The mask is off.
As the Synod of Milan in Europe slowly falls apart (at last count, a previous nine-member Synod has been reduced to four Bishops, less than ten parishes outside Italy, and broken communion with all its sister Churches) its new direction has become clear. As we say here on NFTU, one cannot be part of World Orthodoxy without to some degree consciously accepting ecumenism. Sadly, the Milan Synod in Europe, after her split with her American parishes, has become an illustration of this basic fact.
Last month, the Eritrean Monophysite Patriarch determined to visit his European parishes, and the announcement of his visit to Metropolitan Evloghios was announced on their website. Unprecedented until after the separation between the American and European Metropolias, Metropolitan Evloghios and his secretary are actually consciously reporting such as “Ecumenical dialogue” on their websites. “And for the second time in a climate of mutual fraternity and ecumenical dialogue in the see of our Metropolia, His Holiness, Dioscorus visits.“ And again today: “In an atmosphere of ecumenical dialogue and mutual respect our Father Archimandrite Siluan has restored order and reopened the Orthodox Church to the faithful who have been long enough without a spiritual guide. We thank the civil authorities to the mayor of Cabras, the new pastor of the Roman Catholic Church and Don Fabio Ladu, not least Archbishop Ignatius, the Archbishop of Orissa“.
What a difference a year makes! A year ago, Milan, in the spirit of good order, issued a statement separating itself from manifestations of ecumenism, and in response to the Americans’ zealous struggle for Orthodoxy, offered the American Archdioceses autonomy. Oddly, the first signs of a real probability of a breach were in Spain, where the “Week of Christian Unity” was celebrated in January of this year (they have since deleted their announcements from their websites), to the shock of many of the American Archdioceses. This was discussed in Milan during Archbishop (now Metropolitan) John’s visit to Milan, and the Americans were assured Spain’s issues would be resolved. The resolution was sadly to censure the Spanish for the same things Milan would do only a few months later!
Meanwhile, the “Western” and missionary character of the Synod has been totally eroded: most of the Synod’s new “missionary” work consist of primarily of Romanian tourist parishes, now doubt prompted by the desire on the part of Abp Abundius of Lecco to have the Milan Synod subsumed into the Moscow Patriarchate’s Moldovan Diocese. The absorption of the “Church of Italy” recently, announced as a great gain this year, was the taking in of two monks also interested in “full union with World Orthodoxy”.
The real “victors” in this year-long battle have been on both sides.
On the side of the ecumenists, the Moscow Patriarchate’s “ROCOR” branch under Met. Hilarion of New York absorbed in some of the Spanish ecumenist clergy in the wake of Bp Pablo’s “retirement”, as well as some American clergy who disagreed with the clergy confession condemning ecumenism and Sergianism. Since these clergy are left with no claim of a True Orthodox confession of faith to defend but at least the appearance of traditional Orthodoxy, The MP can pick and choose who it will retain as “traditional” clergy (who have demonstrated support for ecumenism) and by the most cynical of criteria. In this, we can only watch and grieve as souls continue to be damaged and lost in this tragic Soviet process.
On the side of the Orthodox, the American Metropolia established full communion with over a million True Orthodox around the world in the wake of Milan’s apostasy. The moves were hailed around the world as a union of deep ecclesiological significance, particularly because they were based on mutual confession, as opposed to domination.
Putting the question of “victors” in this discussion aside: at this rate of decay, what exactly will be left of the Autonomous Metropolia of Western Europe next year?