October 24, 2014

More plans for Pan-Orthodox Synod

Asianews has an update on the preparatory meetings for a pan-Orthodox synod, which seems to be gaining momentum.

After various mishaps, in 1961 a pan-Orthodox conference was convened in Rhodes, with significant pressure from patriarch Athenagoras, for the purpose of preparing an Orthodox synod. This conference was also followed by numerous obstacles, because as theologian Giorgos Tetsetis observes, the local Churches did not have a clear idea of what they wanted from the Synod.
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“It is time,” says Fr. Tetsetis, a theologian for the ecumenical patriarchate, “that our Church finally realize that it is doing poorly as a whole. The Church needs an open and sincere dialogue. Because it is only then, with its rich tradition as a compass, that it will be able to emerge from its blind alley and together face its existential problems, which are becoming increasingly severe and complicated. It is only then that the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s initiative can be understood.”

HT: Byzantine, TX

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Unless there is a good faith discussion on all sides, I would rather not see a “pan Orthodox synod.” The chance for mischief is simply too great.

    Why do I fear mischief? Because this report stated that issues such as “the diaspora” will be discussed. As I’ve (and other more worthy people) have said ad infinitum, there is no such thing as a diaspora.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    The only thing I would like to see on the agenda is a total re-evaluation of the nature of the episcopate and a total rejection of all remaining remnants of the Dhimmi period of our experience. A period in which one bishop rule and simony rather than collegiality, holiness and service became the norm. The despotic, imperial episcopate must go. If it doesn’t no other decisions will be right or implemented righteously.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Father Justin (Popovic) is widely venerated even though not officially canonized as a saint by the Serbian Orthodox Church . He expressed his opinion regarding an VIIIth Synod:

    The first Pre-Synodal Conference took place for some unknown reason in Geneva ( 21-28 November 1976). (where one could hardly gather a couple of hundreds Orthodox faithful). At this conference the agenda of the Great Synod of the Orthodox Church was established. Fr. Justin noticed that the Constantinople is very eager to have the Synod and criticized its neo-Papal tendencies. Fr. Justin advised that Serbian Orthodox Church should not participate in the Synod. God forbid this Synod would take place. Schism, heresies and many lost souls would result. Such a Synod would be not only non-Orthodox, it would be anti-Orthodox Fr. Justin said.

    More info here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ea_patriarch.aspx

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    Richard Barrett says:

    I rather have the impression that is the fear some have of this taking place that demonstrates why it is so sorely needed. It is the family which doesn’t want anything to do with each other and which won’t talk about their problems which is dysfunctional. Is our current state one of communion between the various national churches only tenuously maintained, and even then only as long as we don’t identify why it is tenuous?

    Richard

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Richard Barrett:
    Looks like you want to argue with the saints.
    This is a very dangerous thing to do. You say:

    It is the family which doesn’t want anything to do with each other and which won’t talk about their problems which is dysfunctional.

    This is a very simplistic view. It is called human reasoning. Christ is leading the Church in ways that we cannot comprehend with our created minds.

    I love this:

    Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing
    but He revealeth His secret unto His servants,
    the Prophets. (Amos 3, 7)


    http://www.geocities.com/kitezhgrad/prophets/

    The Lord does not have to do anything, He knows what is going to be and He told us trough His prophets.
    The world and the devil are leading the Church to such frightening trials. We should keep our faith no matter who bad things are going to be.

    This is what His servants said:

    Saint John of Shanghai (Maximovich) (1896-1966) warned us:

    There will be massive apostasy, and many bishops will change their faith, pointing as their excuse to the blissful condition of the Church. Seeking of compromise will be the characteristic mood of the people. People will be cleverly justifying their apostasy.

    “All profess that there are seven holy and Ecumenical Councils, and these are the seven pillars of the faith of the Divine Word on which He erected His holy mansion, the Catholic and Ecumenical Church.” John II, Metropolitan of Russia (1080-89)

    Saint Seraphim of Sarov:
    There will come a time, said father Seraphim, when under the guise of the progress of the church and Christianity, but in order to please the desires of the world, they will be changing and twisting the dogmas and rules of the Holy Church, forgetting that their beginning is with the very Lord Jesus Christ who taught and gave instructions to his disciples – the Holy Apostles – about the constructing of the Church of Christ and about her rules, commanding them,
    “Since then until now the rules and traditions of the Holy Apostles that have reached us have been preserved, being also explained and definitively confirmed once and for all by those who inherited them – Holy Fathers who were governed by the Holy Spirit at the Ecumenical Councils.”

    “Woe to him who takes away or adds even one word,” Saint Seraphim used to say. “Our Church does not have any shortcomings. Woe to him who dares introduce any changes in the Services and ordinances of that Church which is the ‘Pillar and the fortress of Truth’ and of which the Savior Himself said that even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; which is to say, that she will exist unchanged until the end – until the second coming.

    ” Every desire to introduce so-called improvements and changes of rules and teachings of the Holy Church, is a heresy – a desire to construct one’s own particular church according to human reason, a departing from what was established by the Holy Spirit, and is indeed the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which will not be forgiven unto eternity.

    So, as Fr. Justin Popovic said, an 8th Synod would be not only non-Orthodox, it would be anti-Orthodox.

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    Richard Barrett says:

    Eliot: Let’s say I have the same understanding of those texts as you do. Does it then follow that there are no issues to be worked out on a pan-Orthodox level, or even if there are, there is not an Orthodox way of addressing them? And, to reiterate my earlier question, is our current state one of communion between the various national churches only tenuously maintained, and even then only as long as we don’t identify why it is tenuous?

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Richard Barrett:
    St. Theodore the Studite: ‘Not every gathering of bishops is a council, but only a gathering of bishops who stand in the Truth.’ A truly ecumenical council depends not on the number of bishops gathered at it, but on whether it will deliberate and teach in an Orthodox way. If it will keep away from the truth, it will not be ecumenical, even though it might call itself ecumenical.”
    http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/towards.aspx

    Michael Bauman says:
    The despotic, imperial episcopate must go. If it doesn’t no other decisions will be right or implemented righteously.

    The question is which of the bishops will be gathering. Can we trust them?

    “is our current state one of communion between the various national churches?”

    What do you mean by a “state of communion”?

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    Richard Barrett says:

    Are our own bishops now to be regarded as enemies, as antichrists? Again, what does our communion mean if it is so fragile as what seems to be suggested here?

    I’m not sure where you are getting confused on my comment — are the various national churches in communion with each other or aren’t they? Is that so frail a bond that it can only be maintained, ironically enough, through distrust and fear of each other?

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    St. Theodore the Studite:

    ‘Not every gathering of bishops is a council, but only a gathering of bishops who stand in the Truth.’

    Were are you getting confused? Those who stand in the Truth are in communion with each other and with Christ!

    The famous ‘robber council’ in its time had more participants than many ecumenical councils, but nevertheless it was not called ecumenical, but received the name of ‘robber council’.” (Letters of Archbishop Theophan, Jordanville, 1976, p. 45.) This same Archbishop Theophan was present at the Moscow All-Russian Council of 1917-18, where he was approached by some of the modernist clergy, who tried to persuade him to join their “reform” movement with these words: “The waves of the times flow swiftly, changing everything, changing us; one must give in to them. You, too, must give in, Vladika, to the raging waves… Otherwise with whom will you be left? You will be left alone.” And Vladika Theophan’s answer, in the age-old Orthodox spirit, was: “With whom will I be left? I will be with St. Vladimir the Enlightener of Russia. With Sts. Anthony and Theodosius the Wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves, with the holy Hierarchs and Wonderworkers of Moscow. With Sts. Sergius and Seraphim and with all the holy martyrs, God-pleasing monks and wonderworkers who have gloriously shone forth on Russian soil. But you, dear brothers, with whom will you be left if even with your great numbers you give over to the will of the waves of the times? http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/towards.aspx

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    Richard Barrett says:

    Eliot:

    Well, I can’t exactly say I feel like my questions have been answered, but you’ve certainly been consistent nonetheless in how you’ve chosen to respond.

    Forgive me, a sinner.

    Richard

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Richard Barrett:
    Forgive me, a big sinner.

    The answer is in there: the ‘robber council’ in its time had more participants than many ecumenical councils
    but was not valid. Must be that it is not the number of participants that matters. What matter is if they stand in the Truth. This happened before millions of faithful Christians perished under the Communist terror.

    http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/page/3/

    If back then a great numbers of them gave over to the will of the waves of the times what can we say about our bisops today? How many of them are modernist?

    Are our own bishops now to be regarded as enemies, as antichrists? No, but more than before they give over to the will of the waves of the times. Not all of them. Some might chose not to participate because they will be outnumbered anyway. Some of them are auxiliary bishops and perhaps the metropolitan will vote for them.

    The Synod will take place. Little good will be done and a lot of damage. It will open new wounds in the Body of Christ. Other councils will be necessary and we’ll follow the Catholics’ stepfoots.

    So, as Fr. Justin Popovic said, an 8th Synod would be not only non-Orthodox, it would be anti-Orthodox.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    If there was any doubt in my mind about the rectitude and good order of any upcoming pan-Orthodox synod, my worst fears have been confirmed by the ramblings of the EP’s man given at Holy Cross the other day. At this point, as necessary as it may be to iron out problems, I would rather live with the problems than risk the very real possibility for grievous mischief that probably would come forth.

    In a way, we can thank Rev Lambrianides for telegraphing the true intentions of the ecumenical patriarchate and his caesaro-papist pretensions. Now at least we are forewarned and woe be to them who go forward anyway and walk into this trap.

    God help us.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    George,

    Rev. Lambrianides’ address got me thinking over the past few days about what the Phanar’s “end game” is. They seem to want a Great Synod. They want North America under the jurisdiction of the EP. They seem very contemptuous of the opinions of other Orthodox hierarchs regarding the magic Canon 28.

    I wonder how many bishops at a Great Synod would be favorable to the EP’s positions. He seems to make it a point of alienating Russia and occasionally even Greece itself. Antioch would not support the EP’s position. I’m not sure who would and how many bishops belong to jurisdictions that would.

    It seems as though one of two things may be in the EP’s mind: 1) He’s not thinking ahead and just grasping at straws in a poorly reasoned power play. or 2) He would actually like to go to a Great Synod, try to get what he wants by manipulation of the agenda, etc., and if not then to reject that part of the Church that swats him down and perhaps become Uniate.

    If his intentions are other than #2 above, he appears to be a poor chess player.

    You seem quite knowledgeable about these matters and no one could accuse you of anti-Greek bias. What is your estimation of what the EP is up to? I’m genuinely curious.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    darned if I know. This type of muddled thinking is based on centuries of dysfunctional chess-playing that is spiritually destructive. As I’ve said in other contexts, let us use our Lord’s instructions regarding our words and actions: “Let your yea be yea, and your nay be nay. All else comes folly.”

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Scott, you didn’t ask me, but just a couple of observations:
    1> The EP is desparate due to the slow death by strangulation that has been going on since Constantinople fell.
    2> Historically, the EP has done two things when it felt threatened: a) cuddle up to Rome; and b) pull rank within the Orthodox communion. It has always made things worse but it is the type of Byzantine thinking that George M describes.

    What none of the Old-world Synods and bishops seem to realize is that if they would work to facilitate our move to autocephaly, they would show their true authority as the mother churches.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    George Michalopulos:

    In a way, we can thank Rev Lambrianides for telegraphing the true intentions of the ecumenical patriarchate and his caesaro-papist pretensions. Now at least we are forewarned and woe be to them who go forward anyway and walk into this trap

    .
    Useful to know where the Catholics are heading:
    Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist-Jew-Christian religious leaders joined to bless Catholic school students – Nevada (USA)

    God help us.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    George and Michael,

    Thank you for your insights. Actually, I hope that the EP is not thinking of my scenario 2 above and that it is all just “muddled thinking” and reflexive responses to his perilous situation. If he actually were to sever communion with other Orthodox jurisdictions or, worse yet, enter into communion as a Uniate church, it would complicate many peoples personal and spiritual lives needlessly.

    The man makes me nervous sometimes.

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