Our Orthodox Confession Of Faith
WHEREAS, (1) The Encyclical of 1920 of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, “To the Churches of Christ Wheresoever They May Be,” proclaims that the union with the (heretical) churches of the West is not impeded “by the existing dogmatic differences” and that this union is desirable and seemly, and that one of the first steps towards its accomplishment is “the acceptance of a common calendar so that all the Churches may celebrate the great Christian feasts simultaneously …”;
(2) The introduction of the new calendar brought disastrous consequences into the liturgical order and harmony of the Church and created a schism in its midst;
(3) The acceptance of the new or “corrected” calendar by the innovators and schismatic hierarchs stands in opposition to the law of God in that, according to Saint Theodore the Studite, “No authority has been given to the hierarchy to transgress in any matter whatsoever that which is the rule, but [it has power only] to continue in that which has been passed down and to follow in the steps of those who have gone before”;
(4) The faithful people of God acted in a manner pleasing to God when it rejected the innovation, because, according to Saint Cyprian of Carthage, “He that separates and divides the Church of Christ cannot possess the robe of Christ”;
(5) The Pan-Orthodox Councils (such as those of 1583, 1587, and 1593 under the Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias the Illustrious, and the Council of 1848 under the Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus) have forbidden and condemned the change or alteration of the calendar (“Whoever does not follow the customs of the Church … and wishes to follow the newly-devised Paschalion and new Menologion of the ungodly astronomers of the Pope, and sets himself in opposition in all these matters, and wishes to overturn and to destroy the doctrines handed down by our Fathers and the Customs of the Church, let him be under anathema, and let him be outside of the Church of Christ and the Assembly of the Faithful”—the Council of 1583);
(6) The ecumenistic innovation of the calendar change also cultivated the ground for the steps that followed, such as the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964 in Jerusalem, and all the subsequent acts and heretical pronouncements which were made “with bared head”;
(7) The “lifting” of the Anathema against the Papacy in 1965 is not a true lifting, in that the Papacy has not renounced its heresies, but, to the contrary, it places under its Anathema even the “Orthodox,” according to the dictum of the Fathers, “If anyone does not anathematize all heretics, let his portion be with theirs”;
(8) The enrollment of a Church as a member of the World Council of Churches altogether constitutes an acceptance of the Branch Theory and a denial of Orthodox ecclesiology and faith, and the common prayers and pronouncements in themselves constitute a proclamation of heresy. The heretical denominations of the West are not “sister churches,” since they continue to persist in their heretical doctrines; rather, they are religious groups that are cut off from the Church and its life in the Holy Spirit. As Saint Cyril of Alexandria says, “We must turn away from those who, out of deceit, bear the name of Christ;” “they are deprived of the name `Christian’ and they that have departed from the true doctrines of the Church are not of Christ” (PG 74: 1020D, 857D);
(9) Monophysitism is a heresy that was condemned by the Fourth Ecumenical Council. It was condemned also by Fathers of the Church — not only by those that lived after the Council in Chalcedon, but even by those who lived before it (Saints Athanasius the Great, Isidore of Pelusium, Cyril of Alexandria — whose writings the Monophysites distort — Ephraim the Syrian, Proclus of Constantinople, Amphilochius of Iconium, Epiphanius of Cyprus, and others). Today, even though they appear at official meetings as orthodox, the Monophysites continue to condemn the Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council as being “Nestorianizers” (they accept only the first three Ecumenical Councils) and they persist in their doctrine of one nature in Christ after His incarnation. However, the Fathers, in the words of Saint Theodosius the Coenobiarch, teach: “Whoever does not accept the Four Councils as though they were the four Gospels, let him be anathema” (Life of Saint Sabbas, ch. 56). Saint Isidore of Pelusium, who reposed before the Fourth Ecumenical Council and whom the Monophysites allegedly follow, says that “the belief in one nature after the incarnation is a refutation of [the teaching] of the two natures” and that this belief is Manichaean and leads to “gehenna” (PG 78:252 CD). After their separation from the Church in 451, the Monophysites split into a multitude of heretical groups with mutually-exclusive doctrines. They reject four Ecumenical Councils (Chalcedon, 451; Constantinople, 553 and 680; and Nicea, 787) and other Local Councils. Being severed from the Church for fifteen centuries, they do not possess Apostolic Succession, Priesthood and Mysteries;
(10) It is permitted to give the Immaculate Mysteries only to those in communion with the Church, according to the well-known patristic dictum: “My Mysteries belong to Me and to those that are Mine” (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. 7 on Corinthians, 2; St. John of Damascus, PG 96:9A; St. Gregory Palamas, Holm 34:17). The New Calendarists and the Monophysites — even those among them that are well-disposed toward us — are impeded from drawing nigh to the Holy Mysteries by their communion with heresy. Even though they may be Orthodox in their hearts and love the Traditions of the Church, their ecclesiology is heretical: they accept to be in communion with heretical bishops, since they are of the opinion that this does not effect the salvation of their souls and that, further, the heterodox of the various denominations who bear the name “Christian” are members of the Church. We do not impart the Holy Mysteries to them because we do not have the same Faith.
THEREFORE, we reject every ecclesiastical and liturgical relation or association with the ecumenistic churches and those who are in communion with them. We confess that we are not in communion with members of ecumenistic jurisdictions unless they renounce the heresy of Ecumenism and break all ecclesiastical communion with ecumenistic clergy and espouse the traditional calendar of the Church’s feasts — that is, unless they unite themselves to the flock of the true Orthodox Church. We proclaim the anathema against the pan-heresy of Ecumenism and its adherents, pronounced under the presidency of the blessed Metropolitan Philaret of New York in 1983, to wit:
To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ’s Church is divided into so-called branches which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all branches or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians,
We proclaim with the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council: “We follow the ancient traditions of the Catholic Church. We keep the institutions of the Fathers. We anathematize those who add anything to or subtract anything from the catholic Church.”
(11) We are in full agreement with all the conciliar decrees and holy canons that state that there can be no sanctifying grace in the “sacraments” of those found in either heresy or schism; for, according to strictness, this is the proper understanding of the aforesaid holy decrees and canons that deal with schism and heresy (see, for example, the 46th, 47th and 68th Apostolic Canons, Canon I of Carthage, and Canon 1 of Saint Basil).1
At the same time, as we observe in the letter that accompanies this Statement , there have been many instances in Church History when, either because of the great confusion that existed in Church matters or because of human misunderstandings and error, God — “Who desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4) — manifested a certain economia in the matter of when He restrained His divine grace from the Mysteries of those that were being led astray. That is to say, since His divine grace is not a created entity, we do not know the precise moment when God withheld His grace in particular instances, in both ancient and contemporary Church History. These particular instances constitute an authentic aspect of the experience of the Church that we cannot ignore or deny, and this too is the reason why we choose to limit ourselves to identifying, condemning and placing under anathema that which is manifestly and unarguably the major heresy of our times, Ecumenism. Thus, joint prayers and imparting the Holy Mysteries to people enmeshed in this heresy are forbidden, and those who come to us from Ecumenistic “Orthodox” jurisdictions are received by Holy Chrismation; those that come to us from the heterodox are received by Holy Baptism.
Hearkening to the words of the holy Apostle Paul, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 1:13), we too keep the “form of sound words” set forth by the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy , and limit ourselves to identifying and upholding truth and anathematizing heresy.
As for the precise instant when God withdraws His grace from the “sacraments” of those that are being led astray in innovation and Ecumenism, this, we feel, is not our problem to solve. It is a problem primarily for those found in schism and heresy, as Saint Philaret of New York, the New Confessor, affirmed, and as the holy canons confirm.
We hope and pray for the conversion and return to Orthodoxy of those that have fallen into this pernicious error of Ecumenism, and for the re-establishment of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith in the ancient Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches of “World Orthodoxy.” May God illumine their hearts, and return them to the fullness of “the faith once delivered unto the Saints” (Jude 1:3).
1 It should be noted that in the Holy Canons, schism and heresy are two separate categories, each with its own definition. Their adherents are viewed differently, penalized and received differently.