I feel it my duty to bring the following to your attention.
This article by Archimandrite George of Grigoriou, a most respected Abbot of Mount Athos, describes the sad and scandulous events which took place in Ravenna in June of this year, when the Ecumenical Patriarch imparted Holy Communion to Roman Catholics. Many outside of Greece are unaware of this, but slowly it is becoming known through articles such as the following. This translation now makes his assessment and critique available to the English speaking public.
As Archimandrite George says, it is essential that we re-double your prayers for the unity of the Church, for this may have most grave consequences and be a threat to the peace and unity of the Orthodox Church. The whole Body of the Church, clergy and faithful, are responsible before God for the safe-guarding and preservation of the purity of the Holy Orthodox Faith. However, all those in a position of responsibility and possessing knowledge of the tenets of the Orthodox Faith are called upon to carry this out to an even greater extent. I think I speak for many laymen when I say that we NEED TO SEE and HEAR a response to these and other innovations and deviations from those in responsible positions. Please keep the scandalized faithful in your prayers and in mind when considering what actions you may take on behalf of the truth and toward the protection of the unity of the Orthodox Church.
P.S. For the Greek text, go to www.orthodoxnet.gr
The Immaculate Mysteries
Were imparted to Papists?
A Great Scandal with Unforeseen Consequences
By Archimandrite George, Abbot of the
Holy Monastery of Grigoriou, Mount Athos
Recently, while in Athens, I was asked a host of questions by scandalized Christians, who, as they told me, saw the Oecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Albania give the Immaculate Mysteries to Roman Catholics during the Divine Liturgy, which took place in Ravenna. Others also informed me that a well-known journalist with new-age leanings praised the event.
I want to believe that both the Oecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as well as the Archbishop of Athens Anastasios did not realize that those approaching for communion were heterodox. The deacon, who was standing beside His All-holiness and Beatitude, should have informed them that those approaching were heterodox, if, of course, he understood the fact from the un-orthodox way in which they made the sign of the cross. Or, to be most certain, he should have asked those approaching if they were Orthodox.
Because the shock and scandal is great, with unforeseeable consequences for the unity of our Holy Orthodox Church, we think it an urgent need for there to be responsible and official statements that the above happened inadvertently and by mistake and that there will be no such further incidents.
I know from eyewitnesses that His All-holiness never imparts Holy Communion to heterodox and further that it is a principle of the Great Church for there not be sacramental intercommunion with the heterodox before dogmatic agreement and unity in the Orthodox Faith
However, since the heterodox exploit pseudo-unions under-handedly and de facto, I believe that the concern and unrest of the faithful members of the Church is totally justified.
Apart from this, the heterodox seek after such displays both for the sake of scandalizing the Orthodox as well as toward the advancement of inner-Church schisms and the disintegration of Orthodoxy. The more we are divided amongst ourselves, so much the easier is it for them to devour us.
Let us take care, both Shepherds and flock, not to fall into the traps of those who conspire against our Holy Orthodox Faith.
For what reason is there, then, I wonder, to transgress the sacred Canons, those underpinnings of our Orthodox Church � those, indeed, which not only forbid sacramental communion but also common prayer with the heterodox?
In examining not only the �what� of the holy Canons in question (i.e. what they say concerning the matter at hand) but also the �why� (i.e. their theological and pastoral presuppositions and extensions), we discover that these holy Canons were instituted in the application and safeguarding of Orthodox Ecclesiology, according to which only the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Symbol of Faith, namely our Orthodox Church, has the fullness of Truth and of Grace and thus constitutes the only sure path of salvation, possesses genuine and valid Mysteries and true apostolic succession. And furthermore, that is it not possible for truth and delusion, Orthodoxy and heresy, to exist together.
If, during the dialogues of the past and present the Pope and other heterodox leaders of �Churches� were addressed as �his all-holiness� or �his-beatitude� this happened and happens according to oikonomia in the hope that perhaps it would facilitate their return to Orthodoxy. It is never proper, however, for such ecclesiastical compliments to happen according to akribeia, as if they have not lost the integrity of Orthodox Faith and as if they constitute a different but nonetheless legitimate expression of the Apostolic Faith.
The spirit of this age, a spirit of syncretism, is attempting to lure even our Orthodox Church into dogmatic and religious pluralism � that which through heresy devastated the communities of the heterodox Christians of Europe.
The contemporary world and contemporary man has need of our man-befriending and ageless evangelical and apostolic Orthodoxy. It is a great temptation for our Church to adopt the spirit and the criteria of contemporary secularized man, so that we may become agreeable and acceptable to him. Yet such friendship with the world is enmity with God, according to the words of the apostle (James 4: 4).
Let us not bury the treasure; if we do, we will be judged as the evil servant of the Gospel passage.
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