NFTU was sent, over the weekend, a series of questions in an attempt to clarify positions concerning the failed dialogue between the Synod in Resistance and the GOC (Chrysostomos) from the editors of the historical archive Ekkliastikos, with a request to put it up. The document was in .pdf format and therefore a good deal of the formatting is lost, including some of the footnotes. As it is not our task to make a judgment on either side, we simply report what is given, under “Inter-Orthodox Relations”.
After the completion of the dialogue between the Orthodox Community in Resistance
and the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece (G.O.C.), “Ekklisiastikos”
(www.ekklisiastikos.com) has closely examined the ecclesiological documents and
announcements from both sides in order to obtain a better understanding of the
exchanges. From this examination, a series of questions arose which are listed below;
separated into three sections.
1. Ecclesiological observations
In the introduction of your announcement entitled “The Cessation of Informal Dialogue”(http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2009/06/02/20090602aCessationofDialogue%20Folder/2009060
2aCessationofDialogue.pdf) the first four paragraphs are dedicated to determining what the Resisters are not and through this, what they are. The author of the announcement writes: “The Orthodox in resistance, along with all of the Old Calendarist anti-ecumenists, can be characterized with theological exactitude (!) as an Orthodox Church, since Bishops embody and express in place and time the Catholic Church, that is, the entire Church.”
Thus the following questions have arisen:
a) What are the Resistors finally? Are they a Community? (1: 1 &2) Are they a Church? (1:3)? Are they a community and secondarily a Church? b) What does the author of the announcement consider the “the domain” of the Church? Is it possible for there to exist “Orthodox communities” outside the domain of the Church without being considered schismatic? (1:4) Is the whole susceptible to division? Is it possible for individual or groups of Bishops; who exist under the form of a synod or “temporary jurisdictional structures”; who do not maintain ecclesiastical communion amongst themselves to constitute the Church of Christ in Greece? Is it possible for us to conclude that various communities and groups take part in the Body of Christ simply due to the fact that they condemn Ecumenism without considering their differences in Faith and canonicity? Is the Church of Christ not One, Indivisible and Catholic as the Fathers have taught us for so many centuries? c) The Announcement leads the reader to conclude that all the main schisms which began in the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece and separated from Her (1937, 1984, 1995) which preserve the Old calendar and are opposed to Ecumenism, all together co-constitute the Canonical Orthodox Church in Greece. Does this not remind us of the “Branch Theory” or the “Invisible Church” and in the final analysis, some form of Ecumenism?
2. Historic and Canonical Observations
a) The author of the Announcement characterizes the schism of 1984 as an “estrangement and division (though not in essence a schism)” (1:4) Even if that were the case, should it have happened? What is the difference between a “schism in essence” and a “division”? Does there exist in Orthodox Tradition such a differentiation between essential and simple schisms?2 How is such a differentiation reconciled with the Patristic definition of the Church? Is the Patristic prognosis is invalid which states – that that which continually remains wrongfully separated from the Church becomes heresy? Finally, even if the present situation could be characterized as “simple” estrangement and not schism, why don’t the Resistors abide by the synodal and canonical decisions of the Sacred of the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece? Doesn’t the existence of the “Synod in Resistance” as a particular, parallel and alternative synodal
structure come into conflict with the conciliarity and catholicity of the Church?
b) In 1969, then Hieromonk Cyprian according to his biographical information “along with the Brotherhood under him … joined the anti-innovationist Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece on 3/16 January, 1969.3 Did he join the Church, as it is presented in his biography, or did he join a temporary jurisdictional structure in the form of a synod?
c) Could one claim that between 1969 and 1984 he did not know the ecclesiology of the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece which he joined and from which he received episcopal ordination? If he had a different ecclesiological position, why did he not only join said Church but even receive episcopal ordination from it remaining silent from 1969 until 1984 (the 1974 Encyclical and the baptism and ordination anew of Bishop John of Sardinia)? d) Considering it as a given that 1) whatever the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece believed in 1935, 1969, 1979 and 1984 it continues to believe now, 2) the canon which allows the cessation of communion for reasons of heresy is the 15th Canon of the 1st and 2nd Council and 3) according to the Patristic axiom “Given that the Church is Orthodox, those who are separated from her are so without reason”, the question then arises: What was the condemned heresy which demanded the invocation of the 15th Canon of the 1st and 2nd Council and rendered the walling-off of Bishop Cyprian from his ecclesiastical authority and the creation of a community in “Resistance” via new ordinations “imperative actions”? (point 2)
3. Observations on the “Ten Points” Concerning the ten points which the Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece characterized as important, nonnegotiable subjects of faith we point out superficially:
a) The author states that the practice of the Community in Resistance is to accept the members of Ecumenist jurisdictions “occasionally” by chrismation (point 6) and that it observes a “condemnatory” position against “rebaptism” (point 7) where there is not the form of Orthodox baptism, while by “Synodal decision” participation in the Divine Eucharist is forbidden to New calendarists (point 5). Again, while you accept “rechrismation” as a method of reception for those joining the Church from Ecumenism – an act which presupposes that those coming into the Church are outside the Church before their entrance– how can you not accept “rebaptism” when the form is missing? Is this not a clear contradiction? In addition to this, which “Great or Ecumenical Council” ordains the reception “occasionally through chrismation” of those entering the Church and a “condemnatory position against re-baptism”? Why should we wait for an Ecumenical Council which will show us the most exact practice? Perhaps we are obliged to exercise strictness until some Great Council makes a pronouncement concerning the exercise of economy. Is it not in effect the opposite of what you claim?
b) In the announcement and generally in the documents and practices of the Resistors the idea is put forth that it is necessary to convene a Pan-Orthodox Council which will resolve all of the matters of Faith which have arisen. The question which arises from this position of the Resistors is: Who would be responsible to convoke this future Pan-Orthodox Council? Would it be those ecumenist Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops of the formerly Orthodox Patriarchates who are under trial according to the Sacred Canons for being sunk in the pan-heresy of Ecumenism or would it be the “temporary jurisdictional structures in the form of synods”?
c) Since “Bishops embody and express in place and time the Catholic Church, that is, the entire Church” as the author of the announcement states, what is it which deprives them of the right to condemn heresy and thus to protect their flock from dangerous wolves i.e., the heretics? Are today’s Genuine Orthodox Bishops not successors of the Apostles’ choir? (point 10) Whose successors are they? And if they are not successors of the Holy Apostles (something which is clearly disputed in your announcement) then who are they?
Reverend Fathers, we close this letter by telling you that we desire union with those who are separated from the non-innovationist Church of Christ, but in sameness of Faith as the Holy Fathers have delivered unto us. It is precisely these differences which separate you from the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece, which through this letter we would like you to clarify for us.
With much reverence and love in Christ,
The Editorial Committee of “Ekklisiastikos”:
Leonidas C. Pittos, Doctoral candidate; Byzantine Studies
Konstantinos N. Panos, Theologian
Leonidas M. Pittos, Technological instructor
Nikolaos Kaloskames, Cultural Computer Specialist
cc: The Sacred Synod of the G.O.C. of Greece