July 31, 2014

Orthodox Church Leader Rekindles Relationship with Anglicans

Ed. Press release taken from the ACNA Anglican website. I heard from two people that the speech was excellent and will repost it here in video or text if it becomes available. I am not sure if the ACNA represents the orthodox/traditionalist wing of the Anglican Church.

The leader of the Orthodox Church in North America has re-kindled the oldest ecumenical relationship in Christian history. Addressing delegates and attendees of the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, said, “I am seeking an ecumenical restoration by being here today. This is God’s call to us.” This significant gesture represents the possibility of full communion being exchanged between the churches.

Metropolitan Jonah represents the North American branch of the Orthodox Church, a Christian denomination that has a long history of strong relationships with the Anglican Church. “We have to actualize that radical experience of union in Christ with one another,” Jonah said. Speaking for 45 minutes, the Metropolitan addressed the importance of looking past our differences in order to work together for mission. “Our unity transcends our particularity,” he said.

His Beatitude’s message was focused on unity but did not fail to address areas of contrasting beliefs between the two churches. Though united in upholding the authority of the Bible and uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Orthodox Church and Anglican Church in North America have differing opinions on matters such as the ordination of women and other doctrinal issues. Despite this, the Metropolitan told the audience that “our arms are open wide.”

Following the speech, a representative of an Orthodox seminary, St. Vladimir’s, announced a cooperative effort with Nashotah House, an orthodox Anglican seminary, that would help further these ecumenical relationships and what Jonah described as a “new dialogue between the Orthodox Church in North America and the new Anglican province in North America.

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    this was a bold speech. I pray that something fruitful will come out of this.

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    Joe says:

    Back in 1846, the Anglican Communion was certainly a little bit more little “o” orthodox than it is in its modern incarnation, but even then gulf between it and the Orthodox Church was vast. The gulf remains and has only gotten wider despite the high sounding words and the phony (little “e”) ecumenical constructs of the current OCA Metropolitan.

    Excerpt from the Third Letter of Alexei Khomiakov (Russian Orthodox) to William Palmer(then-Anglican, later Roman Catholic) November 1846:

    The Church cannot be a harmony of discords; it cannot be a numerical sum of Orthodox, Latins, and Protestants. It is nothing if it is not perfect inward harmony of creed and outward harmony of expression (not withstanding local differences in the rite).

    The question is whether they have the truth, and whether they have retained the ecclesiastical tradition unimpaired. If they have not, where is the possibility of unity?

    Now permit me to add some observations not only on your letters, but on your book (which I have received with the greatest gratitude and perused with unmixed pleasure), and on all the mode of action of those Anglicans who seem, and are indeed, nearest to us.

    You would show that all our doctrine is yours, and indeed, at first sight, you seem quite right. Many bishops and divines of your communion are and have been quite orthodox. But what of it? Their opinion is only an individual opinion, it is not the Faith of the Community.

    We may, and do, sympathise with the individuals; we cannot and dare not sympathise with a community which interpolates the Symbol and doubts her right to that interpolation, or which gives communion to those who declare the Bread and Wine of the High Sacrifice to be mere bread and wine, as well as to those who declare it to be the Body and Blood of Christ.

    This for an example — and I could find hundreds more — but I go further. Suppose an impossibility — suppose all the Anglicans be quite orthodox; suppose their Creed and Faith quite concordant with ours; the mode and process by which that creed is or has been attained is a Protestant one; a simple logical act of the understanding, by which the tradition and writings of the Fathers have been distilled to something very near Truth. If we admit this, all is lost, and Rationalism is the supreme judge of every question.

    Protestantism, most reverend sir, is the admission of an unknown to be sought by reason; and that unknown changes the whole equation to an unknown quantity, even though every other datum be as clear and as positive as possible.

    Do not, I pray, nourish the hope of finding Christian truth without stepping out of the former Protestant circle. It is an illogical hope; it is a remnant of that pride which thought itself able and wished to judge and decide by itself without the Spiritual Communion of heavenly grace and Christian love.

    Were you to find all the truth, you would have found nothing; for we alone can give you that without which all would be vain — the assurance of truth.

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    Joe says:

    “We have to actualize that radical experience of union in Christ with one another,” Jonah said.

    In other words: Eastern-Rite Episcopalianism, here we come!

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    Edith M. Humphrey says:

    As a newly chrismated Orthodox, I was greatly heartened by the Metropolitan’s candid yet welcoming address at the ACNA. Prior to my reception into Orthodoxy this Pentecost, I was (as an academic) very involved in the renewal movement, then in the Realignment of the small “o” orthodox Anglicans. Anglo-Catholics in the ACNA will be particularly struck by the wise words of the Metropolitan, and may consider whether they are closer in spirit and doctrine to Orthodoxy than to Rome. What was very helpful is that the Metropolitan’s words on sacramentalism, women’s ordination and ecclesiology will keep these alive in the conversation of those in the ACNA who cannot agree on these things–evangelicals over against Anglo-Catholics. There has been a tendency to look for the lowest common denominator in this Realignment, and to agree not to debate these matters, for the sake of peace–that is a very shaky foundation, and the Patriarch’s challenge regarding the WHoLE of the deposit of faith was very helpful. His words were pastoral, confirming where they could be, and challenging, and I am sure that the Holy Spirit will use them. I cannot imagine hardline but honest “Protestant” Anglicans in the realignment changing their minds on such matters, but the Holy Spirit is always surprising us–these men (and women) honestly do want to please the LORD, but are caught up in error without knowing it. As for Anglo-Catholics, they will have been heartened by the Metropolitan’s emphasis upon the Church, and entrance into worship, among other things–the ACNA is so focussed on mission that it tends to forget the main things.
    This former Anglican is very proud that we have among us such a forthright and wise pastor!

    BTW, I am glad to have found this site, and will visit again!

    Your sister,
    Edith M. Humphrey

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    George Michalopulos says:

    These Anglicans are thirsting for the truth, now that there’s an American bishop who is reaching out to them (instead of telling them that they can’t be Orthodox until they learn the right way to pronounce “baklava/baklawa”), I imagine more than a few will become Orthodox. If they don’t, then at least he took seriously the Great Commission. I’d gladly stand in +Jonah’s shadow on Judgment Day than any obscurantist who’s more concerned about telling other people what’s wrong with them.

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    Ilya Kharin says:

    Perhaps Western-rite Orthodoxy is more like it – i.e. what St. Tikhon started and St. John of San-Francisco continued. Not that mass conversions are easy, but those who are sincere tread toward Christ – witness the returning groups of Uniates in Eastern Europe and US since late 19th century, as well as some former Anglicans in the 20th.

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    Joe says:

    George,

    Re: “I’d gladly stand in +Jonah’s shadow on Judgment Day than any obscurantist who’s more concerned about telling other people what’s wrong with them.”

    Far from practicing obscurantism (a policy of withholding information from the public) both Metropolitan Jonah and Khomiakov have laid out the differences between the the the Anglicans/Episcopalians and the Orthodox.

    According to another post on this blog, here is what Metropolitan Jonah said about “what’s wrong” (i.e. what needs to be fixed) about the ACNA:

    “Full affirmation of the orthodox Faith of the Apostles and Church Fathers, the seven Ecumenical Councils, the Nicene Creed in its original form (without the filioque clause inserted at the Council of Toledo, 589 A.D.), all seven Sacraments and a rejection of ‘the heresies of the Reformation.”

    In other words, the only thing the ACNA has to do in order to become Orthodox is to become Orthodox.

    Brilliant!

    Now how do we evangelize a protestant denomination as a whole? It can’t be done. Only individual Anglicans or Episcopalians can decide whether and when to leave their former confessions in order to cleave unto the Orthodox Church.

    Most people understand “dialogue” to mean discussion, argument, give and take, compromise. Anyway, what does Metropolitan Jonah and the ACNA expect to undertake that the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius hasn’t already talked about ad nauseam?

    What is the OCA willing to compromise in order to enter into full communion with this breakaway Episcopalian group? If the answer is, “nothing” then the OCA has entered a monologue with the ACNA telling them what’s what and what they need to change.

    I’ve met two kinds of converts from the Anglican/Episcopalian confessions: 1) The convert Convert 2) The Aggrieved Anglican/Episcopalian.

    The convert Convert desired to be received into the Orthodox Church because he/she wanted to be an Orthodox Christian. Full stop.

    The Aggrieved Anglican/Episcopalian wanted to become Orthodox because of one or a combination of any of the following reasons, variations on the theme,”I didn’t leave the church [Anglican/Episcopalian] the church left me.”

    A) Deemphasis or Revision to the Book of Common Prayer
    B) Ordination of Women
    C) Ordination of homosexuals
    D) Too much Protestantism for even Protestants(c.f. Bishop Shelby Spong and his ilk.

    What is left unsaid in these reasons is that if the Anglican/Episcopalian confessions remained in the form in which pleased them, they wouldn’t have become Orthodox.

    Anyway, it is unseemly and definitely not meet and right for an Metropolitan Jonah or any Orthodox hierarch to get involved in the politics of this or any other heterodox body. He is, after all, a bishop of the Orthodox Church.

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    Joe says:

    Politically, the ACNA and the other “continuing Anglican” bodies seek to win fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians to their own version of the “middle way” of Anglicanism. They did not form the ACNA in order to enter the Orthodox Church.

    They only want “dialogue” with the OCA and the support (unreported on this blog) of Evangelical Protestant megachurcher Rick Warren in order to bolster their street-cred in the eyes of their fellow Anglican/Episcopalians.

    The ACNA wants to use the OCA against their fellows and thanks to Metropolitan Jonah, they have succeeded.

    In the Anglican-Orthodox scheme of things, what does the ACNA-OCA “dialogue” have over the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius (founded in 1928) an Anglican and Orthodox (little “e”)ecumenical group that is still talk, talk, talking to this very day? Nothing.

    This alleged “rekindling” is just a lot of grandstanding on the part two backwater organizations, the ACNA and OCA screaming for attention on the world’s stage.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Uh, yeah Joe, I would like for these Anglicans to become Orthodox.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Anglicans don’t become Orthodox, people do because they want to know God more fully.

    Also if we go by the standard of Khomiakov, there is no Orthodox Church today and probably wasn’t then either.

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    GregF says:

    Other than +Jonah and Pastor Warren, the non-Anglican official attenders included:

    - Rev. Dr. Samuel Nafzger, Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
    - Bishop Kevin Vann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth

    http://www.acnaassembly.org/index2.php/acna/page/92

    It would be interesting to know what denominations and prominent Christians were invited, but chose not to come; and which denominations were not invited.

    Greg

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Michael, Amen.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    When you preach the Gospel, Christ is revealed. Further, preaching the Gospel and preaching Orthodoxy are two different things. A true missionary preaches the Gospel; his focus is to speak the truth so that his hearers might encounter Him who is Truth — Jesus Christ. Then, if the Lord wills, they will be added to the Church. As it says in Acts, Peter preached, and then the Lord added daily to the Church those who would be saved.

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    Joe says:

    Michael,

    Re: “Also if we go by the standard of Khomiakov, there is no Orthodox Church today and probably wasn’t then either.”

    I don’t understand what you mean by this statement.

    In his letter to Palmer, he contrasted protestantism (of which Anglicanism is a part) with Orthodoxy. Are you saying that the Orthodox Church today and in the 19th Century does not/did not measure up to the very standard of Orthodoxy that he articulated?

    Khomiakov more fully articulated his standard in another piece that he wrote with the apt title, The Church is One.

    Excerpt:

    THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH follows of necessity from the unity of God; for the Church is not a multitude of persons in their separate individuality, but a unity of the grace of God, living in a multitude of rational creatures, submitting themselves willingly to grace. Grace, indeed, is also given to those who resist it, and to those who do not make use of it (who hide their talent in the earth), but these are not in the Church. In fact, the unity of the Church is not imaginary or allegorical, but a true and substantial unity, such as is the unity of many members in a living body.

    The Church is one, notwithstanding her division as it appears to a man who is still alive on earth. It is only in relation to man that it is possible to recognize a division of the Church into visible and invisible; her unity is, in reality, true and absolute.

    Those who are alive on earth, those who have finished their earthly course, those who, like the angels, were not created for a life on earth, those in future generations who have not yet begun their earthly course, are all united together in one Church, in one and the same grace of God; for the creation of God which has not yet been manifested is manifest to Him; and God hears the prayers and knows the faith of those whom He has not yet called out of non-existence into existence. Indeed the Church, the Body of Christ, is manifesting forth and fulfilling herself in time, without changing her essential unity or inward life of grace. And therefore, when we speak of “the Church visible and invisible,” we so speak only in relation to man.

    THE CHURCH VISIBLE, or upon earth, lives in complete communion and unity with the whole body of the Church, of which Christ is the Head. She has abiding within her Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit in all their living fullness, but not in the fullness of their manifestation, for she acts and knows not fully, but only so far as it pleases God.

    Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgment of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits; and (according to the words of Paul the Apostle, to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 5. 12) does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded, that is to say, not belonging to her, who exclude themselves. The rest of mankind, whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day.

    The Church on earth judges for herself only, according to the grace of the Spirit, and the freedom granted her through Christ, inviting also the rest of mankind to the unity and adoption of God in Christ; but upon those who do not hear her appeal she pronounces no sentence, knowing the command of her Saviour and Head, “not to judge another man’s servant” (Rom. 14. 4).

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    Joe says:

    Okay, we now know that Metropolitan Herman has broken off talks-dialogue with the Episcopal Church, but on June 4-8, 2008, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary hosted the St Alban and St Sergius Fellowship Conference marking the 80th anniversary of this Anglican – Orthodox “e”cumenical group.

    Has Metropolitan Jonah also broken off relations with the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada and the affiliated faith groups of the Anglican Communion around the world in the past year?

    If not, what exactly is Metropolitan Jonah rekindling?

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    Joe says:

    Oops, sorry that should have read:

    “Okay, we now know that Metropolitan Jonah has broken off talks-dialogue with the Episcopal Church, but on June 4-8, 2008, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary hosted the St Alban and St Sergius Fellowship Conference marking the 80th anniversary of this Anglican – Orthodox “e”cumenical group.”

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    Joe says:

    Are Metropolitan Jonah’s arms also “open wide” to the Church of England and the whole Anglican Communion or just to the ACNA?

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Joe, you ask, “Are you saying that the Orthodox Church today and in the 19th Century does not/did not measure up to the very standard of Orthodoxy that he articulated?

    Yes, at least now. I am referring especially to the following:

    You would show that all our doctrine is yours, and indeed, at first sight, you seem quite right. Many bishops and divines of your communion are and have been quite orthodox. But what of it? Their opinion is only an individual opinion, it is not the Faith of the Community.

    Are we of one mind on anything today? Do not most of the postings on this site indicate just how rampant personal opinion is at all levels of the Church (lay/monsatic, clergy and bishops)? These differences of opinion indicate a vast difference in understanding of the nature of the Church in all her aspects from evangelization and soteriology to ecclesiology itself. Even in a seemingly simple thing such as how to apply the cannons on multiple marriages, there is vast divergence. Not to mention, fasting, frequency of confession, the list goes on and on.

    Met. Jonah specifically pointed out three different ecclesiologies present in the United States right now. Is that an indication of one faith, one community? Not to me.

    In the 19th century during Khomiakov’s time it may have been better, but I suspect it was just less obvious.

    Certainly now Khomiakov’s comments describe very well the state of the Orthodox Church.

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    GregF says:

    Just exactly what +Jonah and Archbishop Duncan think they are doing is a little confusing.

    The ANCA talks as if they are meeting, in +Jonah, the leader of the Orthodox Church in the United States. As every reader of AOI knows, the Greek Orthodox would dispute the belief that the OCA is THE representative of Orthodox Christians in the U.S.

    On the other hand, +Jonah gives the distinct impression that when he is addressing the ACNA he is taking to THE Anglican Church in the U.S. The Episcopal Church would certainly dispute that belief.

    Greg

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Michael, excellent point. At the recent symposium at St Vlad’s, Michael Namee gave an excellent talk on the history of American Orthodox origins. Everybody should listen to it, the guy knows his stuff. However, he said one thing that I just can’t get my head around at present, namely that we Orthodox in America are “largely united,” more so than we have ever been. Leaving aside the petty squabbling that goes on between the jurisdictions, I can think of a couple of areas in matters of doctrine and moral standards that make me think we’re in different denominations, rather than merely different jurisdictions.

    Here’s just a few that you didn’t mention:

    1) Freemasonry, is this condemned by the Church or not? I’d like a simple yes-or-no answer. Many priests in the more worldly parishes will simply refuse to give an up-or-down answer.

    2) Why so much discrepancy in the liturgical order? (i.e. Antiphons, Litany of the Catechumens, etc.). Depending on the jurisdiction, the Liturgy of Chrysostom can last anywhere from 45 minutes to almost 2 hrs.

    3) the Rite of Catechumenate. Some have them, some don’t. Of those that do, the duration lasts anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes.

    As far as moral standards, you touched on a few, marriage being prominent. But at the risk of flogging a dead horse, abortion pretty much remains the elephant in the room, with the GOA lauding Senators Sarbanes and Snow, even though they voted to uphold President Clinton’s veto of partial birth abortion. And of course, the absence of the vast majority of Orthodox bishops and clergymen from the annual Right-to-Life march is nothing less than a scandal.

    For someone that’s interested in evangelism, this causes no little measure of distress. Trying to explain these differences to inquirers causes a lot of chagrin. Anyway, we need to be very humble about our attainments. Unfortunately, that even includes doctrinal “unity.”

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    Edj says:

    Instead of going by the Bible and getting into the church that was founded by Jesus and Peter “About this Rock I will build my Church”. You choose to dialouge with anglicans a sexual perverted church of Henry Vlll what a travesty. Can’t you Orthodox ever get it write.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Actually, Met. Jonah was speaking to real people who appreciated his clear teaching. They indicated as much by the standing ovation he received. Ovations are not the final measure of whether or not words are true of course, but you can be sure that if the Anglicans were as “perverted” as you think they are, Met. Jonah would have been booed off the stage. Seems to me he got it write right.

    Moving back to the Bible, if your objection prevailed, Jesus would never have spoken to harlots and sinners.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Note 19. Greg, Met. Jonah just might be speaking to the Episcopalian Church of the US, the opinion of the mainstream Episcopalian Church notwithstanding. The apostasy of the mainline Bishops caused this split, and the ACNA, because it conforms to the Christian moral tradition in much greater measure than the mainliners, can be said to be the upholders of the Anglican tradition.

    Frankly, it doesn’t matter anymore what the mainstream Episcopalian Church says or thinks. They gave up their moral authority years ago. Met. Jonah is quite right in dismissing them.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Fr Patrick Reardon, a former Episcopalian priest himself, once wrote that ECUSA was the “ever-entertaining Episcopalians,” in Touchstone several years ago.

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    GregF says:

    RE Note 23. Fr. Johannes Jacobse, June 27, 2009; 3:20pm.

    Your observation is the flip-side of what I think is interesting about the OCA-ACNA encounter.

    The ACNA is recognized by some minor and some major bodies in the Anglican Church. In particular, and most significantly, ACNA is recognized by the conservative Nigerian Anglican Church, which I believe, has 1/3 of the Anglicans in the world. This kind of recognition could lead, at some unspecified long future date, to the acceptance of the ACNA as THE representative of Anglicanism in the U.S.

    Regarding the OCA, the more non-Anglicans that think the +Jonah is THE representative of Orthodoxy in the U.S., who knows, it may one day come true just by the force of saying it over and over again (no matter what the Greeks think). After all look at the name!

    Greg

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Greg, for whatever defects the OCA has had in the past, the one unalterable fact is that there was (and is) only one Metropolitan of All-America and Canada. Also, that this officer is the presiding bishop of a self-headed Orthodox church, beholden to nobody overseas. I think that’s what any interested Protestants are going to look at. If anything, +Philip’s latest contretemps solidify together with the dueling forgeries solidifies this.

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    Mark Atkins says:

    Metropolitan Jonah is doing now what every other Orthodox bishop should have been doing for the last century, and should be doing now. Just think how radically different the situation would be today if every Orthodox bishop in America was doing the same? But that’s really too much to ask, it seems. It’s just easier for bishops to retreat into their respective millets, surrounded by “their people.”

    No wonder most Americans know more about Islam than they do about Orthodoxy. Can you blame them?

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    Dean Calvert says:

    Dear Mark,

    Re:Metropolitan Jonah is doing now what every other Orthodox bishop should have been doing for the last century, and should be doing now.

    You are right on the “Mark”…LOL

    If we had our act together, we wouldn’t have enough buildings to house all the Anglicans that would be coming our way. That became obvious to us at our Colloquium on Orthodoxy for Anglicans, recordings of which can still be heard at :
    http://www.orthodoxdetroit.com/conferencerecordings.htm

    There is a thirst for knowledge about Orthodox Christianity out there, one which we have not even begun to cultivate. Your other comment is also exactly correct: we have done such a miserable job of explaining who we are, and what we believe, that most people think of Jewish when you mention the word “Orthodox.”

    Are these people really looking to become Orthodox? Who knows. I know this: if we approach them with the attitude of strict conversion, we will probably fail…which is why we took the approach of “Offering what we have, in an effort to allow them to heal.” This was the attitude expressed by Abp Nathaniel, and was the theme of our conference.

    From our press release: ““’Faith of Our Fathers’ will be an opportunity to explain who we Orthodox are to our Anglican brethren, and to show our love and concern for them in their time of trial,” Archbishop Nathaniel said, referring to doctrinal divisions within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, and among the member churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion. “We hope Orthodoxy might be a salve that can help begin a process of healing,” he said.”

    Metropolitan Jonah did exactly the right thing going to talk to this group. And to those naysayers above, I doubt the thought of “needing attention” or pretending to be “the” leader of the Orthodox Church in this country ever even occurred to him.

    Best Regards,
    Dean

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    Ryan Close says:

    This interchange brings to mind another. Two in fact. First the correspondence between the Tübingen Theologians and Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople on the Augsburg Confession and the Evangelical Orthodox Church attempted audience with the Ecumenical Patriarch. The EOC was denied even an audience with the Patriarch of that time. There was no warm greeting or promise to catechize. Which seems even more egregious because, unlike the obstinate German theologians, they came in person rather than send a letter and they were entirely open to being taught and to change whatever needed to be changed in order to become Orthodox Christians.

    They were eventual brought into the One Church, perhaps a bit hastily, by the Antiochene Archdiocese of America. Certainly they may have needed “more catechesis.” This is what I see the most wise Patriarch Jeremiah doing in his dialogue with the German theologians. My question is why this catechism was not administered in the case of the EOC by the Ecumenical Patriarch or at least one of his eminent bishops or theologians? Their dismissal and even rejection by the Ecumenical Patriarch, whom they flew to see, seems, well, un-ecumenical.

    Of course there is another side to this story I will not go into.

    It reminds me of the story about Met. Jonah. When he first inquired about Orthodoxy at the local OCA parish a man answered the phone and asked him if he spoke Russian. When Jonah said that he didn’t the next thing he heard was a dial tone. I find this heart breaking and thank God that when I went in search of the Ark of Salvation the phone wasn’t hung up on me, or the door shut in my face. I am very glad that God put in my path wise and generous and fatherly men like His All Holiness Patriarch Jeremiah.

    The Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church is one and undivided and lacking nothing and all Christians aught to be reunited with her. Thus good Orthodox bishops should kindly and hospitably welcome all who find themselves outside the Church to join her and not put up obstacles to their most necessary conversion.

    I believe that is what Met. Jonah is doing and I am very happy for it.

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    Ryan Close says:

    As an example of good ecumism countering bad I recomend Patrick Barnes debate with Dr. Peter Bouteneff:
    http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/heresy-vs-truth-a-response-to-dr-peter-bouteneff.aspx

    As Mr. Barnes say in his correspondence:

    As you know from my book, I agree that we can call these people Christians, that their lives have been changed by God, and that among the heterodox we can find many examples of Christ-like virtues and lives lived for His Glory. But all of this can be explained in a Patristic way as the visible effects of external Grace, the operation of the Holy Spirit upon men and women who–perhaps to the shame of many Orthodox Christians who have the Grace of the Church but do not fully actualize it in their lives, I being chief among them–responded to a degree that warrants admiration, if not hope for their eternal salvation. (One should not, however, take this too far. Why did these men and women, who were well educated and acquainted with the Orthodox Church to one degree or another, remain apart from Her? I think there’s a difference between innocent ignorance and conscious rejection.)

    Orthodox ecumenists, however, do not accept this Patristic explanation for reasons that remain a mystery to me. In its stead they offer anti-Patristic theories that undermine the Church’s ecclesiology, theories which, among other ill-effects, trickle down to Diocesan policies that proscribe the reception of converts through Holy Baptism. What a grave disservice to those dear souls who are joining the Church!

    And again in another article on his website:

    Anyone familiar with the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1920—the charter document for Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement—will quickly realize that much more is implied in the Constitutional Basis [of the WCC] than a sociological entity [when refering to "other churches"]. This Encyclical is addressed “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere.” Reference is continually made to the “Christian body.” At one point we read:

    Secondly, that above all love should be rekindled and strengthened among the churches, so that they should no more consider one another as strangers and foreigners, but as relatives, and as being a part of the household of Christ and “fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise of God in Christ” (Eph. 3:6)….

    Such a sincere and close contact between the churches will be all the more useful and profitable for the whole body of the Church, because manifold dangers threaten not only particular churches, but all of them. These dangers attack the very foundations of the Christian faith and the essence of Christian life and society.

    The Encyclical closes with an appeal—in unquestionably “organic language” —to all “churches” to respond to this ecumenical invitation. The Patriarchate hopes that

    we may proceed together to its realization, and thus “speaking the truth in love; may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph.4:15,16).

    There can be no doubt that the 1986 Chambesy Statement, in its affirmation of the WCC Basis, has in mind the same concept of “churches” as the 1920 Encyclical. We must therefore ask how the claims that the Orthodox churches (or rather their ecumenical diplomats) have remained “faithful to her ecclesiology”—can be true?

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    Ryan Close says:

    Which brings me back to his Beatitude Met. Jonah. I was wondering if anyone caught this and what they think of it? At the Nashota House conference, a young anglican man asks +Jonah a very perceptive question.

    “The barrier which prevents our full communion seems to be that the Anglican Church has seven problems that need to be addressed. Since you consider us already to be a body of Christians, joined to God through Christ, the head of the Church, why are these issues not seen as problems of the Church as a whole as opposed to an Anglican problem?”

    He answers,

    “Well, that is exactly how we need to look at it. It’s really. Ah. Instead of seeing the Anglicans as a separate body from us we need to see the Anglicans as part of ourselves and that there are these particular issues that need simply to be resolved.”

    How does this compare with the Vatican’s position, also reported on this blog? Namely, that views “Anglicanism as a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not a historic “church” but rather an ‘ecclesial community’ that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.”

    Shouldn’t the Metropolitan said that the Anglican Church is an “ecclesial community,” sociologically speaking, with a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition but that it had long ago ceased to be a historic and Apostolic “church.” Our invitation is for them to return to communion with the One Holy Church. Obviously, Archbishop Duncan already believes he is part of the One Holy Church. So the Metropolitan couches talk of reunion in terms of “fuller communion.” But this is not correct from a dogmatic point of view. It is a form of the “branch theory.”

    Instead the Metropolitan says, “we need to see the Anglicans as part of ourselves.” This is accompanied by waffling on our doctrine in regards to the non-Chalcedon Churches who may have an acceptably Orthodox doctrine of the two natures of Christ, but explicitly accept mono-phylitism.

    I am confused.

Care to comment?

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