Ecclesiology Eastern Romanian Orthodox Church

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The True Orthodox Church in front of the Ecumenism Heresy

Dogmatic and Canonical Issues

 

I. Basic Ecclesiological Principles
II. Ecumenism: A Syncretistic Panheresy
III. Sergianism: An Adulteration of Canonicity of the Church
IV. So-Called Official Orthodoxy
V. The True Orthodox Church
VI. The Return to True Orthodoxy
VII. Towards the Convocation of a Major Synod of the True Orthodox Church

 

March 2014

A text drawn up by the
Churches of the True Orthodox Christians in Greece, Romania and Russian from Abroad

 

The True Orthodox Church in front of the Ecumenism Heresy

Dogmatic and Canonical Issues

I. Basic Ecclesiological Principles

The True Orthodox Church has, since the preceding twentieth century, been struggling steadfastly in confession against the ecclesiological heresy of ecumenism1 and, as well, not only against the calendar innovation that derived from it, but also more generally against dogmatic syncretism2, which, inexorably and methodically cultivating at an inter-Christian3 and inter-religious4 level, in sundry ways and in contradiction to the Gospel, the concurrency, commingling, and joint action of Truth and error, Light and darkness, and the Church and heresy, aims at the establishment of a new entity, that is, a community without identity of faith, the so-called body of believers.

In Her struggle to confess the Faith, the True Orthodox Church has applied, and continues to embrace and apply, the following basic principles of Orthodox ecclesiology5:

1. The primary criterion for the status of membership in the Church of Christ is the “correct and saving confession of the Faith,” that is, the true, exact and anti innova-tionist Orthodox Faith, and it is “on this rock” (of correct confession) that the Lord has built His Holy Church6.
2. This criterion is valid both for individual persons or believers and for entire local Churches.
3. The Catholicity of the Church of Christ, always with respect to Her Unique- ness, Holiness, and Apostolicity7, is Her qualitative and internal8, and not quantitative and external9, hallmark; it is Her fundamental attribute, which expresses, on the one hand, the integrity and the fullness of the Truth that She preaches, independently of Her demographic and geographical dimensions, and, on the other hand, the authenticity and completeness of the means provided for the healing and deification of fallen human nature.
4. It is on the basis of this correct confession that the Mysteriological (“Sacramental”) communion10 of the faithful with Christ, and between one another, is founded, as a consummation of existing unity in faith, as a goal and an end, and not as a means to the attainment of this unity; that is to say, unity in correct confession is prior and communion in the Mysteries subsequent.
5. All pious Christians who hold to an Orthodox confession, if they are to be living members of the Church, ought to without fail to be in Mysteriological communion with each other, since communion in Faith and communion in the Mysteries (“Sacraments”), indissolubly bound together in the life of the faithful, reify and establish the one and unique Body of Christ.
6. Unshakable abidance in correct confession, as well as the defense thereof at all costs, is a matter of the utmost soteriological importance, and it is for this reason that our Holy Fathers valiantly confessed and defended our Holy Orthodox Faith in word and deed and with their blood, doing so on behalf of the Orthodox Catholic Church and in the name of Her very existence.
7. All those who preach or act contrary to correct confession are separated, as heretics, from the Truth of the Faith and are excluded from communion with the Orthodox Catholic Church, be they individual persons or communities, even if they continue to function formally and institutionally as putative Churches and are addressed as such.
• “Those who do not belong to the Truth do not belong to the Church of Christ either; and all the more so, if they speak falsely of themselves by calling themselves, or calling each other, holy pastors and hierarchs; [for it has been instilled in us that] Christianity is characterized not by persons, but by the truth and exactitude of Faith” (St. Gregory Palamas).
8. The unity of the Church in the Truth of the Faith and in communion of the Mysteries, bestowed from on high from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, is assuredly Christocentric and Eucharistic, and is experienced as a perennial assemblage and concelebration in space and time “with all the Saints”11 since it has as its guarantor the Orthodox (right-believing) Bishop, the bearer—by Divine Grace—of the “tradition of the Truth” (St. Irenæus of Lugdunum [Lyon]).
9. Each Orthodox Bishop, as a “sharer in the ways and successor to the thrones” of the Holy Apostles, as Father of the Eucharistic Synaxis, as a Teacher of the Gospel of Truth, as a Servant (Minister) of love in truth, in the image and place of Christ, thus expresses, embodies, and safeguards the perennial Catholicity of the Church, that is, Her unity with Christ and, at the same time, Her unity in Christ with all of the local Churches which have existed, exist, and will exist as the One Body of Christ.
• “What is the „one body‟? The faithful everywhere in the world who are, were, and will be” (St. John Chrysostomos).
10. Every priest or Bishop who proclaims “heresy publicly” and “barefacedly in Church”12 teaches “another Gospel than that which we have received” or is in syncre-tistic communion with the heterodox and with those of other beliefs, becomes a “false bishop and a false teacher” (Canon XV of the First- Second Synod), while those Bishops who commune with him and are indifferent or tolerant, or accept his mentality and practical expressions, “are losing their soul together with him” (St. Theodore the Studite), and ceasing to be canonical13 and in communion14 with the Church, as long as the Catholicity of the Church, Her unity, and the true Apostolic Succession, which guarantee the Bishop’s status as canonical and in communion with the Church, are founded on, flow from, and are safeguarded by the “correct and salvific confession of the Faith.”

II. Ecumenism: A Syncretistic Panheresy

1. Ecumenism, as a theological concept, as an organized social movement, and as a religious enterprise, is and constitutes the greatest heresy of all time and the most com-prehensive15 pan-heresy16. It is a heresy of heresies and the pan-heresy, because it passes over the dogmatic errors of the various heresies just to reach the goal of quantitative unity; amnesty for all heresies, truly and veritably a pan-heresy. The ecumenism is the most insidious adversary of the local Orthodox Churches, well as the most dangerous enemy of man’s salvation in Christ, since it is impossible for Truth and Life in Christ to exist in unbreakable soteriological unity with in its syncretistic boundaries.
2. Ecumenism came forth from the Protestant world (in the nineteenth century and onwards) and fosters the relativization17 of truth, life, and salvation in Christ, in essence denying the Catholicity and uniqueness of the Church, since at its base there lie both the erroneous theory of an “invisible Church” with vague boundaries, members of which can supposedly belong to different “Confessions,” and a variant of this, that is, the so-called “branch theory,” according to which the different Christian “Confessions” are allegedly branches of the same tree of the Church, each branch possessing part of the Truth and thus putatively together constituting the whole of the Church.
3. In spite of the variety of theories that ecumenism has produced, its basic aim is the cultivation of syncretistic coexistence (concurrency) and cooperation (joint action) even more an initial fusion of all Christian communities (inter-Christian ecumenism), followed by all religions (inter religious ecumenism), namely the cultivation of an approach contrary to the Gospel, which would inevitably lead to the establishment of a body of believers, a kind of pan-religion, which would pave the way for the advent of the tribulation of the last times, namely, the era of the “lawless one” the Antichrist.
4. By reason of its syncretistic character, ecumenism is closely akin to Freemasonry, which promotes itself as religiously tolerant, convivial, and open-minded to- wards heresies and religions, having proved to be, in practice, a religion—indeed, a super-religion—contributing directly and indirectly to the advancement of the ecumenist vision; that is, to the creation of an (ideological)18 base for all dogmas and religion, in which in revealed truth (base) will have been completely relativized and put on the same level as every human and demonic delusion and belief.
5. Ecumenism began to assail the Orthodox Catholic Church with the sunset of the nineteenth century, through a Synodal Proclamation, in 1920, from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere.” It constitutes, by common consent, the “founding charter of ecumenism,” which it preaches “barefacedly,” since it characterizes the heresies of the West and everywhere else as, supposedly, “venerable Christian Churches,” no longer as “heretic and alienated from the truth,” but as “kith and kin in Christ and „as fellow-heirs and fellow-members of the body, [and partakers of] the promise of God in Christ,” proposing, indeed, as the first step towards its implementation the use of a common calendar for the simultaneous concelebration of feasts by the Orthodox and the heterodox.
6. By way of implementing this ecumenist proclamation, following the uncanonical decisions of the anti-Orthodox Congress of Constantinople in 1923, what was essentially the so-called19 Gregorian [Papal] Calendar was adopted, as being the so-called “Corrected (Revised) Julian Calendar,” even though, as soon as it originally appeared in the West (in 1582), the former was censured and condemned as a calamitous Papal innovation by three Pan-Orthodox Synods in the East (in 1583, 1587, and 1593), whose decisions of which remain in force and weigh heavily upon those innovators who are in schism.
7. The calendar innovation, introduced in 1924 into the Church of Greece, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Church of Romania, and later, gradually, into the other local Churches, conflicts with the Catholicity of the Orthodox Church, both in the manner of its implementation (unilaterally and uncanonically) and in terms of its purpose (ecumenistic and syncretistic), assailing with a strong blow in this way the external manifestation and expression of the One Body of the Church throughout the world, which is also reified by way of a uniform Festal Calendar.
8. The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church, by means of Her supreme Synodal authority, expressed Her abiding and unchangeable will that Her unity be likewise manifested through the common celebration by all Christians of the greatest Feast, of the Holy Easter, definitely setting at the First cumenical Synodin 325, the Easter Canon (the Paschalion), the fundamental principles after which the Easter is established.
9. This Synodal act, in essence profoundly ecclesiological and dogmatic, presupposing as the basis of what is called the determination of Holy Pascha the vernal equinox, which, as a date firmly fixed by the Church, would thenceforth be set by convention as the 21st of March by the Julian Calendar then in use, which was thereby consecrated as the Church Calendar and as the axis of the annual cycle of the Orthodox Festal Calendar. On this foundation, the harmonization of the calendars of the local Orthodox Churches, which were on different calendar systems, was gradually accomplished by the sixth century.
10. The Holy Fathers of the First Œcumenical Synod in Nicæa gave expression by Divine inspiration, but also prophetically, to the anti-syncretistic spirit of the Church: by “not keeping feast with the Jews” and, by extension, ,not to wish the celebration with heretics; they ensured the visible unity of the one Body of the Church was preserved and the boundaries between Truth and heresy established, wholly in contrast, let it be said, to the reprehensible calendar reform of 1923, which aimed at concelebration with the heterodox of pan-heretical Papism and Protestantism, for the purpose of making visible the putative invisible unity that existed between them and Orthodoxy.
11. The Orthodox ecumenists, and especially the more extreme among them, having suffered the pernicious effects of eroding syncretism, think that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ has, supposedly, lost Her Catholicity, by reason of theological and cultural conflicts and divisions. These propose and aim at its reconstitution by way of a union by compromise of the divided parties, Orthodox and heretics, which would supposedly restore Eucharistic communion, without, of course, a common confession of Faith, evidently in line with the model of the Unia. Other, more moderate ecumenists are content to number the heterodox among the Orthodox, speaking “on behalf of the whole Body of the Church,” the heterodox supposedly being within the boundaries of the Church, since these ecumenists, as advocates of the “broad Church” or the “Church in a broad or in the widest sense,” do not deem the charismatic20 and canonical boundaries of the Church equivalent, inasmuch as they find and acknowledge the existence of the “Churches” of the “Divine Grace” and of the redemption also outside the limits of the Truth and the True Orthodox Church (ecclesia extra ecclesiam, extra muros.
12. The participation of the Orthodox ecumenists in the so-called World Council of Churches (1948 and on), and also in other ecumenist organizations, constitutes a denial in practice of the Orthodox Church as the fullness of Truth and salvation in Christ, insofar as a basic precondition for organizational participation in such inter-Confessional bodies is, in essence, the denial, albeit tacit, of the existence of authentic ecclesiastical Catholicity today, as well as a recognition of the necessity of reconstituting a putatively genuine Catholicity, that is, of the necessity, supposedly, of re-founding the Church.
13. At the core of these un-Orthodox and totally newfangled conceptions are so-called “Baptismal theology,” dogmatic syncretism, the abolition of the “boundaries” of the Church, the recognition of “ecumenical brotherhood,” the theory of “Sister Churches” [that is, of non-Orthodox Churches as “Sister Churches”—TRANS.], the so called “theology of the two lungs of the Church,” the theory of the “one broad Church,” the “transcending of ancient heresiology,” in addition to sundry other misbeliefs that have gradually led the Orthodox ecumenists to a denial of the ecclesiological and soteriological exclusivity of the Orthodox Church and even to a synodal recognition of heterodox communities and their mysteries; to joint prayer even at the very highest levels, at the administration of the Mysteries for them; to the signing of joint statements and declarations towards a common witness with them; and, as well, to an acknowledgement of the need for common service to the world, as allegedly jointly responsible (Orthodoxy and heresy) for its salvation.
14. By means of all of these things, there has been a complete distortion of the meaning of evangelical love, exercised in the Truth and through the Truth. A profound complex syncretistism has taken root, that maintains, in the name of a fals eœconomy, abroad and comprehensive attitude towards heterodoxy; there has come forth a mixture of thing sun mixable; there has emerged truly substantial union between ecumenists of every stripe, a body of believers, not, of course, in the unique Truth of the Orthodox Catholic Church, but on the basis of a nebulous humanistic vision, without any missionary dimension or any calling of those in error to a return in repentance to the House of the Father, that is, to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

III. Sergianism: An Adulteration of Canonicity of the Church

1. Another phenomenon and movement akin to ecumenism, likewise possess- ing an ecclesiological dimension, is so-called Sergianism, which, in the unprecedented circumstances of the persecution of the Church in the former Soviet Union, through the agency of the fallen and compromised Sergius Stragorodsky (†1944), originally Metropo-litan, and later Patriarch, of Moscow, surrendered to the atheistic Bolsheviks and their struggle against God an outwardly proper Church organization, so that, in the hands of the revolutionaries, it could become an unwitting tool in their unrelenting warfare against the very Church Herself, as the Bearer of the fullness of Truth in Christ.
2. Sergianism is not simply a Soviet phenomenon for it caused severe damage to the local Orthodox Churches in the countries of Eastern Europe, where, after the Second World War, atheistic and anti-Christian Communist régimes were established.
3. The quintessence of Sergianism is the adoption of the delusion that deception could be used as a means to preserve the Тruth and, likewise, that collaboration with the enemies and persecutors of the Church was the way to ensure Her survival; in practice, however, the exact opposite occurred: the Sergianist Bishops became tools of the atheistic Communists for the purpose of exercising control over the Church, to the end of Her moral and spiritual enfeeblement and with a view to Her ultimate dismantlement and annihilation.
4. At the level of ecclesiology, Sergianism completely distorted the concept of Orthodox ecclesiastical canonicity, since in the realm of Sergianism, canonicity was essentially torn away from the spirit and the Truth of the authentic canonical tradition of the Church, assuming thereby a formal adherence to legitimacy, which could be used to justify any act of lawlessness committed by the ruling Hierarchy; in fact, ultimately, such a veneer of canonicity degenerated into an administrative technique for the subordination of the people of the Church to the Sergianist Hierarchy, regard- less of the direction in which it led the faithful.
5. After the collapse of the anti-Christian régimes around the end of the preceding twentieth century, the very grave ecclesiological deviation of Sergianism, under the new conditions of political freedom, was preserved as a legacy of the past and, at the same time, changed its form.
6. Anti-Ecclesiastical Sergianism, having long ago incorporated in the depth of its existence21 the worldly spirit, unscrupulousness, deception, and a pathological servility towards the powerful of this world, continues to betray the Church, now no longer for fear of reprisals from atheistic rulers, but for the sake of self-serving and secularist motives and under the cloak of supposed canonicity, by selling the freedom of the Church in exchange for gaining the friendship of the powerful of this world, with all of the concomitant material benefits and, to be sure, prestigious social status.
7. Today, the virus of Sergianism, in this modified form, as neo-Sergianism or post-Sergianism, and also in other forms of state control over the Churches, affects to some degree a large part of the Episcopate of the official local Orthodox Churches around the world, thereby contributing to the promotion of an equally secularist and syncretistic ecumenism, under the cover of a false canonicity.
8. The faithful, both clergy and laity, who possess a healthy dogmatic and ca- nonical conscience ought to maintain an authentic Patristic stand in the face of phenomena and movements that have ecclesiological and soteriological significance, such as ecumenism and Sergianism, and especially when these phenomena become systematically entrenched and widely disseminated, even if they do not achieve a clear doctrinal expression, yet penetrate and spread into the Body of the Church in an insidious and corrosive manner; that is, when they are actively adopted or passively allowed by all of the Bishops of one or more local Churches.
9. In such cases, the essence of the struggle against these anti-Evangelical, anti- Orthodox, and degenerative phenomena is not simply and solely an optional stand in the context of some putative œconomy, but there is, rather, an obligation to terminate forthwith ecclesiastical communion with a Bishop or a Hierarchy that introduces heresy into the Church in a conciliar manner, either by preaching it or by contributing to its dissemination through silence, passivity, or indifference (Canon XV of the First-Second Local Synod of Constantinople).
10. Walling off from fallen Shepherds, who are henceforth characterized as “false bishops” and “false teachers,” is a binding obligation for true Orthodox in a time of heresy, for the safeguarding of the uniqueness, unity, and Catholicity of the Church, for a confessional witness to the Faith, and for a saving call to repentance, missionary in nature, directed towards those who have deviated and those who commune with them.

IV. So-Called Official Orthodoxy

1. The meaning of the term “official Orthodoxy” is closely connected with the concepts of “official Church” and “official local Churches.”
2. “Official Orthodoxy” is that peculiar ideology of the so-called official local Churches, representative of an ever more lukewarm22 Orthodoxy which, through the implementation of the ecclesiological and canonical innovations envisaged by the aforementioned Patriarchal Proclamation of 1920, has been led into a gradual estrangement from authentic Orthodoxy.
3. In 1924, the first major step towards the implementation of this premeditated and methodical alienation from authentic Orthodoxy was accomplished through the introduction of the Papal calendar into some of the local Churches, which in time was expanded to the point of acceptance, in certain cases, even of the Papal Paschalion, in open violation of the Decree of the First Ecumenical Synod.
4. “Official Church” is the name given by the faithful of the Russian Catacomb Church to the State Church, that is, the Church recognized by, and totally dependent on, the atheistic Soviet régime, which evolved into the notoriously Sergianist and ecumenist Moscow Patriarchate.
5. Today, the terms “official Church” and “official local Churches” denote the well-known historically formed local Churches, whose Hierarchical leadership officially accepts and participates synodally in the ecumenical movement: it promotes, permits or tolerates it as a theological concept and as a religious enterprise, hides under the cloak of supposed canonicity, as understood by Sergianism, and adopts— directly or indirectly—in many other forms on apostasy of Orthodoxy (see such corrosive phenomena as the adulteration of the Mysteries, and especially of the rite of Baptism, liturgical reforms under the guise of “liturgical renewal,” the newly minted “post-Patristic theology,” which at an official level is effecting a profound infiltration of syncretistic ecumenism into university theological schools in particular, the loss of ecclesiastical criteria for the Glorification of Saints, various forms of secularization and alteration of the authentic ethos of the Church, the adoption of an anti-Patristic interpretation of ecclesiastical œconomy, etc.).
6. All of these so-called official Churches have now joined decisively, constantly, and unrepentantly in the process of syncretistic apostasy of a Sergianist and ecumenist kind, an anti-ecclesiastical and uncanonical process synodally promoted or permitted by their Hierarchies, with which the True Orthodox Church, consistent with its ecclesiological principles regarding “false bishops” and “false teachers,” cannot have any prayerful, Mysteriological, or administrative communion whatsoever.

V. The True Orthodox Church

1. The True Orthodox Church includes within Her bosom and unites in the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit that major portion of the pious clergy and laity of the local Orthodox Churches who have reacted resolutely to the proclamation of the “ecclesiological” heresy of ecumenism and to its immediate practical applications, as well as to anti-ecclesiastical Sergianism, severing all communion with the innovating ecumenists and the Sergianists.
2. The faithful upholders in Russia of the legacy of the most holy Patriarch Tikhon (†1925) did not recognize the established Church or Sergianism (1927 and on), pre- ferring to undergo persecutions and to take refuge in the catacombs, thereby showing forth Martyrs and Confessors of the Faith, while another part, which departed from Russia and formed an ecclesiastical administration in the diaspora, produced equally resplendent Confessors and Saintly figures, of worldwide reputation and distinction.
3. In Greece, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and elsewhere, close-knit groups of people rejected the calendar innovation of 1924 and the heresy of ecumenism, like- wise preferring persecutions and producing Martyrs and Confessors of the Faith, thereby showing themselves faithful to the sacred Traditions of the Holy Fathers of the Church. In addition, through impressive and wondrous miracles, such as the appearance of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross in Athens (September 14, 1925 [Old Style]), our Lord encouraged and rewarded the Godly zeal of these, His genuine children.
4. After the introduction of the calendar innovation in Greece in 1924, those who abided by the Traditions of the Fathers began using the title “True Orthodox Christians,” and the Catacomb Orthodox Christians in Russia, the so-called Tikhonites23, did the same.
5. However, from place to place and from time to time various other appellations were used for those who rejected the calendar innovation of 1924 and the heresy of ecumenism, but who have also always situated themselves within the boundaries of the authentic mind and Evangelical ethos of the Church and, in addition, of lawful and canonical order24, possessing genuine and uninterrupted Apostolic Succession, and who assuredly in their totality make up the True Orthodox Church, they constitute, follo-wing the departure of the ecumenists from the path of Truth, the authentic continuation of what is called the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in our contemporary era.
6. The Episcopal structure that is dogmatically necessary for the constitution and continuation of the local True Orthodox Churches was ensured, by the Grace of God, either by Hierarchs from among the innovators (New Calendarists) joining them, following of course, the confession of Orthodoxy, or by the Consecration of Bishops by a True Orthodox ecclesiastical authority in the diaspora, having indisputable Apostolic Succession, and thus the Apostolic Succession and canonicity of the True Orthodox Church is proven and assured, unquestionable and incontrovertible, and confirmed by signs from God.

VI. The Return to True Orthodoxy

1. In the acceptance of repentant heretics and schismatics, the Ecumenical and local Synods of the Church have, from time to time, in addition to the principle of exactitude, applied the so-called principle of œconomy, to wit, a canonical and pastoral practice25, according to which it is possible for there to be a temporary divergence26 from the letter of the Sacred Canons, without violating their spirit.
2. Nevertheless, œconomy assuredly can never and in no circumstance whatever permit the pardoning of any sin or the permission of any compromise concerning the “correct and saving confession of the Faith,”27 since œconomy aims, clearly and solely, in a spirit of charitable accommodation, at facilitating the salvation of souls, for whom Christ died.
3. The application of œconomy in the reception of heretics and schismatics into communion with the Church in no way betokens that the Church acknowledges the validity and the reality of their mysteries, which are celebrated outside Her canonical and charismatic boundaries.28
4. The Holy Orthodox Church has never recognized—in an absolute sense and, as it were, from a distance29—either by exactitude or by œconomy, mysteries performed outside Her, since those who celebrate or who partake of these mysteries remain within the bosom of their heretical or schismatic community.
5. Through the application of œconomy exclusively and solely in the reception of individual persons or communities outside Her in repentance, the Orthodox Church accepts30 merely the external form of the mystery of heretics or schismatics—provided, of course, that this has been preserved unadulterated, especially as regards Baptism—but endows this form with life through the Grace of the Holy Spirit that exists in Her by means of the bearers of Her fullness in the Truth of Christ, namely, Orthodox Bishops.
6. More specifically, with regard to the Mysteries celebrated in the so-called official Orthodox Churches, although the True Orthodox Church does not repeat in each case the external form (of the Mysteris) to those who atoning enter in communion with it, denies their validity and their soteriological efficacy (according to the Holy Canons of the Holy Fathers their Mysteries lack grace).
7. It is in any event certain that when the purity of the dogma of the Church is attacked, the incontestable bond between Confession-Catholicity-Communion breaks completely and then the Mysteriological and soteriological consequences31, clearly foreseen by the Apostolic Patristic and Synodal Tradition, are very serious and very grave.
8. Taking into account that St. Basil the Great, although he declares himself in favor of exactitude, nonetheless accepts the use of œconomy with regard to certain heretics and schismatics (First Canon), it is important to note that the Holy Orthodox Church has synodally sanctioned the use of economy for “those who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved,” as is evident in the famous Canon XCV of the Holy and Ecumenical Quinisext Synod (the Synod in Trullo), whereby different heretics and schismatics are accepted in a variety of ways, whether solely through repentance, a certificate of faith (λίβελλος), and Confession of True Faith, as are the Nestorians and Monophysites who were already condemned centuries before, through Chrismation, or through Baptism.
9. Taking note of all the foregoing, and of the particular conditions in each local Church, the True Orthodox Church deals with especial care with any clergy or laity from the so-called official Orthodox Churches who desire to enter into communion with Her, being concerned—in the exercise by Her of pastoral solicitude for them— about what is absolutely essential, namely, that they proceed in their choice freely, conscientiously, and responsibly.
10. As a general rule, monastics and laity from these Churches, who have definitely been baptized according to the Orthodox rite, are received into communion through anointing (Χρῖσμα) by means of a special order, in conjunction, to be sure, with the Mystery of sacred Confession, while clergy submit a written petition and, as long as this is approved, are received into communion in the same way, and also through a special Order of the Imposition of Hands (Χειροθεσία), specifically compiled for such cases.
11. It is understood that, commensurate with idiosyncrasies in different places and in different cases, for the application of a more lenient or a stricter order, a decision is to be made by the local Bishop on the basis of synodally determined criteria or by a competent Synod, according to St. Cyprian of Carthage:
• “In this matter we do not coerce, or impose a law on anyone, since every Prelate has freedom of will in the administration of the Church and will have to account for his actions before the Lord.”
12. A Major General Synod, of Pan-Orthodox authority, would be able to decree the general criteria and the preconditions for the exercise of the practice of receiv- ing those who return to the True Orthodox Church from various newfangled schismatic and heretical communities.

VII. Towards the Convocation of a Major Synod32 of the True Orthodox Church

1. In the preceding twentieth century, True Orthodox Hierarchs, whenever this could be brought to fruition, issued Synodal condemnations, at a local level, both of ecumenism and of Sergianism, and also of Freemasonry.
2. By way of example, we cite, accept and respect the condemnations of ecumenism by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1983, and also by the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece in 1998; as well, the condemnation of Sergianism by the Catacomb Church in Russia, and also by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad at different times; and finally, the condemnation of Freemasonry by the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece in 1988.
3. These Synodal censures, especially of the heresy of ecumenism, constitute the convocation base33 of a General Synod of True Orthodox, which will apply these condemnations with an expanded authority, concerning the calendar innovation and syncretistic ecumenism, which contradicts the Gospel.
4. What is necessary today, on the basis of a common and correct confession of the Faith, is the union in a common Body of all the local Churches of the True Orthodox, for the purpose of creating the antecedent conditions for assembling and convoking a Major General Synod and with a Pan-Orthodox scope and authority, in order to deal effectively with the heresy of ecumenism, as well as syncretism in its divers forms, and also for the resolution of various problems and issues of a practical and pastoral nature, which flow therefrom and which concern the life of the Church in general, and of the faithful in particular, so that the bond of peace and love in Christ might be ensured.
5. This necessity becomes comprehensible from the fact that the True Church, as the actual Body of Christ, is by Her very nature Catholic in the fullness of Truth, Grace, and salvation, and that through Her Bishops She puts forth Synodal declarations in the face of heterodox teachings and the global scandal provoked there from; thus, She ought to pursue, on the one hand, the articulation of the Truths of the Faith, for the delineation of the Truth in contrast to falsehood, and on the other hand, the denunciation and condemnation of the error and corruption that stem from heresy and heretics, for the protection of the Flock, confirming and proclaiming the already existing degradation of heretics.34
6. Thus, in a Major General Synod of the True Orthodox Church it is must be reaffirmed to the whole world for the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with the intercession of the Virgin, the Apostles and the Fathers the following: on the one hand the sole hope, that exists in True Church, as the only way out of all deadlocks "for those who will inherit the salvation"; and on the other hand the complete and irrevocable (mutually exclusive) antithesis between Orthodoxy and syncretistic ecumenism and Sergianism.
7. May we be counted worthy, in the near future, following the Holy Fathers and the Holy Synods, preserving free from innovation the Faith once for all delivered to us, to proclaim, with the Fathers of the Pan-Orthodox Synod of 1848:
„Let us hold fast the Confession‟ which we have received unadulterated..., abhorring every novelty as a suggestion of the Devil. He who accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the Orthodox Faith that has been preached. But this Faith has long since been sealed in completeness, not admitting either diminution or in- crease, or any alteration whatsoever; and he who dares to do, advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ.”

Unto the Bestower of the Beginning and the End, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one Godhead of All, be glory, dominion, and honor, now and ever, and unto the infinite ages of ages. Amen!

Approved today August 6-th, 2014 (old calendar) – Holy Metropolis SLĂTIOARA

HOLY SYNOD OF THE TRUE ORTODOX CHURCH OF ROMANIA

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NOTES

1 “Ecumenism”: the terms “ecumenism” and “ecumenical movement” are derived from the Greek word Οἰκουμένη, which is based on the words οἶκος (house) and οἰκῶ (I inhabit). • The word οἰκουμενικός, -ή, -όν was introduced into ecclesiastical parlance in the era of the Fathers with an Orthodox meaning (Œcumenical Synod, Œcumenical Father, the Œcumenical Symbol of Faith, etc.). • In the twentieth century, there appeared the technical terms “ecumenism” and “ecumenical movement,” which lack any Orthodox meaning, since they are connected with the endeavor to unify divided Christians throughout the world (the Οἰκουμένη), on the basis of an erroneous and heretical ecclesiology.

2 “Syncretism” (συγκρητισμός): from the verb συνκρητίζω (σσν-κρητίζω, Κρὴς-Κρητικός). Al- though they had differences among themselves, the ancient Cretans would join forces against a common enemy in times of war. • The term “syncretism” denotes a commingling of elements of differing provenance (religions, forms of worship, ideologies, doctrines, confessions, confessions and contradictions that were forcibly reunited, etc.) for the purpose of bringing forth something new without any real or essential union.

3 “Inter-Christian”: that which pertains to two or more Christian Confessions, which are engaged in syncretistic dialogue for the purpose of union.

4 “Inter-religious”: that which pertains to two or more religions, which are engaged in syncretis- tic dialogue for the purpose of union.

5 “Ecclesiology”: that branch of dogmatic theology which inquiries into matters pertaining to the nature and essence of the Church, as the Body of Christ.

6 Cf. St. Matthew 16:18.

7 This reference to the Catholicity, Uniqueness, Holiness, and Apostolicity of the Church is based upon the relevant article of the Symbol of Faith: “In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” These are the principal attributes of the Orthodox Church.

8 “Internal”: a hallmark which pertains to the inner nature or essence of the Church, Her relationship with Christ, through the Father, in the Holy Spirit.

9 “A qualitative and internal, and not a quantitative and external, hallmark”: the point of the antitheses “qualitative-quantitative” and “internal-external” is to emphasize the qualitative dimension of Catholicity, since it is confessed in the Symbol of Faith, that the True and Unique Church is Catholic, primarily because She contains the revealed Truth and the means of salvation (the qualitative and internal dimension) in their entirety, and consequently in this case the concept of the Catholicity of the Church is completely identical to the concept of Orthodoxy (right belief, right outlook [φρόνημα], right Faith). Outside the Church we cannot speak about the effectiveness of the Mysteries (see below), because we cannot speak about the link that connects the believers and the Truth.

10 “Mysteriological („Sacramental‟) communion”: the communion of the faithful with Christ and between one another through the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist.

11 “A perennial assemblage and concelebrating in space and time „with all the Saints‟”: it has been very aptly observed that “the Divine Liturgy is the presence of “Incommunion”: a Bishop who is “canonical” is also “in communion with the Church”; that is, he is in communion in the Faithand in the Mysteries with the Orthodox clergy and people. It is [only] in these terms that we can speak about a Bishop being in communion with the Church.”our Lord Christ with all the Saints; at every Divine Liturgy Christ comes into our midst, and with Him „the company of the Saints is present inseparably”. “The presence of the Triune God endows the Eucharistic Synaxis of the Church with Her true dimensions: She is a Eucharistic Œcumenical Synod, which is solemnized within the Church; the whole of creation, the visible and the invisible world, concelebrates the Eucharistic Offering and together glorifies the Triune God”; “the Divine Liturgy is a Eucharistic Ecumenical Synod”; “at the Divine Liturgy Christ is present in the midst of His Church; together with Christ are our Lady, the Theotokos, the Holy Angels, all the Saints, and our reposed and living brethren, those afar off and those near”.

12 “Barefacedly in Church” (expression from the 15-th Canon of the first and second Local Synod of Constantinople from 861), bald, baldly, freely.

13 “Canonical”: a Bishop is, and is called, “canonical” when his Consecration, his pastoral and synodal activity, and also his mentality (φρόνημα), are consonant with the Dogmas and the Sa- cred Canons of the Orthodox Church.It is [only] in these terms that we can speak about a Bishop’s “canonicity.”

14 “Incommunion”: a Bishop who is “canonical” is also “in communion with the Church”; that is, he is in communion in the Faithand in the Mysteries with the Orthodox clergy and people. It is [only] in these terms that we can speak about a Bishop being in communion with the Church.”

15 “Most comprehensive”: a heresy is called “comprehensive” or “most comprehensive” when it encompasses or includes a multitude of other heresies. Anglicanism is characterized by its “comprehensiveness,” since within its fold there converges and coexists a variety of confession- al and dogmatic tendencies.

16 “Panheresy”: a heresy which encompasses all heresies.

17 “Relativization” (σχετικοποίησις): from the verb σχετικοποιῶ: to regard something as relative, uncertain, non-absolute, changeable, transitory. “Relativization of the truth”: a denial of the absolute Truth in Christ.

18 “(Ideological) basis” – platform: the common positions and principles (common point) a group of religious community supports to realize the agreement and collaboration between them on theoretical and practical plan.

19 A difference should be made in the whole text between the “the so-called” word - named, denominated, called, titled and the “alleged” word – would-be, reportedly, sort of, as if.

20 The charismatic and canonical boundaries of the Church”: • See note 28

21 “in the depth of its existence” = in its nature, in its essence, in its confessional identity.

22 “Lukewarm”- does not simply refer to the easiness of practice, but to the state of faith-dogma. Such “lukewarm ness” in Orthodoxy constitutes heresy, since there is no middle way between Truth and falsehood, between Orthodoxy and heresy He who diverges however little from dogmatic truth is already found in falsity-heresy, and he who diverges even to the smallest extent from Orthodoxy places himself in the realm of heresy. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So because Thou art lukewarm- neither hot nor cold -, I will spew the out of My mouth”(Revelation 3.15)

23 The Tikhonites too began to use the term “True Orthodox Christians,” without having any communication with their True Orthodox brethren in Greece.

24 “Lawful and canonical order”: that order which is in conformity with the laws of the Orthodox ecclesiastical Tradition and the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Synods. • See also note 18, “Canonical.”

25 “Pastoral practice”: a practice on the part of Shepherds, who care, in Christ and in the fear ofGod, for the salvation of the reason-endowed flock of the Church.

26 “temporary break“-here reference is not made to the dogmatic canons that remain untouched.

27 “The correct and saving confession of the Faith”: that is, œconomy is not permitted—“thereis no room for accommodation”—in what pertains to matters of Faith.

28 “The charismatic and canonical boundaries of the Church”: the “canonical boundaries” are defined by the Dogmas and the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church (see note 18, “Canonical”), while the “charismatic boundaries” are defined chiefly by the Sacred Mysteries, through which the Grace of God acts upon the faithful. In the Orthodox Church, these two boundaries are not separated but deemed equivalent. These terms are mentioned here precisely in order to emphasize their equivalence, since the ecumenists consider the charismatic boundaries of the Church to be broader than Her canonical boundaries; that is, they recognize Mysteriological Grace also in various heretical communities (see §§II.2 and II.11 earlier on in this document).

29 “In an absolute sense and, as it were, from a distance”: the Orthodox Church has never recognized the ontologically non-existent mysteries of heretics, either “in an absolute sense,” that is, in and of themselves (self-sufficiently and independently), or “from a distance,” that is, insofar as the heretics remain distant from Her. When, however, the purveyors of these heretical mysteries are going to enter and be united with Her Body, then the issue of their correct form arises, exclusively and solely for the sake of the Church giving content to those mysteries, which were thitherto empty and devoid of substance or Grace (see the following section VI.5 in this document).

30 “Accepts”: the issue of the acceptance or non-acceptance of the external form of a so-called mystery of heretics or schismatics rests with the pastoral discretion of the Bishop; that is to say, such acceptance is not obligatory, but optional.

31 “The Mysteriological and soteriological consequences” – with regard to the innovating ecumenists, the separation between Confession, Catholicity and Communion is already a fact and constitutes a reality together with all the consequences that follow from that fact.

32 Major Synod – Meaning the three synods entered in communion: the synod from Romania lead by Archbishop Vlasie, the synod from Greece lead by Archbishop Calinic, the synod from Russia lead by Bishop Agatanghel or other orthodox synods that will be able to enter in communion with these if they will accept the confession of faith of these three united synods.

33 Convocation base – The Synodal convictions quoted in chapter VII, paragraph 2, are already absolutely obeyed and accepted by the true orthodox and constitute the base for the decisions of the awaited synod.

34 The Synodal condemnations do not provoke the fall of the heretic, but first stigmatize the heresy for the sake of the defence of the flock, and secondly, expose and declare the fall of the heretic that already exists. Since all the Official Orthodox Churches (Russia, Jerusalem, Serbia, Bessarabia, Ukraine etc.) (are in the Ecumenical Movement, the Holy Synod of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Romania does not give blessing to our Christians to communicate in these churches. And the receiving of the Christians who are part of these official churches (such as those in the Churches in Bessarabia and Ukraine who come to our Church in large numbers) is done by Chrismation if they have the three correct immersions, and if not, then will be received by Orthodox baptism.

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