The Fall of the Third Rome: Moscow Capitulates to Papism
Moscow, the bastion of Orthodoxy, the "Third Rome", suddenly capitulated to the Old Rome, when his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow embraced the pan-heresy of ecumenism. With a stroke of a pen, he turned his back on one thousand years of Orthodoxy in Russia, following Constantinople (New Rome) down the wide road (Mat 7:13).
The real import of the historic meeting that took place in Havana, Cuba on Feb. 12, 2016 between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow was missed by the media, which focused mostly on the political, social and moral aspects of the meeting. For us, Orthodox Christians, the Joint Statement2 constitutes a betrayal of the Orthodox Faith.
Please follow their call to action:
We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war.
It is a call to unity to all, Christians and non-Christians, to pray for peace, as if religious differences among them were of no consequence.
The document repeatedly stresses that we have “inherited” our differences from our ancestors. It sounds apologetic saying, it is not our fault, “we have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts.” Stating that our differences “in the understanding and expression of our faith in God” are due to “human weakness and of sin” is a blasphemy against the martyrs and confessors of our Faith.
It assumes that all the “monotheistic” religions believe in the same God. Before a perceived common danger that threatens mankind, the religious leaders of the two largest Christian bodies appeal to us all to set aside our faith in Jesus Christ our true God, who died and rose from the dead and is worshiped with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and in the one and only Church He founded.
Our theological differences are ignored and are treated as trivialities, as egotistical pretensions before the threat of a world war. Peace seems to be above all—not our faith in the true God. They have both forgotten that the main role of the Church is to spread the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.
It seems our religious leaders have come up with a better gospel, that we are “brothers and sisters in Christ,” not in virtue of the one and only true baptism we have received in His holy Church, not on account of our great hope of salvation in Christ our Savior, but on account of our “shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.”
Don’t be deceived: according to the Declaration it’s not our common faith that will save us, nor the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but our “common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
I hope the Jesuit nuance is clear to everyone. It states that salvation comes not from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but from the human values that unite us.
The Declaration calls martyrs those Christians who have died giving witness to the truth of the Gospel, irrespective of their religious affiliation to “various Churches” (as if Christ founded many Churches). We Orthodox Christians venerate our martyrs, pray to them, we treasure their holy relics and build churches in their honor.
Our Church teaches us to honor only those who have died as martyrs professing the true faith. As for the rest, the Church treats them as pseudomartyrs.3 It is well known that the Church produced untold martyrs during the great persecutions. “Many even of the heretics in the time of persecution and of idolatry showed fortitude even to death, and were called martyrs by those who shared their beliefs.”4 The Church however directs us not to treat them as true martyrs and not to pray to them.5
Are we then against any kind of cooperation with other Christian bodies? Can’t we meet and in common declare that we are against violence and terrorism, and that we are for world peace and religious freedom? Can’t we jointly express a concern about the conditions in the Middle East?
Yes, of course we can and we should, provided we leave out any dogmatic and ecclesiological statements that insidiously infiltrate the text and dilute and minimize our faith.
The ultimate goal of the Joint Statement is the establishment of humanism, placing “fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions” as the ultimate goal. This sweeping statement alone should be sufficient for us to utterly reject the entire document.
With deep pain and sadness we admit that the Joint Declaration constitutes one of the most ecumenistic and syncretistic official statements agreed upon by an Orthodox hierarch.
What do the ROCOR bishops and theologians have to say about this capitulation?
- “False prophets,” Canon xxxiv of the Council of Laodicea (Rudder, 566).
- Interpretation of Canon ix of the same Council (Rudder, 555)
6 thoughts on “The Fall of the Third Rome: Moscow Capitulates to Papism”
These are the thoughts of a respected and very traditional ROCOR priest in England:
The “respected and very traditional ROCOR priest in England” is none other than Archpriest Andrew Phillips. (The article appeared on his Blog on February 14, 2016.) Based on my knowledge of Father Andrew’s views expressed on other issues I wouldn’t expect that a ROCOR clergyman would disagree with the position I have advanced in this post. That’s why I ended it with the question, “What do the ROCOR bishops and theologians have to say about this capitulation?”
I cannot hide my disappointment in reading Father Andrew’s evaluation of the Joint Statement, in which he views the ecclesiological language contained therein as a personal matter. I even found certain statements made by him quite disturbing. I think I understand why he has taken this stand. He is known for his work in reconciling the two Russian Orthodox churches. I am sympathetic to his view. However, he should be able to express more clearly what is happening in Orthodoxy over the last century, and sound the alarm.
Coming now to the specifics: If I didn’t know that Father Andrew was an anti-ecumenist he would have me fooled. His justification for dealing with the “heterodox” (read heretics; he is not afraid to use the term elsewhere), sounded just like that of the Ecumenical (read ecumenist) Patriarch Bartholomew, who when addressing the monks of the Holy Mountain he sounds perfectly Orthodox, but when addressing his Western Christian “brethren” he is a betrayer of the faith of our Fathers.
Father Andrew delves only on the pluses of the Joint Statement, viewing it as “a personal opinion and no more.” Our evaluation differs in that respect. He justifies the ecumenists saying, “we allow Roman Catholics to visit our churches and show them kindness. In other words, we show respect and courtesy, that is Christian charity.” In all sincerity, does he believe that this is what the Church Fathers have done, who did not allow Catechumens to be present during the Divine Eucharist? If not, why are we doing it? Or is it, perhaps, because our God-bearing Fathers did not have as much love for their heretic “brethren” as we do?
In order to justify his equivocal stance he says, “As the saying goes, ‘You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’” Let him answer this other question: how many “flies” have the ecumenists caught over the last half a century of ecumenical overtures? The answer is, none. No one was converted with our kindness, courtesy, charity, respect, generosity and diplomacy. Worse yet, ecumenists of East and West don’t believe Christians should even attempt to convert each other. You see, we are all brothers and sisters. Worst of all, we are the ones who have been caught in the Vatican’s nets.
Here is another question for Father Andrew: What should we expect from our religious leaders, diplomacy or boldness (parresia)? Sts. Athanasios the Great, Cyril of Alexandria and Gregory the Theologian were not diplomatic towards the Arians nor did they invite them to their assemblies. St. Maximos the Confessor refused to communicate with the Monothelites. St. Mark Evgenikos broke communion with the Uniates. It’s true that initially he was courteous and respectful towards the pope, but when he realized that he had no intentions to recount his errors, the dialogue came to an end: “Reject a heretic after a first and second admonition” (Tit. 3:10)
Father Andrew’s stance on the meeting of patriarch Kirill and pope Francis is puzzling considering that in a Q & A piece “On Modernism” he posted three weeks later (March 8, 2016) his response to the question, “Has the crisis not been deepened by Patriarch Kyrill meeting the Pope in Cuba?” was, “Yes, that meeting has reinforced the crisis.” Even if in his eyes the meeting was not a mistake, he said that it helped us see who are the extremists (he calls them sectarian) and who are the ecumenists who, he predicted, might even split from the Church.
Unfortunately, the ecumenists are not so few, as he fathoms—not among the hierarchs, in any case. That’s why it is imperative to take a firm stance in proclaiming the faith clearly. Statements like the following don’t help: “[T]he heterodox, although outside the Church, have still conserved part of the heritage of the Church.” What does “heritage” mean? It’s not a patristic term. What is its significance? Any heretic has retained a few genuine Christian elements. What of it? This formulation is Protestant, not Orthodox. “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10)
Father Andrew keeps coming back to the subject that the Joint Statement should not be seen as a dogmatic document, as not touching our faith. He is set to gather “figs from thistles.” The pope, however, sees it differently. Here are his words. At the conclusion of his meeting with Patriarch Kirill he commented: “We spoke as brothers, we have the same baptism, we are both bishops. We talked about our churches, agreeing that unity is built by walking together”. From the pope’s perspective there is no need to change his erroneous beliefs an iota. Does this find Patriarch Kirill, and Father Andrew, in agreement?
Finally, I don’t agree with Father Andrews’ statement, “Just as we are strict on dogmatic issues, we can also show generosity and not meanness of spirit in everyday life.” But Father, what is our “strictness” worth when we put it “under a bushel” in dealing with our non-Orthodox “brethren”? It is not meanness, but “speaking the truth in love.” The dichotomy faith and life, that is, the proclamation of the faith and the witnessing of our life is used by the ecumenists to justify their unacceptable behavior and their betrayal of our Orthodox faith.
Note: I just came across an article in the Greek Orthodox weekly Orthodoxos Typos (Orthodox Press, March 4, 2016) titled “Who benefited in the end from the meeting of Pope and Patriarch of Moscow?” It begins with the following sentence: “It is certain that a major part of the Russian people today reacts and a few even have stopped commemorating the Patriarch of Moscow.” It seems that the Russians don’t share the nonchalant views of Father Andrew concerning the meeting and the statement it produced.
I was not surprised, and was really expecting to read a confirmation of my prediction that the Joint Statement would cause an uproar within the Orthodox Church. This news comes from the March 10, 2016 issue of the webpage katanixis: “Bishop Longin of Banceni, Cernauti, whose Metropolitan is Onufriy of Kiev and All Ukraine that belongs to the Patriarchate of Moscow, suspended commemorating Patriarch Kirill in the Divine Liturgy and in all Church services, after the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church accepted the text of the document drafted at the Fifth Meeting in Chambesy, but also on account of the meeting between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill in Havana and the issuance of the Joint Statement of the ‘shared blessing’ that wickedly recognizes the papacy as a Church.”
Do you agree with the decision not to commemorate the Patriarch?
Also, even the Athonites commemorate the EP, and he is an exponentially worse offender. Are they lacking zeal or this still a decision that has not ultimately been decided upon and one that a person must make based upon their conscience?
Also, what if the Hierarchs endorse these documents officially, what are Orthodox who seek to be faithful to do?
Can you please comment on this article? http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/90995.htm
I look forward to your answers.
Good to hear from you. Thanks for your questions and your concern. We need to follow the via aurea, and to stray neither to the left nor to the right. Thanks be to God, we have Christ, His Holy Spirit, His holy Church, the holy Fathers, and the enlightened Orthodox bishops and theologians to illumine our path.
Here are my answers to your questions and comments.
Do you agree with the decision not to commemorate the Patriarch?
Orthodox people worldwide are frustrated with the ecumenist statements and actions of their hierarchs. A recent example is that of a number of priests and monastics belonging to the Moldovan Church, who have shown their disapproval and disagreement by ceasing to commemorate their bishops. This action is not to be equated with breaking communion or with schism. It has happened often in the life of the Church, usually for short periods of time, to be soon thereafter reconciled.
Also, even the Athonites commemorate the EP, and he is an exponentially worse offender.
Yes, they still do, but for how long? The Holy Mountain and three metropolitans of the Greek Church had ceased commemorating Patriarch Athenagoras for three years (1969-1972). They will not hesitate to do the same with Patriarch Bartholomew.
An Athonite monk has publicly expressed his approval of the Moldovan clergy action, calling it “worthy of praise,” understanding it as an application of Canon 15 of the First & Second Ecumenical Council (Elder Savvas Lavreotis. (Orthodoxos Typos, No. 2110, March 25, 2016.). He states that, “discontinuing the memorial does not mean that you cut yourselves from the Church, that you become schismatic nor that you do not obey the Church. On the contrary now you are in perfect obedience to the Church, and followers of the teachings of the holy Fathers, who interrupted the commemoration of Patriarchs and Synods when they taught contrary to the Orthodox faith.”
It is my prediction that if the “Holy and Great Synod” will take place (It is not certain at all that this Synod will convene. It is our prayer that it will not.), we’ll see more serious expressions of disapproval.
Are they lacking zeal
There are those who say that they do.
or this [is] still a decision that has not ultimately been decided upon
They have seen this happening before, so this time they are waiting to see how far ecumenists are willing to go.
and one that a person must make based upon their conscience?
We follow the Fathers and pray for enlightenment for ourselves and for our spiritual leaders.
Also, what if the Hierarchs endorse these documents officially, what are Orthodox who seek to be faithful to do?
I will answer with Prof. Demetrios Tselengidis along this line of thought.
The Lord tells us not to worry about what the next day will bring. When that day comes, if we have the mind of Christ, we will have the answer. Christ told us that even when our own life is in danger not to even think how we’ll defend ourselves.
We have no problem. No matter what is decided we remain in the Church. We will not cause schisms. We simply remain in the Church. Those who introduce alien teachings and approve them against the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils (irrespective of whether they are many, and we are a few) should be concerned about schisms. (see http://aktines.blogspot.gr/2016/04/blog-post_7.html#more, in Greek.)
Can you please comment on this article?
Gladly. You will find my comments in the blog post “Reasonableness of our Faith, Bishop Tikhon and Ecumenism.”
I ended this post by asking a question: “What do the ROCOR bishops and theologians have to say about this capitulation?” To my disappointment they have kept an absolutely shameless silence.
But someone else spoke out, and how! Bishop Longin, a beloved and courageous bishop of the Orthodox Church of the Ukraine, in a meeting on March 10 that he called following the publication of the Havana declaration, announced that he had ceased commemorating the Patriarch of Russia.
In his statement he made it clear that “the declaration is nothing other than a betrayal of Orthodoxy, a legalization of the teachings of Antichrist, and that the ‘all-Russian’ Patriarch, who placed his signature under it, committed ‘canonical crime.’”
“The signing of the declaration in Cuba,” he added, “is a betrayal and violation of the Orthodox faith. And for me personally, these 30 points (the Havana declaration—ed.) are Judas’ thirty pieces of silver… Pardon me, I never will be in unity with heretics. I am Orthodox and I will not become a traitor.”
Ten days later, in his sermon on March 20, 2016, Metropolitan of Odessa Agafangel declared: “Now a disturbing tendency of ecumenism has appeared, including also in the sphere of relations with the Catholic church.”
Both articles appear on this website.
Fr. Emmanuel. Your blessings and thank you for this great post. It has been a habit, since 1927 (with the issuing of the infamous declaration of Metropolitan Sergius) for the hierarchs of the MP to alter the mission of the Church. First this happened by preaching communism. Then to this blasphemous preaching was added preaching of the communist social agenda – aka we are all brothers, so let’s fight for world peace, social justice etc etc. This was and still is actively practiced at the expense of the preaching of the true, only, and only salvific Gospel (the Orthodox one). Forgive me for offering this added information. I recently made a video outlining some of these issues. Please check it out if you like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy2iXolOv7g Please keep up the good struggle! Your voice is refreshing. I ask for your prayers in these dark times…
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