Τι καινούργιο προστέθηκε στην ιστοσελίδα... | Χάρτης Ιστότοπου
Εκτύπωση Σελίδας Μείωση Γραμματοσειράς Αύξηση Γραμματοσειράς

INDICATIVE QUESTIONS AND REMARKS ON THE FORTHCOMING HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL

 

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ENGLISH Français Русский

The Holy and Great Council, which is currently under preparation and expected to convene in 2016, has been referred to as a “Pan-Orthodox Council”, although some learned scholars maintain that it should actually be called “Ecumenical”. Setting aside this difference in theological perspective, we would hereby like to submit a few questions.

1. The first crucial question is this: how appropriate and necessary is the summoning of such a council today? In a letter addressed to the Holy Synod and the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1971, Saint Justin Popović stated, among others: “...In the Church, for which the God-Man Christ is all and everything, it is unthinkable that anything can be regulated "according to man", "after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ"... Unless current problems of the Orthodox Church are likewise solved through the God-Man Christ and in a manner that emulates Him, the Apostles and the Holy Fathers, they cannot possibly be solved in the spirit of Orthodoxy and in a way that is pleasing to God. Personally, I do not think that, in the present circumstances, there is a real and absolute need for summoning the Ecumenical Council. If, however, there is such a need, the present moment is the most inappropriate time in the history of our Church... Any new Ecumenical Council will be neither Holy nor Ecumenical and it will not be the Eighth Council either, unless it first and foremost adheres to the prior, universal and unshakeable decisions of the preceding Ecumenical Councils”[1]. Also, the Blessed Elder Philotheos Zervakos has emphatically stated: “We therefore deem it totally unnecessary to summon an Ecumenical Council in order to deal with issues that have already been resolved by the Holy Apostles and the God-inspired wisdom of Church Fathers and Church Teachers through the Sacred Canons”[2]. Indeed, in the agenda of conferences conducted over many years by pre-conciliar Committees, we come across certain topics that are “of lesser importance or have already been resolved through our Tradition and on which, nevertheless, we have unduly spent many hours of discourse and inter-Orthodox cooperation”[3].

2. The second crucial question is: In the soon-to-convene Great and Holy Council, will there be a delineation of the boundaries between the Orthodox faith and various heresies and fallacies? To this day we see no such intention, unless there is an endorsement of the unanimous conciliar proposal of the Patriarchate of Serbia, which requested the formal ratification of the two significant anti-papal Councils – namely, the Eighth and Ninth Ecumenical Councils which vindicated Photius the Great and Saint Gregory Palamas, respectively. “Any express and outright rejection of this request, or its indirect rejection by relegating it to "conciliar" meetings at a later time (or, most likely, in the very distant future), shall undermine the theological credibility and Orthodoxy of the Pan-Orthodox Council!”[4].

3. The third crucial question is: How should we approach a certain topic that eventually became one of the three main items in the agenda of pre-conciliar conferences, namely, the “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World”? Will there be a proper delineation or shall we see the worst fears of eminent theologians like Father Metallinos confirmed? “It appears, then, from what we read and witness, that this Council is being prepared in order to lead us to the acceptance of Papacy and Protestantism as genuine forms of Christianity. This is the tragic part. I hope it never happens, but that is where things are headed. So, if the Pan-Orthodox Council – which, for us, will have the status of an Ecumenical Council – convenes and does not accept the Eighth and Ninth as part of the Ecumenical Councils, then it will be a false council... This, then is the point that will determine the validity of the forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council: Whether it will override these two Councils that juxtapose Orthodoxy to Western Christianity”[5].

4. The fourth crucial question is: Will the forthcoming Great and Holy Council condemn “such historically outrageous, unprecedented and newfangled ecumenistic acts and initiatives as the urbi et orbi adoption and application of fallacious theories regarding “the inter-Christian and interreligious dogmatic syncretism the One and, at the same time, Divided Church, the Broad Church, the sister Churches, baptismal theology, the Universal Invisible Church, the "branches" and "two lungs" of the Church, dogmatic minimalism and maximalism, post-patristic, neo-patristic and "contextual" heresies, eucharistic theology, post-conciliar theology, deficient and incomplete "Churches", "comprehensiveness", deficient and incomplete sacramental theology, the transformation of economy ("Oikonomia") into exactitude ("Akriveia", strict adherence) and dogma”[6]? The above fallacious theories “are, of course, foreign and alien to the Orthodox Dogmatic teachings and theology”[7].

5. The fifth crucial question is: Was there truly a suggestion to allow the presence of Papists, Protestants and anti-Chalcedonian Monophysites, as observers, in the Great and Holy Council? – to invite, “in other words, heretics who have been condemned by the conscience of the Church, by Church Fathers and Ecumenical Councils? [Yet], never in the two thousand years of Church life have there been any "observers", either in local or Ecumenical Councils. It was only in the two papal councils of the Vatican that the institution of observers was introduced! A Pan-Orthodox Council, however, cannot model itself after papal practices, methods and tactics. Besides, the Pan-Orthodox Council is – and ought to be – the highest manifestation and expression of the Church (i.e. the Body of Christ) itself and as such it cannot stoop to the level of a conference for the exchange of views, or of a mere celebratory event/meeting with standards and objectives which are "of this world"...”[8].

6. The sixth question is: Why was it decided that each Autocephalous Church will be represented by a delegation of no more than 24 bishops, besides its primate, and that each Church will have only one vote? According to Holy Tradition and the timeless standards of Orthodox Councils, the participation of all Orthodox bishops – not just the selection of a maximum of 24 bishops plus the primate – is considered as an absolutely necessary prerequisite for the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox, Holy and Great Council. Needless to say, of course – with all due emphasis – that, apart from bishops, Orthodox Councils have also been comprised of lower order clergy such as Kathegumenoi (Abbots), Archimandrites, Priests and Monks, as well as the faithful people of the Church. One wonders what sort of criteria will apply to the selection of these 24 bishops from each local Church. ... [Also], the concept that each Church should be allowed a single vote is totally unfounded in the Orthodox Tradition and thus unacceptable. What is right and proper is that each bishop, and not each Local Church, is entitled to one vote”[9].

7. Our final question is: Why wasn᾽t the Body of the Church, especially the majority of Bishops and Local Church Councils, notified about the important processes of the soon-to-convene Council? Even prominent Bishops of the Church of Greece haven᾽t received the slightest information about current developments. Doesn᾽t that constitute an ecclesiological deficiency?

Based on the above, we would like to call upon the faithful people of the Church to be constantly vigilant and steadfast in their prayers, in order to avoid any failures, confusion and schisms. We stress the fact that if the Great and Holy Council proves to be a true Council of Holy Fathers, we shall accept it. If, however, there is an attempt to revoke or “correct” decisions of earlier Ecumenical Councils – or of Local Councils and Church Fathers, which were granted an ecumenical status – then we will have no choice but to reject it.

 


 

REFERENCES

[1]. Saint Justin Popović, “On Summoning of the "Great Council" of the Orthodox Church. A Memorandum addressed to the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church”.

[2]. See: Elder Philotheos Zervakos (The Heavenly Wayfarer), vol. 2, “Orthodoxos Kypseli” Publ., Thessaloniki 1988, pp. 43-49 and Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis, “Blessed Father Philotheos Zervakos as a Champion and Confessor of Orthodoxy; with references to current events, “Orthodoxos Kypseli” Publ., Thessaloniki 2014, pp. 101 ff.

[3]. Protopresbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Simple Thoughts of Pain and Agony, October 2015.

[4]. Ibid.

[5]. Protopresbyter fr. George Metallinos, Professor Emeritus of the Athens University School of Theology, Saint Gregory Palamas, Father of the Ninth Ecumenical Council, publ. by The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, 2009, pp.28-29.

[6]. His Eminence the Metropolitan of Piraeus, Proclamation, 27-3-2014.

[7]. Ibid.

[8]. Protopresbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Simple Thoughts of Pain and Agony, October 2015.

[9]. His Eminence the Metropolitan of Piraeus, Proclamation, 27-3-2014.

 


 

 


 

(Source: http://www.imglyfadas.gr/portal/gr/details.asp?cdPro={CF7180E6-30F3-43F5-BBB5-19E9F17E8983})

 

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ENGLISH Français Русский

 


 

Εκτύπωση Σελίδας Μείωση Γραμματοσειράς Αύξηση Γραμματοσειράς
Ἐπιστροφή στήν ἀρχή τῆς σελίδας