Friday, September 18, 2009

Elder Paisios the Agiorite on Ecumenism

From here.


He particularly respected the Ecumenical throne. He recognized its pan-orthodox mission and understood the difficult position it was in. He prayed a lot and publically defended it during many instances. As a mouthpiece we witnessed the Elder to be a strong fighter against the heretics. On matters of faith he was precise and uncompromising. He had a great Orthodox sensitivity and for this he would not accept common prayers and communion with non Orthodox persons. He would stress: "For us to pray together with somebody, we must agree on the faith". He would break his relationship or avoid meeting clerics who participated in common prayers with the heterodox. The "mysteries" of the heterodox he would not recognize and he would advise that those who were coming over to the Orthodox Church be properly catechized before baptism. He fought intensely against ecumenism and would talk about the greatness and uniqueness of Orthodoxy, information which derived from his heart that was full of divine grace. His life indicated the superiority of Orthodoxy. For a period he stopped, together with almost the rest of the Holy Mountain, to commemorate the patriarch Athenagoras for his dangerous openings to the Roman Catholics. But he would do so with anguish. "I pray" he would say to someone, "so that God cut some days off my life and give them to the patriarch Athenagoras to complete his repentance". About the Anti-chalcedonians (monophysites) he would say: "They do not say that they did not understand the Holy Fathers but that the Holy Fathers did not understand them. Namely, as if they are right and were misunderstood". He characterized as blasphemy against the Holy Fathers the proposed cleansing of the Liturical books from the characterizations of the heretics Dioscorus and Sevirus. He said "So many Holy Fathers who had divine illumination and were their contemporaries, did not understand them but misunderstood them, and here we come so many centuries later to correct the Holy Fathers? Why don't they even consider the miracle of Saint Euphimia? Is it possible that even she had misunderstood the book of the heretics?" Without seeking to appear as confessor, with his ways, he would react, talk and write to ecclesiastic people. "The church" he would say "is not a boat of every bishop to do what he pleases". His reactions were followed by a lot of prayer and love for the Church but also for those who deviated and by assumed apathy, distinction and greater elightenment

(+ Hieromonk Isaac, Life of Elder Paisios the Agiorite, Holy Mountain 2004, p. 690-691).

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