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13728Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

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  • DDD
    Mar 1, 2005
      Odd? Here is an excerpt from an article written by [then] Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinow), printed in Orthodox Life in 1984, No. 4, shortly after the 1983 Anathema Against Ecumenism appeared:

      "By proclaiming this anathema, we have protected ****our flock**** from this apocalyptic temptation and, at the same time, have reluctantly put before the conscience of all the local Churches a serious issue, which sooner of later they must resolve in one way or the other. The future spiritual fate of the universal Orthodox Church depends on the resolution of this problem. *****The anathema we have proclaimed is *de jure* a manifestaton of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but *de facto* it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale....******" [small emphasis (*=italics) his, large emphasis (******) mine]

      Some things to note here:

      1) This appeared right after the Anathema, in 1984, and matches exactly what he said later in his 1986 (O.S.)/1987 (N.S.) Nativity Epistle. So, Metr. Vitaly did not take a new stance on the interpretation of the Anathema in 1987, as some claim.

      2) He does say that "de jure" (by law, as far as its force of law goes) it is "a manifestation of a **purely local character*** ***of the Russian Church Abroad***. He also says at the beginning of this paragraph that the other local Churches must resolve this "serious issue" (not Anathema, not decree of the Church, but only an "issue") [themselves], implying it is *not* resolved *for* them by us, the ROCOR.

      3) He then says that *de facto*(in actual fact, or in actual practice), it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church. He says it has significance, but not legal power. He mentions it as something "put before the conscience" of the local Churches. Now an Anathema is not something "put before the conscience" of someone, for them to decide themselves the way he is saying here.

      If Metr. had felt that "the anathema must necessarily speak for the Church as a whole," then he would never have mentioned that "de jure it is a manifestation of a **purely local character*** of the Russian Church Abroad. He is, in fact, precisely saying that the Russian Church Abroad *cannot* speak for the Church as a whole, but only offer an example to "put before the conscience" of the Local Churches.

      ust my 2c/.

      --Dimitra Dwelley

      �From: "Fr. Alexis Duncan" <7848@...>�Subject: RE: Re:
      �Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

      �A terribly odd sentiment that I have heard expressed at other times
      �is that the Anathema of 1983 is only for our Church Abroad and her
      �faithful children. It is odd because if we believe our bishops in
      �congregation are led by the Holy Spirit, then the anathema must
      �necessarily speak for the Church as a whole.
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