By father Georgios D. Metallinos
- The 20th century has been characterised as “the century of ecumenism”, the political as well as the religious one. The political manifestation of Ecumenism identifies with the spirit and goals of New Age and globalisation while the religious one with the ecumenical Dialogues and the objective of “Global Religion”. Eversince the beginning of the 20th century and mainly with the “Proclamation” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1920, which DE FACTO recognised the western heretical panspermia as “churches of Christ”, the first throne of Orthodoxy has been officially incorporated in the so called “Ecumenical Movement”. On the plea of the dialogue for the return to the apostolic and pateric Orthodoxy of the broken off western Christianity, it has also been involved in Ecumenism, which, according to existing various evidence, serves the above targets. The other local Orthodox Churches have followed the Ecumenical Patriarchate in this commitment as well. In doing so, they serve the interests of the World Superpower placing “politics” in all its manifestations in front, and rendering “orthodoxy” its humble servant. The case of the recent (June 2016) “Great” Synod in Crete is a clear expression of today’s situation of the Orthodox Church. But a lot has been written about this issue.
Our Ecumenists incessantly assert that they participate in this movement in absolute freedom and put forward our traditional Orthodoxy, while facts prove complete alienation from pateric tradition and its virtual disavowal, with the newly-fabricated “post-pateric theology” in furtherance of the above aims.
Nevertheless, speaking about our Ecumenical throne, there was a preecumenistic period, when, despite its political hardship within the Ottoman Empire, it was able to move freely in the scope of Faith and freely express the unconquerable spirit of the ecclesiastical body in every direction. In our modern “Babylonian captivity” – to remember the late orthodox head priest father Georgios Florovski – the ultimate heresy of Papacy and its heretic leader, the Pope, are called and accepted as “church”, genuine and authentic, with the now prevalent in our ecumenistic language phrase “sister church”!
Those who “scientifically”- seemingly suggest – and undertake the afresh writing of History (the slogan is: history to be rewritten), essentially process the deletion of the past in favour of the deconstruction of the present. And religious ecumenism, following in the footsteps of Enlightenment, turns out to be not only ahistorical but antihistorical too.
- However, through its (internal) freedom during its (external) servitude, our Ecumenical Patriarchate avowed its Faith freely, with absolute loyalty to its apostolic-pateric tradition as the spiritual leadership and paragon for all the Orthodox. Conclusive evidence on this issue is provided by the Holy Theological School of Chalki (in Propontis), the highest hotbed and educational Foundation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (1844-1971). Since 1844, when priest-monk Constantinos Typaldos-Iakovatos (being titular Metropolite of Stavroupolis since 1848) started directing and for decades, the School had been a bastion of the ortholox pateric tradition, under the pateric Director’s guidance and the Ecumenical Patriarchs’ blessings, which reinforced the work of the School and supported its orthodox testimony. Within this spirit, the School set off Hierarchs and Masters of high orthodox-pateric spirit, who avowed their Faith in every direction without hesitation or fear, since they did not serve but only the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ and His People. It was this attitude that the Ecumenical Throne, the Headmaster and the School stuck to, in absolute union of hearts and consensus, as it is proved by the operation of the last one. And specifically:
Since 1855, when the institution of scientific “thesis” and “Dissertations” started running and till 1862, 14 studies had been compiled and submitted, related to the Latin Church, and more particularly the papal institution in a total of 64 similar projects, that is about 20% of the relevant production. Here we quote some typical titles: 1) That the Latins’doctrine about the Pope of Rome’s primacy is opposed to the Holy Scripture, the Fathers’ preach and the practice of the Catholic Orthodox Church. 2) That neither through the apostolic tradition nor through history can be proved that Apostle Peter reached Rome….”. 3) About the putative spiritual authority of the Pope of Rome etc.
But even after the end of the School Direction by Constantinos of Stavroupolis (1864) the School went on moving on the same spirit, within clear scientific bounds and not just disputatious, as one might suppose. What was most simply scientifically documented was the differentiation of the Latin Church from the common tradition of East and West until the schism (1054). As a result, from 1869 to 1907, Dissertations of School Students moved within the same spiritual framework. Once again we note some of the topics: 1) Dissertation against four antievangelical principles and demands of the bishops of Rome. 2) About the fallibility of the Pope’s infallibility. 3) About the Pope’s primacy. 4) That the Pope is not infallible. 5) That papal despotism broke off the West from Orthodoxy. 6) The Papal Church is the cause of the Schism at Fotios’time etc.
After 1907 and until 1922 the students of the School were not given topics of this kind. From 1923 to 1971, when “God knows why” the School was closed down by the Turkish Authorities, there are no references to papal doctrines, except for peripheral issues such as “Το έκκλητον του Ρώμης” (1936), “Apostle Peter’s passage to Rome” (1950) and “Illyrikon and the rights on it of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople” (1962). The change of the spirit of the times is betrayed by a dissertation in 1968 entitled: “The theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church in the three Panorthodox Conferences” (positive assessment of the dialogue?)
- Consequently, the progress of the scientific theological work of the School indicates the prevalence of the new spirit of Ecumenism, which the Ecumenical throne had been involved in. Thereby we do not claim that a clear knowledge of things was lost in at least most of its representatives, but what is proved, from the scientific work of the School too, is the prevalence of the spirit of Ecumenism and the imposed by it commitments. The change in the relations between East and West, without the least inclination of return by the latter to the common tradition before the schism, lays down the change of the theological language as well, with all the obvious consequences.
Especially significant, however, is the fact that two Dissertations of the year 1857 refer to the issue of ecumenicality of the Synod of Fotios the Great’s time (M. Fotios) in 879: a) About the Holy and Great (eighth) Synod of Fotios’ time (879) and b) Comparison of the against Fotios (869) and of the Fotios’ time (879) Synods, through which the legal and right one is revealed. In these texts the character of this Synod as Ecumenical Eighth Synod of Orthodoxy, that is of the Church of Christ, is clearly avowed according to the spirit of our earlier Fathers and Theologians, which the gathering on Crete (2016), as of different spirit, did not wish to do.
I want to believe that our Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the person of some of its representatives, has clear insight of the catalytical effect of Ecumenism on its attitude and behaviour. And this is enough for it to revise its course. Yet this presupposes recovery of its in Christ old freedom.
Note: The present article is based on the studies a) father G.D.Metallinos: Critical overview of the papal institution in 19th century Chalki. An anecdotal text by Constantinos Typaldos-Iakovatos…, Athens 2007 and b) father G.P.Metallinos – priestess Barbara Metallinou and deacon Meletios Aristovoulos’ Dissertation “About the putative spiritual authority of the Pope of Rome” (Athens 2011).