Вселенських соборів. Ми не можемо вважати себе православними, якщо ми відмовляємось від постанов якогось Вселенського собору. Це примусові обов’язки Православної Церкви.

Ці Церкви були підтверджені Вселенськими соборами. Інші, нова хвиля автокефалій не була підтверджена Вселенським собором. Не можна сказати, що їхня автокефалія в чомусь відрізняється, але їхній статус не має підтвердження Вселенським собором.

— Їм давали автокефалію з ікономії, чи з політичних причин?

— Нова хвиля автокефалій завжди була у відповідь на політичні обставини – створення нової держави чи нової імперії. З врахуванням статусу держави надавалась Церкві автокефалія, щоб вирішити адміністративну проблему. І тому ця друга хвиля автокефалій продовжується і до наших днів – більшість цих автокефалій було проголошено наприкінці ХІХ та у ХХ столітті.

— Друга хвиля автокефалій відокремлювалась від Константинополя, але є третя хвиля: коли відокремлення вже не від Вселенського патріархату, а від його відокремлених дочірніх Церков. Це проблема і Сербської Церкви, і РПЦ. А Константинополь вже це пройшов.

— Константинополь завжди вважає, що територія України є канонічною територією Константинопольської Церкви. І не треба забувати, що якраз на основі Київської митрополії була надана автокефалія Польській Церкві в 1924 році. Польська держава звернулась до Константинополя…

— Саме держава звернулась?

— Так. Ось як це було. В 20-х роках Польська держава стала незалежною. І держава сказала: «Ми не проти, щоб у Польщі жили православні християни, практикували свою віру і мали свою Церкву. Але ми як держава не хочемо, щоб у Польщі була Церква, яка була б колоною чужої держави, і притому антагоністичної держави». І тому Польська держава в 1924 році звернулась до Константинополя, щоб Константинополь надав автокефалію Польській Церкві. Це було прохання держави для вирішення політичної проблеми.

Під час зустрічі з Петром Порошенком. Світлина зі сайту Президента України

— Тобто, церковна проблема може бути одночасно і політичною проблемою?

— Так. Для Польщі не було проблеми православної віри, православного вчення, православного богослужіння – це питання релігійне і не стосується держави. Але Польська держава мала проблему політичну: вона не хотіла, щоби Православна Церква в Польщі служила інтересам чужої держави. І з цієї причини вона звернулась до Константинополя, щоб надати автокефалію і вирішити політичне питання.

І на основі чого Константинополь дав Томос 1924 року Польській Православній Церкві? Константинополь розглянув Польську Церкву як колишню частину Київської митрополії. Як ми знаємо, при митрополиті Кіпріанові Цамблаку Київська митрополія знаходилась в рамках польсько-литовської держави, тобто її границі ширились і на територію Польщі, і сучасної Литви. Теж саме приблизно було і за часів Петра Могили, який був митрополитом Київським. Київська митрополія тоді підлягала Константинополю. І тому, що Польща колись знаходилась в рамках Київської митрополії, а Київська митрополія була в прямому канонічному підпорядкуванні Константинополя, Константинополь дав автокефалію Польській Церкві у 1924 році.

То якщо у 1924 році Константинополь дарував автокефалію Польській Церкві на основі Київської митрополії, чому сьогодні Константинополь не мав би права надати самій Київській митрополії статус автокефалії? Якщо це було можливо у 1924 році – це можливо і сьогодні.

— Українська делегація у складі Російської Церкви не приймала участі у Всеправославному соборі. Інша частина православних українців взагалі залишена без будь-якого представництва у Вселенському православ’ї. Хто є відповідальним за такий жалюгідний стан стосунків між православними українцями, адже це ненормальний стан речей?

— Вселенський Патріарх не раз заявляв, що Константинополь є Матір’ю-Церквою для Української Церкви. Він не раз підкреслював, що являється духовним отцем українців. І тому Вселенський патріарх постійно слідкує і переживає за стан Православної Церкви в Україні. Тим більше, після того як звернулась Верховна Рада України до Константинопольського патріархату з проханням надати канонічну автокефалію, це прохання було розглянуто на останньому Синоді, і Синод вирішив віддати це питання комісії для серйозного, належного вивчення цієї проблеми. Так що Константинополь цим займається.

— Багато говорять про те, що результатом цього вирішення має бути об’єднання всіх православних гілок. Але як об’єднуватися, якщо одна з гілок не бачить в цьому потреби, бо інші православні юрисдикції для неї не існують в природі?  Тобто маємо неприємний феномен самоізоляції канонічної гілки в особі її єпископату і частини кліру. І навіть на появу в Україні представників Вселенського Патріархату вони реагують дуже болісно. Як говорити про об’єднання, якщо одна юрисдикція живе у власній паралельній реальності, де більше нікого крім неї не існує? З урахуванням цього у Вселенській патріархії є якісь механізми вирішення українського питання? Адже на рівні заяв українського єпископату УПЦ (МП) проблеми зміни статусу начебто і не існує.

— Ви описали проблему, і, описуючи проблему, Ви підкреслили її складність. Для вирішення проблеми має бути певний процес, який треба вивчити і знайти. І це якраз ціль роботи цієї комісії. Якби була відповідь, як проблему вирішити, – вона вже давно була б вирішена!

Константинополю не треба вивчати українське питання: чи має він право надавати автокефалію, чи ні? чи Українська церква є дочір’ю Константинопольської церкви, чи ні? Чи Україна є канонічною територією Вселенського патріархату, чи ні? Це Константинополь прекрасно знає, і не раз підкреслював і стверджував. То вивчення питання стоїть в тому, як знайти вихід для резолюції проблеми. В цьому є ціль комісії. Тому на даний момент я не можу Вам розказати, яким шляхом ця проблема буде вирішена. Ми ще не знайшли цей процес, яким треба йти, інакше питання уже було б вирішено.

Але що важливо підкреслити, і це є канонічний принцип, що на одній території може бути лише одна церква. Себто, дві автокефальні церкви не можуть бути одночасно на одній території. І для проголошення автокефалії потрібна єдність церкви. Тому саме над цією єдністю треба працювати.

— Сьогодні в багатьох Церквах є проблема розділення та невизнаних юрисдикцій. Представники Московського Патріархату в Україні вважають, що навіть ведення спокійного мирного діалогу з опонентами є неканонічним, його не можна вести жодним чином.

— Не можна вести діалог?

— Так, не можна. Бо «Київський патріархат – це розкольники, і у них є єдиний шлях – повернутись в лоно Московського Патріархату». Наскільки ця позиція відповідає канонічним засадам та взагалі християнському сумлінню?

— Я Вам згадаю лише один приклад з Біблії. Відкрийте в Старому Завіті книгу Іова. В першій главі книги Іова розказується про діалог («діалог» на грецькій це розмова) між Богом і дияволом. В книзі Іова Бог веде діалог з сатаною. Якщо ТАКИЙ діалог можливий – між Богом і дияволом! – то чому сьогодні діалог був би неможливим між християнами, і тим паче між православними християнами?

— Московський Патріархат в Україні намагається представити ситуацію як безпрецедентні гоніння на єдину визнану в Україні юрисдикцію. Наскільки Православні Церкви об’єктивно поінформовані, чому відбуваються храмові конфлікти в Україні, чому дуже низький рівень довіри до УПЦ Московського Патріархату, яку роль грає РПЦ в розпалюванні ворожнечі на Донбасі? Наскільки така інформація доступна?

— Ви маєте на увазі, наскільки поінформовані Церкви поза межами України?

— Так.

— Тут треба сказати, що розповсюджується дуже різна і протирічива інформація. Це не нове: в будь-якому питанні, наприклад, політичному, якщо порівняти інформацію, яка подається американськими журналістами, то вона може не співпадати з інформацією, яка подається російськими журналістами. І навіть в одній країні в залежності від політичних тенденцій газет і журналістів інформація висвітлюється по-різному в різних газетах.

Я би сказав, що світ слабко поінформований насправді про те, що відбувається в Україні. Наприклад, мені задавав питання один єпископ Константинопольського Патріархату перед моєю поїздкою, чи російські війська ще знаходяться на території України? Він був під враженням, що це питання після Мінських договорів уже було вирішено. Це тільки один приклад.

Інформація, звичайно, є, і є різні протиріччя в цій інформації, але, якщо прямо говорити, про Україну в пресі поза межами України дуже мало пишуть.

— Але як можна вирішити українське питання, якщо про нього нема повної, об’єктивної інформації щодо стану речей і відносин між українцями? Це теж питання для комісії?

— Це одна з додаткових причин, чому це питання було передано комісії для глибшого вивчення.

— УАПЦ теж подавала звернення до Вселенського Патріарха щодо визнання її частиною Вселенського патріархату. Це питання буде долучено до розгляду комісією?

— Як ідеться про українське питання, то говориться про Церкву глобально. Це не тільки вивчення однієї частини чи однієї гілки, а питання розглядається в його цілості. То, звичайно, і це питання буде розглядатися теж.

— Отже, всі центробіжні тенденції планується розвернути у зворотньому напрямку?

— Так, об’єднати.

— Останнє питання, владико. Може, воно Вам здасться жартівливим. Але в російських колах мусуються заяви, що Вас призначать екзархом Константинопольського Патріархату в Україні. Можете це прокоментувати?

— (Посміхається) Я про це нічого не знаю, це по-перше. По-друге, мови про таке в Константинополі не могло бути, оскільки вивчення питання починається з початку, а не з кінця.

— Дякую, владико!

Київ, 29 липня 2016 року

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28 липня 2016 року Святійший Патріарх Київський і всієї Руси-України Філарет взяв участь у спільній молитві та урочистих заходах з нагоди Дня хрещення Київської Руси-України. Захід відбувся на Володимирській гірці біля пам’ятника святому рівноапостольному князю Київському Володимиру Великому.

В урочистостях взяли участь перші особи держави, урядовці, воїни та ветерани АТО, волонтери, дипломатичний корпус, інтелігенція та представники Всеукраїнської Ради Церков і релігійних організацій. Святійший Патріарх Філарет прибув у супроводі Патріаршого намісника, митрополита Переяслав-Хмельницького і Білоцерківського Епіфанія, митрополита Львівського і Сокальського Димитрія, архієпископа Чернігівськгого і Ніжинського Євстратія та архієпископа Вишгородського Агапіта.

Звертаючсиь до присутніх, Президент Петро Порошенко зазначив, що князь Володимир як мудрий і далекоглядний державний діяч відчув могутній потенціал християнства і, зробивши вибір на користь хрещення Русі, заклав непохитний фундамент під українську державу. І перші єпископи й священики до Русі прибули саме з Константинополя.

«Константинопольська Церква для нас була, є й буде Церквою-матір’ю, до якої ми, її чада, зверталися і будемо звертатися по допомогу, в тому числі у подоланні розділення, яке сьогодні болить православним українцям», – зазначив Глава держави.

Президент підкреслив, що Його Всесвятість Варфоломій доклав багато зусиль для організації історичного Святого і Великого Собору Православної Церкви, хоча його намагалися зірвати. Глава держави привітав успішне проведення Собору та прийняття важливих документів на ньому.

Петро Порошенко нагадав, що за останній рік мав нагоду зустрітися з Вселенським Патріархом і переконався, що Його Всесвятість молиться за Україну і думає над тим, як допомогти вирішити українські проблеми. Президент привітав присутнього на сьогоднішніх урочистих заходах високоповажного представника Його Всесвятості Варфоломія, архієпископа Тельміського Іова. «Перекажіть, владико, Його Всесвятості, що Православна Церква в Україні потребує невідкладної уваги з боку Вселенського Константинопольського Престолу. Він – єдиний, хто спроможний допомогти православним України об’єднатися та врегулювати канонічний статус Української Церкви в структурі світового Православ’я», – зазначив Глава держави.

Президент підкреслив, що згідно соціологічних опитувань дедалі більша кількість православних громадян України хочуть мати єдину помісну автокефальну церкву — «церкву, євхаристійно й молитовно поєднану, але адміністративно незалежну від інших церковних юрисдикцій. Це історичний тренд, який не може оминути й Україну».

Глава держави наголосив, що Україна не буде байдуже спостерігати за втручанням іншої держави в свої церковні справи, за її спробами використати в своїх інтересах почуття частини українських православних. Це стало однією з причин, чому Верховна Рада аргументовано звернулася до Вселенського Патріарха Варфоломія щодо надання Томосу про автокефалію Православній Церкві в Україні.

«Слід виходити з давнього канонічного принципу: громадянським та земельним розподілам нехай слідує і розподіл церковних справ», – підкреслив Петро Порошенко. За його словами, з великою надією в Києві сприйняли звістку про те, що Священний Синод Константинопольського Патріархату створює спеціальну комісію для розгляду заяви українського парламенту.

«Впевнений, що завдяки участі Його Всесвятості у вирішенні цього важливого питання між Українською Церквою та Константинополем складуться унікальні стосунки, які дозволять подолати чимало негативних тенденцій у житті сучасного Православ’я», – зазначив Глава держави.

Патріарх Філарет, який звернувся до присутніх на урочистостях, наголосив, що коли буде в Україні Помісна Церква, тоді буде міцною Українська Держава. «Господь створює умови для визнання і обєднання українського православ’я в єдину Церкву. І ми бачимо ці умови. Це і те, що Верховна Рада своєю більшістю виступила за надання Українській Православній Церкві автокефалії. Це свідчить, що український народ підтримує ідею створення єдиної Помісної Церкви в Україні. Ми й надалі будемо робити все для того, щоб досягти цієї мети. Коли досягнемо цієї мети, то буде мир. Тому що Росія не наважиться воювати з державою, яка всередині міцна. Бо зараз вона навпаки робить все для того, щоб розділити українське суспільство. Але ви бачите, що розділити нас неможливо. Всі ті страждання, які наш народ терпить, навпаки об’єднують нас в єдине ціле», – сказав Предстоятель Церкви.

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26 липня 2016 року Святійший Патріарх Київський і всієї Руси-України Філарет зустрівся з Головою Представництва Європейського Союзу в Україні Яном Томбінські.

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Під час бесіди Патріарх Філарет розповів гостю про сучасні виклики для України загалом, які гостро обговорюються не тільки в українському суспільстві, а й серед партнерів України в європейському просторі. Зараз наша країна переживає доленосні часи, коли українське суспільство шукає шляхи для максимального об’єднання на грунті любові до своєї Батьківщини та духовного відродження. Це виявляється і в небувалому піднесенні волонтерського руху в Україні, а також і в процесі об’єднання навколо Української Церкви всього патріотично налаштованого люду.

Ян Томбінські зазначив, що треба еліміновувати всі елементи, які розділюють Україну, тому що вона й так дуже сильно порізана на кусочки. «Слід будувати інститути, які об’єднують людей. А Церква є одним з таких інститутів і має найбільший авторитет серед населення. І я із захопленням спостерігаю за відновленням віри в Україні, коли тисячі і тисячі людей ходять до церкви», – сказав пан Посол.

Вкінці бесіди Ян Томбінські подякував Патріарху Філарету за зустріч та зазначив, що, переходячи на нове місце праці, він забирає Україну в серці із собою: «Ці чотири роки моєї каденції в Україні були для мене роками емоційного сприйняття змін та розуміння того, що тут йде процес, в якому створюється нова нація, нова держава. І це буде корисним найперше для українців, а також і для сусідів України».

Патріарх Філарет подякував Яну Томбінські за велику роботу, яку він провів на користь України за ці чотири роки та побажав йому Божого благословення в подальших трудах.

Нагадаємо, Ян Томбінські був призначений головою представництва ЄС в Україні 2012 року і працює на цій посаді 4 роки. Цього ж року його каденція добігає кінця. Надалі він очолить представництво ЄС у Ватикані.

Церква.info

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Why I did not sign the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World”

By Metropolitan Hiefrotheos of Nafpatkos and Agios Vlasios

Source: https://orthodoxethos.com/

Various comments have been published related to the stance I took regarding the text of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church with the title: “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World.” Some write that I didn’t sign it, others that I did but with reservations, and others that I did.

With this statement of mine, I confirm that in actuality I did not sign this text and that besides this I’ve expressed my reservations about the texts “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World” and “The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments” on particular points which I made clear during council sessions.

Especially about the first text “Relations of the Orthodox Church to the rest of the Christian world” I want to say that truly after deep thought based in theological criteria, I did not sign.

It is not time yet to put forward all of my historical and theological arguments, something which I will do when I analyze more generally all of the processes and the [spiritual] atmosphere which I recognized in the carryings-on of the sessions of the Holy and Great Synod. Here I will mention succinctly several particular reasons.

  • [In making my decision to not sign] I took into consideration that several of the unanimously-voted decisions of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece were not accepted, not only with regards to the phrase “the Orthodox Church knows the historical existence of other Christian Confessions and Communities” but also in four or five instances.
  • From the beginning, the whole structure and way of thinking in the text troubled me, because it came from the combination of two different texts, yet until the very end I had hope that it would be corrected with the suggestions of the other Churches.
  • My refusal to sign cannot be understood unless I provide some information as to why the delegates of the Church of Greece suddenly changed the unanimous decision of the Hierarchy of the Church [of Greece]. As is known, the initial decision of the Hierarchy in May of 2016 was that [the original text be changed to read] “the Orthodox Church recognizes the historical existence of other ChristianConfessions and Communities,” and this was modified [at the Council] to read “the Orthodox Church accepts the historical appellation of other heterodox Christian Churches and Confessions.” The difference between these two phrases is obvious.
  • One last reason, which is not as substantial but carries special weight, is the intense verbal criticism which the Church of Greece received for its decision [to remain faithful to the decision of the Hierarchy]. Certainly, it is on solid ground that the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos, rejected this offensive treatment. In the end, however, it was this offensive conduct which played a psychological role in the formulation of the other suggestion.

I decided, from the outset, to participate in the Holy and Great Synod as a member of the delegation of the Church of Greece, however, I awaited the decisions of the Hierarchy in May of 2016 in order to decide whether I would [finally] attend. When I discovered that the decisions of the Hierarchy were important and unanimous, I ended up deciding to participate in the Holy and Great Synod in order to support them.

However, at last, I observed that, for various reasons, not all the corrections to the text which were suggested by the Churches passed. It was the Metropolitan of Pergamon who, obviously in the role of Advisor, at the behest of the Patriarch, was the final evaluator of suggestions, either rejecting them, or correcting them, or adopting them, and his evaluation was accepted by Church of Constantinople and the other Churches.

In my view, the text was not ready to be put forth by the Holy and Great Synod, since up to the very last minute, just before the signing, it was being corrected and modified, [indeed] even during its translation into the three official languages, French, English, and Russian. This was the reason why several Churches from the beginning sought the withdrawal of the text for further modification. In addition to this, the text is too diplomatic and can be used by everyone according to their own preferences.

As I stated in the meeting of the Holy and Great Synod, the text doesn’t have a strict ecclesiological basis. The question of what the Church is and who are its members was one of the nearly 100 issues which had been raised by the Holy and Great Synod, but, over time, fell to the wayside in view of a wider conversation and dialogue, to be decided later. Hence what the Church is and who are its members must first of all be discussed and defined, and only after this can the position of the heterodox be defined.

Also, if I had signed this text, I would have been denying all that I have written for some time now, with regards to ecclesiology and based on the Holy Fathers of the Church. Obviously, this is something I could not do.

On the [previous] Friday when this particular text was discussed [at the Council], the conversation reached a dead end at the sixth paragraph, where there was discussion [of the above phrase] as how to refer to the Heterodox. The Church of Romania suggested they be called “Confessions and Heterodox Communities”. The Church of Cyprus suggested they be called “Heterodox Churches”. And the Church of Greece suggested they be called “Christian Confessions and Communities”. Because the Church of Romania withdrew its suggestion, the conversation came down to the suggestion of the Church of Cyprus, which was accepted by the other Churches, and the suggestion of the Church of Greece.

In a special meeting of our delegation on Friday afternoon, it was decided that we would abide by the decision of our Hierarchy even though alternative solutions would be proposed, such as “the Orthodox Church recognizes the existence of the heterodox” or “of other Christians” or “of non-Orthodox Christians”.

Because the suggestions of the Church of Greece were not accepted, the Ecumenical Patriarch, in the afternoon session on Friday, publically suggested that there be a meeting between the Metropolitan of Pergamon and myself in order to find a solution. The Metropolitan of Pergamon did not seem open to such a thing, and I stated that it was not a personal issue where I could take on the responsibility alone, but it was an issue for the entire delegation. Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarch suggested to the Archbishop of Athens that some solution be found.

Saturday morning before the session, our delegation gathered to make the relevant decision. The Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Ieronymos, acting democratically, mentioned that there are three particular solutions. The first was to abide by the decision of the Hierarchy; the second was to put forth a new suggestion with very particular considerations (of which I do not know where it came from or who proposed it) that read, “the Orthodox Church accepts the historical appellation of other heterodox Christian Churches and Confessions”; and the third was that we accept the suggestion of the Church of Cyprus which spoke of “heterodox Churches”. A discussion ensured and the delegation voted upon the three suggestions. Personally, I supported the first suggestion’s alternative formulations previously referred to [approved by the Hierarchy], while all of the others present voted for the second.

I thought that this suggestion was not suitable from an historical and theological perspective and I declared immediately before all those present that I would not sign this text if this suggestion was put forth, but for the sake of unity I will withdraw from further conversation. Consequently, I would not be able to sign the text for the [stated] reason.

At the very least, I [can attest thatI] personally was subject to severe pressure and abusive treatment from the Hierarchs for my stance, and I was informed that the other Bishops of our Church were also subject to such pressures, as well. And, because I always [strive to] behave with calmness, sobriety, and freedom, I could not accept these insulting actions.

These are the most basic reasons which, theologically and from a sense of conscience, made it impossible for me to sign. It is true that, on the final text which was published, my name appears as a supposed signatory of the text, evidently since I was a member of the delegation of the Church of Greece [even though I did not sign].

Here I present only this limited information about what happened concerning the matter [of the “Relations” text]. I will write more later, when I will analyze historically and theologically what is troublesome with regard to the final suggestion which the Church of Greece made and which passed into the [final version of the] text.

Translation: Vincent DeWeese

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Strong (2nd) Rebuttal of the Secretariat of the Council in Crete by the Patriarchate of Antioch

By Metropolitan Siluoan of Great Britain (Patriarchate of Antioch) | Romfea.gr

 

The ROMFEA.gr news agency has published the response of the Metropolitan of Great Britain, Siluoan, of the Patriarchate of Antioch, to the official spokesmen of the Council in Crete. (See below for Greek text)

“The press representatives of the Synod of Churches in Crete insist on distorting the truth concerning the position of the Patriarchate of Antioch with respect of the Council,” the statement begins.

Metropolitan Siluoan goes on to say that the repeated claims that the Patriarch of Antioch signed the decisions made by the Primates of the Chambessy meeting in January are false and misleading and have been decisively answered with the publication of the relevant documents. Moreover, he writes, not only did the Patriarchate of Antioch not sign, it’s representatives publicly declared that it will not sign on account of their inconsistency with the (other) decisions of the meeting.

“It is our duty to state unequivocally that the Church of Antioch signed neither the decisions of Chambessy in 2016 nor the text outlining the rules and organization of the Council, nor the text on marriage and its impediments.”

The participation of the Patriarchate of Antioch in the preparatory meetings was “kat’ oikonomian” always with the expectation and hope that it’s concerns would be met and the obstacles would be removed.

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Patriarchate of Georgia: We are Steadfast in Our Decision which is Based on Dogmatic – not Political – Reasons

Patriarch of Georgia Responds to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Reiterating the Reasons for Not Participating in the Council

JUNE 24th 2016

ORTHODOX ETHOS

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The Romfea.gr News Agency has published the June 23rd response of the Patriarchate of Georgia*to the June 17th Letter of the Patriarch of Constantinople seeking a reversal of the Georgian Church’s Synodical decision to not attend the Council.

The letter of the Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia, explains once again that the reasons for not participating are entirely on dogmatic grounds and in no way influenced by political considerations.

The main points of the letter are as follows:

1. The Holy Synod did not receive the Constantinopalian Patriarchate’s letter of June 13th but learned of it through the news media. This is the reason for late response.

2. It is incorrect for anyone to attribute political or related interests as the reason for our decision to not attend the Council.

3. We are praying that the Council’s decision will be acceptable to the entire Church.

4. The Church of Georgia has never agreed to the text “The Mystery of Marriage and Its Impediments.” They do not consider it acceptable to overturn a canon of an Ecumenical Council (the 72nd of the Penthekte Ecumenical Council), which forbids mixed marriages, making it acceptable for a non-Orthodox to participate in a Mystery of the Church.

5. The Holy Synod has rejected this document both in its October 8th, 1998 session and again on the 25th of May, 2016. Moreover, the Church of Georgia did not accept it at the meeting of Primates in January. For those who cite our agreement to the decisions of the January Synaxis of Primates, which ordered the carrying out of the Great Council, we respond that these decisions we made before the vote of the Primates on the controversial text. We signed the above decisions for the Council in the hope that we would eventually come to agreement on all of the texts, which, however, did not come to pass.

6. Unfortunately, our Church likewise saw no fruit from our visit to the Phanar in April, when we asked that the text be removed from the agenda of the Council.

7. Even now we once again ask that this text not be included in the agenda of the Council, given that it has not been accepted on a Pan Orthodox level, nor agreed to by the Church of Antioch.

8. At the meeting of the Primates in January, we stated that the texts would, after being published and made known to the pleorma of the Church, be examined by the hierarchy of our Church. At our May 25th meeting of the hierarchy the following was decided:

A. The text, “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World,” contains serious ecclesiological and terminological errors and, as such, must be extensively re-worked. Short of this re-writing the Church of Georgia will be unable to agree to it.

B. The text, “The Mission of the Orthodxo Church in the Modern World,” likewise absolutely requires certain changes, which we have indicated.

C. The text, “The Mystery of Marriage and Its Impediments,” is, in its present form, unacceptable for the above mentioned dogmatic reasons.

The Patriarch then ends his letter with a plea to the Patriarch of Constantinople:

“We hope in your wisdom. Yet again, we express our hope that you avert the creation of problems in the body of the Church, as well as any decision-making, which will cast a shadow upon the unity of the Church.”

http://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/9022-pat…

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ВСЕПРАВОСЛАВНЫЙ СОБОР: ПОДПИСАН ВАЖНЕЙШИЙ ДОКУМЕНТ

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Crete 23/06/2016

http://newsonline24.com.ua/

Предстоятели десяти православных церквей на Всеправославном Соборе подписали документ, который регулирует провозглашение церковной автономии.

Об этом пресс-конференции по итогам Собора сообщил представитель Константинопольского патриархата при Всемирном совете церквей Иов Геча.

“Мы имеем хорошие новости. Сегодня утром мы начали процесс сбора подписей под двумя документами. Первый документ касается автономии и способов ее провозглашения. Этот документ был принят с небольшими поправками. И второй документ о диаспоре, который касается Правил епископских собраний в диаспоре. Оба документа были приняты с небольшими поправками. Процесс подписания обоих документов продолжается. Вы должны понимать, что участие в соборе принимают 290 делегатов и документы собора на четырех языках должны подписать все делегаты Собора. Поэтому вы можете представить, сколько времени займет подписание документов. Документы на четырех официальных языках уже подписали предстоятели Церквей и теперь идет процесс подписания собравшимися здесь епископами”, – сказал епископ.

Автономия в данном случае отличается от автокефалии тем, что предстоятель должен быть утвержден главой одной автокефальной (материнской) церкви.

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COUNCIL MESSAGE COULD CODIFY FOUR NEW ECUMENICAL COUNCILS

 

June 20, 2016

In addition to discussing the six documents prepared beforehand at previous conferences, participants at the ongoing council, begun yesterday on the Great Feast of Pentecost on the island of Crete, are also to deliberate over and publish the official “Message” of the council.

A draft of the document covers an array of topics including the questions of remarriage and marriage to non-Orthodox, the oneness and unity of the Church in the holy Eucharist, the importance of the Patristic Tradition, and the Church’s vision of conciliarity which places no one bishop over all others, among other matters, according to a source familiar with the document.

While the document mainly “states the obvious” on such topics in terms that all the Local Churches can agree on, the draft document, in large part prepared by theologians of the Greek and Serbian Churches, does contain some more noteworthy passages.

In it, the current gathering is referred to as a preparatory council for a further series of councils, rather than a one-time event, noting that the absence of four Local Churches is properly speaking the failure of all involved, and that the issues preventing certain Churches from participating in the current council are to be resolved before the convening of the next, that all might attend in good conscience.

Notably, the draft document currently under consideration also recognizes as ecumenical the Photian Council of 879-880, already sometimes referred to as the Eighth Ecumenical Council, which condemned the Latin addition of the Filioque into the Nicene Creed; the hesychast councils of Constantinople held between 1341 and 1351, already sometimes collectively referred to as the Ninth Ecumenical Council, which upheld the distinction between the essence and energies of God and man’s ability to commune with these energies; the 1642 Council of Iași (Jassy) which countered certain Catholic and Protestant heresies which had exercised some degree of influence on Orthodox theology; and the 1672 Council of Jerusalem which refuted Calvinism and also rejected the Filioque.

Regarding these councils, the document especially notes their statements against Western scholasticism and the imbalanced emphasis on reason as obstacles to unity, and in light of the Councils of Iași and Jerusalem, states that the Catholic and Protestant confessions in no way make up a part of the Church, while avoiding the use of the word “heretic.”

The overall atmosphere at the current council is one of a favorable impression of the document, according to the source. However, it is as yet a draft document and it remains to be seen what precise message the participating bishops and Churches will release.

 

20 / 06 / 2016

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Μητροπολίτη-Ναυπάκτου-Λίγο-πρίν-τήν-Ἁγία-καί-Μεγάλη-Σύνοδο

JUST BEFORE THE HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL

Met. Hierotheos Vlachos

We are approaching the time when the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Churches is to be held in Crete to discuss the six texts which have been prepared in Preconciliar conferences, and to give a message of unity among the Orthodox Churches.

Many texts have been written recently by experts and non-experts, by those who are competent and those who are not, on this great event. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out in another text, in some of them we see that theology is mixed with politics, or rather, various ecclesiastical elements get involved knowingly or unknowingly in the aspirations of politicians, and politicians, too, use various ecclesiastical elements in order to implement their plans through the Church.

Of course, the Council of 1872 in Constantinople condemned racialism and nationalism as a heresy, but unfortunately racialism and nationalism use the Orthodox Church as a vehicle with varying results.

At present most of the discussion is about whether all fourteen Orthodox Churches will participate in the Council and what the impact of the absence of some Churches will be, and not so much about the content of the texts and corrections that ought to be made.

By a decision of the Standing Holy Synod and the Hierarchy the Church of Greece, I will be a member of this Holy and Great Council and I am possessed by a high sense of responsibility to the Orthodox tradition and to history itself. I am seriously concerned about the decisions that this Council will take and first and foremost about what will happen next.

This is said from the point of view that Councils were eventually approved by the theological consciousness of the Church. Just as the organism of the human body keeps the elements it needs from food and discards unnecessary elements, the same thing happens in the divine and human organism of the Church, since the Church over time confirms the truth of something or rejects it.

As a member of the Holy and Great Council, I would like to say something before the start of the proceedings. I will not mention here the reasons that led me to accept this proposal by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece to take part in the Holy and Great Council, which I shall do later, but I will articulate some of my thoughts.

1. The self-awareness of the Council

With regret I hear and read some of the views expressed that, namely, the Holy and Great Council is the first Council to take place in the second millennium of Christianity. Others claim that it is the first Great Council since the ‘Schism’ which occurred in 1054, whereas the excommunication of the Church of Old Rome took place in 1009 with the introduction of the filioque. Still others say that the Holy and Great Council will convene after an interval of 1200 or 1300 years, that is to say, after 787, when the Seventh Ecumenical Council convened, and others dare to say officially too that it will be the Eighth Ecumenical Council!

The basis of this mindset is that the Orthodox Church has supposedly remained in a state of spiritual hypnosis and spiritual dementia since 787, and that all this time it has been a ‘dead’, ‘sleeping’, ‘museum’ Church.

Such a conception is not only an insult to the holy Fathers of the Church who appeared and taught during the second millennium, but it also undermines the Orthodox Church itself, which is a continuous Synod and is the true and living body of Christ.

Ecumenical Councils mainly dealt with dogmatic definitions and administrative and pastoral rules (Canons), as we see from their Proceedings. On the other hand, when reading the texts that are being elaborated for final approval by the Great and Holy Council, we cannot distinguish the dogmatic definitions from the Canons. Assuming that individual paragraphs of the text are considered to be Canons, thorough discussion is required on whether these ‘Canons’ are in agreement with the canonical tradition of the Church or whether they overturn the basis and heart of Church Canon Law.

The problem, though, is that if this Holy and Great Council is considered, wrongly in my opinion, to be a continuation of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, then serious violence is being done to Orthodox truth. Because during this time Great and Ecumenical Councils and other glorious Councils of the Patriarchs of the East – that is to say, of the whole Orthodox Church at that time – were held, which discussed serious issues, and addressed important theological and ecclesiastical issues.

I have read that some people have used the views of the late dogmatic theologian Ioannis Karmiris to support views which are presented in the texts put forward for final approval by the Primates of the Orthodox Church. It would be advisable to study the two volumes of the book The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church to see the pulse and vitality of the Orthodox Catholic Church until the nineteenth century. One finds there that until the nineteenth century there is basically one single language in ecclesiastical texts, and that the differentiation began in the early twentieth century.

I would like to mention some important Councils after the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which are unfortunately ignored.

The Council of 879-80 under Photios the Great is a great Ecumenical Council, which was convened by the Emperor. The representatives of the then Orthodox Pope were present and everyone accepted its decisions. The Council discussed the two types of ecclesiology, Eastern and Western, and the Eastern ecclesiology prevailed. It also pronounced on the primacy of the Pope and the heresy of the filioque.

There were Councils between 1341 and 1368, particularly the Council of 1351, which was convened by the Emperor in the presence of St Gregory Palamas and ruled that the energy of God is uncreated and that the Light of Christ which shone on Mount Thabor was uncreated. It condemned the heresy of Barlaam and Akindynos that the uncreated essence is identified with uncreated energy, which is known as the actus purus, and that God supposedly communicates with creation and man through created energies. So in reality the Council of 1351 condemned scholastic theology, which to a large extent is valid to this day in ‘Roman-Catholicism’.

The Council of 1484, with the participation of Patriarchs Simeon of Constantinople, Gregory of Alexandria, Dorotheos of Antioch and Joachim of Jerusalem called itself Ecumenical. It annulled the unifying Council of Ferrara-Florence and issued a Service, composed by Patriarch Simeon of Constantinople, for those returning to the Orthodox Church from the ‘the Latin heresies’. Although this Synod established that the Latins should return to the Orthodox Church by means of a written declaration and Chrismation, because at that time the standard ‘form of Baptism’ still prevailed, the Service composed for the return of Latins to the Orthodox Church clearly refers to the heresy of the Latins, the ‘disgraceful and alien doctrines of the Latins’, and states that those returning to the Orthodox Church should “avoid completely the assemblies of the Latins in their churches,” and anathematized the Filioque which they dared to add.

In this Service there is reference to Latins and to alien dogmas, among which are the familiar filioque, i.e the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, and the heresy of the actus purus, namely, that uncreated energy is identified with the uncreated essence in God and therefore God communicates with the world through created energies.

The Council of 1590, which called itself an ‘Ecumenical Council’, and its continuation, the Council of 1593 which was characterized as a ‘Holy and Great Council’ are important. Both are Councils of the Patriarchs of the East, and they decided to assent to the elevation of the Church of Moscow to the honor and dignity of a Patriarchate, which had been previously granted by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1589 by the relevant Patriarchal Chrysobull or Tome.

The Conciliar decision in 1756 by the three Patriarchs, namely, Cyril of Constantinople, Matthew of Alexandria and Parthenios of Jerusalem, refers to the rebaptism of Westerners who enter into the Orthodox Church.

Although this decision did not last for long, because in practice the Church reverted to the decision of the Council of 1484, it has never been repealed by another Conciliar decision.

It is well-known that the topic of ‘Economy in the Orthodox Church’, referring to the reception of heretics and schismatics, was on the agenda of the Holy and Great Council, as is clear from the Preparatory Committee meeting in 1971 in Geneva. But ultimately it was removed from the agenda of the Council and the Holy and Great Council has not been given the possibility of ruling officially on this issue. So the question is: why was this issue not included in the agenda of the Holy and Great Council, in order that there might be a discussion with theological arguments on the validity and existence, or the invalidity and non-existence of the Baptism of heretics, which will now be dealt with in an indirect manner?

The Conciliar decision of the Patriarchs of the East in 1848, signed by the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem with their Synods, calls ‘Papism’ a heresy, compares it with Arianism and counts the basic Latin non-Orthodox teachings, such as the filioque, the primacy and the infallibility of the Pope, as other false beliefs related to baptism and the sacraments.

The Council of 1872 in Constantinople condemned racialism and nationalism in ecclesiastical life “that is, racial discriminations and nationalistic conflicts, jealousies and dissensions in Christ’s Church.” Racialism and nationalism are “foreign” to the tradition of the Orthodox Church, a “modernist virus”. It is significant that in the epilogue of the Conciliar declaration there is a prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ to keep the Church “immaculate and untouched by any modernist virus, firmly established on the foundations of the Apostles and Prophets.”

I have mentioned a few of the ‘Ecumenical’, ‘Holy and Great’ Councils – there are others too -that were convened after the Seventh Ecumenical Council and until the nineteenth century, and have been accepted by the consciousness of the Church. Indeed, the decisions of the Great Council of 1351 in the time of St Gregory Palamas have been included in the ‘Synodikon of Orthodoxy’, which is read on the First Sunday of Lent, and have been introduced into hymns used in worship. This represents the strongest proof that the Council of 1351 has been accepted by the consciousness and judgment of the Church itself as Ecumenical.

One should also mention here the very important three answers by the Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II (1576, 1578, 1581) to the Lutheran theologians of the University of Tubingen. These are remarkable answers sent by Patriarch Jeremiah in cooperation with Orthodox clergy and laity, among them Damascene the Studite, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Arta, who is counted among the saints.

In these important letters of reply, on the one hand, the Orthodox faith is presented, and, on the other hand, the beliefs of the Protestants are called into question. In these replies the Orthodox faith is expressed on the basis of the Fathers and teachers of the Church, not resorting in them to the teachings of scholastic theology. Answering many questions and moreover specifying differences from Lutheran theology, in relation to Holy Tradition, Christology, the filioque, the man’s free will, predestination, justification, the number of sacraments and how they are performed, the infallibility of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils, worship, invocation of the saints, holy icons and relics, fasting, and various ecclesiastical traditions.

These letters of reply are considered important texts. They are mentioned in the Proceedings of the local Council that took place in 1672 in Jerusalem under Dositheos, and they are ranked among the symbolic books of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

After all these I wonder how it is possible for all these important Councils to be put aside for the sake of the Holy and Great Council which is to be held in Crete? How can some claim that the upcoming Council is the first Council of the second millennium? How is it possible and permissible to “trample underfoot” the entire Orthodox Ecclesiastical Tradition of 1200 years? Who directed journalists to speak of the Council of the millennium? How do some journalists who are not even particularly involved in Church reporting know this?

This question is very important. That is why I consider it necessary, at least in the Message that will be decided upon and published by the Holy and Great Council, that these and other Councils should be mentioned, to show the continuous action of the Holy Spirit in the Church. We cannot play with ecclesiastical and doctrinal issues and the whole ecclesiastical tradition.

Therefore, to say that the upcoming Holy and Great Council will be a Council convening after 1200 years is misleading. In fact it bypasses all these Great Councils, and ultimately ends in a “betrayal” of the Orthodox faith. Perhaps the aim is to create a new ecclesiology.

If there is no such aim, the Message of the Holy and Great Council ought definitely to contain a reference to these Holy and Great Councils of the second millennium. Otherwise this suspicion will be confirmed.

2. Western Christianity

It is known to those who follow Church matters and read Church history that in 1009 Pope Sergius IV officially used the Creed with the addition that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son (filioque). For that reason Patriarch Sergius II deleted the Pope from the diptychs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, so there has been excommunication since then. Thus a large part of Christianity was cut off from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Then, in the early sixteenth century, from this Western Christianity that was cut off from the Orthodox Church, other Christian groups broke away and cut themselves off. They were termed Reformers or Protestants, and many other names. Thus, the arbitrary actions of the Pope resulted in the secession of Western Christianity from the Church, but also to a further division among Western Christians themselves.

What is called Western Christianity is a sick, heretical system, having seceded from the Orthodox tradition of the first millennium. Of course, when we speak of Western Christianity, we do not mean the ordinary Christians who believe in Christ, pray and study the Bible. We mean the doctrinal teaching of Christian communities and Confessions. Similarly, when we speak of the Orthodox Church, we do not mean all Orthodox Christians, who, although baptized, may be atheists or indifferent, but the teaching as recorded in the decisions of Local and Ecumenical Councils.

Thus the doctrinal and confessional system of Western Christianity is largely sick and has even distorted Western society. The Latins (‘Roman Catholics’) have been changed for the worse by scholasticism, and the Protestants have been changed for the worse by some scholastic views that they inherited and the puritanism that was introduced, as well as by the study of Holy Scripture without the necessary interpretations of the Fathers, so they fall into various errors.

Scholasticism, which was developed in the West by the theologians of the Franks, mainly between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, blended the Christian faith with philosophy – what is known as the analogia entis. Some scholastic theologians used the theories of Plato and the Neoplatonists, others the theories of Aristotle, and others mixed both together. The main point is that they developed the view that scholastic theology is superior to Patristic theology and has surpassed it.

Protestant puritanism refuted the arbitrary views of scholasticism and reached the other extreme, while retaining some scholastic views, such as absolute predestination, the theory of propitiation of divine justice by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, and the study of the Bible using the analogia fidei.

In any case, both these Western traditions were influenced by the feudal system brought by the Franks into Europe. They regarded God as a “feudal lord” who is insulted by man’s sin, so He punishes man, who needs to propitiate God in order to return!

I do not want to analyze this further, but I would like to highlight the fact that all subsequent ideological currents that developed in the West, such as humanism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, romanticism, German idealism, existentialism, psychologism, etc., were a reaction for different reasons to Western scholasticism, which was basaed on the omnipotence of reason and on moralism.

In Western theology we observe many theological distortions, which are related to the currents mentioned above. Let me recall some of them. God is characterized by selfish eudemonism; He directs the world through created means; He is the cause of death; He is insulted by man’s sin; Sin is considered as a reversal of the order that exists in creation; God predestined who will be saved and who will be condemned; Christ, through the sacrifice on the Cross, satisfied divine justice; The Pope is the representative of God on earth. The Pope has priesthood, which transmits to the other bishops, and he is infallible; Penitents are required to satisfy God’s justice; The teaching on paradise and hell is materialistic, and so on.

In theology these views are called distortions and heresies, which, however, have also affected the social sphere. All theological deviations have social consequences as well. This explains the Vatican State, as well as the identification of Christian and secular authority in some Protestants. The regime imposed by Calvin in Geneva is a typical case of this mentality.

What has been mentioned here is not fundamentalism, conservatism or fanaticism. One should read how sociologists interpret Western man following the influence exerted by scholasticism and puritanism.

I can recommend the study of the views of the famous sociologist Max Weber as recorded in his book: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. There one will find how Max Weber describes precisely and vividly the anxiety of the Western Christian to learn whether he is predestined by God to be saved. This is the inexorable dilemma of whether someone is “elect or condemned”. For, if he is not predestined, then he doesn’t need to struggle in his life to be a good Christian. And eventually he will learn how Western Christianity developed the spirit of capitalism, with absolute predestination, pious individualism, Protestant asceticism, utilitarianism of professions, and so on.

Orthodox teaching never succumbed to such distortions. It preserved the teaching of the Prophets, the Apostles, and the Fathers, not only of the first millennium, but of the second millennium as well, such as St Simeon the New Theologian, St Gregory Palamas, St Mark of Ephesus and all the philokalic neptic Fathers of the Church. Our more recent saints, like St Paisios Velichkovsky, who brought a renaissance in Romania and Russia, St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, St Kosmas Aitolos, St Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, St Paisios the Athonite and many others matured within this theology.

Therefore, to try to bring these Fathers into the framework of Church life, who are teachers of the Church, for those of us who find ourselves in such “confessional” richness, and the variety of western Christianity with such theological and social issues is a major problem. Disregarding the theology of the Church expressed through these saints, in order to find some points in common with Western Christianity is a betrayal of the faith. I cannot find another milder characterization.

Moreover, with this sort of ossified Christianity, cut off from the Holy Fathers of the second millennium, we don’t help the Western Christians themselves, who are disappointed with the Western Christian tradition in which they grew up and are looking for the hesychastic tradition. Those Western Christians who become Orthodox are inspired by the Philokalia of the Neptic Fathers, the writings of St Silouan the Athonite and the teaching of the Fathers of Mount Athos. We cannot disappoint them all with insipid, tasteless and anemic texts.

3. Church – Orthodoxy – Eucharist

The Orthodox faith is not abstract and does not remain in the libraries of churches and monasteries. It is the life of the Church, which is experienced in the sacraments, chanted in the holy services, partaken of in the Divine Eucharist, revealed in prayer and ascetic struggle. This ‘theology of events’ is recorded in the confessional documents and decisions of Local and Ecumenical Councils.

There is no divergence between the sacraments and confession, prayer and daily life, the Divine Liturgy and Synodical conferences. The lex credendi is very closely linked with the lex orandi. If there is a split between the two, between doctrine and worship, this constitutes a deviation from the truth. This means that every Conciliar decision which contrasts with the theology of the prayers of the Sacraments and of the hymns is an anti-Orthodox decision.

In an important study entitled Church, Orthodoxy and Eucharist in Saint Irenaeus (see Atanasije Jevtic, Christ: The Alpha and the Omega, Editions Goulandris-Horn Foundation, Athens 1983, p. 109), the former Bishop of Herzegovina and Zahumlje, Atanasije Jevtic, records the link that exists between the Church, Orthodoxy, and the Eucharist as analyzed by St Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons.

Let me recall that St Irenaeus is an Apostolic Father who lived in Lyons during a critical period (140-202) when the Apostles had gone and the heretic Gnostics had appeared, arguing that they had received an “occult knowledge and “hidden mysteries”. Thus, St Irenaeus taught the close relationship that exists between Church, Orthodoxy, and the Divine Eucharist.

According to St Irenaeus, the Church preserves the faith of the Apostles. “The apostolic tradition is guarded in the Churches by their successors, the presbyters.” St Irenaeus does not use the term “Church” or “Churches” for Gnostics, but only the word “synagogue” and “place of teaching”. He also urges the presbyters to obey the successors of the Apostles, who have “the secure gift of truth” and he characterizes those who deviate from them “as heretics and people with corrupt judgment, or as those who rip (the Church) apart and are proud and insolent.”

Then, the Church is closely associated with Orthodoxy, the true faith. St Irenaeus writes: “The truth is preached in the Church” and “the apostolic tradition in the Church and the preaching of the truth.”

Also, the Church and Orthodoxy are linked to the Divine Eucharist. St Irenaeus writes: “Our opinion agrees with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn validates our opinion.” The Eucharistic prayers confess the mystery of the divine Economy, that is to say, of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, and the mystery of the salvation of man.

Interpreting all these points, Bishop Atanasije Jevtic observes:

“According to the testimony of Irenaeus, in the awareness of the Church of his time there could not be any separation or independence between the Church, the Eucharist and Orthodoxy, because neither does the Church exist without Orthodoxy and the Eucharist, nor Orthodoxy without the Church and the Eucharist, nor again the Eucharist outside the Church and her true faith,” that is, existing outside of the truth faith they automatically and simultaneously find themselves “outside the Church” so, vice versa, those outside the Church are situated outside Orthodoxy (outside the truth) and outside the true Eucharist pleasing to God (communion in Christ’s Body) as long as the faith is the expression of true tradition and life of the Church and of its true eucharistic practice and assembly.”

This truth has some remarkable consequences. Some of them will be noted here.

a)   “The persistence of the Orthodox Catholic Church in the true faith and true practice and the true assembly of the Apostles and their true disciples, and as a consequence of this, the non-recognition of communion with any other “church” outside the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church is the best proof of the survival until the present of that same awareness of the Church as Irenaeus, and generally the whole ancient church, possessed.”

b)   “All the Ecumenical and local Councils of the Orthodox Catholic Church had as their ultimate aim the keeping of the apostolic tradition in the faith, life and worship of the Church, and the exclusion from ecclesiastical communion in the Eucharist of those who distort the redeeming “rule of truth”, which the Church received from the Apostles and their genuine disciples, the Fathers. This way the salvation of God’s creatures, human beings, is safeguarded.

For this reason, from the first centuries to this day, the Orthodox constantly underline that there is no salvation outside the Church, that is, outside unity with Christ and the communion of people and local Churches in the true and correct faith, in charismatic practice, in the eucharistic assembly and communion, and in the grace of the Spirit and His gifts. Salvation is union and communion with Christ, and this communion is realized only in the Body of Christ which is the Church, particularly in the eucharistic communion of those in every local Church who have right belief in Christ and are sincerely united around the Bishops as bearers of ‘apostolic succession’ in the Churches.”

c)   This “apostolic succession” of bishops is a succession of this very fullness of ecclesiastical communion of local Churches in the world with Christ, and between those who share in the true faith, in the true and sacred teaching, and in the grace of God’s Spirit and in the Body and Blood of Christ. Apostolic succession, according to Irenaeus, is not a succession of “ordination” alone, but a succession and continuity of the whole Economy of God for mankind, that is to say, of the whole substance and life of the Church, the whole of its fullness and catholicity.

d)   “In our ‘ecumenistic’ but not rightly-believing era, the theological and ecclesiastical testimony of Hieromartyr Irenaeus, Bishop of the ancient Church, in which the awareness of the indivisible unity of the Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox and Eucharistic character of God’s Churches dispersed throughout the world prevailing always means for us Orthodox the living tradition of the mystery of the Church and its unity, from which we may not depart and which we may not change. We Orthodox do not change our traditional consciousness concerning the Church, because this would mean changing the Church—in other words, breaking up the historical catholicity of the Church of the Godman Christ, and interrupting our unity and communion with the Apostolic and Patristic Church of all the ages”.

Therefore, according to St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, there is no Church without Orthodoxy and the Divine Eucharist, and there is no Orthodoxy without the Church and the Eucharist; and there is no Eucharist without the Church and Orthodoxy. This is the tradition that runs through the Church from the time of the Apostles until today in the Church’s consciousness.

4. The decisions of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece

The Church of Greece is one of the fourteen Orthodox Churches. It received its autocephalous status with the Synodical and Patriarchal Tome of 1850, and several provinces were added to it over time, some by assimilation (1866, 1882) and others put under the ‘guardianship’ of Greece (1928).

As it was my duty, I studied the texts prepared by the delegates of all the Churches and signed by the Primates. While the Permanent Holy Synod and the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece were studying the texts, it was decided to make some changes, namely, corrections and additions with the intention of improving the texts. This was done in a spirit of unity, with unanimity in most cases, and very small minority votes in some cases, and one proposal with an open vote.

A result was reached that satisfied all the Hierarchs, and also those who learned about the decision. In what follows I will present the main elements of the decision.

The key point is that while in various sections of the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” it was mentioned that the Orthodox Church “recognizes the historical existence of other Christian Churches and Confessions”, this was replaced with the phrase: “is aware of the historical existence of other Christian Confessions and Communities”.

Another important point refers to the unity of the Church. While the text said that the unity of the Church “is unshakable,” subsequent sections mentioned the effort to restore unity among Christians, as if the branch theory applied. Some corrections were made in the text, to the effect that the Orthodox Church believes that “the unity of the Church is unshakable” and participates “in the movement towards the restoration of unity of the other Christians” or “the lost unity of other Christians”, and that it is working for that day to come when “the Lord will fulfil the hope of the Orthodox Church by gathering into it all those who are scattered, that it may become one flock with one shepherd.”

Another important point is the one referring to the prospect “of theological dialogues of the Orthodox Church with other Christian Confessions and Communities”. These dialogues “are always determined on the basis of the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology and the canonical criteria of the already formed ecclesiastical tradition, according to the sacred Canons of Ecumenical and local Councils recognized by the Ecumenical Councils, as are the Canons 46, 47 and 50 of the Holy Apostles; 8 and 19 of the First Ecumenical Council; 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council; 95 of the Quinisext Council; and 7 and 8 of Laodicea.”

A necessary clarification was also added: “It is clarified that, when practicing the reception of non-Orthodox by declaration and holy Chrism by economy, this does not mean that the Orthodox Church recognizes the validity of their Baptism and other sacraments.”

In the paragraph mentioning the condemnation of any disruption of the unity of the Church by individuals or groups, and the maintenance of the genuine Orthodox faith, which is guaranteed by the Conciliar system, the Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council and Canons 14 and 15 of First-Second Ecumenical Council were added.

In another section mentioning the need for inter-Christian theological dialogue, without provocative acts of confessional competition, the Unia was added in parenthesis, which means that the Orthodox Church does not accept this hypocritical way of uniting the Churches, as the Unia professes in practice.

A significant correction was made in the section saying that local Orthodox Churches “are called upon to contribute to inter-faith understanding and collaboration” by adding the words “for peaceful coexistence and social coexistence of people, without this implying any religious syncretism”.

There was a long discussion on the participation of the Orthodox Church in the World Council of Churches (WCC). The proposal of the Standing Holy Synod was to delete the relevant paragraphs referring to this. Following intense debate, the issue was decided by an open ballot (by a show of hands), with thirteen Hierarchs proposing to delete the paragraphs, sixty-two to retain it, and two expressing different views.
  
Thus, the majority of the Hierarchs was in favor of retaining these paragraphs in the text, and that the Church of Greece should in the work of the WCC in accordance with the necessary pre-conditions. In the debate and vote I argued that we should remain in the WCC as observers, but this was the only proposal.

Nevertheless, in this text the phrase that the Orthodox Churches in the WCC contribute “by all means at their disposal to the testimony of truth and promotion of the unity of Christians” was corrected by the phrase, contribute “by all means at their disposal for the promotion of peaceful coexistence and cooperation on major socio-political challenges and problems.” This means that the reason for our Church’s participation in the WCC is only for social purposes, and not for the testimony of truth and the promotion of Christian unity.

In the text entitled “The mission of the Orthodox Church in today’s world” there was reference to the “human person” and the “communion of persons”. At the same time there were repeated references to “man”. So, for theological reasons and to consolidate the text, the phrase “the value of the human person” was replaced with the phrase “the value of man.”

In the text entitled “Autonomy and the means by which it is proclaimed”, a paragraph was added: “Church Provinces for which a Patriarchal Tome or Act has been issued cannot ask for autonomy, and their ecclesiastical status remains unshakeable”.

In another paragraph of the same text, mentioning the granting of autonomy from the Mother Church to a province, the word “unanimously” was added.

These were the key suggestions by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece for improving the texts.

I would like to express two points.

First, these additions and changes reflect a traditional ecclesiology, within the possibilities that the Hierarchy of our Church had to make such amendments. These decisions were basically unanimous and no one can argue that the “conservative” Hierarchs defeated the “progressive” Hierarchs!!!

Of course there were also proposals to withdraw completely the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” for further elaboration, but they were not accepted by the Hierarchy.

Secondly, these decisions are binding for our Church, because they were accepted basically unanimously. This means that our delegation tithe Holy and Great Council has to support their inclusion in the text and has no possibility to retract.

Conclusion

Following the above, I conclude that the Holy and Great Council, with those Churches that will participate, should definitely mention explicitly the Ecumenical and Great Councils in its Message. The unhistorical, non-theological, anti-ecclesiastical “myth” that this Council was convened after 1200 years, or that it is the first Council after the Schism, must stop being spread.

With much respect, I beg and entreat the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, who will attend eventually, in particular His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who labored to bring things this far, to mention explicitly that this Council is a continuation of the Councils of Photios the Great, of St Gregory Palamas, of St Mark of Ephesus, of the Great Patriarchs of the East, their predecessors, some of whom were martyred for the glory of God and the Church. Otherwise there will be an additional reason for this Council to be discredited in the eyes of the Church faithful as an anti-Photian, anti-Palamite, anti-Mark (Mark Evgenikos), anti-Philokalic Council!

I feel that during the sessions of the Holy and Great Council there will be Council members who will be aware of the voice of the Prophets, the Apostles and the Fathers, the blood of the Martyrs of faith, the tears and struggles of the ascetics, the sweat of the missionaries, the prayers of “the poor in Christ”, the expectations of the pious people. Those who are neither aware of this nor understand it will be wretched.

 

Met. Hierotheos Vlachos

Holy Metropolis of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlassios

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copyright: http://www.pravoslavie.ru

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS PATRIARCH KIRILL TO PRIMATES AND REPRESENTATIVES OF LOCAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES WHO HAVE ASSEMBLED IN CRETE

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has sent a message to the Primates and representative of Local Orthodox Churches who have assembled in the Island of Crete. Below is the full text of the message.

To His Holiness Bartholomew

Archbishop of Constantinople – the New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

To their Holinesses and Beatitudes the Primates of the Holy Churches of God

To archpastors, pastors, monastics and laity who have assembled on the Island of Crete

Your Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew,

Your Holinesses and Beatitudes,

Most Reverend Fellow-Archpastors,

Honorable Representatives of Local Orthodox Churches:

I cordially greet you on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church and on behalf of the Orthodox faithful in Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova and other countries, who comprise the vast flock of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Brothers, we all are the one Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:27). We have received the priceless gift of unity from the Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself. To preserve this gift is one of our principal tasks; it is a direct commandment of our Saviour (Jn. 17:21).

Let us not be confused by the fact that the opinions of Sister-Churches about the convocation of the Holy and Great Council have been divided. According to St. Paul, there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized (1 Cor. 11:19). In the days of preparations for the Council, such differences have become fully revealed, but we must not allow them to weaken the God-commanded unity, to grow into an inter-Church conflict, to bring division and trouble into our ranks. We remain one Orthodox family and together we all bear responsibility for the fate of Holy Orthodoxy.

It is my profound conviction that the Churches, both those who have decided to go to Crete and those who have refrained from it, made their decisions in good conscience, and for this reason we must respect the position of each of them.

The Russian Orthodox Church has always proceeded from the conviction that the voice of any Local Church, be it large or small, old or new, should not be neglected. The absence of the Church of Antioch’s consent to convene the Council means that we have not reached pan-Orthodox consensus. We cannot ignore the voices of the Georgian, Serbian and Bulgarian Churches either, who have spoken for a postponement of the Council to a later date.

I trust that if there is good will, the meeting in Crete can become an important step towards overcoming the present differences. It can make its own contribution to the preparation of that Holy and Great Council which will unite all the Local Autocephalous Churches without exception and become a visible reflection of the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ, for which our predecessors, who blissfully passed away, prayed and which they expected.

We assure you that our prayers will be with you in the days of the work ahead of you.

With great love in Christ,

+ KIRILL

PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA

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Pan-Orthodox Council

Metropolitan Hilarion, explains the situation

Source: RT.com

June 14, 2016

The landmark meeting of the heads of all Orthodox Christian churches could be postponed as five out of 14 churches have pulled out. The head of external relations at the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion, explains the situation to RT.

After decades of preparation, the historic Pan-Orthodox Council was scheduled for June 16-25 in Crete, but several churches have either refused to attend, or called for the event to be postponed, including the Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian and finally Russian.

“There are many problems among various Orthodox Churches… These disagreements might seem small but, for historical churches, these are important issues,” the chairman of the department of the external church relations and the permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchy, Hilarion, told RT’s Maria Finoshina.

Hilarion said he does not see current political tension in the world directly affecting the churches’ relations, which more often than not depend on ecclesial issues, although adding that it might affect some decision-making.

“One church after another declares that it is not participating, which means there will be no consensus, which means it is no longer a Pan-Orthodox Council. And we believe that the only way out of this difficult situation is to postpone the council,” Hilarion said.

He explained that the preparations for the event, which started in 1961, have focused on consensus, but with some of the 14 churches still remaining at odds over a number of issues, some “mistakes” still need to be fixed, and some of the churches’ concerns properly addressed.

“Unity is not something that can be imposed upon churches,” Hilarion said, adding that“conciliation is one of the essential marks of the church but it cannot be simply imposed by any kind of administrative decision.”

The Russian Orthodox Church remains committed to holding the Pan-Orthodox Council, he stressed.

“I do not see the current situation as catastrophic. I believe it is one of the stages of preparation for the Pan-Orthodox Council. It’s not a fault that this preparation was as smooth as we wanted it to be. And we do not believe that the whole idea of the council should be abandoned. We simply believe that it should be better prepared,” Hilarion said.

 

RT.com

 

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TO BE RECOGNIZED IN THE ORTHODOX GLOBAL COMMUNITY UOC-KP IS READY TO RENOUNCE TEMPORARILY ITS PATRIARCHATE STATUS

16 May 2016, 13:19 

http://risu.org.ua/

In order to obtain recognition of Universal Orthodoxy, the Kyiv Patriarchate is ready to renounce its patriarchal dignity while keeping the name in its own territory for domestic use. This decision was taken by members of the Council of Bishops of the UOC, which was held on May 13 in Kyiv.

Commenting on this decision, Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn of the UOC-KP Yevstratiy (Zorya) said it was not about rejection of patriarchal dignity. According to him, some commentators and representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate believe that the status of the Patriarchate is an insurmountable obstacle to recognition of the autocephalous UOC-KP.

“Therefore, the Council explains its vision in this matter, i.e., without rejecting the status of the Patriarchate, we will not insist on its immediate recognition by Constantinople, if this issue will be considered (it is not discussed now, these are personal opinions of certain representatives – both for recognition of the Patriarchate and against it),” he says.

If this decision is implemented, the Church will be further called the “UOC-KP” in Ukraine, while in communication with other Local Churches the Kyiv Patriarchate will not insist on the use of its patriarchal title.

“In practice, this can be solved very simply:

  1. The recognized church will bear the name of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and there will be no need to specify the Kyiv Patriarchate (just the same as it is not officially specified that the ROC is the Moscow Patriarchate, and the Georgian orthodox Church is the Georgian catholicosate, etc.).
  1. Regarding the Primate’s title, an additional title may be introduced that has historically been used in the Kyivan church (eg., by the Holy Hierarch, Metropolitan Petro Mohyla) – Archbishop. So there are many heads of Churches, which bear both titles – Archbishop and Patriarch, in particular – the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Therefore, in my opinion, it is possible to introduce the title “Archbishop and Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine.” In this case, those who do not recognize the status of the Patriarchate, may address in letters or remember during worship the “Archbishop of Kyiv” without humiliating his dignity,” Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) insists.

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П.ПОРОШЕНКО: УКРАИНЕ НУЖНА «СВОЯ» ЦЕРКОВЬ

 

Киев, 29 июля 2015 г.

Президент Украины Петр Порошенко считает, что на Украине должна быть создана своя “поместная православная церковь”, и рассчитывает на поддержку вселенского патриарха в этом вопросе.

“Сегодня мы благодарим духовное руководство церкви-матери Константинопольской за ее посильное содействие в установлении в нашей стране Украинской поместной православной церкви, уповаем на молитвы и надеемся на поддержку Вселенского патриарха”, — заявил Порошенко во вторник на расширенной встрече руководства государства с членами Всеукраинского совета церквей. Об этом сообщает РИА Новости.

“Почти в каждом независимом православном государстве есть независимая автокефальная церковь… Почему Украина другая, почему мы должны быть исключением из этого правила? Но я как президент и глава государства заверяю, что государство не будет прибегать к никаким насильственным шагам и давлению, мы должны уберечь межконфессионный мир как зеницу ока”, — добавил он.

В июне этого года митрополит Киевский и всея Украины Онуфрий обратился к патриархуКонстантинопольской православной церкви Варфоломею за разъяснением, почему его иерархи без ведома УПЦ МП ведут деятельность на Украине — “на канонической территории Украинской Православной Церкви без согласования со священноначалием УПЦ”.

Также сообщается, что в день Крещения Руси Петр Порошенко отправился в храм так называемого “киевского патриархата”. Ни один представитель государственной власти Украины не посетил праздничную литургию, которую совершил Блаженнейший Митрополит Онуфрий в Киево-Печерской Лавре.