How Seraphim of Piraeus’ Anti-Ecumenical Campaign Hit a Wall, if it Went Anywhere

Metr Seraphim of Piraeus (NC)
Source: Wikipedia

Ecumenical News International Reports that last week Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I issued denunciations against New Calendar Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus in Greece.  According to ENI, the Patriarch sent a letter to the New Calendar Archbishop, Ieronymos I of Athens, expressing shock at the Metropolitan’s anathema of the Pope, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and Ecumenists.

“Critical voices about ecumenism, long heard in the bosom of the church of Greece, have hitherto been limited in scope – but what has occurred recently has reached unacceptable levels,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
“Such opinions evoke anguish and sorrow by running counter to the Orthodox ethos. They risk unforeseen consequences for church unity in general, and the unity of our holy Orthodox church in particular,” he wrote.

For most educated observers, Metropolitan Seraphim’s previous condemnations of Ecumenism seemed directed at nobody specific, so from a canonical standpoint, they were empty: if he was not referring specifically to the Patriarch’s ecumenical actions, to whom precisely were they directed? Since the “ecumenists” were not named, there was an aspect of deniability. Apparently, however, this deniability– which had allowed Metropolitan Seraphim to condemn non-Orthodox unhindered since 2007, has now become recently unacceptable to the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Some observers speculate that this will have little effect on an already small and increasingly marginalized minority within the state Church. One cleric, who spoke under condition of anonymity, mused that perhaps “this was simply a way to keep the state Church Orthodox from leaving for the Old Calendarists. Now that they’ve been identified as a small group, the process to forget them altogether is underway.”

Metropolitan Seraphim condemned the Pope and others on March 4, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, during which those who have abandoned Orthodoxy for heresy are traditionally condemned. NFTU will continue searching for a complete list of those anathematized, as such lists often include Old Calendarists and anti-ecumenical forces not sanctioned by the local State Church.