Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Vol. 1 Issue 1
Vol. 1 Issue 1
Faithfulness to Truth
Excerpts from a sermon by Holy Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky)
I would like to say a few words to you about a temptation that is flowing everywhere like a wide river. It is the temptation called ecumenism, which offers to unite all people, regardless to which faith they may belong. To unite everyone together to create what they call the “true Church of Christ.” I would like to direct your attention to the following, those who ask us to participate in this ecumenism aver; every Church, every faith has its share of the Christian truth of Christ and each faith should contribute this share of truth to this common sacred trust and then, you see, one Church will emerge. In other words, each faith is asked to admit that it contains only a part of the truth. That its faith does not contain all of the truth, but only a part of it and the rest is deception and in error and must be rejected when joining this artificial union. We must take account of what is asked of us, if we are called to participate in ecumenism. We are expected, as they profess, to announce that we contain a part of the truth. Therefore, our faith is not entirely correct, not all of our teachings are correct. Only partially and the rest is deception.
Who among the Orthodox will admit that something is not quite right in their holy Orthodox faith? That it is only partially accurate and true? No solid Orthodox conscience would ever admit such a thing. People’s consciences have now become too pliable and they agree to many things, which an Orthodox conscience should not accept. Who among us would admit that there is something incorrect in our faith? What would St. Seraphim of Sarov and St. John of Kronstadt say then? Saints who lived their faith, professed it, and took joy in it. Indeed, what would they have said, if we began to say that something is wrong with this faith? They would renounce with indignation not only our words, but us as well.
Let us then remember that is already reason enough for us not to participate in any way in this ecumenism. Our Orthodox Church knows that it is based on the truth. It offers this truth to everyone, it reveals it to everyone, it does not keep it to itself, hidden, unknown to others, but offers everyone to accept it. It is not possible for it to ever reject this truth and it never will. It can never denounce its truth as falsehood and will not agree with this madness.
Therefore, there is no place for us there where they speak of ecumenism, since its attractive external appearance hides in itself that falsehood, of which I just spoke to you of. Remember, loved ones; our Church possesses truth in its entirety, and most certainly not some portion of it.
The Orthodox Church contains the Christian faith, as it was passed down from the holy Apostles. Let them go their own way, if they do not want to admit that we possess the whole, unadulterated truth. That is their business, but we cannot go along with them. The Orthodox Church bears its sanctity, its faith, and will bear it until the very end of human existence on Earth. Therefore, let us thank God even more and appreciate that all of us are children of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, a Church which sets for itself the goal of preserving our indestructible holy faith, and our original, Russian, Orthodox piety; preserving it in that form in which our honorable ancestors kept it, and will bear this pure piety until that day, which all of us have hoped for, when the blessed day arrives, when God will forgive the Russian land and the Russian people and piety will reign as it once did in Russia. While we live in exile, while we belong to the Russian Church Abroad, we shall, I repeat, thank God for that and will strive to be fateful to Him in any way possible.
The Old (Church or Julian) Calendar and Orthodoxy
Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle, the ailing President of the Holy Synod in Resistance.
Our Holy Church has used the Julian or Old Calendar from the beginning and regulated Her Paschalion and Festal Calendar in accordance with it; that is, determining thereby when we will celebrate the movable and immovable Feasts of the entire year. The Julian or Old Calendar is bound up with the life of our Orthodox Church: “It is interwoven with it and has become sanctiﬁedand for this reason we call it today, not the Julian or Old Calendar, but theChurch Calendar.
Every change in the order of the Festal Calendar of our Church causes confusion, disturbance, and an overturning of all that our Holy Fathers decreed on the Church Calendar. Whenever an attempt was made in the past to bring about a change in this regard, it was rejected. In the sixteenth century the Papists endeavored to persuade the Orthodox to accept the New Gregorian, or Papal, Calendar. The Primates of the Orthodox Patriarchatesrejected this and synodally condemned the Western Calendar three times: in 1583, 1587, and 1593.
In connection with the Church Calendar, Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite says:
That God is more pleased with the order of the Paschalion and, to put it simply, our own Calendar, than with the accuracy of the Paschalion and Calendar of the Latins, is evident from the miracles which He has revealed and continues to reveal through it to this day.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the so-called ecumenical movement advocated the rapprochement and union of all Christians ignoring Orthodox foundations, since it regards the non-Orthodox as members of the Church. Thus a new heresy was propagated, and it was officially proclaimed for the first time in Orthodoxy by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1920.
The first practical step towards accomplishing the goals of the ecumenical movement was the acceptance of a “single calendar,” so that Orthodox and heterodox could celebrate the great Feasts together and so that the feeling of division might be lessened. The Orthodox did not propose that the heterodox accept our calendar, but accepted the Papal Calendar! Thus, in 1924, a change was made in the traditional Church Calendar that sundered the unity of us Orthodox in our common Festal Calendar, since not all Orthodox accepted this innovation, with truly tragic consequences.
Thereafter, the followers of ecumenism, the pioneers of which were, in addition to the leaders of the Communist-sponsored “Living Church” movement in Russia, the Patriarchs of Constantinople, entered into ever closer relations and communion with different kinds of non-Orthodox, by their personal participation in the World Council of Churches (1948 and following). They have been cooperating with them on all levels, praying with them, worshipping with them, co-signing heretical texts, and preaching heretical ideas.
The ecumenists have advanced so far in this venture of theirs, that they have also entered into cooperative relations and joint prayer even with people of non-Christian religions. The dividing line between Orthodoxy and heresy has been lost, and now a great danger appears, at the second stage, blurring the dividing line between Christians and those of other religions.