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+Hilarion Alfeyev Blasts Anglicans for Renouncing the Faith

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=17075   VILLANOVA, PA: Metropolitan Hilarion Blasts Anglicans for Renouncing the Faith
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 12, 2013
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      VILLANOVA, PA: Metropolitan Hilarion Blasts Anglicans for Renouncing the
      Orthodox and Anglican Churches are on different sides of the
      abyss, says Russian Orthodox leader

      By David W. Virtue
      January 12, 2013

      The future of ecumenism is in great peril with the gap widening
      between orthodox and progressives, says Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian
      Orthodox Church a noted theologian and church historian.

      Speaking before
      an audience at Villanova University, a Catholic institution on Philadelphia's
      historic mainline and one of the oldest in the US, Hilarion said that when the
      holy fathers of the first millennium abided in unity and while it was subjected
      to many serious trials, it was the foundation upon which dialogue between
      Christians was successful and fruitful. "Fidelity to the Christian tradition is
      the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ's

      The orthodox leader blasted parts of the Anglican Communion
      for abandoning the faith and said renunciation of the truth by some Protestant
      denominations makes it difficult for the Orthodox Church to continue
      co-operation with them.

      "I regret this, but dialogues with Protestants
      and Anglicans which we have had for decades are now under threat because of
      processes taking place in the Protestant communities of the West and North. I
      mean the continuing liberalization in the field of theology, ecclesiology and
      moral teaching. Certain denominations have legitimized the blessing of same-sex
      unions and the ordination of people openly declaring their non-traditional
      sexual orientation."

      Hilarion said he was obliged to speak about this
      because he wanted to preserve the good that was being achieved during the years
      of dialogue between Orthodox, on the one hand, and Protestants and Anglicans, on
      the other. "In defending the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Church, we
      remain true to this dialogue, yet at the same time we see that Protestants and
      Anglicans are growing away from us by accepting innovations which we find

      "I am speaking of this in the walls of a Catholic
      university because I am afraid to criticize Anglicans and Protestants to their
      faces. Every time the opportunity arises, I speak openly of our concern in
      direct dialogue with our brothers from the Anglican and Protestant communities.
      In 2010 at a festive dinner at the Nicaea Club in London in the presence of the
      Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams I stated the sad fact that the Orthodox
      and Anglican Churches are to be found on different sides of the abyss which
      separate Christians of a traditional direction and Christians adhering to
      liberal teachings. Recently I spoke of the same things at the old Episcopalian
      seminary at Nashotah House, a contemporary of your University."

      Metropolitan added that dialogue with Protestants and Anglicans has reached a
      dead end, but dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church has a future because, like
      the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church does not think of itself as being
      outside of Tradition and strives to teach and live in accordance with the
      tradition of the apostles and holy fathers.

      "In my view, the significant
      improvement and strengthening of relations between our Churches that can be seen
      in recent years is connected to an awareness that we are united by a common
      heritage, thanks to which both Orthodox and Catholics can and must together bear
      witness to the world of the eternal values of the Gospel.

      "The Orthodox
      and Catholics encounter the same challenges which modern times lay down to the
      traditional way of life. In this instance we are dealing not with theological
      problems but with the present and future of humanity. It is in this sphere that
      Orthodox and Catholics can interact without compromising their ecclesiastical
      identity. In other words, while not yet being the one Church, being separated by
      various theological and ecclesiological problems, we can find ways of
      interacting which would allow us to respond jointly to the challenges of the
      modern world.

      "Together we can help people realize what the traditional
      Christian values are - the family, the worth of human life from conception to
      death, the upbringing of children, the integrity and indissolubility of
      marriage. All of these concepts in the modern secular world are subjected to a
      radical re-evaluation."

      Hilarion said that in Western society today, the
      traditional family way of life has, in effect, been destroyed. As a result,
      there has been a gradual decline in the populations of Western nations. "This is
      a very simple and real indication of the spiritual health or spiritual disease
      of a particular nation. If the population of a country is increasing this means
      that there are in the nation healthy forces which allow this to happen; if the
      population decreases, this is a sign of disease." The disease in society is an
      absence of the traditional notion of the family, he said.

      "At the basis
      of this worldview there lies the destruction of the traditional family way of
      life. If we speak of Christian communities, the traditional way of life of the
      family is preached only by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. At the official
      level it is the Orthodox and Catholic Churches which defend the integrity of
      marriage, believe abortion to be a sin and call for an end to it, and believe
      that euthanasia is unacceptable."

      Hilarion continued, "The 'Foundations
      of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church' with the Catechism of the
      Catholic Church which outlines the official teaching of the Catholic Church on
      these problems, then everywhere you will see that their positions are similar.
      This means that we can combine our endeavors in order to jointly protect
      traditional values such as the family, giving birth, how children are brought up
      and the integrity of marriage. This is the field where we can and must today
      interact with Catholics.

      "In this regard, I am convinced that
      co-operation of all Christian confessions, and first of all between the Orthodox
      and Catholic Churches, is greatly needed for the protection of human life and
      its inalienable dignity as well as the family. Therefore we who are united by
      faith in Christ and a two-thousand-year-old Christian tradition have to bring
      with renewed strength the good news to the world of the family and marriage as
      institutions created by God.

      "In accepting the challenge of the real
      world, the Christian family is to be as before the hope and pledge of a
      Christian civilization. It is essential to protect and support a cultural
      tradition which is favorable to the family, the indissolubility of marriage and
      the need for marital fidelity by taking an active part in the creation of
      legislation that favors the family and its natural foundation and by imparting
      to society the ideals of the majesty and perfection of the family

      The Orthodox leader said that protecting of Christians from
      discrimination is another area of cooperation between the Orthodox and

      "Unfortunately, in the countries of the so called Arab Spring,
      as well as in a number of other countries of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and
      Oceania, Christians are subjected to discrimination, persecution and repression.

      Media Ignores Religious Persecution

      The media ignores the
      problem of religious persecution. "In planning military intervention in a
      particular country of the Arab world or in preparing the overthrow of the
      existing regime in a particular country with the help of outside forces, Western
      strategists completely fail to take into account the fact that the main victims
      are often local Christians."

      Hilarion cited several examples. "In Iraq
      only one tenth of a million-and-a-half Christians that lived there ten years ago
      have survived. In Egypt we are witnessing a mass exodus of Christians. There are
      practically no Christians left in Libya. Ninety five percent of Christians have
      abandoned Homs in Syria. We, Orthodox and Catholics, must raise our voices
      jointly in defense of Christians subjected to persecution and repression in
      these countries, as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the
      Philippines, Nigeria and in a number of other countries as well.

      countries of Europe have traditionally defended the interests of Christians in
      the Middle East and in Eastern Asia. In the present circumstances we hope that
      the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on January 2011 on the
      position of Christians in the context of religious freedom, as well as the
      declaration of the Committee of Foreign Ministers of the European Union on 22
      February, will have practical consequences. They were a result of active
      participation by the Christian Churches in this direction. We hope that the USA
      will join us in the defense of Christians.

      "Today Christians are
      subjected to harassment not only in those countries where they comprise a
      minority but often in those countries with ancient and deep-rooted Christian
      traditions. Certain European countries are trying to limit the manifestation of
      Christian faith in public life by claiming that they are thereby observing the
      rights of adherents of other religions and atheists. This situation demands that
      Orthodox and Catholic show solidarity in their actions in protecting the
      Christian identity of Europe and America.

      "The Christian communities of
      Syria and other Middle Eastern countries are crying out for help at a time when
      the Western media ignore their pleas for aid. Politicians too are closing their
      eyes to this unprecedented wave of persecution. We, the Orthodox and Catholics
      from around the world, have to raise our voice in defense of Christians and the
      Christian traditions of the Middle East. It is our duty to appeal constantly to
      political leaders, international organizations and the media by reminding them
      of this humanitarian tragedy unfolding before our eyes."

      observed that it is essential for Orthodox and Catholics today to perceive each
      other not as rivals but as allies in the cause of the defense of Christians'
      rights. "We must develop interaction outside of the success or otherwise of
      theological dialogue, independent even of how relations between the Orthodox and
      Catholics take shape in concrete regions around the world. We must build this
      interaction from a common strategic task since we are dealing with the future of
      humanity. It is upon our joint endeavors that the future of Christianity in the
      third millennium will primarily depend."


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