Thursday, November 22, 2007

The letter of Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus to the papist bishop of Syros Island found in a recent issue of “Orthodoxos Typos”


Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus replies to the Papist Bishop of Syros Island:
YOU ARE NOT A CHURCH – YOU ARE A HERESY.
PAPISM IS RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE MURDERS OF PEOPLE AND OF GOD

From the Greek newspaper “ORTHODOX PRESS
Issue of 9th November 2007.

The posting of the English translation can be found @ http://oodegr.com/english/papismos/serafeim_papikos1.htm
In a letter addressed to the newspaper “ORTHODOX PRESS”, the Papist Bishop of Syros Island expressed “very austere” criticisms against thePiraeus Metropolitan, who had stated that Papism was the “founder of atheism”. The Papist Bishop also characterized the newspaper as “relentless” as regards its positions against the Papists.

Seraphim of Piraeus has defended the Orthodox Faith; he declared that the Church is One: that of the Orthodox Faith; he stressed that the Papist Bishop is in a fallacy; he underlined the fact that Papism is a heresy; he reminded him of the Papists’ crimes against 800.000 Orthodox in Croatia; he posed various questions to the Papist Bishop and with his stance, he defended the newspaper “Orthodox Press” for opposing Christian heresies.
Towards the end of June 2007, the “Orthodox Press” in one of its articles had praised the presence of, as well as the work accomplished by, the Reverend Metropolitan of Piraeus, fr. Seraphim. However, at the suggestion of its readers, he was invited to clarify his position on the matter of Papism, because the faithful had not heard him speak on this issue. The Reverend Metropolitan responded, in a written statement, which our newspaper had published as a central article, in its 6/7/2007 issue.

In that statement, the Metropolitan had stressed that the Orthodox Church ought to cease its theological dialogues with the Papists and other heretics; he spoke against Ecumenism and he proclaimed that Papism –as a heresy– had laid the foundations for atheism.
These statements made by the Metropolitan in the newspaper had taken place during the time that the Archbishop Christodoulos was being hospitalized in the “Aretaeion” Hospital, and his entourage had expressed its annoyance with the positions of the Metropolitan of Piraeus. Equally annoyed, however, were the Papists. Because the Metropolitan had not characterized them as “schismatics”, as many hierarchs see fit to, but instead, he referred to them as “heretics”.

This annoyance also became evident in the letter that the Papist Bishop of Syros Mr. Franciscos Papamanolis had addressed to the Rev. Metropolitan of Piraeus. In his letter, he “admonished” the Orthodox Metropolitan for the positions he had stated in the “Orthodox Press” newspaper, characterizing the newspaper as “relentless” as compared to those of other Christian confessions and of Ecumenism, but also for its “remonstrative tendency” towards the decisions of the Holy Synod and of Hierarchs.
The Papist Bishop “accused” the Metropolitan of Piraeus of splintering the Hierarchy of Greece, because he had expressed views that oppose theirs on the matter of Papism and Ecumenism; furthermore, that he was also in direct opposition to the Archbishop’s positions, which he had expressed while in the hospital.

In the same letter – and as a true child of the Vatican – he “discovers” the diplomacy of “love” intended for unification, and he extols everything that is ecclesiastically and theologically observed in Tinos Island. He also stresses that everything the Metropolitan of Piraeus supports originates from centuries-long prejudices, from incorrect views regarding the Papists’ teachings, and from a lack of proper acquaintance between them.
The Metropolitan’s response is “dynamic”; it is documented and intensely Patristic. This indicates that the Metropolitan of Piraeus will not sacrifice the Truth of the Orthodox Faith for the sake of the “diplomacy of love”, thus remaining faithful to the legacies of our Saints and our God-bearing Fathers. In his response, the Metropolitan of Piraeus:

defends the “Orthodox Press” for the positions that it upholds against Papism and Ecumenism by underlining that the Papist Bishop is being grievously unjust to our newspaper; also because the “Orthodox Press” preserves everything that the Orthodox Church has dogmatized on;
proclaims that Papism is a heresy - not a Church – and that the Papist Bishop is in a fallacy;
points out that love without truth lacks essence and is rendered meaningless;
poses a series of questions, indicative of why Papism became a heresy;

reminds him of the hecatombs of those murdered by “your Heresy”, both during the period of the “holy Inquisition”, the Crusades and the wars, but also in Croatia, where the Vatican was entirely responsible for the bloodbath of 800.000 Orthodox Serbs;
also reminds him of other murderous acts of Papism, by which it murdered even God;
points out by means of examples the Papist cacodoxies;

proves that Papism alters the ethos, it warps the New Testament and it perverts salvation, which “the sacrificed Son and Logos of the Father introduced, because of such untheologized dogmas”;

underlines the “perversions” of Papism, which have rendered it a heresy.
calls upon the Papist Bishop himself as well as his self-proclaimed “church” to return, “to the One and Only Body of Christ, and he shall find mercy and pardon.”
The Papist Bishop’s letter

Herebelow is the exchange of correspondence between the Papist Bishop and the Metropolitan of Piraeus. The Papist’s letter is as follows:
Catholic Episcopate of Syros
Protocol No.17007

Ano Syros, 25th July, 2007.

To the Reverend Mr. Seraphim, Metropolitan of Piraeus,
Piraeus

Reverend Brother,
It is with great pain that I read in the newspaper “Orthodox Press” of July 6th of this year your published letter with reference to “ecumenism” and to “Papism” and consequently to the Catholic Church. The aforementioned newspaper is well known for its extreme positions with the criticism it directs against Hierarchs and at times against the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, whenever the decisions of those “whom the Spirit has placed as bishops to minister to the Church of the Lord, which is nourished by His very Blood” (Acts 20:28) are not pleasing to the editors of the newspaper. Even more so, the aforementioned newspaper maintains extreme positions whenever it refers to other Christian Churches and confessions, and especially to the Catholic Church.

But this is the first time – if my memory does not deceive me (as I am 20 years older than you in age) – that I have read a text by an Orthodox Bishop who has acted in such a hostile manner towards the Catholic Church (e.g.: ”Papism laid the foundations of atheism” – I believe that no-one has ever before written such a thing).

My reverend Brother, far be it for me to have any trace of hostile rivalry. Permit me, with very much love, to express my own opinion with brotherly frankness.

1. You are aware, Reverend, that it is the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples must all be “one”, just as He is “one” with the Father (John 17:1). Unfortunately, we His disciples are not “one”. For whatever has taken place in the past, I personally do not feel any responsibility, nor do I think that you or someone else of our time feels responsible. However, as a Christian, and more so as a Bishop of the Church, we feel a responsibility towards the present and the future, and consequently, I am doing whatever I can to contribute towards the union of Christians. This is not my own choice, but a commandment that the Lord has imposed on me. In our work for the union, love is a necessity. I have been serving the Church as Bishop for 33 whole years; I have never stopped telling my faithful that nothing ever justifies the overlooking of love - not even the defending of the Truth itself.
2. I am deeply convinced that the difficulties that exist in the work towards the unification of Christians originate from a lack of familiarity between us; your letter has now confirmed this opinion of mine. Reverend, we need to admit that we Christians are not well acquainted with each other. This lack of familiarity has created in the past and has preserved in the present all the prejudices of the one side towards the other, without these being supported in any way. Quite often, there have been teachings which have been attributed to the “other” Church, which are merely conjectures. Permit me to tell you that what you have written and presented as the teaching of the Catholic Church is not being taught by the Catholic Church, just as it did not –and does not- teach all that has been written in school books for Religious Studies and History during the recent past, which has poisoned the innocent souls of students and has cultivated intolerance.

You may have heard of the good relations that exist among the Orthodox and the Catholics in Syros Island. This is not an achievement of mine, or of the Reverend Metropolitan, or of the two together; it is the fruit of the familiarity that exists between Orthodox and Catholics in Syros. We, the Bishops of the island, restrict ourselves to giving witness of love to our faithful, as well as mutual respect. Living together in a small area contributes towards mutual familiarity, not only the social kind, but also the religious kind. 50% of our families are mixed families; woe betide us pastors, if we were to preach hatred and cultivate fanaticism! The families of our island would be turned, from nests of love into nests of fanaticism, which would break them apart. Our faithful, from both dogmas (either because they are present in our temples, or through local Television) hear and observe our activities, so they know, they judge, and they live happily together. Indeed, mutual familiarity, Reverend, can destroy prejudices and create union.
3. But what saddened me most in your letter was the fact that it betrays a disruption between the Hierarchs of the Church ofGreece. The content of your letter is in direct opposition to His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Christodoulos, with whose hand-placing you were ordained Bishop. I have in hand all the addresses and statements that His Beatitude had made inRome last December. When comparing His Beatitude’s texts with your letter, I came to wonder what the Ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church is, because the matter of whether the Catholic Church is a Church or a heresy, is not simply a difference of opinion (a natural phenomenon between people), but a disruption of faith.

5. And one final point. Your letter was published while His Beatitude was still in hospital with his health still in a very grave condition. A letter such as this, with such a serious content, I do not believe he was aware of, before it was published in a newspaper.
Reverend Brother, I do not know if I have saddened you, but I do want you to be certain that I have written with immense love for the Church.

Please accept my brotherly greeting and my wishes for a fruitful pastorate in your Ecclesiastic Eparchy of Piraeus.
†Franciscus
Catholic Bishop of Syros, Thera and Crete
The Metropolitan’s response
The Metropolitan of Piraeus’ reply was as follows:

The Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim
Piraeus, the 25th October, 2007.

To His Eminence the Bishop Franciscus Papamanolis,
In Syros.

Your Eminence,
I received Your letter, at a time when the Offices of the Piraeus Metropolis were closed and so I am sorry for delaying my reply to it. I therefore ask You to forgive me.

Because I truly love You, just like every other fellow-human, I am writing the following with much humility before the Builder of the Church, Jesus Christ, not so that I might justify the positions for which you have criticized me (because they are not mine, they are the positions of the Indivisible Church of God, which I, the least of all, have merely transferred them onto paper, when asked by the journalist media of the vigilant Brotherhood of the Pan-Hellenic Orthodox Union, whom you have grievously wronged when you characterized them as supposedly being “extremists”, when in fact they are simply adhering to what the One, Holy, Indivisible Catholic and Apostolic Church has dogmatized and proclaimed for the past twenty (20) centuries), but so that I might tell You what is self-understood: that the Church of Christ “where the Spirit placed bishops to minister to Her, and which is nourished by His very Blood” (Acts 20:28) is the indivisible Church of the 1000 first years; whose unbroken historical continuation was our Orthodox Catholic Church, and that by breaking away from Her, Your religious Community, through the familiar schism, lost the Grace of the Living God and lapsed from heresy to heresy and from indecency to indecency, having distorted the salvific message of the incarnated Son of God and overthrown with words and acts the overthrown established structures and authorities of the fallen world to which the Son and Logos of God had contributed, with His unfathomable Crucifixional sacrifice and His Immaculate Blood.
Therefore it is understood that the theory of “sister churches” and the “branch theory” thereafter, which You have espoused through the text of Your letter and the “Peter dogma” which Your Religious Community proclaimed recently through its encyclical “Dominus Christ”, are in no way associated with the Indivisible Church of the Apostles, of the Ecumenical Fathers and the Holy Seven Ecumenical Synods.

Consequently, you can easily perceive how, by following the decisions of the Indivisible Church, from Which Your heresy-fallen Religious Community severed itself, I am not able to accede to your fallacy and not say to You in brotherly love that You are deluded by considering Yourself a “Bishop of the Church of God”. You have personally defined yourself in this manner, when the truth is that You are spiritually accountable for the faithful of Your community who remain in the schism and the heresy.
Love, without Truth, is altogether deprived of any essence, which is why Your position that “I have never stopped telling my faithful that nothing ever justifies the overlooking of love - not even the defending of the Truth itself” seems truly inexplicable; because, if we truly love someone, we do not abandon the one we love in his pitiful state of delusion, allowing him to also drown in it by believing that he is not in the wrong.

For one entire millennium we had a common Faith, a common Polity, a common Eucharist, common Dogmas, common Spirituality and God-oriented ascesis, with the Ecumenical Synods and the Pentarchy as our common Authority.

So, what exactly happened, that overturned everything?
Why didn’t this matter preoccupy You during all the 33 years that You were Bishop of Your Religious admission?

Why is it, that for a thousand years, these positions regarding the Pope of Old Rome’s Primacy in jurisdiction, on his Infallibility, on Purgatory, on Indulgences, on thesaurus meritorum , on Immaculate Conception,…on….on…. were nonexistent?
Why is it, that in the Apostolic Synod of Jerusalem, it was the Council of the Apostles and the Presbyters who had opined, and not the (according to You) “President of the Collegium” of the Apostles, the Divine Apostle Peter (Acts 15:22)?

Why did the Seven Ecumenical Synods convene in the East, in communion and in unity with the (then) Orthodox Bishop of Old Rome?
Why does the 28th Canon of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of the Undivided Church bestow equal honor to the Throne of Old Rome as well as of New Rome?

When and why were these things overthrown? Didn’t they preoccupy You, if not as a clergyman, at least as a thinking person who is in anticipation of the “eighth day” and who knows that the end of human things is nigh, for each one of us?
And what will You have to say, I wonder, to the Builder of the Church, the Lord, for the hecatombs of people who were murdered by Your Heresy (“Holy Inquisition”, “Holy Wars”, “Crusades”) in the name of a supposed purity of the faith, when you condescend and do not separate Your position from all these crimes - but even more importantly - from the overturning of the message of freedom, of love, of the otherness of the son of God Who was sacrificed on the Cross so that the blaspheming person would not die?

Recently, You beatified the cardinal Augustine Stepinac of Zagreb, Croatia - the moral perpetrator behind the fascist “Ustasi” hordes of Ante Pevelic (whom the Vatican helped to escape to Latin America) and the bloodbath of 800.000 Orthodox Serbs. I did not see You protest then, nor separate Your position, even though You have been ministering to the “Church of Christ” for 33 years. If that insensitive and cold-blooded murderer is recognized as “blessed”, then the “God” who would acknowledge him as such, is - to us - entirely useless; he is unnecessary; he does not concern us. That is why I wrote the thing that embittered You, being fully aware of what I wrote; that is, that “Papism led to atheism”. It initially led to Protesting and to atheism afterwards, because it came to worship a God who was the moral perpetrator of crimes, religious wars, hecatombs of blood and suffering. Should I remind You of the 29.000 slaughtered Huguenots, on the tragic night of Saint Bartholomew? Should I remind You of the hecatombs of the so-called 100-year religious war? What should I begin to tell You? Who was it that burnt Joan of Lorraine at the stake? The Holy inquisition – that is, the Papal Throne – burnt her as someone demon-possessed, and later on, it beatified her. I will repeat – slightly altering – the question posed by my blessed elder, the precedent Archbishop Seraphim: Are these the actions of a Church that acts as treasurer of Divine Revelation? Those who truly love You have the obligation to tell You the truth of the Church, otherwise, they will be leaving You in the fallacy of Your beliefs, without any concern for Your eternal future. For this reason, I unshakeably believe that the participation of the Church in your movements in Europe and elsewhere, as well as in the so-called “Theological Dialogues”, is firstly detrimental to You and to Your faithful, because it gives You a false taste of a presumed recognition as well as cover for Your slip-ups, and it will leave You in the darkness of Your vain dogmas.
You reason in Your letter that the dogmatic positions that are discerned in my letter to Your Religious Community, are –supposedly- “conjectures”, by writing characteristically: “Permit me to tell you that what you have written and presented as the teaching of the Catholic Church is not being taught by the Catholic Church, just as it did not –and does not- teach all that has been written in school books for Religious Studies and History during the recent past, which have poisoned the innocent souls of students and have cultivated intolerance.”

Instead of any other reply to Your –permit me to say– inaccurate and therefore pejorative to my humble person references, I shall quote two paragraphs only, out of the endless cacodoxies of Your Religious Community, from the book “Catechesis of the Catholic Church” (Vatican-Cactos Publications 1996 – Cactos – Liberia Editrica Vaticana – Apostolic Clause “The Trust of the Faith” – Fidei Depositum) which is in circulation.
On page 332 is stated:
“III. The final purification or Purgatory. 1030. All those who die in grace and in the friendship of God, but without being purified thoroughly, even though they may be certain of their eternal salvation, they are subjected after death to a purging, so that they can attain the required holiness to enter into the joy of heaven” and on page 454 it says:

“X. Indulgences. 1471. The teaching and the practice of Indulgences in the Church is closely tied to the outcome of the Sacred sacrament of Repentance.
Indulgences are an absolution before God of the temporary punishment of crimes, whose guilt has already been erased; an absolution that the well-intentioned and under specific conditions faithful will succeed in obtaining through the activity of the Church, which, being the steward of redemption, distributes and imposes with its authority the treasure of the merits of Christ and of the Saints. Indulgences can be applied to the living, as well as the dead.”
Is it, or isn’t it true, that through these dogmatic positions the juridical element was introduced into the Church? That the salvific work of the Lord of Glory is presented like a case of give-and-take between Man and his Creator? Isn’t the Lord of mercy – Who is not in need of anything and is unaffected by passions and beyond every worldly influence – blatantly insulted, by being presented as a stern and unkind judge?

The overall ethos has being altered; the New Testament - that New Constitution between God-World-Man has being warped; also warped is Salvation, which was introduced by the sacrificed Son and Logos of the Father; all on account of these untheologized teachings.
So, my references to your cacodoxies are merely “conjectures”?

Can You explain (on the basis of the deductions of Your aforementioned tragic beliefs), why the tax-collector and the prodigal son were vindicated, and not the Pharisee and the elder son of the parable? Furthermore, how is it, that without any form of satisfaction being implemented, or any act of repentance, the adulteress who was caught in the act was acquitted of the legal punishment of stoning? And how was it that the first inhabitant of Paradise happened to be a robber on the Cross? And most importantly, can there be any room for juridical reporting of one’s labors in His Vineyard? Have You forgotten His own words regarding “wretched servants”?

This letter of mine is not a diatribe or a study of the endless cacodoxies of Your Religious Community, so, accordingly, I am merely making certain observations in it. Of the vast number of Your fallacies, I have selected one more, which You have clothed with a dogmatic validity. I am referring to the new dogma on the supposed Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos, which was proclaimed as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in the year 1854, and, so that you don’t doubt one more time that this is a teaching of Yours, I shall quote from the aforementioned Catechesis book the pertinent reference in page 163:
491. During the passing centuries the church became aware that Maria, the one who was “Grace-endowed” by God, had been “purchased” from the time of her conception. This is confessed by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854: the blessed, ever-virgin Maria from the first moment of Her conception, by the grace of an exceptional favour of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ Saviour of the human race, was preserved intact from every trace of the original sin.”

If this cacodoxy on the “immaculate conception” of the Ever-virgin Theotokos was true, can You inform us how She transmitted human mortality to the incarnated perfect Person, the exempt of sin and perfect God-Son of Hers? Have You ever stopped to consider that if this fallacy of Yours were indeed true, then the death of the Son of God would have to be an “assumed” one, since mortality would not have been transmitted into His human nature? Can You perceive just how tragic Your beliefs are?
You are right to feel poemantic responsibility for the present and for the future. However, You made no mention whatsoever of the mistakes of the past, acknowledging them as mistakes. Many of them are being continued. Could it be, that by acknowledging the errors of the past, Papal “infallibility” will be shaken? Unfortunately, we are condemned if we do not acknowledge the mistakes of the past and also if we repeat them in the future, for which You feel poemantic responsibility and sensitivity, as You mentioned. For all these aforementioned things, what is recommended is humility, love, and divine enlightenment - all of which are incompatible with the diabolical infallibility by which Ecclesiology and the Polity of the Indivisible Church have been subverted.

Finally, another paragraph of Your letter was considered unacceptable, where an attempt was made –by means of interpretational acrobatics- to sow discord and dissent with His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Christodoulos, who is well known for his courteousness, his reconciliatory mien and his genuine feelings of love; thus, Your letter is exceeding its limits, given that it is invoking the untimeliness of our letter in connection to the illness of His Beatitude, who –despite Your interpretations– remains unshakeable and steadfast in the words of Father Kosmas of Aetolia, patriarch of the Neo-Hellenic Nation whom he frequently invokes, and who always speaks knowledgeably and clearly, just like many Holy Martyrs and Fathers of the Church did – from Saint Mark of Ephesus and Holy-Martyr Cyril I Loukareos, up to the Serb neo-martyrs of the XX (20th) century, who blamed the abased Papal Throne and its Heresy-leader (on account of the fallacy), the Primate of the Throne.

I would like to close these words, asking You to depart from the Latin cacodoxy and return to the Indivisible Catholic Church of the first 1000 years, whose Faith, Theology, Ascesis, Spirituality, Polity, Truth and Tradition have been continued through Time by Her historical extension: the Orthodox Catholic Church. Remove from Your eyes the haze of the 1000-year long cacodox life, and incorporate yourself into the One, Holy, Apostolic, Indivisible Catholic Orthodox Church, Whom “the gates of Hades cannot conquer”, so that You may return to the One and Only Body of Christ and thus find mercy and pardon.
In anticipation of Your return, we sincerely remain,
With profound love and wishes.

The Metropolitan
† Seraphim of Piraeus

22 comments:

Maxim said...

Love is not at war with Truth, and the love espoused by those who go around saying "all we need is love" is nothing but the annihilation of Truth; it is the last lie to come from the lips of the Devil, and his servants repeat it endlessly. Those who have come to worship the World will never agree that there is anything fundamentally disordered about it.

Josephus Flavius said...

What hateful stuff. I have not seen anything like it written by anyone in a position of authority for quite a while. Can I consider him a relic of old hate borne of politics and who knows what else? It's sad that the most out-there comments always get the most attention.

If I see my brother in error do I swat him away and call him evil to the world?

If he slaps me in the face do I slap him back?

The Gospel is clear on what to do.

Sophocles said...

Josephus,

I would not charactarize it as hateful.

In my reading of the text, the Metropolitan does not attack the Roman Catholic Bishop personally, which would be hateful, but states in no uncertain terms where he and the Orthodox Church stands and in matters of the Faith, the guarding of it as it has been entrusted to us by the Master, there can be no compromise.

I am of the belief that love is very austere because it demands Truth to fulfill itself and be complete. Love does not gloss over error in the effort to promote unity. It takes note of error and in spite of error, wrong, being hurt by the one in error, still loves.

According to the Metropolitan, if you read the article again, he does not acknowledge the Bishop as "brother" in the Faith of Christ and His Church. To Metropolitan Seraphim, Bishop Fransiscus is without the Church and Seraphim is urging him to repent and return to the Orthodox Faith which Rome held for the first 1000 years, having later introduced innovations, the innovations altering the substance of the Faith rendering it something other than that Faith of the Church.

Sophocles said...

Maxim,

Once again, your thoughts and my own are in alignment.

Josephus Flavius said...

We do indeed see it very differently.

Mrs. Darcy said...

Just as a total outsider to the argument: I'm not certain what the basis of the critique is. What prompted this severe assessment in the first place. And why are you equating the position of Bishop Franciscus Papamanolis with the nihilistic screed of the John Lennon "all you need is love," (which even then- is it really new for the Devil to call disorder, order, and abolition of goodness, restoration of the kingdom, or tolerance of evil, love?)

Do Catholics say that Jesus is someone he is not or different from the Orthodox? Also, i'm unclear on what the standard is to be a 'Church.'

It seems to me that the Metropolitan is very angry, but to the actual cause? For instance, I see the words Crusades, Inquisition, and Indulgences thrown about like so much blistering confetti, but no sincere treatment of those issues.

Also, when he refers to the One, true Church, of the first 1000 years does he not recognize that the Church was fraught with schism in the first millennium? Or even now? Isn't it possible that the schism between the Churches makes it difficult for some to understand that the traditions of the Churches have evolved differently according to their needs?

Just a thought.

Sophocles said...

Josephus,

I'm curious as to if you see the Metropolitan's approach as hateful or the content of what he enumerates are the faults of the Roman Catholic Church as hateful.

I would think that we can both agree that there is a difference, and a vital one,between the two.

Also, we, the readers cannot be certain what prompted this particular exchange, i.e., what history, if any, the two men may have between one another and so forth.

Since you have commented several times here, I would be interested to know what convictions you hold about the Christian Faith. I do not ask this in a polemic way but as a way to further clarify our respective positions that we may dialogue with more understanding.

A blessed Nativity Fast to you.

Sophocles said...

Mrs Darcy,

The questions you pose and the issues you raise go to the very heart of the matter of what separates our communions.

Now as far as the John Lennon allusion, Maxim and I have communicated with each other several times both publicly on blogs and privately and his citing this ties into some of our prior conversations, none of which had to do with John Lennon, however.

I will not elaborate further on what Maxim may or may not have meant with his comment but will allow him to respond when he wishes.

As to the rest of your comment,I would only say at this point that the Orthodox Catholic Church today is fully consonant with the Church of the First Millenium and indeed is that self same Church, Her Tradition maintained easily recognizable with the Tradition of the Church in the First Millenium, of which Rome, once Orthodox, has distanced herself from, hence the emphasis of the Metropolitan to the Bishop to return to this Faith and turn from error and heresy.

In this, this maintenance of that which was delivered, is the Faith which coursed through Rome and this Faith, as once held by her as it still is by those Churches called "Orthodox", yielded a definate "experience" and "understanding" of Jesus which all the Sees agreed on as "Orthodox" and "Catholic". Correct doctrine and worship(Orthodox) and believed by all at all times, each part onknown of itself but only understood according to the whole(Catholic).

I believe the Metropolitan in using those words "Crusades", Inquisition, etc. had in mind that when the theology becomes disfigured and un-Orthodox, its outworkings, skewed in time and history, produce events such as these.

And by the way, welcome. It is a pleasure to have you here.

Maxim said...

Dear Mrs. Darcy:

Sorry it has taken so long to respond. On the off-chance that you are still paying attention, I will attempt to answer some of your questions.

As far as the "All You Need Is Love" comment, it is probably not recognised by many in the Ecumenical movement that the guiding principles of the movement are very consistant with the general flow of modern "philosophies", best summed up in the quote from Lennon referred to; this is clearly seen in the recent statements of some Episcopial Bishops, where they unequivocally state that, if it's a choice between heresy and schizm, they would choose heresy. In other words, Truth doesn't matter, for "All We Need Is Love". To give him his due, the Roman Bishop probably doesn't take it this far, but he gives ample evidence that he is steeped in the modern ethos from which Lennon's creed springs; this is why he cannot understand the criticisms of our good Metropolitan as anything but hateful.

In truth, as you point out, "there is nothing new under the sun", and Modern nihilism is just the repitition of very old lies (see David Hart's essay "Christ and Nothing"), but even so, Modern nihilism, in its energetic nakedness, does represent a very new phenomenon. Most of the movements of modernity represent ancient heresies and temptations stripped of their disguise and cavorting in concert in society in a manner which seems to me quite unprecedented. Modernity is simply the summation and fulfillment of all the lies the Enemy has told from the beginning for the beguilement of Mankind; to me, it seems there's not much to choose from between Lennon and Lenin. Using different language, and coming from different places, they end up at the same destination.

The Orthodox Church is that Church founded by the Apostles, administered by their successors, the Bishops, and headed by our Lord Jesus Christ alone. To me, the fundamental issue (putting aside all others for the moment) is the claims of the Papacy; when the Pope usurped the place of Christ as the Head of the Church, he created an ecclesiological heresy. Instead of a collegial brotherhood of Bishops, a totalitarian monarchy is created. instead of deriving its legitimacy from its fidelity to the precepts of the Apostles and communion with the Saints, it makes its claim to be the True Church because it is led by the Pope of Rome; consequently, being the sole authority in both the Present and the Past, he is free to alter the constitution of the Church as he desires. This is the source of all the other errors the RCC has fallen into. Also, to be in schizm is to be separated from the Church; it is a contradiction to one who believes that the Church is One to speak of the Church being "fraught with Schizm". Schizm occurs, and in the course of time is healed (if not, it very quickly descends into heresy) but it does not touch the Being of the Church; the Church did not lose one of its lungs when the Romans departed.

The Metropolitan, in his letter, certainly states some things differently than I would if I were writing the same letter; there is a History here. I cannot criticise him, for I am not Greek, and the things of which he speaks do not touch me as directly; I am American, consequently equivocation and evasion are in my very soul. It is also true that Orthodox have traditionally seen the militancy and aggression of the Western Europeans as being direct results of the errors into which they have fallen; the Metropolitan refers to such in his epistle.

I hope this has helped you to understand; forgive me if anything I have written seems overbearing or harsh. I am probably going to lose my internet connection for about a week, so if you choose to respond to anything I have written, understand I'm not ignoring you, and will get back to you in time.

Mrs. Darcy said...

I think honestly that it is presumptive to put the stamp of modern nihilist (in any degree) on Bishop Franciscus based on a couple of letters that in no way give credence to that particular charge. And further, if simply living in the world is the formal cause then we are all done the Metropolitan notwithstanding (nor, you, or I for that matter).

I understand that is the opinion of the Orthodox re: Church of the Apostle and the first century, but I would challenge you to identify what are the hallmarks by which we know the Church, in herself as the Bride of Christ. Also, that the Pope has somehow abolished our Lord's Kingship and placed himself as the true head of the Church is silly and nonsensical, and easy verified as such.

I think what I found to be really disturbing is the tone of anti-ecumenicism that the Metropolitan has in his letter when he expresses his 'love.' Even now there is talk of going back to a state of collegiality and first of among equals modus operdi. And on that, doesn't it seem radical to suggest that the See of Peter is vacant, that the First Among Equals, is a false successor or a King of heretics?

Especially when considering that (generally speaking and not specifically related to this Metropolitan) when Orthodox consider the Anglican communion they are much more charitable. And I think that we can agree that the Church of England is in heresy.

Also, it seems sort bizarre to even talk about 'unity' where the Orthodox are concerned given the radical misconduct of the individual Churches towards one another or sometimes their own people (like The Russian Orthodox and the ROCOR). It seems strange because it must take quite a bit of a blind eye to ignore such events on one side, but highlight the common failure of humans in another like institution.

And I think my questions still are worthy of answers: does the Catholic Church say that our Lord is different that the Orthodox say he is?

Finally, I know that there is not blind conformity amongst the individual Churches, but a loose affiliation based on the councils, Tradition, and the common beliefs of the Church. Some of the differences developed to suit the needs of a particular people. I would suggest that in the same way that specifically the Latin Church has developed this way (and really just the Latin, because the Uniates, as you might call them, have a different hierarchy and a different relationship with the Holy Father, Pope of Rome) to best serve her people.

Sophocles said...

Mrs. Darcy,

Again. I myself do not speak for the Metropolitan but I would say he gives voice to the Orthodox Catholic position quite clearly, albeit perhaps in a avry strong manner.

I would again urge you to reconsider that the Faith Rome once held would be today named "Orthodox".

To fully do this conversation justice, if I were to fully enumerate where the Churches which hold the Orthodox Faith as Rome once did find the Roman See in grave theological, semantic, and historical error, I would be required to enter into conversation with you in which we would discuss, among many things, what "Catholic" means, which in the sense the Orthodox(including pre-schizm Rome) understand, Rome is not catholic.

This may sound strange to you, but neither is Rome "Roman" but the Orthodox are.

And yes. The Jesus of what today calls itself the Roman Catholic Church is different from the Jesus who was believed on at all times and in all places by the the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which today, in spite of the ever increasing developments in societies across the globe, maintains that Faith held in common by all the Sees, which once included Orthodox Rome.

Mrs. Darcy said...

I think in charity it may be best to leave this where it is and simply say that we disagree.

I believe in my heart that this sort of position is held simply be virtue of willful ignorance of culture and I have seen it occur on both sides. In Truth, I know that while our differences divide us, that our likenesses will triumph especially given that unless the Orthodox have changed their minds (and given that they can't manage to get together to manage a council on the subject, therefore I doubt it) then it will be the Holy Paraclete who works the miracle through the prayers of all orthodox Christians and the communion of all venerable saints in Heaven.

Finally, you need to format some other color for you comments, they are impossible to read on a black background.

Sophocles said...

Mrs Darcy,

Ok. I in that case will not atttempt an answer on your comment regarding the lack of an Orthodox council on the subject except to say there is an answer.

Thank you for your comments here and you are always welcome.

As far as the comments colors are concerned, this has been a concern of mine since I switched to this all black format. The only way around this that I have found is to scroll allw the way to the bottom and to click "Post a comment" where the whole comment box pops up with all the comments posted.

If you are more tech savvy and can help me, please feel free to do so.

Jean-Michel said...

Christ is among us!

I have translated this wonderfull article into French, so if you have some French "e-pals" around the world, they too can get to know about it. Because in Western Europe, the Church is in the hands of extreme ecumenists, the Communion is given in some parishes to convinced roman-catholics, some use rcc prayers right in the middle of the Divine Liturgy, some have "icons" of "catholic saints" even in the middle of their iconostasis, and concelebration with heretics is not exceptionnal...
Metr. Seraphim is - at last - a worthy successor to saint Epiphanius of Salamine and saint Mark of Ephesus. It was about time!


Metr. Seraphim de Piraeus: papisme & oecuménisme (Orthodoxos Typos 09/11/2007)

http://stmaterne.blogspot.com/2007/12/metr-seraphim-de-piraeus-papisme.html


in XC
Jean-Michel, from Belgium

Sophocles said...

Jean-Michel,

Truly He is among us! It was a real pleasure to read your comment. Many blessings to you dear brother.

I too am with you in the need to clearly define Orthodoxy so that those that seek the fullness of the Life in Christ may not mistake error as that True Faith.

How much more important today when so many boundaries in so many ways are giving way so that Truth is obscured!

I look forwardd to hearing from you again, Jean-Michel.

A blessed Nativity Fast to you as well and to all the brethren in Belgium.

I will be on the look out for any French speaking people to send your way.

In Christ and in fellowship,

Sophocles

Maxim said...

If the Roman Bishop had no taint of Nihilism about him, he would then address the criticisms of the Metropolitan, instead of saying, in effect, "Oh, you sinner! Didn't Christ tell us to love one another?". I agree that, living in the World as we do, we all have the taint of nihilism somewhere about us, as Fr. Seraphim Rose indicates in his excellent book on the subject. I myself have on numerous occasions discovered within myself these inclinations; I am a recovering nihilist. The question is whether we resist these influences or embrace them in either their more overt or most subtle guises.

The hallmarks by which the Church can be known are ones of continuity, and fellowship with the Saints and Teachers of the earliest centuries of the Church's history. By seeking a "straight path" which connects us to the Apostles through the tangled courses of History, we come upon one of these confirmations; to my mind, the Orthodox Church is the only one which has direct links, in practice and dogma and episcopial transmission, to the very beginnings. Everywhere else, at some point along the way there is a fracture, and a turning off. For the Orthodox, the writings of the Fathers of antiquity are yet the living theology of the Church. If we do not live by the teachings of our Fathers in the Faith, in what way are we then in fellowship with them? Look at medieval texts, in which the Pope is said to be reigning over the Church on Earth in the place of Christ, or at Vatican I, where the Pope declared himself the sole witness and authenticator of the truths of the Faith; it is true that these positions have been softened rhetorically since Vatican II, but nowhere are they denounced, and the Roman Church has not abandoned these teachings.

Of course dialogue with other christian denominations, and indeed with all peoples, is important, if by dialogue we mean calling them relentlessly back to the truths of the Faith, but modern Ecumenism is a dialogue without Truth. They say, "Let us establish a 'Dialogue of Love' (accursed phrase!), and work out the details later", for to them, of course, Truth is not important. This kind of dialogue is simply the diplomatic language of antichrist.

By adopting the "Via Media" Anglicans did indeed appear to move closer to Orthodoxy, because by conciously endeavoring to position themselves between the Catholics and Calvinists, they rejected the errors of the one, and did not adopt the errors of the other; of course, as St. Mark of Ephesus points out, theological truth is not obtained by way of compromise, and the very Via Media which created in Anglicanism the appearance of theological truth also united them to worldliness, and in our own time betrayed them to the Spirit of the Age.

Sophocles said...

I myself have hated that phrase, "dialogue of love" for a long time exactly for those same reasons.

Maxim said...

The failures of Orthodox unity are indeed human failures, but as such they do not have doctrinal significance; those who forment dissension will be judged by God. It is not at all the same as the separation between Rome and the East, where there are significant doctrinal issues.

The RCC accepts the basic Christological formulations, as outlined in the Ecumenical Councils. The Heresies of the first centuries concerned the Nature of God, and who exactly Christ was; the Heresies of later centuries have to do with Christ's Body, the Church. One cannot believe rightly concerning Christ and believe wrongly concerning His Body, it is to distort the knowledge of Christ. Consequently, in later years the RCC developed a radically different spirituality, and radically different ways of thinking about the Faith.

The idea that religion develops in order to meet the "needs" of particular peoples is one held very precious by the adherents of Modern religion, but it is foreign to the mind of the Holy Fathers of Orthodoxy; in Orthodoxy, we are to conform, and strive to make ourselves worthy to engage in True Worship. Modern Man may think he needs 20 minute liturgies and Communion served from a Drive-through window, but his real needs are quite different, and have not really changed from those of Antiquity. The Uniates have really been forced in all essentials to adopt Roman Catholic beliefs; they just wear a different costume.

Of course, all graduates of the Margaret Mead School of Anthropology will persistently characterize all theological differences as a difference of Culture; unless unity is undertaken at a higher level of Truth than that found at most Ecumenical gatherings, it will be a very different spirit from the Holy Spirit of God that will orchestrate the Union.

Jean-Michel said...

Maxim wrote :
Of course, all graduates of the Margaret Mead School of Anthropology will persistently characterize all theological differences as a difference of Culture; .

this exactly why the Western Orthodoxy is so hated by Byzantine Orthodox in Western Europe : it shows clearly, "black on white", how the Church in the West was and behaved and believed before the new religion started in Germany, and from there to Italy and the whole Western Europe to these days.
And showing the wrongs, it prevents the bishops to be "good friends" with the cacodoxy.
So they litteraly destroy any attempt to recreate the Local Church here.
If you have a Church also using the spirit of the Fathers of the Western Orthodoxy, then all the arguments that differences are cultural are simply vanishing into the "tohu-wa-bohu." Because then, everybody will see that with the culture being the same, the doctrines and dogmas are not the same between Western Cacodoxy (vatican, protestants & anglicans), and Western Orthodoxy. And that the latter is perfectly in line with Eastern Orthodoxy..

have a blessed end of week

today for us, it was saint Venantius Fortunatus and saint Folquin of Therouane

JM

Jean-Michel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean-Michel said...

Asthonishing : at the exact opposite of the metropolitan Seraphim of Pireaus, we find metr. Kirill of Smolensk. In a recent interview, he discloses the fact he is firmly against the rebirth of the Local Church in Western Europe. And that as soon as vatican would have simply renamed its pseudo-diocses in Russia back to their old name, he would rethink the very existence of Orthodoxy in Western Europe. He says his goal is eucharistic communion with vatican.

(posted on alt.religion.christian.east-orthodox, tone as in the forum, sorry)

===========================

his own words!

here in Russian :

http://www.blagovest-info.ru/index.php?ss=2&s=3&id=17415

and here in French :

http://www.acer-mjo.org/forum2/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1881

they are thus clearly in line with Barty, and he says himself that as soon as vatican will have simply renamed his actual "dioceses" in Russia, they will rethink to the existence of Orthodox in Western Europe.

Rocor people who joined that ugly one are..... duped.


disgusting.

JM

Ioan Iacob said...

Anatema papismului