People have been asking how should True Orthodox feel about the statement against ecumenism put out by a conference of the state Church of Greece in April of this year (English version here). We have not commented on it until now since it was pointless to do so, but as our readers keep asking about it, NFTU will donate a few words to the cause.
There are quite a few problems with this text, which we will label below.
1) The document was not a statement of the Church of Greece, but signed by only six ruling Bishops out of 81 dioceses (not counting suffragan Bishops) and a number of priests. Since the statement cannot garner much more support in Greece apparently, they are now seeking support worldwide. According to the official version of the document, only one other Bishop has since affixed his name to the document in four months: Bp George of Mayfield (ROCOR-H). It is now clear that the document accepts signatures from anybody, including people who are not in communion with the state Church and some who are part of independent groups.
2) It was not the first statement against ecumenism to be released within the confines of the state church. A 2004 document with slightly fewer details here and slightly more there was also released with similar results. For that matter, the signatories on both documents were the same.
3) It provides no clear purpose other than to express frustration with ecumenism. It does not deal with active participants in the ecumenical movement in any concrete manner– and it cannot due to its minority status.
4) The definitions used for ecumenism are themselves faulty. The document correctly identifies the clearest beginning of the ecumenical movement in Greece and worldwide (the 1920 document “Unto the Churches of Christ Everywhere”) but says nothing of the concrete points enunciated within the document to create full participation in the ecumenical movement. Because of this omission the “declaration of the six” does not deal with the fact that even the signatories of the documents are full participants in ecumenical policies, such as those concerning the New Calendar, mixed marriages, et cetera.
5) Because of the fact that the document seems to only place concrete blame on the Patriarchate of Constantinople (only going so far as to lay blame on the “general conscience” of the ecumenist hierarchs within the state Church, which would happen to include the New Calendar Archbishop of Athens, and, presumably, the other 70 or so ranking prelates of the State Church) it allows a space for deniability on the part of the rest of the jurisdiction. After all, if no one is blamed, who knows whom they are talking about?
We find this obscure document particularly interesting because it calls upon potential traditionalists on the world Orthodox Internet to sign their names. So we conclude that in the end, the creation of this document appears to be a sort of Orthodox honeypot— a way of figuring out who in 2009 is frustrated with ecumenism to “corral” them in, lest they join the True Orthodox Church or do some other crazy thing.