The comments of Metropolitan Paul of Kyrenia, Cyprus
Source: Newspaper “Orthodox Press” – issue dated 28/5/2010
“It is with the deepest sorrow and spiritual anguish that we have been informed by His Beatitude the Archbishop during the convening of the Holy Synod on the 4th of May 2010, of the visit of the Pope upon the Orthodox soil of our saint-bearing island of Cyprus, which will be taking place pursuant to an official invitation that the President of the Republic of Cyprus extended to him as the Head of the State of Vatican. We have duly expressed our opposition – Synodically – to this visit, and have declared that we shall not participate in any event related to it, because our conscience does not permit it, inasmuch as the Pope is not just any political leader, but the leader of the heresy of Papism. The reason for this is that the Papists, with their adulteration of the proper Ecclesiology, have turned the Church of the living God from a Body of Christ to “a terrestrial political organization”, a worldly organism and a state which has secular powers, the way that the Vatican is…
Exploiting the opportunity of this visit, the Pope had asked that his second status also be projected, as the religious leader of the Roman Catholics. That is why he requested and secretly secured through his diplomatic services (as was proven eventually) the approval that he was given – which unfortunately we were informed of only recently, without previously being asked if we consented.
We simply became the audients of that decision, with which we of course disagreed, but alas in vain, since everything had already been finalized and predetermined in advance, unbeknownst to us. The only item that my humble person had agreed to was an encyclical to be dispatched to the Christian flock, in order to prevent any scandalizing and turmoil in the conscience of the faithful, with serious repercussions and unforeseen reactions. It is a pity, watching the supporters of Ecumenism extending compliments and diplomatic politeness to heretics, to the point of praying together with them, despite the explicit prohibition by the sacred Canons, while simultaneously confronting the reactions of the faithful members of the Church (who are agonizing over the outcome of the theological dialogues and are scandalized seeing Orthodox clergy keeping company and praying together with various heretics) with sarcastic smiles and abundant disdain, as though they (the faithful members) are the enemies of the Church.
That is why we consented to the decision to send out a relative encyclical to the Christian flock, in which it would be mentioned that the Pope’s visit was in response to an invitation by the President of the Republic, and that during his visit, there would be no theological dialogue taking place, while simultaneously pointing out the delusions of the Roman Catholics and the preservation of Unia. Unfortunately however, we came to realize afterwards, when reading the edited text – which, may it be noted, was sent to us six days after the Synod had convened – that its contents did not correspond to the positions that we had expressed synodically in order to consent to the issuance of the encyclical.
The Roman Catholics once again proved to be excellent diplomats. As made evident in the daily Press, they had arranged the Pope’s schedule in such a manner that – by means of worship congregations, especially the one that will take place in the closed stadium of Nicosia where Roman Catholic clergy from the Middle East will be present – confusion will ensue among the pious Orthodox of Cyprus, who are not in a position to discern the Uniates. Seeing them participate in the ritual, dressed in Orthodox vestments, it is certain that they will be misled and scandalized, by perceiving them to be Orthodox clergy. It is also not precluded that many foreign Press agencies – also fooled by the external appearance of the Uniates – will erroneously transmit the news that it is common prayer with “all of the Eastern Orthodox Churches”. The attempts of the Vatican to exploit the opportunity and present the Pope as the leader of Christianity and the entire world is very obvious.
With displays such as this, it is our humble opinion that the heretic papists are not assisted in becoming aware of their delusion, but instead are encouraged to preserve their intolerance and remained fixed in their cacodoxies, thus provoking the religious sentiment of the Orthodox. The persistence therefore in the precision of the Orthodox dogma should not be misconstrued as fanaticism or religious intolerance. If only the heretic papists would see their errors, spit out their delusions, return to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and accept the undivided, Apostle-delivered Truth, the way it was formulated in the eight first centuries and safeguarded to this day by the Orthodox Church.
The argument that this visit will supposedly assist in the solving of the Cyprus issue can only cause us pain and immense concern. Let the governors be careful to not intervene in the matters of the Orthodox faith and exert detrimental pressures, supposedly for the sake of national interests, because the only thing they will achieve is the loss of Divine Grace, which will result in precisely the opposite of what they are pursuing. Be not persuaded by potentates, by sons of men, for in them there is no salvation (“Μη πεποίθατε επ’ άρχοντας, επί υιούς ανθρώπων, οις ουκ έστι σωτηρία” – Psalm 146:3), the Scripture characteristically mentions. Every time the Orthodox beseeched the Papists – and in fact mixing the matters of the Faith with politics – in order to supposedly obtain Papal help and protection, the exact opposite results were achieved. Those who harbor the illusion and cultivate the idea to the faithful people that by making partners of the heretics they will solve contemporary social or national issues and that the much-coveted union between the Orthodox and the members of other confessions will be achieved with secular criteria, should be aware that the Pope regards the said union with the Orthodox Church as an establishing of the Papal institution in the East and the submission of all the Orthodox, who will thereafter be under his poemantic jurisdiction as Uniates. History teaches us that the Pope has never hastened to aid and support the Orthodox. We share in the agony for the future of our suffering island, but we also humbly believe that Cyprus’ vindication will not be achieved by encouraging contemporary syncretism, but rather with the help of almighty God, as has repeatedly been proven within History.
The immediate objective of the Pope is that he be accepted as the universal religious leader of all Christians, and the ultimate one is to be acknowledged as the leader of all religions. The invocation of the Lord’s words “that they may all be one…” (John 17:21) for the purpose of laying the foundations for ecumenistic openings has no theological basis, unless it is supported by “the unity in the Faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit”, otherwise it will be overlooking the prerequisites placed by Christ Himself: “…just as we are one” (John 17:22).
The Orthodox Church has never ceased to beseech the All-merciful God “for the union of all”. It is the sedate, cleansed nous and the incessant Prayer that attract the Grace of the All-holy Spirit and assist in the partaking of the uncreated Grace of God; not the communication skills and public relations. May the Lord shed His light upon us all, so that we might ‘correctly preach the word of His truth’…”.