Those of us who by the Grace of God have been raised with the dogmas of piety and who follow in everything the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, believe that:
The sole path to salvation of mankind [i] is the faith in the Holy Trinity, the work and the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their continuance within His Body, the Holy Church. Christ is the only true Light [ii]; there are no other lights to illuminate us, nor any other names that can save us: "Salvation is not within anything else; nor is there any other name under the heavens that has been given to mankind, in which we can be saved" [iii]. All other beliefs, all religions that ignore and do not confess Christ "having come in the flesh" [iv], are human manufacturings and works of the Devil, [v] which do not lead to the true knowledge of God and rebirth through divine Baptism, but instead, mislead men and lead them to perdition. As Christians who believe in the Holy Trinity, we do not have the same God as any other religion, nor with the so-called monotheistic religions, Judaism and Mohammedanism, which do not believe in the Holy Trinity.
For two thousand years, the Christ-founded and Holy Spirit-guided Church has remained stable and unshakeable in the salvific Truth that was taught by Christ, delivered by the Holy Apostles and preserved by the Holy Fathers. She did not buckle under the cruel persecutions by the Judeans initially and later by idolaters during the first three centuries; She brought forth a host of martyrs and came out victorious, thus proving Her divine origin. As Saint John the Chrysostom beautifully expressed it: "Nothing is stronger than the Church... if you fight against a man, you either conquer or are conquered; but if you fight against the Church, it is not possible for you to win, for God is the strongest of all" [vi].
Following the cessation of the persecutions and the triumph of the Church over Her external enemies - in other words, the Judeans and the idolaters - the internal enemies of the Church began to multiply and strengthen. The various heresies began to appear, which endeavoured to overthrow and adulterate the delivered faith so that the faithful would become confused, and their trust in the truth of the Gospel and traditions be debilitated. In outlining the ecclesiastic state of affairs that the prevalence for over 40 years - even administratively - that the heresy of Arius had created, Saint Basil the Great says: "The dogmas of the Fathers have been entirely disregarded, the apostolic traditions withered, the inventions of younger people are observed in the Churches; people are therefore technologizing when they should be theologizing; the wisdom of the world seems to be pushing aside the boasting in the Cross. Pastors are sent away, and in their place are inserted harsh wolves, who disperse Christ's flock" [vii].
Whatever happened to the external enemies - religions - also happened to the internal ones - heresies. Through major and enlightened Holy Fathers, the Church demarcated and entrenched the Orthodox faith with decisions by Local and Ecumenical Synods (Councils) in the cases of specific, dubious teachings, but with the agreement of all the Fathers (Consensus Patrum), on all the matters of the Faith. We are now therefore safe, when we follow the Holy Fathers and do not move the boundaries that they had set. The expressions "Following after our Holy Fathers" and "Not withdrawing the boundaries that our Fathers had set" constitute a steady, straight course and a safety valve for the Orthodox faith and way of life. Consequently, the basic positions of our Confession are the following:
1. We maintain, irremovably and without alteration, everything that the Synods and the Fathers have instituted. We accept everything that they accept and condemn everything that they condemn; we furthermore avoid communication with those who innovate on matters of the Faith. We neither add, nor remove, any teaching, nor do we alter it. Already, the God-bearing Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his epistle to Saint Polycarp of Smyrna had written: "Anyone who says contrary to what has been decreed - even if he is trustworthy, even if he fasts, even if he is celibate, even if he performs signs, let him appear to you as a wolf in a sheep's hide, aspiring to the corruption of the sheep". Saint John the Chrysostom in interpreting the Apostle Paul's words "should anyone evangelize to you something that was not delivered to you, let him be anathema", observes that the Apostle "did not say if they should proclaim something contrary or if they should overturn everything, but that even if they should evangelize even the smallest thing that has not been delivered to you, even if they should prompt it, let them be anathema" [viii]. Upon announcing its decisions against the Iconoclasts to the clergy of Constantinople, the 7th Ecumenical Synod wrote: "We have followed the tradition of the Catholic Church, and have not made any omission or any redundancy, but, having been taught in the apostolic manner, we maintain the traditions that we received, accepting and respecting everything that the Holy Catholic Church has received from the first years, unwritten and written... for the true and straightforward judgment of the Church does not make any allowance for innovations within Her, or for attempts to remove anything. We, therefore, by following the laws of our Fathers, having received grace by the one Spirit, have duly safeguarded without any innovations and reductions, all the things of the Church" [ix].
Along with the Holy Fathers and the Synods, we too reject and anathematize all the heresies that appeared during the historical course of the Church. Of the old heresies that have survived to this day, we condemn Arianism (still surviving, in the pseudo-Witnesses of Jehovah) and Monophysitism - the extreme form of Eutychius and the more moderate form of Sevirus and Dioscorus - according to the decisions of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon and the Christological teaching of major Holy Fathers and Teachers such as Saint Maximus the Confessor, Saint John of Damascus, Photios the Great and the hymns of our worship.
2. We proclaim that Papism is the womb of heresies and fallacies. The teaching of the "Filioque" - that is, the procession of the Holy Spirit AND from the Son - is contrary to everything that Christ Himself taught about the Holy Spirit. The entire chorus of Fathers, both in Synods and individually, regard Papism as a heresy because apart from the Filioque, it produced a host of other fallacies, such as the primacy and the infallibility of the Pope, the unleavened bread (host), the fires of Purgatory, the immaculate conception of the Theotokos, created Grace, the purchasing of absolution (indulgences)... it has altered nearly all of the teaching and the practice pertaining to Baptism, Chrismation, the Divine Eucharist and the other Sacraments, and has converted the Church to a secular State.
Contemporary Papism has deviated much further than medieval Papism from the teaching of the Church, to the extent that it no longer comprises a continuance of the ancient Church of the West. It has introduced a swarm of new exaggerations in its "Mariology", such as the teaching that the Theotokos is a parallel redeemer (corredemptrix) of the human race. It has reinforced the "Charismatic Movement" of Pentecostal (supposedly Spirit-centered) groups. It has adopted further innovations to Divine Worship, such as dances and musical instruments. It has shortened and essentially ruined the Divine Liturgy. In the area of Ecumenism it has set down the bases for the Pan-religion with its 2nd Vatican Council, by recognizing "spiritual life" in the people of other religions. Dogmatic minimalism has led it to a minimizing of moral prerequisites, on account of the bond between dogma and morality, the result of which was the moral failures of leading clergymen and an increase in moral deviations such as homosexuality and pedophilia among clergymen [x]. By continuing to support "Unia" - that caricature of Orthodoxy with which it victimizes and proselytizes faithful - Papism is sabotaging the Dialogue and is contradicting its supposedly sincere intentions for union.
Generally speaking, there has been a radical change in Papism and a turn towards Protestantism after the 2nd Vatican Council, and even an adopting of various "spiritual" movements of the "New Age".
According to Saint Simeon of Thessaloniki, the Mystagogue, Papism caused more damage to the Church than all the heresies and schisms put together. We Orthodox have communion with the pre-Schism Popes and we commemorate many Popes as saints. The post-Schism popes are heretics; they have ceased to be successors to the throne of Rome; they no longer have Apostolic succession, because they no longer have the faith of the Apostles and the Fathers. It is for this reason that with each such pope, "not only do we have no communion, but we also call him a heretic". On account of their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit with their teaching of the Filioque, they forfeited the presence of the Holy Spirit and therefore everything of theirs is deprived of Grace. Not one of their sacraments is valid, according to Saint Simeon. "Therefore the innovators are blaspheming and are far away from the Spirit, by blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, hence everything of theirs is Grace-less, inasmuch as they have violated and have demoted the Grace of the Spirit... which is why the Holy Spirit is not among them, and there is nothing spiritual about them, as everything theirs is new and altered and contrary to divine tradition" [xi].
3. The same things apply to an even greater degree to Protestantism, which as the offspring of Papism has inherited many heresies, but has also added many more; It has rejected Tradition, accepting only the Holy Bible (Sola Scriptura) which it however misinterprets; it has abolished Priesthood as a specialized sacramental Grace, as well as the veneration of Saints and of holy icons; it has vilified the Person of the Holy Mother Theotokos; it has rejected Monasticism; of the Holy Sacraments, it accepts only Baptism and the Divine Eucharist, albeit altering in them also the teaching and the praxis of the Church; it teaches absolute predestination (Calvinism) and vindication only through faith. Furthermore, its more "progressive" sector has introduced Priesthood for women and marriage between homosexuals - who they even accept into the Priesthood. But above all, it lacks ecclesiology, because the notion of Church as perceived by the Orthodox Tradition is nonexistent to them.
4. The only way that our communion with heretics can be restored is if they renounce their fallacy and repent, so that there may be a true union and peace: a union with the Truth, and not with fallacy and heresy. For the incorporation of heretics into the Church, canonical precision requires that they be accepted through Baptism. Their previous "baptism", performed outside the Church without the triple immersion and emersion of the one being baptized in specially sanctified water, and performed by a non-Orthodox priest, is in no way a baptism. It lacks the Grace of the Holy Spirit (Who does not remain within schisms and heresies) and as such, we have nothing in common that unites us, as Basil the Great points out: "As for those who have distanced themselves from the Church, they no longer have the grace of the Holy Spirit upon them, for transmission has ceased with those who have interrupted the sequence... as for the ones who have broken away, who have now become laity, they no longer have the authority to either baptize, or ordain by the placing of their hands, being now unable to provide the grace of the Holy Spirit, from which (grace) they have fallen away" [xii]
That is why the new attempt by Ecumenists to project the position that we have a common baptism with heretics is unfounded and hanging in mid-air, as is their assertion that it is possible to support the unity of the Church with this nonexistent baptismal unity, which supposedly exists wherever a baptism may exist [xiii]. In the Church however, one enters and becomes Her member, not with just any baptism, but only with the one, uniformly performed Baptism, officiated by Priests who have received the Priesthood of the Church.
5. For as long as heretics continue to remain in their fallacy, we avoid communion with them, especially in common prayer. The holy canons in their entirety prohibit not only common officiating and in-temple common praying, but even ordinary prayers in private quarters. The Church's strict stance opposite heretics springs from true love and sincere concern for their salvation, and out of Her pastoral care that the faithful are not carried away by heresies. Whosoever loves, reveals the truth and does not leave the other in a falsehood; otherwise, any love and agreement with him would only be counterfeit and false. There is such a thing as a good war and a bad peace. "...for a praiseworthy war is superior to a peace that separates one from God" says Saint Gregory the Theologian [xiv]. And Saint John the Chrysostom recommends: "If you should see devoutness vitiated anywhere, do not prefer the harmony of a truth, but stand fast to the death... betraying the truth nowhere". And elsewhere, he recommends with emphasis: "Do not acknowledge any illegitimate dogma that has the pretext of love"[xv]. This stance of the Fathers was also adopted by the major defender and confessor of the Orthodox faith against the Latins, Saint Mark of Ephesus, who concluded his own Confession of Faith in Florence with the following words: "All the teachers of the Church, all the synods and all the divine Scriptures exhort us to keep away from those with other beliefs, and to refrain from communion with them. Therefore, am I to disregard them all, and follow those who under the pretense of a manufactured peace strive for union? Those, who have counterfeited the sacred and divine Symbol (Creed) and who introduced the Son as the second cause of the Holy Spirit? [...] May this never happen to us, o benevolent Paraclete (Comforter), and may I never fall away from my own duteous thoughts, but, by following Your teaching and the blessed men who were inspired by You, may I be added to my fathers, by bringing in, if nothing else, this: piety" [xvi].
6. Up until the beginnings of the 20th century, the Church has steadfastly and immutably maintained a rejective and condemnatory stance towards all heresies, as clearly formulated in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy which is recited on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Heresies and heretics are anathematized, each one separately; furthermore, in order to ensure that not one of them has been left out of the anathema, there is a general anathema at the end of the text: "Let all heretics be anathematized".
Unfortunately, this uniform, steady and unswerving stance of the Church has, up until the beginnings of the 20th century, begun to be gradually abandoned, following the encyclical that was released by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1920 "To all the churches of Christ", which for the first time had officially characterized heresies as 'churches' that are not alienated from the Church, but are familiar and related to Her. It recommended that "the love between the Churches should above all be rekindled and reinforced, no longer thinking of each other as foreign and alien, but rather as related and familiar in Christ, and co-inheritors and co-incorporated in the promise of God in Christ" (see I.Karmiris', "The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church", vol. 2, page 958).
The path is now open for the adoption, the shaping and the development within the sphere of the Orthodox Church, of the initially Protestant invention - and now with Papal acceptance - heresy of Ecumenism; this pan-heresy, which adopts and legalizes all heresies as 'churches' and insults the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Now developed, taught and imposed by Patriarchs and bishops is the new dogma regarding the Church, a new ecclesiology. According to this, no Church is entitled to demand for itself exclusively the character of a catholic and true Church. Instead, each one of them is a piece, a part, and not the entire Church; they all together comprise the Church.
All the boundaries that the Fathers had set have been torn down; there is no longer a dividing line between heresy and Church, between truth and fallacy. Even heresies are now 'churches'; in fact, many of them -like the Papist one- are now regarded as 'sister churches' to which God has entrusted, jointly with us, the care for mankind's salvation [xvii].
The Grace of the Holy Spirit now also exists within heresies, and therefore their baptisms - like all their other 'sacraments' - are considered valid. All who have been baptized, and in whichever heresy they may belong, are now considered members of Christ's Body, the Church. The condemnations and the anathemas of the Synods are no longer valid and should be stricken from liturgical books. We are now housed in the "World Council of Churches" and have essentially betrayed - even with our mere accession to participate - our ecclesiastic self-awareness. We have removed the dogma regarding the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - the dogma of "one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism" [xviii].
7. This inter-Christian syncretism has now expanded into an inter-religion syncretism, which equates all other religions to the unique, God-revealed, through Christ reverence for God, the knowledge of God and the Christ-like way of life. Consequently, it is not only the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in relation to heresies that is being attacked, but also the fundamental dogma worldwide of the one and only Revelation and salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ in relation to the religions of the world. It is the worst imaginable fallacy, the biggest heresy of all ages.
8. We believe and confess that only in Christ is there a possibility for salvation. The religions of the world and the heresies all lead to perdition. The Orthodox Church is not merely the true Church; She is the only Church. She alone has remained faithful to the Gospel, the Synods and the Fathers, and consequently She alone represents the true catholic Church of Christ. According to the blessed Elder Justin Popovitch, Ecumenism is a common name for the pseudo-churches of Western Europe; their common name is actually "pan-heresy" [xix].
This pan-heresy has been accepted by many Orthodox patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, clergymen, monks and laity. They teach it, "barefacedly"; they apply it and impose it in practice, communing with heretics in every possible manner - with common prayers, with exchanges of visits, with pastoral collaborations - thus essentially placing themselves outside the Church. Our stance, per the Conciliar canonical decisions and per the example of the Saints, is obvious. Each one must now undertake his own responsibilities.
9. There are of course collective responsibilities also, and chiefly in the ecumenistic conscience of our Hierarchs and Theologians, towards the Orthodox corpus and their individual flocks. To them, we declare with a fear of God and with love that this stance of theirs and their openings towards all Ecumenistic activities are condemnable from every aspect, because:
a) they are doubting in practice our Orthodox-Patristic tradition and Faith;
b) they are sowing doubt in the hearts of their flock and are unsettling many, thus leading things to division and schism, and
c) they are misleading a portion of the flock towards a fallacy, and through it, to spiritual disaster.
We are therefore declaring that, for the aforementioned reasons, those who are moving within this Ecumenist irresponsibility, whichever rank they may be holding within the Ecclesiastic Organization, are opposed to the tradition of our Saints and consequently opposed to them.
This is the reason that their stance must be condemned and rejected, by the entirety of the Hierarchs and the faithful People.
Whosoever of the clergy, monks, nuns and the laity desires to participate in this small deposition of Orthodox confession may declare it, by writing:
"I agree with the Confession of Faith against Ecumenism, and subscribe to it"
They may send this declaration indicating their name and their ecclesiastic, monastic or professional status, to the following address:
Periodical "THEODROMIA", P.O.Box 1602, Thessaloniki 541 24, Greece - Fax +30 2310 276590 - email address: [email protected]
This is an UNOFFICIAL translation of the original Greek text. The present translation is available for re-publication by anyone who wishes to use it. We would be very pleased to see a reference to our website as the initial translators, but it is not compulsory.
The above Confession of Faith has been signed by the following, as a first indication.
It has been signed and will be signed by many more:
Metropolitan of Kythera and Antikythera, Seraphim
Metropolitan of Aetolia and Akarnania Kosmas
Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim
Metropolitan of Gortyna and Megaloupolis, Jeremiah, Professor of School of Theology Athens University
Archmandrite Joseph, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Xiropotamos, Holy Mountain
Protopresbyter fr. George Metallinos, Professor Emeritus of the Athens University School of Theology
Protopresbyter fr. Theodore Zisis, Professor Emeritus of the Thessaloniki University School of Theology
Archmandrite Mark Manolis, Spiritual Superintendent of the "Pan-Hellenic Orthodox Union"
Archmandrite Athanasius, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Stavrovounion, Cyprus
Archmandrite Timothy Sakkas, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of the Paraclete, Oropos
Archmandrite Cyril Kehayioglou, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of the Pantocrator, Melissohori, Langadas
Archmandrite Sarandis Sarandos, Parish Priest of the Holy Temple of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Amarousion
Archmandrite Maximus Karavas, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Saint Paraskeve, Milochori, Ptolemais
Archmandrite Gregory Hadjinikolaou, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gazea, Volos
Archmandrite Athanasius Anastasiou, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Great Meteora
Archmandrite Theocletus Bolkas, Abbot of the Sacred Hermitage of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, Chalkidike
Archmandrite Chrysostomos, Abbot of the Sacred Coenobium of Hossios Nicodemus, Pentalofos, Goumenissa
Archmandrite Theodore Diamantis, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Panaghia Molyvdoskepasti, Konitsa
Archmandrite Palamas Kyrillides, Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Kallipetra, Veria
Archmandrite Lavrentios Gratsias, Sacred Metropolis of Florina, Prespae and Eordaia
Archmandrite Meletios Vadrahanis, Sacred Metropolis of Florina, Prespae and Eordaia
Archmandrite Paul Dimitrakopoulos, Sacred Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, Moutsiala, Veria
Archmandrite Ignatius Kalaitzopoulos, Sacred Monastery of Saint Paraskeve, Milochori, Ptolemais
Archmandrite Simeon Georgiades, Sacred Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gazea, Volos
Archmandrite Augustine Siarras, Sacred Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gazea, Volos
Archmandrite Ambrose Gionis, Sacred Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gazea, Volos
Elder Gregory, Hieromonk, Danielites' Sacred Hermitage, Katounakia, Holy Mountain
Elder Efstratios, Hieromonk, Sacred Monastery of the Great Lavra, Holy Mountain
Elder Philippos, Hieromonk, Retreat of Athanasius the Great, Lesser Saint Anna Monastery, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Athanasius, Danielites' Sacred Hermitage, Katounakia, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Nicodemus, Danielites' Sacred Hermitage, Katounakia, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Nephon, Danielites' Sacred Hermitage, Katounakia, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Chrysostom Kartsonas, Retreat of Saint George, Lesser Saint Anna Monastery, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Onuphrios, Retreat of the Precious Forerunner, Sacred Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Chrysanthos, Retreat of the Precious Forerunner, Sacred Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Azarias, Retreat of the Precious Forerunner, Sacred Scete of Saint Anna, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Gabriel, Sacred Retreat of Panaghia Gorgoepikoos, Sacred Monastery of the Pantocrator, Holy Mountain
Hieromonk Pandeleimon, Sacred Retreat of Saint Pandeleimon, Sacred Monastery of the Pantocrator, Holy Mountain
Protopresbyter Lambros Fotopoulos, Parish Priest, Sacred Temple of Saint Kosmas of Aetolia, Amarousion, Attica Province
Protopresbyter John Fotopoulos, Parish Priest Sacred Temple of Saint Paraskeve, Attica Province
Protopresbyter Athanasios Menas, Loutraki, Corinthia Province
Protopresbyter Eleftherios Palamas, Saint Christophers, Ptolemais
Protopresbyter Constantine Mygdalis, Parish Priest, Sacred Temple of Saint Constantine, Volos
Protopresbyter Photios Vezynias, Professor, Sacred Metropolis of Lagadas
Protopresbyter Anthony Bousdekis, Parish Priest, Sacred Temple of Saint Nicholas, Nikaia, Piraeus
Protopresbyter Demetrios Vasiliades, Sacred Metropolis of Maronia and Komotene
Presbyter Dionysios Tatsis, Educator, Konitsa
Presbyter Demetrios Sarris, Parish Priest, Sacred Temple of the Mighty Archangels, Sesklon, Aesonia
Presbyter Efthimios Antoniades, Sacred Metropolis of Larisa
Presbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos, Parish Priest, Sacred Temple of Saint Nicholas, Patrae
Presbyter George Papageorgiou, Sacred Metropolis of Demetrias
Presbyter Peter Hirsch, Petrokerasa, Chalkidike
Presbyter Theophanes Manouras, Parish Priest of the Sacred Temple of Saint Athanasius, Velestino, Magnesia Province
Deacon Theologos Kostopoulos, Sacred Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Ano Gazea, Volos
Presbyter Paschalis Ginoudis, Sacred Metropolis of Larisa
Presbyter George Diamantopoulos, Lavrion, Sacred Metropolis of Mesogaia
Presbyter Basili Kokolakis, Parish Priest of the Sacred Temple of the Precious Cross, Holargos, Attica
This list will be regularly updated with added names. Readers can see the constantly updated list of signatures in Greek, here: http://www.impantokratoros.gr/ABF82395.el.aspx"