This article is so eye-opening you have to read it in full. For those convinced that ecumenism is just some isolated view of some ecumenists in official Orthodoxy, we submit the following for your consideration.
Metr John’s quite angry about the protests that shut down the Cyprus meeting yesterday. We’ll italicize how many times he says “infallible”. About the only person who he hasn’t mentioned isn’t infallible appears to be the Pope in his defense of the Ravenna document of 2007…
…Returning to the interview, Zizoulas immediately clarified that “the decision to participate in dialogue with the Catholic Church was ‘unanimously’ made by all Orthodox churches. Therefore inveighing against dialogue, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and my person is unfair. All Orthodox churches were in agreement on the importance of dialogue and the fact that it must continue”.
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate – he continues – as in all other Orthodox matters, has only a coordinating role and we, like the other members of the Commission, are the engaged executors, according to our own conscience, of the mandate that was assigned to us. We are open to criticism because we are not infallible, just as our critics are not infallible. Those who do not want dialogue, are opposed to the common will of all Orthodox Churches…. “
Regarding the positions of the monks of Mount Athos – staunchly opposed to dialogue – the Metropolitan of Pergamon is explicit: “I respect their opinion and their feelings on matters of faith. But why should they have the monopoly of truth on matters of faith? Are the other leaders of the churches perhaps lacking this sensitivity? All the faithful of the Church have the right to express their thoughts. But all opinions should be subject to scrutiny of the synods. If the great Father of the Church St. Basil put his opinion to the judgment of synods, we can do no less!”
The monks of Mount Athos and some conservative sectors of the Orthodox world accuse the Ecumenical Patriarchate of yielding to Rome on the question of Petrine primacy. Called upon to answer this question, Zizoulas says, “to the monks, whom I consider no less infallible than my own modest self, I would like to reply that the question of primacy is an ecclesiological one. And ecclesiology as we know, is part of dogma, part of faith. When we dialogue on this issue, we look at our own dogmatic divergence. There is no intention of neglecting other matters of dogma … Quite simply, our experience has shown us that we must first agree on basic issues of’ ecclesiology, because the question of primacy has been fatal and tragic in relations between the Catholic and Orthodox world. “
The Ravenna document that Metropolitan John is speaking about is here and says the following about Rome’s role:
It remains for the question of the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of all the Churches to be studied in greater depth. What is the specific function of the bishop of the “first see” in an ecclesiology of koinonia and in view of what we have said on conciliarity and authority in the present text? How should the teaching of the first and second Vatican councils on the universal primacy be understood and lived in the light of the ecclesial practice of the first millennium? These are crucial questions for our dialogue and for our hopes of restoring full communion between us.
And as we know… the first Vatican Council taught the following about Rome:
We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.
This is what Metr John is defending, folks– a future reinterpretation of Vatican I at a future “Synod of the Orthodox.” (A Pan-Orthodox Synod, perhaps?)