March 10, 2015 (Source: http://www.hsir.org)
The Genesis and Development of Ecumenism
At the behest of the Holy Synod, and invoking your prayers, attention, and patience, with God’s help I will expound, at this great Synodal Gathering and on the radiant day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy over heresies, on a matter of grave importance.
You are familiar with the endeavor, about a century ago, to create a “League of Churches,” modelled on the “League of Nations,” an interChristian confederation between different confessions, notwithstanding 2 their doctrinal differences, for the purpose of coöperating in common service and with the ultimate goal of their union. Such was the genesis of ecumenism.
That vision was Protestant, but, as we know, the Church of Constantinople took the unprecedented step of proposing, in its “Patriarchal Declaration of 1920,” the establishment of a “League of Churches” for the benefit, supposedly, of the “whole body of the Church,”1 that is, of the Orthodox and the heterodox. This initiative was based, not on Orthodoxy, but on cacodoxy: the heterodox were regarded as members of the Church of Christ without qualification, by reason of their alleged baptism in the Name of the Triune God, and, in an atmosphere of dogmatic syncretism, despite the unbridgeable differences, there was potential for inter-Christian coöperation, a common witness of faith and common service of the world, and also for a common struggle to eradicate social ills.
The other local Orthodox Churches individually accepted the Declaration of 1920, which was officially endorsed at the “First Pan-Orthodox Consultation” in Rhodes, in 1961.2
In this way, ecumenism was proclaimed and entrenched among the Orthodox Churches, and it eroded them from within.