| HOMEPAGE |[ CONTENTS ]
ORTHODOX-HETERODOX DIALOGUES and
THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
THE THEOLOGIAN IN THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH IN ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE
© John S. Romanides
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Orthodox Theological Society of America has established an annual lecture in honor of the great Orthodox theologian Father Georges Florovsky. Father John Romanides of the School of Theology of the University of Thessaloniki was invited by the Society to give the first lecture, delivered on 23 May 1980 at St. Vladimir's Seminary.[ Return ]
INTRODUCTION TO THIS EDITION [ 1 ]
This prayer of the Incarnate Lord (Yahweh) of Glory in John 17 is for the final stages of the purification and illumination of the hearts of His Apostles who are now entering upon the final stages of their glorification now being consummated during the Last Supper and to be completed on the day of Pentecost when the Church has become His Body. The New Testament Synoptic Tradition of Matthew, Mark and Luke was used for pre-baptismal catechetical instruction which took candidates for baptism through the stages of the purification of their hearts. In contrast the Johannine gospel tradition began to be read on Easter Sunday after the baptisms of Holy Saturday in order to take those just resurrected into the Body of Christ through the stage of the illumination of their hearts and finally to their glorification which is the only foundation for interpreting John 17 which prepares the newly baptized for their participation in Pentecost. In no way can this chapter be distorted into a prayer for the union of divided Churches or Christians who do not know what glorification means.
Fifth Column Augustinians posing as Traditional Old Calendar Orthodox
The fifteen Canonical Orthodox Churches, numbering some 300 million Orthodox Christians, sent their representatives to Thessaloniki to meet with each other between April 29th and May 2nd in order to deal with a new Old Calendar heresy. This new phenomenon of Anti-Ecumenical Augustinians are headed in Greece by the so-called Orthodox Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili and in the U.S.A by the so-called Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostom of Aetna, California. They have been caught trying to establish their Augustinian heresy posing as enemies of Ecumenism in such countries like Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Georgia etc. This Cyprian of Fili had originally been a new calendar priest of the official Church of Greece. But some years ago he joined an Old Calendar Church. It is suspected that behind this movement are those who are trying to penetrate Orthodox countries with Augustine's heresies under the guise of Traditional Old Calendar Anti-Ecumenical Orthodoxy. Posing as very super-conservative traditional Orthodox, Cyprian of Fili and Chrysostomos of Aetna have been quite busy trying to promote and defend Augustine's heresies among the Orthodox as one can readily see in their publications. What is of interest is the fact that both Latins and Protestants consider Augustine as the founding father of both the Latin and Protestant theologies. Therefore, what is said in this introduction about the cure of the sickness of religion applies equally to both Cyprian of Fili and Chrysostomos of Aetna and their attempt at penetrating traditional Orthodox countries with the sickness of religion.
John 17 now in an "Orthodox" Ecumenical Straitjacket
Some disagreements among the Orthodox at the above meeting in Thessaloniki were due to the fact, not then detected, that at least one Orthodox Church was interpreting John 17 as a prayer of the Lord of Glory for divided Churches which makes Orthodoxy a part of the bunch but with the true faith. This would make it imperative that the Orthodox remain members of the W.C.C. Even if this were true in principal it has not been working as the reader of this paper will see.
Now the Orthodox Theological Society in America has adopted this dubious interpretation of John 17 at their annual meeting held June 4-5 at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline Massachusetts. It did so in full support of continued Orthodox membership in the WCC in their "OTSA Statement on Relations with WCC."
When the Orthodox Churches began to become members of the WCC in 1948 ordained Protestant women pastors and bishops were yet unheard of. Finally even Lutherans and Anglicans not only adopted this practice but have become quite doctrinaire on the question and expect that the Orthodox and Latins will eventually follow their example. Does OTSA really believe that the Protestants of the WCC will ever abandon this heresy or is OTSA prepared to abandon Orthodoxy by forcing John 17 into their Ecumenical straitjacket.
This Introduction is followed by the original text of the lecture entitled THE THEOLOGIAN IN THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH IN ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE. This text is followed in turn by a POST SCRIPT which continues to indicate that directors of dialogues between Orthodox and non Orthodox have never intended to become real partners in dialogue. I am not dealing with any willingness or not on their part to become Orthodox, but simply with their refusal to allow the Orthodox tradition to speak for itself. Instead, most, if not all of them, have been trying to steer dialogue with the Orthodox by means of those semi-Orthodox who agree with themselves in the field of theological method.
The heresies of analogia entis and analogia fidei..[ 1a ]
Both Latin and Protestant theological methods stem from Augustine and are therefore founded on so-called natural revelation, i.e. analogia entis and on so-called supernatural revelation, i.e. analogia fidei. Luther, as an individual, had his suspicions about analigia entis but this never became a fixed Lutheran position.
The first is based on a supposed similarity between God and creation, i.e. that created reality is supposed to be a copy of God's uncreated ideas.
All Orthodox join in the condemnation of those who believe in the reality of such uncreated archetypes during the service of the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
The second analogy is based on a supposed similarity between God and Scripture since He supposedly reveals Himself and His actions there.. This is true in principle, but only for those who read and study the Bible having had the same experience of glorification as the prophets and apostles (sent ones) of both the Old and New Testaments. The revolt of some Latin Nominalists against Platonism from time to time was based on a supposed similarity between God and Scriptures only. For the Orthodox Fathers of the Church this is a heresy also, unless the one reading and studying scriptures has reached glorification.
When properly used Scripture leads one to the purification and illumination of the heart and, in God's time, to glorification. But there is nothing in the Scriptures which has a real similarity with the uncreated. This is so because "It is impossible to express God and even more impossible to concieve God" and "there is no similarity between the uncreated and the created." This reality one knows by one's own glorification. Until one arrives there one uses these axioms or postulates of the Fathers as one's basic guide through purification to illumination of the heart. As one is getting accustomed to "unceasing noetic prayer" wthin one's heart, the words of the Bible and of the Fathers begin to become an open book. Then when one arrives at various degees of glorification one is having the exact same experience of the Lord (Yaweh) of Glory as the Old and New Testament prophets and apostles and the saints of the Church.
For the Fathers of the Nine Orthodox Ecumenical Councils, according to Roman Law (and not only the First Seven), one recieves the capacity of reading Scripture and the works of the Fathers only by beginning this process of the cure of the sickness of religion. It is only by the unceasing prayer in one's heart that the short circuit between the heart, which pumps blood, and the heart within the spinal column, which pumps spinal fluid, is repaired. It is by the cure of this short circuit that one becomes rid of "fantasies," and begins to see reality as is and as much as one may support. In this way one ceases seeing reality by means of one's sick imagination.
In the hands of neurologically sick people the Bible becomes a source of "uncontrollable fantasies." And indeed religion is one of the most dangerous. Instead of being a manuel for the cure of the sickness of religion the Bible becomes a book for the propagation of the sickness of religion.
Thus for the Orthodox Fathers of the Church there exists neither analogia entis nor analogia fidei. The basic reason for this is that religion itself is simply a neurobiological sickness. But this also means that there is a neurobiological cure also. This cure re-establishes communion between the heart of the cured one and the uncreated glory and rule of God which saturates creation. Christ, the Lord (Yaweh) of Glory, offers communion with His uncreated Glory and Rule to all, but only those who are participating in this cure by means of the purification and illumination of their hearts are participating in reality. Even those who have been baptized, but are not in the state of either purification or illumination take communion of the body and blood of Christ "unworthily…" and "…eat and drink judgment against themselves."(1 Cor. 11:27-29ff.)
The Bible calls the center of the human personality the 'spirit' of man which the Fathers also call 'noera energia (noetic energy).' Thus we have the difference between 'unceasing noetic payer in the heart,' which keeps the short circuit in question repaired, and 'intellectual prayer' in the brain which at given times occurs in tandem. St. Paul makes this distinction quite clearly: "What should I do then? I will pray with the 'spirit' and I will pray with the 'intellect' also; I will sing psalms with the 'spirit,' but I will sing psalms with the 'intellect' also."(1 Cor 14;15). In the West one finds this tradition explained by St. Patrick, St. John Cassian and Gregory of Tours. However, Gregory misunderstands this tradition as belonging to his realm of miracles. His description is indeed quite humorous. [ 2 ]
Not understanding this reality about the human personality, Protestants, Latins and some so-called Orthodox Bible scholars are unable to read either the Bible or the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils correctly.
Bible Professor Paul Tarazi was thrown out of Balamand University, Lebanon, because he called St. Symeon the New Theologian, one of the great specialists in this tradition, a "jackass" in class. Also Bible Professor Theodore Stylianopoulos has been trying hard to throw aspersion on this tradition by calling it 14th century "Palamism," even though it is generally accepted that this was the practice of such earlier Fathers as St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Macarius of Egypt, St. John Cassian, St. Patrick of Ireland and all writers whose works on the subject are to found in the Philokalia.
This tandem prayer phenomenon cannot be viewed as a metaphysical or a theological problem. Here we have a neurobiological sickness stemming from a short circuit with a physiological cure of unceasing and uninterrupted prayer in the heart which repairs the short circuit. In tandem with is prayer in the heart is the prayer with the brain at fixed times. How can one invent such a neurological phenomenon philosophically or theologically?"
Bible Professor Paul Tarazi and his followers support that Pauline speaking in tongues is that now practiced by many Protestants and Latins. Even some Orthodox have adopted this practice of supposedly speaking in tongues even though it had been the practice of such ancient heretics as the Monanists called the heresy of praying in Xenophonia, in strange sounds, or babbling.
Each historical heresy condemned by the Nine[ 3 ] Roman Ecumenical Councils had been destroying the very foundation of the cure of the human personality from the sickness of religion caused by the fantasies produced by the short circuit in question. From this point of view such paying by babbling is in no way curing the sickness of religion.
So the basic question to be dealt with here is not theological at all. One is dealing with a neurobiological sickness which produces fantasies in the human imagination and distorts one's vision of reality and interpersonal relations. The real problem is that such scholars, like Taraze and Stylianopoulos, are fundamentalists who reject a theorum in advance because not in conformity with their own slogans and visions of reality which they borrow evidently from their professors and their readings.
We mention these two 'biblical' scholars because, like Protestants and Latins, they accept positions in advance because voiced by various members of the society of Biblical scholars and reject the Patristic method of dealing with the Bible which they simply ignore and show no desire to even study it.
The first breakthrough in the Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue was when we agreed that only those who have reached glorification in this life can know what the Bible means by glorification. Prof. Anna Marie Aagaard, a Lutheran in dialogue with the Orthodox since the beginning, had accepted this working axiom along with the rest of the Lutherans, but all of a sudden began repeating that we do not want any 'Palamism' which evidently began making the rounds after emanating from Prof. Stylianopoulos. But we are still waiting for his study substantiating his position.
In any case does this mean that Prof. Aagaard is saying that St. Gregory Palamas had not reached glorification, or that she has now rejected our agreement that only those who have themselves reached glorification can know what Biblical glorification means?
It is up to the Lutherans to tell us what they want. If they are not interested in the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification, then that is their problem, not ours.
Of course it is not difficult to find Orthodox who not only do not practise the cure in question, but also reject this tradition or simply ignore it. The question before the Lutherans, and for that matter before all who want to have dialogue with the Orthodox Tradition, is whether they want to dialogue only with those Orthodox who accept methods of research similar to their own, or else are willing to take a short cut to the heart of the problem of unity. What must be repaired is the electrical short between the heat which pumps blood and the one which pumps spinal fluid. This will get rid of the fantasies which are at the root of our problem of unity.
But with the Latinization of Russian Orthodoxy, chiefly by Peter the Great, both analogia entis and analogia fidei became part of the tradition of those Theological Schools which simply imitated their Latin or Russian prototypes. The Russian Slavophil theologians continued both analogia entis and analogia fidei, but claimed that they had a better Slavic philosophy than that of the Greek speaking Roman Fathers who supposedly were using the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. Of course this was true for the Franco-Latins who were using Augustinian Platonism which was finally fused together with Aristotle by Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas.
Sacred Hellenism was Father Florvsky's attack weapon against the Slavophils who believed that Slavic philosophy had surpassed that of the Latin and Greek speaking Fathers.
In contrast to this confusion over which philosophy is supposed to be better, the Greek speaking monasteries, especially of Mount Athos and Palestine, had a low opinion of the products coming out of such Theological Schools, whether Russian or Greek. Fortunately this holds true for many of the students themselves of these so-called "Theological Schools." These students simply memorize the contents of lectures in order to pass exams and get a degree, but pay much more attention to their monastic spiritual fathers.
At Amsterdam in 1948 the Protestant founders of the WCC began their theological cooperation with their three Orthodox co-founders. They were Archbishop Germanus of Great Britain and Father Georges Florovsky, professor at St. Sergius School of Theology in Paris, both representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople New Rome. The third Orthodox co-founder was Professor Hamilcar Alivizatos of the University of Athens who represented the Church of Greece.
The Protestants within Faith and Order had already begun their theological dialogue with Father Florovsky and continued doing so when Faith and Order became part of the WCC in 1948. All this time Father Florovsky had been one of the chief spoksmen of Orthodox theology.
But by the time of the Genral Assembly of the WCC in New Delhi 1961 Father Florovsky and other Orthodox present sensed that their Patristic theology was about to be replaced by Nikos Nissiotis' ideas about theology. That Nickos Nissiotis had beome the "chosen one" of Visser 't Hooft, the first General Secretary of the WCC, became clear when he made his debut as a main speaker at the General Assembly at New Delhi in 1961. This was 'the omen' that dialogue between the Orthodox and the Protestants within the WCC would end up a disappoining and expensive failure.
Some Orthodox professors present at Delhi had initially had voted to reject Nissiotis' doctoral thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Athens and were a bit surprised at seeing him being promoted as a distinguished Orthodox theologian. The basic reason why both they and Father Florovsky were quite bewildered was simply because he was not a specialist in the theology of the Orthodox Fathers of the Church. He was an outstanding specialist in such theologians as Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Existentialism and related topics.
At the very same time that Nissiotis' doctoral thesis on existentialism was being processed for approval, my thesis on "Ancestral (Original) Sin" was also being approved by the very same faculty. My thesis had proven that Augustine's analogia entis and analogia fidei and his teachings about original sin as inherited guilt and predestination of some inspite of this guilt which supposedly makes them worthy of eternal damnation but with some saved anyway because God so choosed, were completely foreign to both the Bible and the Orthodox Fathers of the Church.
Nikos Nissiotis was indeed a brilliant specialist in the field of modern Western Theology and related topics. Of course he was at home within the traditions of analogia entis and analogia fidei not knowing that both catergories are completley foreign to Patristic Orthodoxy. In spite of this Nissiotis was promoted within the WCC for dialogue, not within these categories, but for dialogue with the Orthodox Tradition which historically rejects both analogia entis and analogia fidei. This fact he did not know since it was this writer who brought this Patristic fact to light in 1957. In any case Nick Nissiotis had given the General Secretary of the WCC the impression that he knew how to bridge the gap between Orthodoxy and Western Christianity. But between Othodoxy, which rejects both analogia entis and analogia fidei, and those traditions which accept either one of them or both, the gap is unbridgable..
While doing my research at Yale University Divinity School I was discovering the fact that the ancient Fathers who were building the bridge between the Bible and the Roman Ecumenical Councils reject analogia fidei, analogia fidei and happiness as the destiny of man. At this point I began losing my adolescent facination with Thomas Aquinas, whom I had been studying with a former Dominican, and now also with such theologians as Barth and Brunner. I had been collecting the Patristic material which finally made up the bulk of my book on Ancestral Sin and related topics.
But Nisiotis went the way of analogia entis and analogia fidei and stayed there. So automatically this meant that the intriguing Protestants of the WCC began by never intending to take the Orthodox Tradition seriously because they could never imagine that the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils reject both analogia entis and analogia fidei. They never moved even a bit from this line and are determined not to do so.
Another distressing experience in the life of Father Florovsky was his expulsion from the faculty of Holy Cross by Archbishop Iacovos who had been a staunch supporter of the General Secretary's "chosen one." I had the feeling that the real reason why Archbishop Iacovos dismissed Father Florovsky was to please the leaders of the WCC in their support of Nikos Nissiotis. I personally felt so insulted and disgusted by this act that I myself resigned in protest from the faculty of Holy Cross.
This lecture and my book "Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine" were composed at a time when I was not fully aware of the fact that the Franco-Latins, who took over the Papacy between 1009 and 1047, had been engaged in the habit of not only replacing, but also sentencing conquered West Roman Orthodox bishops as heretics and schismatics to life imprisonment, to die of torture and starvation, as happened in England just after 1066 after the Normans had consolidated their conquest.
Of course one does not receive apostolic succession by condemning the clergy of synods of Orthodox predecessors as heretics and to life imprisonment. This was done with the full support of the Franco-Latin Popes who had taken over the Papacy definitively between 1009 and 1046.
Associated with this Franco-Latin habit was the reduction of the West Roman population to the status of slaves, as serfs and villains of Franco-Latin Feudalism. At the time of the French Revolution in 1789 the population of France totaled some 26,500,000 composed of 2% nobility, 13% middle class and 85% serfs and villains guarded from escape by 40,000 fortresses as described on this web site http://www.romanity.org
In view of these facts the Orthodox Churches must decide whether they are having dialogue with the Vatican and the Anglicans with apostolic succession or not. Perhaps a kind of apostolic succession went from the Franco-Latin conquerors to their victims who have reacted by forming various kinds of Protestant churches when the opportunity presented itself during the Reformation.
This lecture in hand, delivered in 1980, still reflects an optimism about dialogues in general which in the long run has proven not at all valid, as far as Protestants and Latin Catholics are concerned. The only way to salvage this situation is for Orthodox, Protestants and Latin Catholics to take seriously the fact that religion itself is a neurobiological sickness.
The three official Orthodox representatives at Amsterdam in 1948 made the two Churches they represented Members of the World Council of Churches. The very same year most of the rest of the Orthodox Churches met in Moscow and condemned this new WCC as inspired by Masonry not realizing that this organization is not Jewish, as many Orthodox believe, but a society which includes most Protestant members of the nobility of Europe whose head has been the King of England.
This edition of this lecture in honor of Father Georges Florovsky is followed by a Post Script which continues to indicate that the intriguing Protestant leaders of the WCC had never intended to take the Orthodox seriously.
Here ends this part of the introduction which will be continued after the text of the lecture as a Post Script.[ Return ]
THE THEOLOGIAN IN THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH IN ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE
© John S. Romanides
It is indeed a great honor to have been invited to be the first speaker in this new annual lectureship in honor of Father Georges Florovsky, the greatest Orthodox theologian of our time, and the academic and spiritual guide and inspiration of most of us here present, both directly and indirectly.
Concerning the theologian, how he is trained and what he is supposed to be doing from the patristic point of view, I have expounded elsewhere in some detail. [ 4 ] The spiritual father and the theologian are one identical reality. I assume that my analysis of the subject is known, so that rather than repeat it I chose to expand the topic, "The Theologian in the Service of the Church in Ecumenical Dialogue."
Orthodox theologians represent and are part of a theological and spiritual tradition which is the primary responsibility of the Orthodox synods of bishops. The bishop himself is the preserver and teacher par excellence of the tradition who, when circumstances require, may delegate teaching and spiritual responsibilities to presbyters, deacons, monks, and even to laymen. What holds true for theologians and theology within the Church is true for theologians in dialogue with other churches or groups of churches.
It is generally known that since the 1961 New Delhi General Assembly and especially since the 1975 Nairobi General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the Orthodox have been running into serious problems with the overwhelming Protestant majority. Father Florovsky had first-hand knowledge of the inception of these problems and their purpose, and he was disturbed about the course of possible events appearing on the horizon. The dialogue with the Latin Catholic Church will begin in seven days. We use the term Latin in order to distinguish it from Greek Catholicism or Uniatism.
Dialogue with the Anglicans will re-commence in July 1980, after an interruption created by the new practice of ordaining women in some Anglican churches.
Preparations for the official Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue are progressing normally and show signs that it may prove to be relatively fruitful.
The Old Catholic-Orthodox dialogue had gone very quickly into high gear, but the original high hopes seem to have waned a bit.
Unofficial dialogue with the Non-Chalcedonians had commenced on a solid footing, but went into a tailspin when the WCC began mixing into the dialogue's internal affairs, having transformed the dialogue into its own project to serve its own purpose.
Papers for the commencement of official dialogue have been in print since 1976. [ 5 ] The last meeting of the Orthodox commission, held in Geneva in February 1979, dealt at length with the problem of how to get the Non-Chalcedonians to the conference table.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has sponsored, to date, two meetings between Orthodox and Jews which proved to be very interesting and which had pleasant theological surprises for those previously unfamiliar with each other. It seems that except for the well-known differences between Judaism and Christianity, there is a closer similarity between Orthodoxy and Judaism than between Orthodoxy and those churches stemming from medieval Frankish, Visigoth (Spanish), Lombard, and Norman Europe.
Here we shall deal in order with the Orthodox Churches and their theologians in relation to the WCC and in dialogue with the Non-Chalcedonians, the Latin Catholics and the Anglicans.[ Return ]
The World Council of Churches
It must be emphasized from the very beginning that we should avoid viewing the World Council of Churches from the Orthodox point of view alone. We must be open and sympathetic to Protestant views and needs without, however, sacrificing Orthodox principles. It is inadmissible to judge Protestant actions by Orthodox standards or Orthodox actions by Protestant standards.
The WCC was established and shaped as a result of and in conformity to problems uniquely Protestant. Thus the Orthodox impact on the organizing process of the WCC was so insignificant that one wonders if the Orthodox really knew what they were getting themselves involved in when they joined. Indications are that the Orthodox who signed the Charter which brought the WCC into existence in 1948 believed that they were involved in the establishment of an organization within the spirit and limits of the 1920 encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople proposing to all Christians the founding of a `League of Churches' along the lines of the League of Nations. This clearly means that each church would be a real and direct member with equal rights and absolute control over the appointment of its representatives, exactly like in the case of the member nations of the League of Nations and then of the United Nations where size and population neither add nor increase voting power and where the member nations do not vote for each other's ambassadors and staff.
However, because of Protestant problematics and their need for real solutions, the WCC was organized on totally different lines. Obviously not adequately familiar with the importance of organizational structure, our Orthodox founders led us into areas of inter-confessional Protestant relations where we could not control our participation.
Searching through the files of the Church of Greece, no report could be found on the structural organization of the W.C.C.-indeed strange, to say the least, for a church whose representatives were involved in the founding and the work of the WCC from the very beginning. One of her representatives of long standing is currently serving as elected chairman of Faith and Order.
During the many years of our close association, Father Florovsky of blessed memory very often discussed the WCC If our discussions were any indication, he evidently attributed little importance to the WCC's organizational structure. He did, however feel the impact of the WCC's right to exercise power. He complained of being shifted to the sidelines in favor of Orthodox who more closely fit the requirements of the WCC. Father Georges, therefore, continuously complained that the WCC was undergoing a change which he attributed to its institutionalization and its being housed in the then newly-built headquarters in Geneva. That the WCC has changed is still a favorite theme of some professors in Greece.
Until the 1975 Nairobi General Assembly, my participation in WCC projects was limited to the 1963 Montreal World Conference on Faith and Order, where I composed the paragraph on Eucharistic Ecclesiology, and to the Rochester conference on religious freedom. Having never studied the constitution and bylaws of the WCC, I began preparing for Nairobi under the impression that this organization had indeed been undergoing the change which the Orthodox spoke of and liked so little. I studied the constitution and bylaws as part of my preparation and was disturbed at how much Orthodox participation depends legally on the goodwill of the overwhelming Protestant majority. No democracy can function unless the rights of the minority are protected. This constitution has no built-in rights which protect the Orthodox from a possible dictatorship of the Protestant majority.
I came to the conclusion that the Orthodox who got us involved in the WCC are like the pious farmer who went to the big city and demonstrated his writing ability by signing away the management of a part of his business. Because the manager did not immediately exercise his right to manage, the farmer continued to manage as usual. However, the time carne for the manager to begin exercising his legal right. The farmer protested. The manager produced the signed contract.
In other words, the WCC changed only in the sense that the Protestant majority began exercising legal rights which it always had and to which the Orthodox themselves had legally agreed.
This is why the Church of Greece is demanding protection of her right to function within the WCC as an Orthodox Church according to the traditions of the Orthodox Church. Because this can be done only by amendment to the constitution, in reality by the addition of a sort of inalienable bill of rights, the Church of Greece has requested that such amendments be made.
The principle behind this action is clearly that what is permissible and good for a divided Protestantism is not necessarily permissible and good for the Orthodox. Protestant participation should be Protestant, and Orthodox participation should be Orthodox.
The Synodical committee responsible for advising the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece realized the need to make such a distinction by taking into consideration the historical conditions of Protestantism which clearly point to the fact that the current organizational structure of the WCC is indeed the best possible and the most realistic for Protestantism, at least as far as Orthodox can judge. Let us look at the reasoning.
The structure of the WCC was determined by Protestant problems mainly in the missionary field. Protestantism divided its converts into confessional groups, whereas these same converts had been united religiously as pagans. A "World Missionary Conference" was held in Edinburgh in 1910 to study these and other such problems and ways of overcoming them.
It was further felt by Protestant leaders that one could separate the practical questions of life and work from the more doctrinal questions of faith and order. Thus a world conference on the first aspect of problems was convened called `Life and Work' in 1925, followed by a world conference on `Faith and Order' two years later in 1927 to deal with the second aspect. Thus, one separated the problems of coordinating social and educational efforts from the problems of doctrine and church structure which lay at the basis of the division and confusion in the missionary fields. Second conferences of each of these two divisions of labor were both held in 1937.
There was much talk about how the Holy Spirit was thus guiding Protestantism in the paths of cooperation and unity. However, leaders of Europe and America had already come to the realization that Christianity was a serious force of division, both at home and in the missions, and therefore not as effective in efforts to Westernize and unite the world for peaceful economic and social activities. The position, especially expounded by Arnold Toynbee, had gained dominance, i.e. that Westernization of the world will not be completed as originally believed or planned by Christian missions, but by Western technology and economics.
Orthodox civilization, already westernized to a great extent, was included in the designs for Christian unity and its fusion into Western civilization. Westernization was part of Greece's official political and ecclesiastical policy from the very beginning of her modern history.
The Latin Catholics, the original core of Western civilization, would be gently nudged into being inspired by the Holy Spirit also.
Thus the WCC was established in 1948, a few years after the United Nations, and at a time when Arnold Toynbee was expounding his master plan of Westernization to a well prepared and therefore ready and very large audience. [ 6 ]
Eventually, however, the Third World experienced a revitalization of political, economic, religious, and cultural awareness which rejected the idea that they should be westernized. This has had a tremendous impact on the United Nations, the WCC, and the papacy. Needless to mention is Khomeini's Islamic revolution.
The WCC was organized in such a way that success should both become a reality and become so as rapidly as possible. Thus it took a shape similar to that of a business corporation whose techniques in management, production and marketing could be put to good use. The similarity may be purely or partially accidental, but is striking nonetheless.
The world conferences already mentioned became in two stages (1948 and 1961) one corporation by merging with some loss of structural identity. In the process, Faith and Order has been given the status of a sub-unit. The same thing happened to World Mission and Evangelism.
The addition of the Orthodox to the WCC was essential from the viewpoint of long-range planning, but perhaps a bit superficial from the Orthodox point of view, especially in regard to missions and life and work. `Faith and Order' is the only division in which the Orthodox have a real contribution to make.
The historical background, the needs and goals of the WCC required an organizational structure which would transcend and thus avoid direct and possible erratic interference from the churches. This is the reason why neither the League of Nations nor the United Nations could be used as a model. The member churches had to be restricted to the status of shareholders in a corporation in order to make success possible.
The churches are, for all intents and purposes, shareholders in the WCC Shares are allotted according to population, geographic distribution and confessional identity. Shares are held in the form of one voting share per delegate at the General Assembly which is equivalent to the general meeting of shareholders, but held every seventh or eighth year instead of annually.
This General Assembly elects members of the Assembly to the Central Committee which governs the WCC according to the mandates of the General Assembly. The slate of candidates is prepared by a nominations committee which solicits candidates from the churches, which, however, it is not obligated to accept. The Central Committee in turn elects at each of its meetings a smaller Executive Committee which supervises the execution of its policies. In addition, the Central Committee approves the names of the core groups for membership in the divisions of the WCC These core groups are nominated by the division chairmen and staff and approved by the General Secretariat and make up about a third of the membership of the divisions. A second third of the membership of the divisions is elected by the Central Committee from its own members by suggestion of the same people who control the nominations to the core group. The third of the members of the divisions are co-opted by the officers and staff who ask for the approval of the churches, but are not legally obliged to accept recommendations from the churches.
Once the Central Committee is elected, the churches give up any direct control of their participation in the administration and work of the WCC and are reduced to reacting sometimes in a manner more befitting a minor shareholder of a corporation who has to wait for the next general assembly to get his opinion accepted as a motion duly made, seconded, debated, and voted upon. Nomination committees serve to channel preferred ecumenists into the right places according to the judgment of ideologically dedicated inner-core Protestant leaders.
The Central and Executive Committees are like larger and smaller boards of directors of a corporation with the same moderators and vice-moderators with some members belonging to both. The Central and Executive committees supervise the work of the staff, headed by the General Secretary and Directors or moderators of the three program units and their sub-units and two specialized units. These heads of the staff function like the officers of a corporation.
From the legal point of view, the WCC is a kind of servant holding company whose shares are held by the companies served. However, the Protestant and Anglican member churches hold majority shares far outweighing their numerical relation to the Orthodox. One does not have to be an intellectual giant to see why the Latin Catholics could not allow themselves to follow the Orthodox into a share-holding position.
It is generally admitted that the `Faith and Order' sub-unit of program unit I of the WCC should be the most important concern of the Orthodox Churches. There are Orthodox who believe, however, the contrary, i.e. that cooperation on practical matters should be the only Orthodox concern.
Protestant theologians dedicated to union in essentials and to tolerance of differences are co-opted as friends and supporters of the WCC and especially of `Faith and Order.' These are both the preferred type of Protestant ecumenists and the ones most open to dialogue with the Orthodox.
The result of such an orientation is that a society of ecumenists has been formed which is more dedicated to each other than to the members of their own particular church. [ 7 ] This group by WCC standard comprises what may be called an ecumenical nobility which every Orthodox should feel duty-bound to completely support for the union of Protestantism.
There are no Orthodox members of this ecumenical nobility as far as is known. The reason for this is simply that what may apply to Protestant principles and needs does not necessarily apply to Orthodox principles and needs. One does not undergo medical treatment unless he needs it. Thus from the viewpoint of Protestant needs, the WCC is certainly the best kind of medical treatment possible for the maladies of Protestantism. However, from the viewpoint of Orthodox needs, membership in the current organizational structure of the WCC is an aimless adventure, simply because the maladies of Orthodoxy and Protestantism are not the same.
At first the Orthodox made it a practice to make separate-doctrinal statements on subjects under study. This practice ended abruptly at the 1961 New Delhi General Assembly and has continued since because the Orthodox became divided over this issue. I personally sided with the idea of the common text principle at the 1963 Montreal Conference on Faith and Order. I have since changed my opinion in favor of separate statements primarily because of the Nairobi experience on the question which I will be glad to deal with during the discussion of this paper.
Indicative of the WCC attitudes and possible policies vis-a-vis the Orthodox was a discussion between the newly elected General Secretary of the WCC and the Ecumenical Patriarchate's committee on inter-Christian relations during the former's visit to Constantinople on 15-19 December 1972. Among the many items discussed was "the question of the promotion of anticanonical situations."
The Patriarchal committee appealed to the rule of the WCC's Constitution "according to which prior to the promotion of whatsoever related subject, entangling more widely a family of churches, to which the Church belongs for which the matter is being promoted, the agreement of the Churches of this family must be secured." [ 8 ] However, while the matter was being processed, the Protestant majority changed the rule, thus leaving the majority of the Orthodox Churches high and dry.
The General Secretary of the WCC made this action clear when he said the following: "I understand that that which must be done from the viewpoint of the Constitution of the WCC, is contrary to the Canons and Ecclesiastical Provisions of the Orthodox Church..." [ 9 ] He went on to suggest "that the Ecumenical Patriarchate should take steps to bring about a comparable change in canonical order and in its understanding of the provisions and requirements of the Holy Canons."[ 10 ]
The General Secretary further stated that he understood the Orthodox position and would do everything which depended on him, but it should not be forgotten that "there are also certain obligations" which emanate both from the proceedings followed till now by his predecessor-concerning which there is a letter of his to the Ecumenical Patriarchate-and from the Rules of the WCC now in force.[ 11 ] Mr. Philip Potter promised to do all he could knowing he could do little, if anything.
This event in isolation could be considered insignificant, but it is certainly not when put into the context of the pattern of such problems. Here we have a clear case wherein Orthodox Ecclesiology and Canon Law were precariously protected by a rule, but subject to change by the Protestant majority. Of course the change was made in such a way that one Orthodox member Church was satisfied.
I am not entering into the rights and wrongs of the concrete issue, but I am raising the question concerning the very nature of our relations with the WCC As matters stand the Orthodox not only do not, but they cannot control the nature of their own participation because they themselves have willingly or legally agreed to a built-in constitutional Protestant majority rule. In other words the Orthodox have legally accepted the right of the majority to make decisions which are contrary to the Ecclesiology and canonical practices of the Orthodox Churches.
Since Nairobi, Orthodox proposals to the nominations committee are no longer accepted as a matter of course. The Protestant majority always had the legal right to reject Orthodox suggestions for election. Because this legal right had never to my knowledge been put to the test many Orthodox did not know this. Nairobi became the test site of these rights; whether intentionally or not is beside the point. Thus we had a series of farces from an Orthodox point of view, but the exercise of legal rights from the Protestant side.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople had submitted three names for election to the Central Committee which were approved by the nominations committee. A Protestant pastor made the motion in a plenary session that one of the metropolitan candidates of Constantinople be substituted by another metropolitan of the Constantinople delegation. The motion was seconded, debated, and voted upon. The candidate suggested by Constantinople won his election not because his church appointed him, but because the assembly of the Protestant majority voted for him. The reaction in plenary session by the head of the Constantinople delegation was very strong. He announced at a reception that the Orthodox Churches would review their participation in the WCC The slate of the Church of Russia was also approved by the nominations committee and challenged from the floor. Sensing that the plenary session may vote for this suggested change, the Russian delegation accepted it rather than risk defeat.
In a third Nairobi clash, it was the nominations committee itself which rejected the name of a retired professor of the University of Athens who had been approved by the Holy Synod. The reason given was that it was decided that the third candidate had to be either a woman or a youth. The substitution was made arbitrarily without prior consultation with the head of the delegation. Also, when the Church of Greece was asked to submit three names nothing was mentioned about a youth or a woman. The head of the delegation quit the General Assembly in protest. Had he not ordered the rest to remain, most would have left also in protest.
In the beginning of 1976 the WCC had sent a letter to the Church of Greece requesting the approval of three names for membership in `Faith and Order.' The Holy Synod approved the one and suggested two other names of scholars she believed to be more qualified. The WCC accepted the one and rejected the other claiming "lack of place." That this was a tactical excuse seems strongly indicated from the fact that the WCC had suggested three names to fill three places, not two. This action of the WCC is no different than the USA suggesting to Russia and telling her who should represent Russian Communism in dialogue with American capitalism and dictating who will not. The ecclesiological implications of such events as the above should be carefully explored.
In an interview to the New York Times, the Archbishop of Athens accused the WCC of Protestant majority rule without regard to Orthodox minority rights and announced the Church's determination to ask for changes in the constitution to protect these rights.
At Nairobi the Orthodox witnessed the strange specter of a Protestant pastor from Zaire who went from section to section accusing the Orthodox of not being good Christians. He argued that only lack of Christian love could explain why the Orthodox refuse intercommunion with other Christians. Especially interesting was the fact that M.M. Thomas mentioned the accusations of this pastor and the `attempts' of the Orthodox to answer in his recapitulatory address which brought the work of the Nairobi General Assembly to a close.
The mounting pressure on the Orthodox in regard to intercommunion from Anglicans, Protestants, and Latin Catholics is effectively dealt with by a 1978 study by Archimandrite Kallistos Ware on the recent history of this problem. [ 12 ][ Return ]
Unofficial dialogue between Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians began in August 1964. The agreed statement includes the following:
The Synod of Chalcedon (451), we realize, can only be understood as reaffirming the decisions of Ephesus (431 ), and best understood in the light of the later Synod of Constantinople (553). All synods, we have recognized, have to be seen as stages in an integral development and no synod or document should be studied in isolation.[ 13 ]
One can appreciate why we were so optimistic after Aarhus. However, this positive attitude toward the Fourth and subsequent Ecumenical Synods became more negative at our second meeting in Bristol, England ( 1967) and quite hard at our third meeting in Geneva ( 1970).
At an ad hoc meeting, organized by the WCC in Addis Ababa (1971), not attended by several key members of the prior meetings, a Greek Orthodox member of the WCC staff was presented in the published minutes as claiming that "we cannot put formal recognition of Chalcedon as a pre-condition of union."[ 14 ]
The Non-Chalcedonians have only three Ecumenical Synods. From this viewpoint they could be quite useful in dealing with the Orthodox claims that Seven or Eight Ecumenical Synods are required for restoration of the unity of Christendom. It seems that the Non-Chalcedonians are more important to the WCC as they are, especially if communion can be restored along the lines suggested by the WCC staff member at Addis Ababa just quoted.
The Latin Catholics
There are strong indications that dialogue with the Latin Catholic Church to commence in seven days has been organized thus far within the context of the decisions of Vatican II. The key to understanding developments to date is the combination of three interdependent factors which seem to compose the method of union being used. For many years Latin theologians have been listening attentively to Orthodox explanations and insistence that intercommunion is impossible since the very act of communion is the result and expression of union in faith and therefore is the Orthodox understanding of church union.
The second factor is that interpretation of the schism which claims that the 1054 mutual excommunication and anathemas had taken place as an event between Old and New Rome alone. This event supposedly did not include the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. [ 15 ] It emphasized that subsequent to this event there are examples of sacramental communion between Western and Eastern Christians in the Middle East. These examples cease with the Latin conquest of Constantinople which, so the story goes, is the real cause and general consummation of the schism. Thus hatred and not doctrine is the cause of the split between the so-called Greek East and Latin West.
The third factor is the teaching and practice of the Latin papacy that one can be a member of the Church by means of a reflexive faith whereby one does not have to directly and openly accept all dogmas so long as one does not publicly oppose them. These three factors make the possibility of union real by expanding Uniatism which already exists within such dimensions. The Uniates oppose Latin exclusiveness but do not reject its legitimacy. Orthodox who understand this opposition as a rejection are proof of the success of the method. One of the stated purposes of the dialogue from the Latin point of view is to get the Orthodox to accept the legitimacy of Latin doctrinal developments without necessarily accepting these developments for themselves. The Anglicans and the WCC are showing indications that they are following a similar although not identical line on the question of the Filioque, as we shall see.
These factors become even more potent when cast into the framework of Eucharistic Ecclesiology and of Fr. Nicholas Afanasieff's views on intercommunion between Orthodox and Latins, as pointed out clearly by Father Ware. Having these factors in mind one can see that union or the manifestation of a supposedly already-existing union requires four things:1 ) the lifting of the anathemas between Old and New Rome, 2) the lifting of the excommunication between Old and New Rome, 3) the abolition of hatred caused by the Latin capture and sacking of New Rome, and 4) the restoration of communion. Thus we will allegedly have returned to the union which existed prior to 1054. The lifting of the anathemas has been accomplished. The restoration of communion has been decided by Vatican II which recognizes Orthodox sacraments and not only permits intercommunion but encourages it. [ 16 ] In keeping with these decisions the Latin Church lifted the excommunication of 1054, which is a step ahead of Constantinople, which restricted herself to the lifting of the anathemas. The abolition of hatred is in the process of being completed by the' dialogue of love. This evidently is supposed to cover the requirements of the Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, as well as that of the other Orthodox Churches. The fact that the Church of Constantinople lifted the anathemas, without consulting the other Orthodox Churches means that she accepts the position that this is a matter which concerns Old and New Rome alone.
The first Geneva meeting in June 1977 of the preparatory Orthodox Committee was presented with a draft of a text for discussion which in outline was similar to a text prepared by the Latin side. After some introductory remarks, it dealt with the purpose, methodology, and topics of the dialogue. In addition to this common outline, the text of the Latin committee concluded with a section called important recommendations. This text of the Latin Committee was in perfect accord with Vatican II.
The Orthodox draft text had no reference to the decision of the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Conference that the criterion for this dialogue would be the restoration of communion based on the common faith of the undivided Church of the Seven Ecumenical Synods. Therefore, it was suggested that reference be made to this in the paragraph on the purpose of the dialogue. This motion was put into writing to be discussed and voted upon. A compromise was suggested that reference to the Ecumenical Synods should be omitted and considered covered by the phrase "based on the common life and common tradition of the ancient and undivided Church."
This was finally accepted. Subsequently a sub-committee of the Orthodox committee met in Rome with a sub-committee of the Latins in March 1978. Then the full Orthodox preparatory committee was invited to reconvene in Geneva, July 1978.
Before the distribution of the text with the proposed changes a member of the Orthodox sub-committee at the March meeting in Rome took the floor and announced a great success. The Latin sub-committee at the Rome meeting liked the Orthodox text so much that they proposed to drop theirs and to adopt the Orthodox one as a common text for both sides. As a prerequisite they asked for a few changes. As it turned out the most important change requested was that the term "undivided" be omitted from the purpose of the dialogue. Discussions were exciting, to say the least.
It was also pointed out that the Church of Greece was in the process of reviewing the whole question of common texts in the WCC. Therefore, the representatives of the Church of Greece had no authorization to compose or accept a common text which is a matter for the Church to decide. It was also pointed out that, for the Orthodox, faith and formulation of the faith in Synods are one identical reality. However, for the Latin tradition they are not and this was clearly stated in the original text of the Latin side [ 17 ] which repeats Vatican II. [ 18 ]
The representatives of the Church of Greece claimed that by omitting from the purpose of the dialogue the question of the Ecumenical Synods and/or the undivided Church and by accepting a common text on the purpose of the dialogue we would in reality be accepting both the distinctions just quoted and the decisions of Vatican II. Therefore, at least reference to the "undivided" Church must be retained.
The spokesman for the Church of Greece pointed out that the Latin members of the dialogue are bound by the decisions of Vatican II concerning unity, dialogue, intercommunion and Uniatism. It is clear, therefore, that our text by becoming their text agrees with the decisions of Vatican II except where differences are clearly stated. The Greek delegation participated in the alterations in order to make the text as Orthodox as possible.
In spite of the fact that at least one doctrinal weakness remained i.e., a distinction between Triadology and Pneumatology, the text was unanimously accepted as adequately Orthodox, i.e. if it were to be an Orthodox text alone and not a common text. The Greek delegation left the matter of whether the text would be common open for the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece to decide for herself.
At the first meeting of the Orthodox preparatory committee the question of which subject to begin with was extensively debated. One group wanted to begin with subjects like the mysteries (sacraments), which, it claimed, unite Eastern and Western Christians. This suggestion was also made by the Latins. Others preferred to begin with the subjects which divide us. The candidate subjects were reduced to mysteries and Ecclesiology. The Church of Greece supported Ecclesiology, but the mysteries won out.
My position is that the mysteries do not unite Eastern and Western Christians since their foundation is the distinction between the uncreated divine grace, in which one may participate, and the uncreated divine essence of the divine Hypostases, in which creatures do not and cannot participate. Moreover, the Church is manifested in and through the mysteries. Thus, by discussing the mysteries one should be discussing the doctrines of God, of the incarnation and of the Church unavoidably, unless of course one's theology is not Orthodox.
In July 1978 the preparatory committee finished its work with the open question on the common text, as far as the Church of Greece was concerned, and disbanded. Subsequently, the committee for dialogue was appointed. This committee for dialogue will meet for the first time on 29 May 1980 in Patmos and will coincide with the first joint meeting of the Orthodox and Latin commissions.
Meanwhile, Professor John Karmiris had tendered his resignation from the delegation of the Church of Greece. He gave as reasons inadequate preparation on the Orthodox side, disagreement over the subject to be initially discussed, and the unresolved problem of Uniatism.[ Return ]
Dialogue with the Anglican Communion had reached a state of maturity which one may be tempted to describe as the beginnings of mutual understanding, were it not for the question of the ordination of women and indications of Anglican policy decisions to steer the Orthodox to predetermined positions in concert with the member churches of the WCC, especially on the questions of the Filioque and intercommunion.
Another important factor is the apparent reticence of the Anglicans in dialogue due to a basic Anglican indifference to what an individual believes one way or another on any given doctrinal subject and also due to what seems to be a policy of letting the Orthodox talk themselves out of positions, arguments, and breath. The Anglicans literally reject nothing the Orthodox may present except exclusivity.
Anglican comprehensiveness is by far the main reason why the Orthodox have a moral and scientific obligation to continuously review the feasibility of this dialogue. Most Orthodox seem not yet to have fully grasped the fact that Anglicans, like Protestants generally, do not accept something as correct in actuality simply because it is to be found in the Bible. The same is even more so for the Ecumenical Synods and the Fathers. They may thus agree that an Orthodox description of an historical doctrinal formulation is correct, but this does not necessarily mean either obligatory exclusion of other formulations or obligatory acceptance. It is in the light of such distinctions that the agreement on the Filioque should be viewed.
The Anglican members of the sub-commission on the Filioque agreed that the term procession in the Creed was equivalent to and parallel with the term generation and identical to the original patristic notion that like the Son, the Holy Spirit has His origin from the Father, but not by generation. `Procession,' therefore, in the Creed means manner of existence which is not that of the Son's generation. The term `procession' was preferred by the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Synod (381) over the term `not by generation' for literary and not theological reasons.
Problems arose, however, because the term `procession' was already being used in Latin to signify mission or action. Augustine is the first to identify procession as mission with the Holy Spirit's manner of existence. This identity was elevated by the Franks into a dogma. The Anglican chairman of the sub-commission on the Filioque is now Archbishop of Canterbury at whose enthronement on March 25 the Creed was both printed and recited without the Filioque. All Anglican members of this sub-commission and all but three Anglican members of the full commission agreed that the Orthodox were correct doctrinally also, as far as the Eastern tradition and its descriptive analysis are concerned. However, Anglican inclination is strong that this does not exclude the legitimacy and value of the whole Filioque tradition in the West. It is now clear, though, that Anglicans are working in concert with the WCC to get the Filioque removed from the Creed on the one hand and to reduce the whole question to the level of a so-called theologoumenon, or as they understand the term, permissible opinion.
Regarding this point the Orthodox mentioned that there is an Orthodox Filioque in the West wherein procession has two meanings as explained by Maximus the Confessor and Anastasius the Librarian and repeated by St. Gregory Palamas and the Orthodox at Florence. When procession means manner of existence, the Holy Spirit has only the Father as cause, and when it means mission then procession is a common and identical energy of the Holy Trinity. The whole question resolves itself into the axiom that what is common is common to the three Persons, and what is individual or hypostatic or personal property is incommunicable and belongs to one Person alone. This position, which was the basis of the Roman papacy's participation in the condemnation of the Filioque as heresy at the Photian Synod of 879, can hardly be considered a theologoumenon.[ 19 ]
Since the Moscow meeting left the Filioque question open from the doctrinal viewpoint, some Orthodox felt that the question should continue to occupy the sub-commission responsible for it. Nonetheless, it was omitted from the subsequent Cambridge agenda prepared at Moscow, as well as the future Cardiff agenda also prepared at Cambridge. The reason has now become clear. During the discussions the Anglicans repeatedly expressed their desire to act in concert with the other churches belonging to the medieval Filioque tradition. The Anglicans had been waiting for the WCC to complete its work on the Filioque. This is why the Filioque and the doctrine of the Trinity are being re-introduced into the discussions, and indeed in a peculiar manner.
At the Steering Committee meeting in July 1979, it was accepted as a matter of course that the agenda decided upon at Cambridge would be that of the meeting of the subcommissions at Cardiff in July 1980. However, at a staff meeting held in September 1979 it was decided to drop the agenda for the third sub-commission and replace it with "The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity in East and West." This third sub-commission had not been responsible before for the Filioque question, which was handled by the second subcommission originally appointed at Oxford to deal with issues of doctrine and history of doctrine and their application. Although this meeting called itself a `Staff Meeting,' it surpassed the Steering Committee in its exercise of executive functions. The duty of the Steering Committee was simply to execute and implement the agenda and study paper decisions of the full commissions.
The WCC studies on the Filioque seem to be the key to these moves.[ 20 ] The historical section of these W.C.C papers contains two chapters, one by an Orthodox who reviews the procession of the Holy Spirit in certain of the so-called Greek Fathers, and a second one by a Protestant who deals with the Filioque controversy. The Fathers of the Church who wrote in Latin are lumped into a so-called Western Trinitarian tradition so that part of the medieval Frankish myth is perpetuated that the Latin tradition is by nature that of the Filioque. However, the other part of this same Frankish myth, whereby it used to be claimed that even the Eastern Fathers were by nature also members of the Filioque tradition until supposedly betrayed by the Photian party, is partly discarded.
The WCC's general position is that both the medieval East and West went to extremes in elevating a speculative question, whose both sides are valuable and complementary, to the level of exaggerated dogmas. This line is clearly followed in a two-page paper prepared for the Anglican Consultative Council and "offered to the Churches of the Anglican Communion to assist them in presenting the theological issues to their appropriate Synodical bodies..." [ 21 ]
It is evidently hoped that the Orthodox will be so pleased with the removal of the Filioque from the Creed that they will refrain from labeling it as a heresy and accept is as a theologoumenon as some Orthodox have evidently already done, at least according to the impression created by the WCC report "The Filioque Clause in Ecumenical Perspective." The cited paper claims that "Eastern Churchmen . . . opposed its introduction into the Creed and its being raised thereby in status from a theologoumenon (a permissible opinion) into a dogma. However, their opposition was based primarily on the embargo on further additions to the Creed contained in the seventh canon of the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD" [ 22 ] This is correct so far as the question of addition is concerned, but not so far as doctrine is concerned.
Both Anglicans and Protestants have nothing to lose and much to gain from demoting the Filioque from a dogma to a theologoumenon since their acceptance of Ecumenical Synods barely reaches as far as the Fourth. With one shot they take care of both the Orthodox and the Latins.
The WCC report presents St. Maximus the Confessor as a reconciler of the two supposedly variant Trinitarian traditions of East and West. This is simply not true. What St. Maximus clearly explains is that the doctrine is the same, the only difference being in the use of the term procession since in Latin it has the two meanings mentioned- In any case, nowhere does Photius, or any of the Fathers of the Synod of 879 claim that the Filioque is a heresy as a dogma, but Orthodox as a theologoumenon. St. Cyril of Alexandria did not respond to the accusations of Theodoretus of Cyrus by claiming that the Filioque is a theologoumenon. He simply pointed out that he was being misinterpreted.
The Orthodox in the Ecumenical Movement and in dialogue are evidently about to go through a period during which their resolve in claiming exclusivity for their tradition will be tested severely, especially on the question of intercommunion wherein Anglicans, Protestants, Latin Catholics and Non-Chalcedonians have effectively isolated the Orthodox. The question is included in the Anglican-Orthodox Cardiff meeting of sub-commission one as part of the topic "The Church and the Churches." Plans are to take the subject to the next full commission meeting.
For years the same things are said over and over again. One wonders what and whose purpose is being served by continuing this discussion about intercommunion. The Anglicans and the WCC will remove the Filioque from the Creed. No matter how the Orthodox and Latin Catholics view the dogmatical aspects of the Filioque, the Anglicans and the WCC seem to be determined to follow the course contained in a declaration suggested to the Anglican Churches which begins as follows: "We recognize both traditions of Trinitarian theology, Western and Eastern, as valuable in themselves and as bringing out complementary aspects of the truth . . ." [ 23 ] Given this fixation of Anglican and WCC policy, what is the purpose of continuing dialogue about the Filioque under the guise of the doctrine of the Trinity?
A protracted discussion on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, like the discussion on intercommunion, can have only one primary purpose, i.e., to bring the Orthodox down from their doctrinal pedestals and into the comprehensiveness characteristic of Anglicans and the Protestants of the WCC and in some ways of the Latin Catholics also. Strategy is indeed an exhilarating science whether applied to military tactics, diplomacy, business, economics, sports, human relations, advertising, medical therapy, warfare against the devil, or games like chess and ecumenical dialogue. Strategy is to devise a plan whose careful execution may bring about an advantage either for one's own good or that of another or even for the one intended to be duped by the stratagem.
We have pointed to some strong and some not so strong indications that special strategies have been devised for the benefit of the Orthodox Church from the viewpoint of the WCC, Anglicanism, and Latin Catholicism. One sometimes sees signs of strategy in the actions of Orthodox Churches in dialogue. In other cases, however, the impression is one not only of lack of strategy, but even of simple policy except of course for the usual repetition of traditional phrases. It is hoped that the few selected points discussed in this talk may become the occasion of establishing a tradition of continuing theological consultation on dialogue to help our Churches formulate the strategies required for the good of the WCC and those participating in the dialogue.
E N D
[ Return ]
A bit more about the Filioque.
Since we finished the foregoing lecture on the topic of the Filioque we will return to this question briefly. The WCC sponsered Study on the Filioque "Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ" was published in 1981. My lecture chapter 3, "The Filioque" in my book "Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine" was published the same year in 1981 and had been the Orthodox position paper for the Orthodox-Anglican dialogue about the Filioque at the subcommission meeting in St. Albans, England in 1975 and for the plenary commission meeting in Moscow 1976. However, this same study had been published in "Kleronomia," Thessaloniki, volume 7 (1975), 285-34 and reprined in Athens for wider circulation in 1978. But the bulk of the historical and Patristic material on the Filioque, both in the Latin and Greek speaking Roman traditions, had been in print since 1973 in my University Letures, "The Dogmantic and Symbolic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church" which is now available in Greek on web site http://www.romanity.org. There the Patristic material about the West Roman Orthodox Filioque is clearly laid out.
It would seem that the two Greek theologians, Nickos Nissiotis, who organised these meetings of the WCC at the request of Bishop Robert Runcie, and Markos Orphanos should have both studied this material which had been available in Greek since 1973. Those who purport to be specialists should have known that there is an Orthodox Filioque tradition among the Latin speaking West Romans which the Franks added to the Creed of 381 by an igorant mistake. In this Creed 'procession' means hypostatic individuality and not "communion of essence" as in the West Roman Filioque. This I had explained and written clearly for the Anglicans and they deliberately ignored it.
Besides, Donald Allchin, the Anglican member of this WCC project about the Filioque, was a member of the Orthodox-Anglican dialogue from its very inception. Evidently he kept silent about the West Roman Orthodox Filioque at these WCC meetings in order to help produce whatever it was that the Anglicans needed.
I was in England ready to go to the Orthodox-Anglican meeting in Dublin, August 1984, but at the last minute I decided against going in order to avoid lending my name to this meeting. Some of the Patristic materials on the West Roman Orthodox Filioque I had been dealing with in this dialogue were used at Dublin, but in a purposeless way simply because the Anglicans do not want an Orthodox Filioque in the West. Whether they like it or not it exists. Neither they nor sloganeering Orthodox can do anything about it.
This West Roman Orthodox Filioque is not a theologoumenon, but Orthodox Dogma. In this Filioque of the West Roman Orthodox 'procession' simply means that the Holy Spirit has or recieves his essence from the Father 'as source' and 'with the Son' Who has His generation also from the same source. But this Filioque cannot be added to the Creed of the Second Ecumenical Council of 381 because there 'procession' means "only" the manner of existence of the Holy Spirit from the Father and is "only" parallel to the generation of the Son from the Father.
Why are the Anglicans acting in this non academic way? I came to the conclusion that the Anglicans must have felt the need of a theologoumenon Filioque as supported by some Orthodox. Such a position would help the Anglicans transfer the Filioque out of the sphere of dogma into the sphere of theologoumena so that their Franco-Latin forefathers could be accepted by the Orthodox as Orthodox. If someone has a better explantion I would appeciate hearing it.
Listen! Listen! Listen!
"The Father derives his being from himself…"
In my study on the Filioque I happen to mention how St. Basil ridicules Eunomius' wordiness since he claims the obvious truth that God is not the cause of Himself. But the WCC's book "Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ," Part I Memoradum, page 12, states in sharp contrast to both Basil and Eunomius that, " On account of his own hypostatic property, the Father derives his being from himself…." Eunomius the heretic would have certainly condemned this position in full agreement with Basil the Orthodox. Even Augustine states that "…there is nothing whatsoever that generates its own existence (De Tinitate, I, 1)."
All members of this WCC Consultation on the Filioque were Trinitarian "specialists" and all agreed on this text?
The Constitution of the WCC.
On various occasions the Church of Greece has been pushing for changes in the Constitution of the World Council of Churches in order to change its practice of proposing those members "they" liked to committees for reasons known to itself and then asking the Synod for approval. An example of how the Orthodox are dictated to by Protestant majority rule can be clearly seen by the crude examples we had at the General Assembly in Nairobi (1975). In three cases an individual Protestant made a motion from the floor to replace an Orthodox candidate for Central Committee who had been proposed by his own Orthodox Church to be replaced by another member of this Orthodox Church's delegation to be voted upon by the vast Protestant majority. They did this in the case of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Russia and the Church of Greece. The session turned out to be quite hectic indeed. For example the Metropolitan of Constantinople chairing the meeting shouted that there are "gangsters" in the hall.
Such problems finally led to a special meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, during May 23-31, 1981 between the Orthodox Churches and the General Secretary of the WCC, the Rev. Philip Potter, assisted by some members of the staff and the permanent representative of the Ecumenical Partiarchate who presided. The two representatives of Constantinople, one a member of the WCC staff and the Presiding Metropolitan, did not take any position one way or another
After preliminaries the main discussion began with this writer reading the demands of the Church of Greece for changes in the Consitution. (see THE SOFIA CONSULTATION, Orthodox Involvement in the WCC, edited by Todor Sabev, Geneva 1981, pages 100-101.) Immediately after this reading the General Secretary reacted by explaining that the WCC could not function within such a context. However, all representatives of the Orthodox Churches present commented in turn and agreed with this statement of the Church of Greece. Rev. Potter was evidently prepared and reacted by proposing that since all the Orthodox Churches agree, one does not have to change the Constitution. "We will accept the names proposed by the Orthodox Churches themselves without making proposals."
Albert Laham, a lawyer representing the Patriarchate of Antioch and sitting opposite me, indicated by sign language that we should go for the change in the Constitution. I turned to my Metropolitan representing the Church of Greece with me and said to him "Of course we will go for the change in the Constitution!" Instead of discussing the matter with me, he blurted out loud in English that "since a great man like Mr. Potter guarantees that our choices will be respected, why should we put everyone to the trouble of changing the Constitution?"
Up until that point in the meeting I had been translating whatever he said from Greek into English. In other words he had prepared and memorized the text of his little speech. We were told later that he had made an application for a grant from the WCC to build a project in his Diocese.
The Synod of the Church of Greece sent 'only' two names of specialist, one in Dogmatics and one in History of Dogma, for membership in Faith and Order in order not to allow the Protestants to choose anyone else. The Metropolitan in question was chairman of the Synod's committee on external affairs which included the WCC and other dialogues. So he added three more names for Faith and Order by means of a rouse without the 'real' permission of the Synod, one specialist in history of doctrine, one in Church History and one in Liturgics. Of course those responsible chose Liturgics for the Standing Commission which does the heavy work and meets quite often, and Church History for the plenary which meets not so often. They obviouly avoided the one specialist in dogma, evidently for being a student of Father Florovsky, and also avoided the two specialists in history of doctrine reputed for their conservative positions.
A Letter of Protest Never Answered
We move to 1990. The following is a letter of protest sent to the General Secretary of the WCC by the Metropolitan of Corinth who in the mean time had become the Chairman of the committee of the Church of Greece on external relations which oversees dialogues and cooperations with non Orthodox Churches. Explanations follow the text of the letter.
"Dr. Emilio Castro
World Council of Churches
150 Route de Ferney
1211 Geneva 2
15 November 1990
Dear Dr. Castro,
The delegates of the Church of Greece are in receipt of the publications you sent in regard to the Assembly Theme "Come Holy Spirit - Renew the Whole Creation." Thank you kindly.
Please allow me to bring to your attention the following:
A) Ref.: the texts "Let The Spirit Speak To The Churches" and "Energy for Life:"
1) The first text speaks about the whole Church making "its own the Orthodox understanding of the Spirit as the uncreated energy of God" (p. 2) and the second seems to be promoting the same by equating "Come Holy Spirit" with "Come Holy Energy" (p. viii).
2) That the Holy Spirit is the uncreated energy of God is a heresy which was condemned by the Second Ecumenical Council and constitutes the basis of the Latin Filioque. The Holy Spirit acts with an identical energy with the Father and the Son but is not an energy of them.
3) The biblical terms for the uncreated energy of the Holy Trinity are primarily DOXA and VASILEIA, but also called by other such names as AGAPI, DIKAIOSYNI, CHARIS, ZOI, FOS, GNOFOS, NEFELI and even PYR AIONION and SKOTOS EXOTERON. These are what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have by nature in common and are identically one in Them, but not identical with One of Them. VASILEIA is an uncreated energy erroneously called kingdom instead of rule or reign by those who have not tasted of glorification which is to see Christ in his uncreated VASILEIA/DOXA (Lk. 9:27-32).
B) Ref.: the text "RESOURCES FOR SECTIONS, the theme, sub-themes and issues:"
1) Except for a few vague phrases Prof. John Romanides' contribution at Baar 2-6 October 1989 on the sub-theme "Spirit of Truth - Set us Free," which had been incorporated into the text approved by Central Committee, has been removed. Also we find no sign of his text for which approval had been asked for and given by the Central Committee among other materials requested in Doc. No. 15B APP, Geneva 25-30 March 1990, p. 2.
2) The text in question on illumination and glorification is a concise summary of a collection of Patristic writings on how one becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit and member of the Body of Christ by the gift of unceasing prayer in the heart as distinct from prayers of the intellect. I edited this Patristic collection in five volumes called Philokalia, Athens 1957-1963. This prayer of one's spirit in the heart which is transferred there from the intellect by the Holy Spirit is the Orthodox Church's "only" spirituality. Spirituality which does not lead to the cure of illumination and glorification leaves one captive to the malady of satisfaction-seeking selfish love and leads to moralism and the pride of works and therefore to captivity to the devil.
3) Prof. Romanides' contribution to this tradition has been his demonstration that the Fathers are correct when they find it in the Bible itself as clearly explained by St. Paul. Therefore it does not make its appearance in later centuries as claimed by some. This also explains why authority belongs only to those who have reached glorification whereas teaching and interpretation of scripture may be engaged in by those who have at least reached illumination but under the guidance of the glorified, i.e. apostles and prophets and those Fathers who have also reached glorification.
5) This tradition is not the result of meditation or pious speculation but a reality based both on the biological structure of humans and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The prayer in the heart is real and produces the biological phenomenon of Holy Relics. One cannot say and hear the words Lord Jesus in the heart except in the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1ff). Anyone can say this with his brain and his own tongue.
6) The disappearance of the Romanides text leaves us at a disadvantage since we were counting on basing our contribution at Canberra on it.
C) The materials we have received begin and end on the circle of meditation about God and the transformation of plans into action without a clear intermediary stage of the cure of the center of the human personality. There is much talk about inner transformation but nothing about what the Bible and the Fathers teach about how it is accomplished. The Patristic focus on the diagnosis that the happiness-seeking sickness of humanity is the source of social and personal ills and that its cure is purification, illumination and glorification is not developed.
D) Many of our leaders who do not take the WCC seriously were impressed at the fact that Protestants had accepted Prof. Romanides' contribution at Baar and so began re-evaluating their positions. The disappearance of the text is producing a "what did you expect" attitude.
E) The Orthodox are presented as having a spirituality worthy of admiration and praise. Yet the heart and core of this spirituality's cure of the sickness of happiness seeking love by its transformation into selfless love is not clear. The key Pauline passages are neither explained nor mentioned. In the light of the fact that the world is being torn apart by the sickness of happiness-seeking selfishness it would seem that the Biblical therapy which produces prophets is that which is vital for survival.
I am enclosing Prof. Romanides' study on Church Synods which had been presented to the Lutheran/Orthodox Sub Commission meeting in Paris 27/6 - 1/7 1990 and which will be discussed in plenary May 1991. All the elements of his Baar text are contained therein within their wider historical context of spirituality as cure and perfection, unity, doctrine, apostolic succession, Church State relations and social impact of illumination and glorification. This is an official position paper of the Church of Greece which we would also like to submit as such for the Canberra Assembly as having an immediate bearing on the Assembly Theme in general and specifically on Sub-themes 2, 3 and 4. Having our text before the assembly would greatly facilitate our active participation in a way consistent with our glorified specialists in Biblical spirituality.
We would appreciate it if you could make the proper arrangements for its distribution and inclusion among study and discussion materials. Since the core of the text is that of Baar which was accepted by Central Committee as part of Doc. No. 15B APP, Geneva 25-30 March 1990, p.2 this should present no problem.
Thanking you in advance for your favorable action on our request I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
P A N T E L E I M O N,
Metropolitan of Corinth,
We repeat: THIS LETTER WAS NEVER ANSWERED
Some observations about the background of this letter of protest to Dr. Castro.
I had been invited at the last minute by Dr. Castro to the meeting of some 30 specialists who were to meet in Baar, Switzerland 2-6 October 1989 to prepare study papers for the forthcoming General Assembly of the WCC at Canberra, Australia. By telex I had sent a Patristic interpretation of 1 Cor. 12-15:11 which demonstrates the relationship between this Biblical cure of the human personality and its social implications. The reader can study this Pauline text in my study "Church Synods and Civilization" at http://www.romanity.org I worked together with Julio Santa Anna and N. Barney Pityana, Director of the Program to Combat Racism, and with Emilio Castro himself attending from time to time. After general discussion in plenary the text was accepted together with other texts prepared by other groups. Then this text, together with all other texts prepared at Baar, was presented for acceptance to the Central Committee meeting Moscow as contained in Doc. No. 12B APP, Geneva 25-30 1990.
Before these texts were approved by Central Committee they were discussed by the Unit Committees. The text in question belonged to Unit I item 2. We had finished item 1 and just as we were getting ready to discuss our item 2 the Moderator of Unit I, His Lordship the Archbishop of York Sir John Hapegood exclaimed, "who ever heard that Happiness is not the destiny of man?" At that moment the bell rang for coffee.
During the coffee break some of us prepared ourselves to answer his Lordship's question. But being the Moderator of Unit I Archbishop Hapegood went to the next item without raising the subject of happiness again. So the text remained as is and went to the Central Committee for its final discussion by the Central Committee plenary and was voted upon and approved.
In spite of this procedure the text in question was not printed with all the other texts approved by Central Committee. But what happened between the approval of this text by Central Committee and its disappearance from among the texts voted on and approved? The answer seems to be quite simple. The real leaders of the WCC were not about to abandon Augustine's Dialogue "Beata Vita-The Happy Life" in favor of "Biblical purification and illumination of the heart and glorification."
It seems clear that the "vote" of the Central Committee was deliberately ignored.
In order to cover themselves the rulers of the WCC appointed Father Gennadios Limouris, a staff member of Unit I, to edit a volume entitled "Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, Insights from Orthodoxy" (1990 WCC publications). The articles therein published are on the whole very well done from the viewpoint of current or modern Orthodox Biblical and Ethical approaches to the questions involved. However, the mysteries of the human personality involved in a correct approach to this topic are not at all Biblical, Ethical or Doctrinal, as understood by modern Orthodoxy. In this field the latter is not much different from that of other Churches.
The facts that I was not aware that this volume was being prepared and that I was not asked to make a contribution, seem to indicate that my approach was deliberately avoided, even as one of the Orthodox approaches.
The real problem is that religion itself is part of the sickness which must be cured. And this the WCC does not have the stomach to face up to.
The interpretation of St. Paul in question is not only that of the Fathers, but also of the OT Hasidim Tradition, as pointed out to us Orthodox during a dialogue we had with Jewish Theologians in Bucharest in October 1979.
Religion, together with all fantasies, stems from a neurological sickness caused by a short circuit between the nervous system centered in the brain, on the one hand, and the blood system centered in the heart, on the other hand. This short circuit is repaired by receiving the gift of unceasing prayer in the heart distinct from prayer by means of the brain from time to time. "What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also. 1 Cor. 14: 15." It is this unceasing prayer of the spirit in the heart which keeps the short circuit in question repaired. The loss of this unceasing payer in the heart allows the short circuit to reestablish itself opening one to become more a slave of the devil than before because they are faced with the temptation of believing that they have been chosen once and for all.
What is of interest is the fact that this prayer is an neurobiological cure of a concrete sickness and has nothing to do with either contemplation or any kind of mysticism, Platonic or otherwise, nor with magical understandings of sacraments. To take communion of the body and blood of Christ during the Eucharist is indeed a reality, but it is the communicant who is either being benefited or not. The One Who Himself cures is None Other than Yaweh Himself Who glorifies the Patriarchs, prophets, apostles and saints both before His Incarnation and now during His Incarnation within His Body the Church by means of his uncreated "glory" and "rule."
Dialogue with the Lutherans progressed quite well as we discussed various subjects arriving at some real agreements. These agreements were in the process of being rounded out while dealing with Ecumenical Councils within the context of the subject ''Church Synods."
At the VIth Meeting of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission 31/5-8/6/1991 Moscow, USSR we discussed among other items my paper 'Church Synods' which is now incorporated into my study 'Church Synods and Civilization' on web site http://www.romanity.org
My partner at that time in this dialogue was Metropolitan Athenagoras of Phokidos. I read my paper "Church Synods" and the discussion about it ensued. When the discussion terminated Metropolitan Athenagoras asked for the floor. He looked at each Lutheran straight in the eye and asked whether he/she agrees with my paper Church Synods. All answered affirmatively and only one answered yes, but with one reservation. Professor of NT Gerhard Krodler answered yes, but expressed his belief that St. Paul's "speaking in tongues" is not that described in my paper, but the practice now current in some Churches. I answered that this puts the Orthodox in a difficult position since this was the practice of the xenophonia (babbling) practiced by the ancient Monanists which was condemned by the ancient Orthodox Church as heresy.
Among the further topics to be discussed was that of Soteriology which I added to "Church Synods," which became "Church Synods and Civilization", to which section j) became "The Lord of Glory and the Ecumenical Councils", with the old j) becoming k) and the old k) becoming l).
For our subsequent meeting on Soteriology I pointed out in my paper that the Latin Church formally accepts all Seven Ecumenical Councils but in reality accepts not one of them. This is so because the Franco-Latin Papacy which came into existence between 1009 and 1046 began its career accepting the ancient Ecumenical Councils within Augustine's understanding of the appearances of the Logos to the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets and not that of Ambrose and the other Latin speaking Fathers of the West. According to Augustine the Angel of Great Council who appeared to the prophets of the Old Testament was not the uncreated Logos himself, but a creature which God brought into existence to be seen and heard and which He passed back into non-existence when Its mission was accomplished. (See Augustine's De Trinitate, Books A and B.)
Up to this point the Lutherans believed that they had accepted the Seven Ecumenical Councils like the Vatican had been doing for so many centuries. It is quite interesting that the Orthodox-Lutheran Preparatory Committee, which met 9-11 October 1997, in Princeton, New Jersey, USA seems to have dropped the question which I have been raising about the appearances of the Logos to the prophets of the Old Testament and chose instead Grace, Justification and Synergy which we have already covered in detail. Synergy is part of both Grace and Justification.
The real problem is that Orthodox specialists in Dogmatics and History of Doctrine have been taking their materials especially from Latin specialists or sometimes probably from Protestants also. Both Latin and Protestant Dogmatics and Histories of Doctrine follow the Augustinian subject matter tradition. But the very fact that St. Paul calls Christ the Logos "the Lord (Yahweh) of Glory" (1 Cor. 2:8) of the Old Testament must mean something which must be studied. In this regard especially Augustine deviated from Ambrose and therefore from all Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils.
We quote section "j)" of "Church Synods and Civilization" for information and to indicate that it is impossible to have an agreement on the Ecumenical Councils which is not based on the Ecumenical Councils themselves. Augustine is in total darkness about the very foundations of the theology of the Ecumenical Councils. Even his doctrine about original sin (Rom. 5;12) was condemned by the Council of Orange in 529, as we point out elsewhere on the web site http://www.romanity.org.
The Lord of Glory and the Ecumenical Councils [ 24 ].
By Scriptures both Christ and the Apostles meant the Old Testament to which the New Testament was added. The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke were edited to serve as pre-baptismal guides during the stages of the purification and the illumination of the inner person in the heart. That Christ is the same Lord of Glory Who revealed Himself to his O. T. Prophets became manifest at His baptism and transfiguration wherein He showed the glory and rule (VASILEIA) of His Father as His own by nature. The Gospel of John was edited for the purpose of continuing one's advance within illumination (John 13:31-16) and press on to glorification (John 17) by which one fully sees the glorification of the Lord of Glory in His Father and the latter in His Son (John 13:31, 18-21). This was the reason why John was called the "spiritual Gospel" [ 25 ].
Those being thus initiated into the Body of Christ did not learn about the incarnation, baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Pentecostal return of the Lord of Glory in His Spirit's uncreated tongues of fire to become the head of His Body, the Church, by simply studying texts of the Bible. They studied the Bible as an integral part of the process of having their hearts purified, illumined and readied for glorification, in the same Lord of Glory, Who had glorified His Old Testament Prophets, but now in His human nature born from the Virgin Mary.
It was within this context that the ancient Church identified Christ with the Lord, Angel and Wisdom by Whom God created the world and glorified His friends, the prophets, and by Whom He delivered Israel from bondage and guided her to the time when He Himself became flesh to put an end to the rule of death over His (O. T.) Church (Matt. 16:18). In spite of their glorification the O. T. Prophets died. But now "if one keeps my word, one will never see death" (John 8:52-53). There is now a first resurrection of the inner person (Rev. 20:5) and a second resurrection of the body (Rev. 20:6) and there is also a second death of the body (Rev. 20:14).
Even such heretics as the Arians and Eunomians, condemned by the First and Second Ecumenical Councils [ 26 ], took this identity of Christ with the Old Testament Lord of Glory for granted. However, they claimed that this Angel of Glory was the first creation of God's will from non-being before both time and the ages and not co-eternal with the Father. They used the visibility of the Angel of Glory to the Prophets as proof of His created nature in a way somewhat similar to those Gnostics who identified this Old Testament Angel with their lesser creator god of this supposed evil world and who duped Israel.
The Arians and Eunomians either ignored or rejected the fact that by glorification one becomes god by grace (THEOSIS) and that one therefore sees the uncreated glory and rule (VASILEIA) of God in Christ by means of God Himself. At stake was the fact that God Himself reveals Himself to His glorified friends and not by means of a creature, with the sole exception of the created nature of His Son. Yet the grace and rule (VASILEIA) of illumination and glory which Christ communicates to His Body the Church is uncreated. The Franco-Latin doctrine that communicated grace is created has no place in the tradition of the Ecumenical Councils.
The reason why the above aspects of the Ecumenical Councils play no role in the Latin and Protestant histories of doctrine is the fact that Augustine deviated sharply from Ambrose and the Fathers in his understanding of the appearances of the Logos to the O. T. prophets [ 27 ]. His misunderstandings became the core of the Franco-Latin tradition. The Protestant and Latin histories of doctrine, which are aware of Augustine's deviation from this ancient identification of Christ with this Angel of Glory, assume that it was dropped from the tradition because of its usage by the Arians. However this tradition was preserved intact within the Churches of the Roman Empire and continues to be the heart of the Orthodox tradition. This is the sole context for the Trinitarian and Christological terms: Three substances, one essence and the homoousion of the Logos with the Father and us. They were and remain meaningless in the Augustinian context.
Augustine had mistakenly believed that it was only the Arians who identified the Logos with this O. T. Angel of Glory. He was not aware that both Ambrose, the bishop he claims to have opened his Manichaean mind to the Old Testament and baptized him, and all other Fathers did the same. The Arians and Eunomians had argued that proof that the Logos was created was that He was by nature visible to the Prophets, whereas the Father alone was invisible. Augustine had not understood the Biblical experiences of illumination and glorification, which he had confounded with Neo-Platonic illumination and ecstasy. He relegated glorification to life after death and identified it with the vision of the divine substance which supposedly satisfies man's desire for absolute happiness. His utilitarian understanding of love made it impossible for him to understand the selfless love of glorification in this life. In this regard he did not differ from the Arians he was attacking.
Within the above Neo-Platonic presuppositions Augustine solved the problem at hand with the following explanation: the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, being equally invisible, supposedly reveal themselves and their messages to the prophets by means of various creatures which they bring into existence to be seen and heard and which they then cause to pass out of existence, such as the glory, cloud, fire, burning bush, etc. God permanently became visible in the human nature of His Son by Whom He communicates messages and concepts. Yet He supposedly also continues to reveal visions and messages by created means which He passes into and out of existence as needed, such as the bird at the baptism of Christ, the tongues of fire of Pentecost, the glory /light /rule (VASILEIA) of God revealed at the transfiguration, the cloud /glory on which Christ went to heaven, the voice of the Father by which He announced His pleasure in His Son, the fire of hell, etc.
These verbal symbols by which the Old and New Testament writers expressed experiences of illumination and glorification were thus reduced to temporary objects and unbelievable miracles.[ 28 ] This became the Franco-Latin tradition to which both Latins and Protestants still basically adhere to.
One of the most remarkable side effects of such misunderstandings is the use of the word "kingdom" which saturates translations of the New Testament and which never once appears in the Greek original. The Greek term "VASILEIA of God" designates the uncreated rule of God and not the created Kingdom ruled by God.
The WCC Christology meeting at Rhodes, Greece 4-10/1/1988
The real title of this consultation is much longer. Our interest here is about the failure of the participants in this meeting to understand the difference between one's personal belief and descriptive analysis of historical events which created the Creeds and the Horoi of Ecumenical Councils. I insisted that we can not inject our personal doctrinal beliefs into historical events. The Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils believed what I just described about the Lord of Glory. The reaction was, but this is not what we believe. I explained that it is necessary to separate one's belief from what one is describing. Finally the participants reacted by asking that "in other words by accepting your description we are not obliged to believe in your description." "Of course not," I responded. So I produced quotations from the Fathers which identify Christ with the Angel of the Lord Who appeared to Moses in the burning etc. So they finally accepted that one should take such items into account. So it was decided to do this. Minutes were drawn up and accepted to be forwarded to those responsible. Of course nothing was ever done.
It seems that the Orthodox must get their act together. The only way that this can be done is by returning to Biblical Basics as follows:
The Five Keys to the Bible:
What is missing in the work of such Biblical scholars and especially of those who work within and under the weight of the Franco-Latin Augustinian tradition, are the following five keys:
1) That the very core of the Biblical tradition is that religion is a specific sickness with a specific cure. This is what the claim "there is no God except Yahweh" means. Not knowing this fundamental first key one cannot know the second key:
2) That there is a clear distinction between Biblical terms which denote that which is "uncreated" and that which is "created." Not knowing this context one cannot know the third key to Biblical terms:
3) That "it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him. [ 29 ]" In other words there is no similarity whatsoever "between the created and the uncreated." Anyone who thinks that Biblical expressions convey concepts about God is sadly mistaken. When used correctly Biblical words and concepts lead one to purification and illumination of the heart which lead to glorification but are not themselves glorification. An integral and essential part of knowing these foregoing three keys is the fourth key:
4) That the cure of the sickness of religion involves at all stages "the transformation of selfish happiness seeking love" into "the selfless love of one's own crucifixion which is glorification." This glorification, therefore, is not only that of the Lord of Glory Incarnate, "but also that of all prophets and apostles (sent ones) before and after the Incarnation of the Lord of Glory. [ 30 ]" These four keys become the fifth contextual key of cure.
5) That "the expressions about God in the Bible are not intended to convey concepts about God. They act only as means to guide one to the purification and illumination of the heart and finally to glorification by the Pre-Incarnate and Incarnate Lord (Yaweh) of Glory which is to see Him by means of His uncreated glory or rule" and "not by means of ephemeral created symbols and concepts about Him" as is the case in the Augustinian tradition.
In John 17 Christ prays for the cure of the glorification of His disciples and their disciples, not for divided Churches, indeed not for traditions which have not the slightest idea of what the cure of glorification is.
Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware
When I went to Greece in 1953 to submit my doctoral thesis at the University of Athens I met Philip Sherrard and we became friends. I became his godfather at his baptism etc. However, when my Doctoral thesis was printed in 1957 he reacted strongly by challenging my claim that the Fathers of the Church reject both analogia entis and analogia fidei.
The key to such objections can be seen in Vladimir Losky's book, "The Mystical Theology of the Orthodox Church." But there is no "Mystical Theology" in the Orthodox Church. Dionysius the Areopagite does not have a chapter on "Mystical Theology," but on "Secret Theology." He calls it by the latter name because in the experience of glorification one sees by his own experience that there is no similarity whatsoever between the uncreated glory of God and creation and for this reason it cannot be described. St. Gregory the Theologian says clearly that "It is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him." The problem derives from the fact that the Franco-Latins understood Diosysius, as well as all the Orthodox Fathers of the Church, within the context of Augustine's doctrine of divine archetypes and the spirituality this entails. But spirituality based on mysticism is demonic.
In his book, "The Orthodox Church," Kallistos Ware seems to be unaware of this difference between heretical "Mystical Theology" and Orthodox "Secret Theology." This becomes clear from a letter he wrote to a Dominican who was in the process of becoming Orthodox: that he should not abandon Thomas Aquinas who had become popular in certain circles of Constantinople before her fall. In other words he should remain faithful to analogia entis and analogia fidei.
Some Keys to the dialogue with the so-called Monophysites were the proofs that this writer had produced in his two studies to be found on web site http://www.romanity.org "HIGHLIGHTES IN THE DEBATE OVER THEODORE OF MOPSUETIA'S CHRISTOLOGY AND SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR A FRESH APPROACH" and "ST. CYRIL'S 'ONE PHYSIS OR HYPOSTASIS OF GOD THE LOGOS INCARNATE' AND CHALCEDON:" i.e. that the 'Tome' of Pope Leo of Rome was initially rejected by some 50 bishops but finally accepted by them having become a committee which after careful study came to the conclusion that Leo indeed agreed with Cyril. So the Fourth Ecumenical Council accepted Leo's Tome only in so far that it agreed with the two Synodical Letters of St. Cyril against Nestorius and especially with the Twelfth Anathema against those who do not accept the fact that "The Logos suffered in the flesh." In other words that the "Logos suffered in the flesh" was in deed the position of Leo.
Neo-Chalcedonianism is a position which was concocted by Latin theologians who support the exact opposite as the position of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. Supposedly, in the light of this Latin concoction, Emperor Justinian convoked the Fifth Ecumenical Council in order re-introduce a purely Cyrilian basis to Christology founded on the teaching that the 'Logos indeed suffered in the flesh' in order to please those who rejected the Fourth Ecumenical Council for supposedly abandoning strict Cyrilian positions.
One can perhaps make a case for the infallibility of Pope Cyril, but certainly not of Pope Leo.
This dialogue is now going down the drain because the chairman of this dialogue is following the directions of Professor of Church History Vlasios Feidas of the University of Athens who teaches this position of Neo-Chalcedonianism as Orthodox historical reality. See his "Church History (in Greek)," Athens 1992" which students are required to read for exams.
Professor George Martzelos of the University of Thessaloniki further complicated matters in this dialogue with his book (in Greek) which appeared 1986 entitled "The GENESIS AND SOURCES OF THE HOROS OF CHALCEDON" by which he tries to prove the influence of Cyril's Christology on the Horos of this Council. However, had he read and quoted the whole Horos of Chalcedon, and not only that small section one finds in student manuals (which he quotes in Greek on page 239) he would have read the following most essential section of it: The Council "hath received the Synodical Epistles of the Cyril, Pastor of the Church of Alexandria, to Nestorius and to the Easterners, as being agreeable thereto, for the refutation of the wild notions of Nestorius and for the instruction of those who in pious zeal desire to understand the saving Symbol. To these also it hath adapted, for the confirmation of the right doctrines, the Tome of the Prelate of the great and elder Rome, the most blessed and holy Archbishop Leo, which was written to the saintly Archbishop Flavian for the exclusion of the wrong opinion of Eutyches…"
In other words the Council of Chalcedon adapted the Tome of Leo to the Epistles of Cyril which include the Twelve Anathemas against Nestorius. No room for the supporters of Neo-Chalcedonianism.
E N D OF POST SCRIPT
[ 1 ] My study "RELIGION IS A NEUROLOGICAL SICKNESS, BUT ORTHODOXY IS ITS CURE" was published by Koutloumousiou Monastery of Mount Athos in its volume II entitled ORTHODOXY-HELLENISM ON THE ROAD TO THE THIRD CENTENARY, © 1996.
[ 1a ] The very foundation of my book in Greek "Ancestral Sin," Athens 1957, is that these two positions are the basis of all heresies.
[ 2 ] See my "Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine," Holy Cross Orthodox Press 1981, Brookline, Mass., pp. 53-57.
[ 3 ] According to Roman Law there are Nine Ecumenical Councils and not only the Seven quoted by modern Orthodox. Usually missing are the Eighth and Ninth of New Rome Constantinople held in 879 and 1341.
[ 4 ] E.g. "The Ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch," Greek Orthodox Theological Review, 7 (1961) pp. 53-77;· The Dogmatic and Symbolic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church (in Greek) (Thessaloniki, 1973), vol. I; Critical Examination of the Applications of Theology, Proces-Verbaux du Deuxieme Congres de Theologie Orthodoxe (Athens,1978), pp. 413-41.
[ 5 ] Papers, Metropolitan Methodios of Askum (Athens, 1976).
[ 6 ] See his Civilization on Trial (Oxford, 1948); The World and the West (Oxford, 1953).
[ 7 ] Work Book Nairobi 75, WCC (Geneva,1975), pp. 24-25.
[ 8 ] Report, 18 January 1973, p.15.
[ 9 ] Ibid., p.14.
[ 10 ] Ibid., pp.15-16.
[ 11 ] Ibid., p.15.
[ 12 ] See "Church and Eucharist, Communion and intercommunion," Sobornost 7 (1978).
[ 13 ] The Greek Orthodox Theological Review,10 (1964-65), pp.14-15.
[ 14 ] The Greek Orthodox Theological Review,16 ( 1971), p. 220.
[ 15 ] Peter III of Antioch clearly dates the schism in the year 1009 and protests at the suggestion that Antioch commemorates the Frankish popes. On this and related questions see my book Romanism, Romania, Roumeli (in Greek) (Athens, 1975), pp. 59-71.
[ 16 ] Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite, pp. 24-29.
[ 17 ] "C'est l'identité de foi que l'on recherce, non une identité de théologies. II y a done une claire distinction à faire entre le contenu de la foi, la formulation de la foi et la réflexion théologique sur 1a foi. Tandìs que le contenu doit demeurer le même, varient au contraire sa formulation et la facon concrète de la réalser dans la vie des Eglises . . .", Orientations Pour Le Dialogue Théologique Entre L'Iglise Catholique Et L'Iglise Orthodoxe, p. 3.
[ 18 ] Decree on Ecumenism 17.
[ 19 ] The Orthodox positions developed in discussions on the Filioque are contained in my paper "Filioque, Anglican Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions," paper no. 166, published in Kleroromia, 7 (1975), pp. 285-314. For details on the Trinitarian and historical background of the Filioque controversy see also my The Dogmatic and Symbolic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church, (Thessaloniki, 1973), pp. 186-400. Also published in "Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine, Chapter 3," Brookline 1981.
[ 20 ] Faith and Order 1979, paper no 13 entitled "W.C.C. Commission on Faith and Order, The Filioque Clause in Ecumenical Perspective."
[ 21 ] "Anglican Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions," paper no. 195.
[ 22 ] Ibid.
[ 23 ] Ibid.
[ 24 ] See bibliography for Christ in the Old Testament according the Fathers, and especially of the Ecumenical Councils.
[ 25 ] J. S. Romanides, "Justin Martyr and the Fourth Gospel," in The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, IV, 2 (1958-59), 115-139.
[ 26 ] For the common philosophical presuppositions between Paul of Samosata, his Co-Lucianist Arians and the Nestorians see my "Debate over Theodore of Mopsuestia's Christology," The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, vol. VII, 2 (1959-60), pp. 140-185.
[ 27 ] For analyses of these deviations see bibliography.
[ 28 ] One may find the above concentrated in Augustine's following writings: De Beata Vita, Contra Academicos, Confessions, and scattered in all his writings. Especially interesting are his explanations of the visions of God in both the Old and New Testaments by the prophets and apostles in his De Trinitate, Books II and III.
[ 29 ] St. Gregory the Theologian, Theological Orations, 2.4.
[ 30 ] John S. Romanides, "Ancestral Sin," (in Greek) Athens 1957, p. 82, note 7 wherein St. Gregory Palamas explains how one cannot become reconciled to God without participating in the mystery of the Cross which operates in all who reach Glorification in both the Old and New Testaments till today.
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