Letters: What Happened to the Anathema Against Ecumenism?

Dear Father Deacon Joseph,

My name is Edward Frost, and I am currently a member of Holy Epiphany Russian Orthodox Parish in Roslindale, MA (ROCOR), but back in the 1980’s and 90’s I was at St. John The Russian Parish in Ipswich, MA, which was ROCOR at the time, which included Holy Transfiguration Monastery and the monks in Brookline, MA, today referred to as HOCNA.

One of the accomplishments of HTM at that time, was the drafting of the Anathema against Ecumenism, which was approved by 14 ROCOR Bishops and Metropolitan Philaret in 1983.

I have always been especially fond of this anathema, but  today, I am uncertain if the ROCOR hierarchs and monasteries on the Sunday of the Victory of Orthodoxy continue to read the anathema against ecumenism. Do you happen to know the answer to my question, or can you suggest someone I could ask? My fear is that the reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate has stopped this practice in the American ROCOR monasteries, because it conflicts with the M.P.’s ecumenical beliefs and practices.

In Christ,
Edward Frost
Ipswich, MA

Dear Edward,

I hope Great Lent is going well.

In 2000 ROCOR, in anticipation of union with the Moscow Patriarchate, changed the wording of the anathema specifically to “Theosophists, masons, occultists and magicians,” who apostatize and defend ecumenism– thus leaving out the “Orthodox” ecumenists themselves!  The ROAC continues to use the unaltered anathema; I am uncertain which anathema the continuing ROCOR groups use. I would presume they are using the original.

HTM, for all their oddities, wrote a straightforward comparison of the anathemas in English and Slavonic.


Deacon Joseph Suaiden

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