MP Sends Greetings on Heterodox Pascha

According to the April 1 (NS), 2013, post by the Moscow Patriarchate website of the Department of External Church Relations, the MP sends greetings to the various heterodox and anti-Orthodox religious institutions such as the Vatican, Anti-Chalcedonian Monophysite Armenians, Lutherans, and Anglicans. Patriarch Kyrill also sends his greetings to celebrate Pascha on the day that the Church teaches is not Pascha.  The continued high level contacts and ecumenical discussion and celebrations between the MP and various other World Patriarchate religious institutions and organizations continues with a fast pace; in the recent period we have just experienced, the MP has stood out for its relations with heterodox liberal Anglicans and the head of the largest non-Orthodox religious body on earth, Pope Francis I, complete with the giving of gifts (not to mention the past kissing of the Pope’s hand).

With the widespread propagation in the ROCOR-MP of the teaching that the MP gives communion to Roman Catholics and recognizes them as true priests (and thus part of the Church), and this teaching being confirmed by the increasing theological affinities the MP and Rome shares, one wonders how long until prominent ROCOR-MP apologists will publicly criticize their Patriarch and other prominent churchmen for these matters?

  • Jonathan Gress

    From my experience, ROCOR-MP apologists are still completely in denial about the MP’s continued ecumenism. E.g http://morningoffering.blogspot.com

    I haven’t heard of this teaching that the MP gives communion to Catholics. I’ve certainly heard the teaching, e.g. from Fr Ambrose Mooney, that the “traditional” teaching of the Russian Church is that the Catholics have valid sacraments. But I’m told that the MP stopped giving communion to the Catholics back in 1987.

    Does the MP still give communion to Catholics?

    • HmkEnoch

      If by ‘Catholics’ you mean Papists or so-called Roman Catholics, then, I believe they continue it on a limited basis. That the MP decreed in 1969 that Papists could take communion no one disputes.

      The Russian Orthodox Church did adopt an Augustinian position for a few hundred years; and yes, this would mean they accepted Roman Catholics and Monophysite Baptism, Chrismation, Eucharist, Ordination, etc as valid and grace-filled. Though, for some reason, in this discussion, everyone forgets that St. Optatus, St. Augustine, St. Leo, and St. Gregory Dialogus, while acknowledging that certain classes of schismatics and/or heretics had true Sacraments, they did not believe said groups were part of the Orthodox Catholic Church, nor did these Sacraments avail to their salvation since they were being received in either heresy or schism (or both).

      If an heretic were to sneak into and Orthodox parish, and if it was especially busy (like in large churches on Pascha and Nativity) and were to go and take communion (assuming the priest wasn’t asking question, etc), then, the Eucharist would in no way benefit that man; quite the opposite, it was cause incredible spiritual damage to someone whose soul is unregenerate and without the grace of the Holy Ghost.

      That it was the general teaching of the Western portion of the Orthodox Church under many luminaries such as St. Leo the Great and St. GRegory Dialogus that certain kinds of heterodox had true Sacraments, yet receive no salvation from them, is known by many. That the Russian Orthodox increasingly adopted this position from the mid 1600s until the 1920s (with a few notable exception), is known. Yet, why is this being brought up by Moscow PAtriarchate apologists outside the Augustinian (and really pre-Augustinian since we have previous saints with similar teachings) context of the heretics being refused Sacraments by the Church, and the teaching that the heterodox have Mysteries that bring no fruition of salvation? I’m not saying this is the correct position, but, even in the framework (both historical and theological) that it is brought up, in teaching that the Moscow Patriarchate embraces in which the Orthodox Church can give communion to schismatic heretics who embraces filioquism, papal supremacy and infallibility, and created grace, it is saying that you can be an open heretics and the Church can synodically approve you taking communion.

      If that’s the case, then, you are either heretical yourself, have psychological dissonance and crazy, or, you just have no concern about anything sacred.
      Thus, the fact that the Russian Church was largely Augustinian in its sacramental theology for hundreds of years, and teaching that Monophysites and Papists had true, but, unlawful sacraments not given for their benefit, should be what one takes away from the position. Not the extrapolation of the modern Anglicans (the founders of branch theorism) and Novus Ordo Romans in which nothing really matters anymore.

    • NFTU

      They were as late as 1998, which I know from experience. The MP authorized, though the “Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate” in 1971, the giving of communion to Roman Catholics in limited circumstances. However, long since, I keep hearing instances of it occurring over the years; if the person calls themselves Orthodox later, they say it was “third rite” reception, if they don’t, they say it was a “mistake”– that just randomly keeps on happening.