By Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis
A bomb threatens us, and most of us are unaware of it. I feel it is my duty to inform you of the impending great danger we are heading into, and take appropriate measures. No, it’s not about a nuclear threat or a major terrorist attack, but something much worse—because such things can put an end to our temporary life, whereas the danger about which I want to warn you threatens our eternal life.
Warning to the Worldwide Orthodox Christians
Blessed people of God: the Ecumenical Patriarch and the bishops who surround him are preparing a great treason against the Orthodox faith and our holy tradition. In the upcoming so-called “Holy and Great Synod” they intend to impose the heretical ecumenism, recognizing officially as Churches the heretical confessions that are outside of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox, unique and single, true Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our faith is that our Lord founded one unique Church, and that this is the Orthodox Church. There cannot be multiple Churches. We cannot accept as Churches Christian groups that are not members of the Holy Church of Christ, which alone constitutes His Holy Body.
One Church, not many
As bishops, priests and theology professors have noted, an expression in the draft document, “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World,”
suggests the existence of other Churches, which is unacceptable:
“The Orthodox Church acknowledges the existence in history of other Christian Churches and confessions which are not in communion with her.”
Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos proposed to replace this phrase with:
“The Orthodox Church is aware that her charismatic limits are identical to her canonical limits, and also knows that there are other Christian Confessions, which were cut off from her and are not in communion with her.”
The proposed change is necessary, but at this point its acceptance by the Ecumenical Patriarchate is in my opinion rather impossible. Of course there is always hope, and we pray for it.
The ecumenists have the audacity to apologize for the attitude of the holy Fathers, who supposedly did not show enough love toward their heterodox (heretic and schismatic) brothers.
Unfortunately the ecumenists, who, in violation of the holy canons, officially and actively pray with non-Orthodox, recognize the existence of non-Orthodox Churches alongside ours, the only Church of Christ. We believe “in One Holy Church,” whereas they believe in many “sister Churches.” So they do not profess the true faith, i.e. they are heretics. Also they believe that baptism is something magical, so that whoever performs it, whether inside or outside the Church, is “valid” as long as the name of the Holy Trinity is invoked. We believe in one baptism, which takes place in the One Holy Church, by faithful and appointed members of her. We say this because in practice our Archdiocese (of America, in which I belong) states unequivocally that in case of need the aero-baptism (baptism in the air) is a real baptism, even when performed by an atheist doctor or nurse.
Already by the 1920s, nearly 100 years ago, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had a leading role in the ecumenical movement, and practically accepted that the Orthodox Church is part of the Universal Church, and that she is equal to the heresies, confessions and communities that constitute “It.” This is also confirmed by the participation of most local Orthodox Churches in the World Council of Churches (heresies). In this the Patriarch ought to emulate his “sister” papal “Church,” which is more consistent towards its creed, i.e. its self-conscience that it alone is the Church of Christ, and thus does not participate as a member of the WCC, but only as an observer.
The ecumenists try to unite us with the Roman Catholics, with the Anti-Chalcedonian Monophysites, and other heretics and schismatics, not through their return to the Church by baptism (not even through holy chrism or even a confession of faith), but simply by recognizing them as our brothers in Christ, with whom we are united in the love that we have for each other and our common love for Christ, without demanding that they cast out their heretical beliefs, and without having them accept holy Tradition, as it has been received and kept unchanged and pure by the Orthodox and only true Church. For us only one way exists for their union with the Church: the way of repentance and their return to Christ’s Church, for which we pray.
One God, not many
But this is not all that is bad with the ecumenists; they are also syncretists. That is, they equate Christianity, or to say it better, the Church, the ark of salvation founded by the God-man Jesus Christ, with the religions of the world, especially with the so-called “monotheistic” religions, which do not worship the true God. Here we must pay close attention, because others may believe in a God, but not in the same God, the true God. Proof: let the Jews and Muslims say, addressing our Lord Jesus Christ, “You are our God; besides You we know of no other God,” and then we will converse whether we believe in the same God. Our mission is to unite everyone with, “God’s household, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).
We are accountable
Now, the question is, what will we do about these things we just heard or read? If we remain inert and indifferent, then we become co-responsible and accountable for the imminent great evil. The holy Fathers of the Church suffered for their faith, became confessors and martyrs, and did not give in to the pressures exercised on them by their leaders. The ecumenists have the audacity to apologize for the attitude of the holy Fathers, who supposedly did not show enough love toward their heterodox (heretic and schismatic) brothers. But we, following the divinely inspired Fathers, remain firmly united with them, and are willing to give the testimony (martyria) of faith, and to even suffer martyrdom.
So what can we do? What ought we do? Inquire with spiritual fathers we happen to know and have confidence in them, what do they believe about these issues. Study the writings of our holy Fathers and make sure that our faith is the faith of the Church. So we’ll be able to resist those who, perhaps, might try to lure us to the road that leads to destruction and perdition, which is the path of the heresy of ecumenism. We will follow a bishop who has Orthodox faith and Orthodox mindset. Thank God there are Orthodox hierarchs.
A Greek version of this article appeared in the June 1, 2016 issue of the Orthodox weekly paper Orthodoxos Typos.