“We shall not deny you, beloved Orthodoxy”
Dear Βrothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today our Church celebrates the victory of the Orthodox faith against its enemies, the iconoclasts, because they wanted to remove the holy icons from our churches and destroy them. Who were these enemies? They were (seemingly) Orthodox kings, bishops and patriarchs, who in the Synod of Hiereia in 754 (which they proclaimed to be Ecumenical!) condemned the veneration of icons!
Thirty-three years later, in 787, a new Synod convened in Nicaea, which condemned the un-Orthodox Synod, and reinstated in the churches and the homes of Christians the holy images (those that were left, which were not destroyed), so that we may worship God the Word Who for our sake became man like us. Therefore we may, actually we must, depict Him, because He was not a ghost, but a real person with skin and bone.
(Parenthetically let me say that the Protestants do not have icons in their places of worship, which are naked and graceless. Roman Catholics have statues, which our Church does not allow, because they remind us of idols. Although they also have icons, they keep them high, and they don’t venerate them. Indeed, emperor Charlemagne in 794 (only 7 years after the Council of Nicaea) called a Synod in Frankfurt condemning the decisions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the veneration of the holy icons! Eighty-five years later, in 879, a Synod that many Orthodox accept as the Eighth Ecumenical Council condemned this pseudo-synod.)
The struggle of the Church against heresies is not finished. Almost 100 years ago a new heresy has appeared within the Church: the heresy of Ecumenism, which like Iconoclasm insidiously threatens to completely destroy her.
What is Ecumenism? I will not tell you. Better yet, I will let a great Saint of our day, the Serbian Archimandrite, St. Justin Popović tell you about it:
The great contemporary apologist of Orthodoxy, known to all, Metropolitan of Piraeus Seraphim explains further what Ecumenism means, and what is its corrosive role:
And Metropolitan Seraphim continues in the same text, explaining what the aim of Ecumenism is:
And he presents the final evaluation of Ecumenism:
But how it is possible to circumvent the profound differences that exist between the “churches” and the religions? In what way does Ecumenism seek to accomplish a feat that seems impossible? Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew promotes this monstrosity this way. The first step is to unite the “churches.” The unifying link is the “common baptism” of all Christians. As long as we accept that we are all baptized, we all belong to the same “Mega-Church.” Baptismal theology is the basis of Ecumenism, but the engine that powers it is (purportedly) peace and love.
Patriarch Bartholomew’s plan is to unite first with the Pope, whom he accepts as a canonical Hierarch of the Church. His desire is to unite our Church with his “church,” with no change in their faith or worship. The union will take place by a simple recognition that they constitute two “sister Churches,” united in love.
For the last fifty years the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope not only have been dialoguing between them, but they have also moved into action. They have met for common prayer, which according to the canons of the Church is forbidden. But this did not stop our Patriarch who has been praying not only with heretical Christians but also with people from many other faiths. His bishops are doing the same in order not to be left behind.
We don’t agree with them, and we distance ourselves from them. We no longer follow them or obey them, because they are betrayers of the faith and they ought to be condemned as heretics by an Orthodox Synod. We cannot wait for such Synod to convene. We wall ourselves from now, that is we cease to have communion with them.
“We shall not deny you, beloved Orthodoxy,
nor shall we lie to you, time-honored reverence,
We were born in you, we live in you, and we shall die in you.
And if time shall call us,
we shall sacrifice a thousand times our lives for you.”
(Monk Joseph Vriennios, Spiritual Father of St. Mark of Ephesus, + ca. 1435)
Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis
Sunday of Orthodoxy, 2017
4 thoughts on ““We shall not deny you, beloved Orthodoxy””
Who in the right mind would want to unite with such a diseased body like the Roman Catholic church? According to some very pious Catholics, 50% of the Roman clergy have same-sex attraction and 25% are active in it. This illness goes all the way up to an including the Cardinals. Also, the Pope has considered Bernie Sanders of kindred thought. Sanders is a Communist. Don’t believe me? Look it up on YouTube and you will Sanders confession for yourself. If that is not reason enough consider their heretical doctrines. Their whole church is collapsing from within. Like I said, why would the Orthodox Church which is full of life and beauty want to unite with a dead corpse?
This is such a good thing to read on Sunday morning. I don’t have anywhere to go to church, here in Bucharest they invited Bartholomew to the consecration of the new cathedral. No priest opposes ecumenism, or the bizarre gesture in Ukraine. (By the way, if Constantinople loves local independent churches so much, why not recognize OCA as well?) The few who did say something turned out to be conspiracy nuts, or even inclined to schism. And somehow, I don’t believe that someone can love Christ and conspiracy theories at the same time.
As to what Theodore says: the Orthodox Church may be full of life and beauty, but it’s hard to see that when some of her members are consumed by tumors and flesh-eating infections. This is what heresies are to the body of the church and this why it’s healthier to cut them off, as the Fathers have always done.
Thank you very much for your well-thought out comment. We know that the Church of Romania is one of the most ecumenist Orthodox Churches. It is the same here in America, where all bishops are ecumenists, and the priests tremble to resist, even to talk openly. I do, and I will explain how.
I am retired, but few people know that I was active until I was “quietly” removed from my parish without being reassigned to another Parish, because, according to the ecumenist hierarchy, I disobeyed the Church by baptizing someone who was already baptized. I was forced to “retire” at 62 to collect a $555.48 pension. In my current status I cannot liturgize, cannot even chant and cannot receive Holy Communion in the altar as a priest – in essence I’m defrocked without going through an ecclesiastical court.
Coming back to your situation in Romania, this very day I came across an article which I translated from Greek. (Read it here. You have probably seen it already in Romanian.) I saw on the map that Orăşeni is on the distant northern part of Romania, very far from Bucharest. Certainly this priest opposes ecumenism, but I don’t know if you include him among the “conspirators.” I intend to post this article to my reply to you.
I agree with the content of your last paragraph, but I don’t identify the Church with the bishop. That’s why I have not separated myself from the Church because my bishop is an ecumenist. Let us Orthodox persevere and pray that God will give the courage to our hierarchs and priests to stand up to cancerous ecumenism and separate themselves from those actively promoting it or silently accepting it, and especially from the Ecumenical Patriarch who, acting as a “Pope of the East,” misguides and oppresses the Church.
Thank you for your reply. It is shocking to hear about your situation, since my understanding is that traditionally a priest would retire only when no longer able to serve or perform his duties, from a health point of view.
I appreciated the article about the priest at Orășeni. This is good news. If this is the place to go, it doesn’t matter if it’s far away. At this point, however, I doubt it, because I tried to follow several different Orthodox blogs and sites and they were all disappointing, even the ones that seemed normal at first. For Orthodox believers in other countries, ecumenism is chiefly a heresy. For Orthodox believers in Romania, ecumenism either doesn’t exist (ignorance is bliss, isn’t it), or is a good thing, or is the work of the antichrist along freemasonry, rfid chips, vaccines, chemtrails, and the like. Of course, it’s wrong for an Orthodox Christian to be a freemason, but it’s also wrong (in my opinion) to believe that freemasons created ecumenism as a way to destruct Orthodoxy from the inside and pave the way for the antichrist to take over the world. I think both freemasons and ecumenists have the best of intentions and don’t favor secretly the opposing team (at least, not consciously).
You mention separation from the Church. But where is the Church? I mean this in a very practical way (although rhetorical). Looking around, most people seem to be happy when the services are sung well and the priest is not a thief. The picky ones look for the churches where all the ladies cover their heads and wear long skirts, and the priests act like staretses, giving extra-long sermons, serving monastery-like (read: also extra-long) services, and giving spiritual advice they are most likely not qualified to give and definitely not required to (from a parish priest to lay people). It’s a hypocritical, toxic atmosphere.
So yes, prayer is all that can be done, at this point.