An Open Letter to Archons “The Defenders of the Faith”
What the members of the “Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle” should know
Dear Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
This Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, the first Sunday after the feast of St. Andrew the First-Called Disciple, is “National Archon Sunday,” in which the Orthodox Church honors your Order and the work you do “to promote the religious freedom, wellbeing and advancement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” You have also all taken a sworn oath “to defend and promote the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition…[and] protect and promote the Holy Patriarchate and its mission.”1
I would like to bring to your attention a few statements made by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for your reflection and deliberation.
Your 9/23/2016 Archon News carried an article that first appeared in The Catholic Register (to which the readers are directed) with the title, “Religious leaders praise Patriarch Bartholomew as a great ecumenist.” The Patriarch was honored during an interfaith gathering that took place at the basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, in Assisi, Italy, Sept. 20, 2016.2
During this gathering, religious leaders of dozens of religions gathered for dialogue and prayers for peace honoring Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of his 25th anniversary on the ecumenical throne. He was praised as an ecumenist, theologian and leading religious defender of God’s creation and as someone “who is so deeply rooted in his own religious tradition that he can reach out to others without fear.”3
In a Forward to a book honoring Patriarch Bartholomew on his 25th anniversary of his election, Pope Francis writes:
The church of Rome and the church of Constantinople are united by a profound and longstanding bond, which not even centuries of silence and misunderstanding have been able to sever.4
Dear Archons of the Ecumenical patriarchate:
Do you truly believe that our differences with Roman Catholicism are “misunderstandings”? But if you say, the Pope said this, not our Patriarch, read these words of His All-Holiness:
We are obliged... to reconsider our policy, to clean away the old yeast, to become new dough...Our repentance for the past is indispensable.5
Do you understand what he means? That our holy Tradition is the “old leaven” which is no longer needed, and that we need to accept the “new dough” of union with the Pope, after we repent for the mistakes made by our Fathers! He makes this clearer in the same address:
Those of our forefathers from whom we inherited this separation were the unfortunate victims of the serpent who is the chief of all evils; they are already in the hands of God, the righteous Judge…And these men, being the causes for the schism, are now in the hands of God, the righteous judge.
Do you know to whom is he referring? To Saint Photios the Great, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Mark of Ephesos, Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis and all the holy Fathers who defended the Orthodox faith against the heresies.
How can you defend this Denier of the Tradition received by our holy Fathers? How can you justify your allegiance to this Betrayer of everything holy and sacred the Orthodox Church stands for? He says that our holy Fathers to whom we pray, and the icons of whom we venerate have been deceived, and are condemned by Christ!
Of course this is not all. In his address to the World Council of Church Oct. 7, 2009, he stated that we “search for the visible unity” as if the unity of the Church does not exist because the heretical groups he calls “churches” are not united with us. He calls our insisting on the uniqueness of our Church “provincialism and confessionalism.”6
In a message he sent to a global conference held in 2001 in Durban, South Africa he wrote, “The Orthodox Church does not seek to convince others on specific perceptions of the Truth or of the of Revelation, nor does she seek to convert them to a specific way of thought”! So following the words of the Lord, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20) are “perceptions of the truth” and “a specific way of thought”?
Do you honestly believe that Patriarch Bartholomew faithfully conforms to the teachings of Christ and the doctrines of the Orthodox Church?
Are you sure that the faith proclaimed by Patriarch Bartholomew is the faith you have sworn to defend?
Do you find that the unity of “reconciled diversity” advanced by Patriarch Bartholomew, is the unity that Christ prayed for, the unity that you want to promote?
Patriarch Bartholomew is praised for promoting “without fear” the heretical ecumenism and syncretism. Decide what you want to defend: the honorable Orthodox See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the dishonorable Patriarch that occupies the Ecumenical cathedra. The St. John Chrysostoms we honor; the Nestorioses we abhor and condemn.
Reflect and decide.
- See our post How Patriarch Bartholomew is walking away from Christ
- Bartholomew, Apostle and Visionary, by John Chryssavgis, Thomas Nelson 2016, p. x.
- Address to the Roman Catholic Delegation on the occasion of the patronal feast day of Saint Andrew on November 30, 1998.