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Statement of Bishop ARTEMIJE

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Many heresies in various times in history devil has developed , sowing trough the  whole world multitude of chaff of evilbeliefs trough his servants
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 23, 2005
      Many heresies in various times in history devil has developed ,
      sowing trough the  whole world multitude of chaff of evilbeliefs trough
      his servants heresies-leaders, for the sake of coruption and  ruin of True
      Faith, those are the ones whom we are placing under condemnation Anathema
      and with them those who developed evil dogmas. All evil heresies are
      abomination to us.

      Saint Sabba of Serbia

      Voice crying in wilderness......



       Statement of Bishop ARTEMIJE of Raska and Prizren

      Ray of Hope of  Orthodox Christians in Serbia who are struggling against
      Soul destructive Heresy of Ecumenism


                                                        T H E S S A L O N I K I

                                      T H E O L O G I C A L  C O N F E R E N C E




      Dogmas of Orthodox Patristic Traditions,  following them we are confirmed
      in them and thus we believe and thus we confess, and all heretics and
      their every  heresy we condemn.   Saint Sabba of Serbia

      20 - 24 SEPTEMBER 2004

      About THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH VIS-À-VIS ECUMENISM


      Ecumenism is a child of the 20th century. It was born at its outset,
      experienced a

      metamorphosis in the World Council of Churches around the middle of the
      century and by its

      end, it was on its last breath being fiercely rejected. Unfortunately, it
      survived this crisis, and

      continues to trouble the Church of God in the 21st century.

      This theological conference on ecumenism, in our humble opinion, is long
      overdue but not

      hopelessly so. Therefore, we thank God, as well as all those who worked to
      make this eminent

      gathering possible, in order that the issue of ecumenism may be considered
      from various

      perspectives, which should be of great help to all local Orthodox
      Churches, as well as the Church

      as a whole and every faithful person. It will help the Church take the
      proper position toward this,

      not only the latest, but also the most dangerous ecclesiological heresy,
      which our well-known

      theologian, Fr. Justin Popovich, consequently called pan-heresy because it
      encompasses all

      heresies previously known in the history of the Church.

      There has been and will be much more discussion at this esteemed gathering
      about the One

      Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church, as well as
      regarding the concept of

      ecumenism itself. Therefore, we will not dwell long on these concepts in
      our presentation. What

      we are going to discuss is the question whether or not, to what extent and
      in what manner the

      Serbian Orthodox Church opposes ecumenism; and through whom and in what
      manner this

      opposition has manifested itself and still manifests itself today.

      The realization that not one local Orthodox Church has remained
      unblemished and unsullied

      by the ecumenical pestilence is a painful fact. Some have been more
      influenced, others less. But

      it is also consoling and encouraging that in every local Orthodox Church
      there have been and

      still are shining and holy examples of individuals and groups who actively
      oppose, in speech and

      writing, the penetration of ecumenism into the fullness of Orthodoxy.1
      Perhaps there are not

      many of them, perhaps they are not connected sufficiently among themselves
      and united into a

      common defensive front but what is certain is that all of them are first
      united with the Head of

      the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ and with all the Saints of the Orthodox
      Church – who

      throughout the centuries labored and fought for the purity of the Orthodox
      Faith – and through

      the Saints, and by means of them, with each other. This may be the "little
      flock" the Lord

      consoled in His Gospel when he said "it is your Father’s good pleasure to
      give you the kingdom"

      (Lk 12:32).

      1 The only exception to this rule, unfortunately, is the Ecumenical
      Patriarchate, which is in fact the promoter of all

      ecumenical events and trends globally. So far not one voice of opposition
      has been heard from within this local

      Church in opposition to the ecumenistic activity, in word and deed, of the
      head and representatives of this church.

      On the contrary, from there one could frequently hear only words of
      condemnation and attack against those

      throughout Orthodoxy who strive to preserve the "pledge of faith"
      unsullied by sick ecumenical evilbelief.


      In the Serbian Orthodox Church the first and most consistent opponent of
      ecumenism was

      and remains Father Justin Popovich of blessed repose, who motivated others
      by his example, his

      words and his deeds, and inspired many to follow him. Fr. Justin
      succinctly expressed his

      Orthodox theological position on ecumenism in his well-known book The
      Orthodox Church and

      Ecumenism, first published in Thessaloniki in 1974. In this book, Fr.
      Justin gave a concise but

      comprehensive definition of ecumenism. According to him, "Ecumenism is a
      collective name for

      pseudo-Christianities, for the pseudo-Churches of Western Europe. All
      European humanisms,

      headed by Papism, have given it their wholehearted support. And all these
      pseudo-Christianities,

      all these pseudo-Churches, are nothing other than a collection of
      heresies. Their common

      evangelical name is pan-heresy." Father Justin believed that he would best
      show all the

      abnormality and deformity of ecumenism as it appears in our time if we
      reflected it in the mirror

      of the One True Church of Christ. And that he did, presenting the Orthodox
      teaching (of the

      Orthodox Church) about the True Church of Christ, the Church of the
      Apostles and Holy

      Fathers, and Holy Tradition in the most meaningful and succinct way. Only
      if one has true and

      full knowledge of the teaching of Christ is it possible to readily discern
      and recognize all false

      and heretical teachings.

      The origins of ecumenism as a movement to unite Christians, its historical
      progress and

      development, as well as the various traps into which many Orthodox
      Christians, including quite a

      few clergy and a good number of Bishops, fell, and continue to fall, was
      described and

      systematically reported by Hieromonk Sava Janjic of the brotherhood of the
      Monastery of

      Dechani in his book Ekumenizam i vreme apostasije [Ecumenism and the Time
      of Apostasy]

      published in Prizren (Kossovo) in 1995. In it ecumenism is clearly and
      primarily defined as an

      "ecclesiological heresy," the purpose of which is to transform the Body of
      Christ (the Church)

      into an "ecumenical organization," striking thus at very root of the
      Orthodox faith – the Church.

      Ecumenism, in fact, according to Fr. Sava, seeks to arbitrarily "correct"
      the theanthropic

      teaching of the Lord Christ, reducing it to the level of a social,
      humanistic and pacifistic idea,

      and attempting to replace Christ Himself with the atheistic and
      secularized European man.


      On account of its clear anti-ecumenical position, Fr. Sava’s book was
      attacked by many and

      even banned from being sold in church bookstores; however, no one even
      attempted, let alone

      succeeded, in denying or contesting anything presented within it.

      More recently, nonetheless, the main champion of opposition and resistance
      toward

      ecumenism in the Serbian Orthodox Church has been and remains Sveti Knez
      Lazar [Holy Prince

      Lazarus], a magazine published by the Diocese of Raska and Prizren for the
      past 12 years. This

      magazine carefully follows all ecumenical events and provides commentary,
      articles, reviews


      and viewpoints of all those for whom the purity of faith and Orthodoxy is
      the primary matter in

      life, even more important than life itself. It publishes articles of
      rebuttal and translations of

      letters, decisions and the testimony of the monasteries of the Holy
      Mountain on various issues.

      When, in the field of theology or the domain of practical "ecumenizing,"
      in the dialogue between

      Orthodox and non-Orthodox, boundaries would be overstepped and result in
      the purity of the

      Orthodox faith and Church being brought into question, the voice of
      conscience would be heard,

      first from the monks from the Holy Mountain and then from individual
      students of theology and

      theologians from Thessaloniki, Athens, and other local Orthodox Churches.
      Sv. Knez Lazar


      would make such reviews, appeals and protests available on its pages,
      which greatly contributed

      to strengthening the resistance to ecumenism in the heart of the Serbian
      Orthodox Church.

      Among such texts were those critical of the decisions reached in Balamand,
      including the letter

      of the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain of Athos sent to His Holiness
      Ecumenical

      Patriarch Bartholomew at the end of 1993; the Report of the Holy Community
      of the Holy

      Mountain of Athos on dialogue between the Orthodox and the
      anti-Chalcedonians held in

      Chambésy in November 1993, and many others

      There were similar reviews and reproves from individuals and groups within
      the Serbian

      Orthodox Church itself. Worthy of mention is a text by novice-monk Ilija
      entitled "Nešto gore i

      od ekumenizma" (Something even worse than ecumenism), where he presents
      horrible testimony

      about ecumenical prayers by Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Muslims at the
      beginning of 1992

      in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In connection with this, we wrote a brief
      commentary, "Bog se ne da

      ružiti" (God cannot be corrupted) in which we point out that this kind of
      trampling on the

      traditions of the Holy Fathers and the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church
      leads directly, by

      God’s allowance, to inter-ethnic conflict and bloodshed.

      The question of ecumenism and the attitude of the Serbian Orthodox Church
      toward it, as

      well as the question of the membership of the S.O.C. in the World Council
      of Churches, was also

      a frequent topic of discussion in those years at the Holy Assembly of
      Bishops. We were most

      often the instigator and inspirer of these discussions with our
      communiqués, as well as articles

      published in our magazine Sveti Knez Lazar. This was the very reason why
      the Holy Synod of

      Bishops issued a decision at the end of 1994 (no. 3128 dated November 17,
      1994) for us to

      prepare and submit a brief overview of the history of the WCC for the Holy
      Assembly of

      Bishops, as well as an examination of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s
      membership in it. Thus, in

      carrying out this decision of the Holy Synod in May of 1995 we submitted
      the following report

      to the Holy Assembly of Bishops from which, we hope, our personal position
      toward the WCC

      and toward ecumenism is clearly understood.

      We explained, first of all, that the very name "World Council of Churches"
      is untenable,

      since the Holy Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council laid down the
      dogma that there is one


      Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and not many, out of which it would
      be possible to build

      or create some kind of "council" or "union" which would be a type of
      super-Church.

      We then briefly presented the history of the creation of the WCC in 1948,
      showing that it has

      its roots in a modern heresy – the pan-heresy that is called ecumenism,
      which sprouted up in the

      lap of Protestantism at the end of the 19th century in order to meet its
      particular needs. Only later

      was this movement and its anti-ecclesial ideas (such as the so-called
      "branch theory") gradually

      adopted and accepted by individual local Orthodox Churches, which joined
      the WCC and

      became an organic member.

      The Serbian Orthodox Church long resisted this temptation of ecumenism.
      Finally, however,

      it, too, became a member of the WCC in 1965 and, making an effort not to
      lag behind the

      example of local Orthodox churches that became members earlier, took
      active part in all

      ecumenical dialogues and activities regardless as to what extent they were
      contrary to the

      tradition of the Holy Fathers and the canonical regulations of the
      Orthodox Church.

      [What follows are excerpts from the report to the Holy Assembly of
      Bishops:]


      The Creation of the WCC


      1. The very name "World Council of Churches" contains the entire heresy of
      this pseudoecclesial

      organization.

      The church is One and Catholic, and in it is all Truth, all Grace, and all
      that that the Lord

      brought with Him to the earth and gave to the people, and left among them
      for their salvation.

      The Church is One and Catholic because it gathers all who desire salvation
      into one, into


      wholeness, which is the Body of the God-Man Christ. Hence the very idea of
      a "council" or

      "union" of churches is unthinkable, inadmissible and unacceptable to the
      consciousness and

      conscience of the Orthodox person.

      2. The World Council of Churches was born out of a modern heresy – the
      pan-heresy that is

      called ecumenism. Today the phenomenon of ecumenism is not anything new and
      unknown.

      Quite a bit has been written and said about it for decades, and it can be
      rightly said that it is a

      very complex phenomenon. Ecumenism is above all an ecclesiological heresy
      because it strikes

      at the very root of Orthodox faith – at the holy Church, attempting to
      transform it into an

      "ecumenical organization" stripped of all the theanthropic characteristics
      of the Body of Christ,

      thus preparing the path for the Antichrist himself.

      The foundations of ecumenism were laid as early as the end of the 19th
      century, in 1897, at

      the conference of 194 Anglican bishops in Lambeth, England. The basic
      principles of the future

      ecumenical union of Christian "churches" were formulated at this
      gathering. The Lambeth

      conference defined a dogmatic minimum, stemming from the idea that unity
      should be sought in

      the lowest common denominator of theological teachings. This lowest common
      denominator

      should be sought in the Holy Scripture (but outside the context of the
      Holy Tradition), in the

      Symbol of Faith of Nicea and Constantinople, and in just two holy
      mysteries: Baptism and the

      Eucharist. In addition, there was an emphasis on the so-called "Principle
      of Tolerance" toward

      the teaching of other "churches" in preparation for the introduction of a
      "compromise of love."

      The third invention of the Lambeth Conference was the famous "branch
      theory," stemming from

      the assertion that the Church of Christ is supposedly a tree of many
      branches, all of whose

      branches are mutually equal and which represent the manifestation of the
      one Church only in

      their collective unity.

      Once sown, the evil seed spread quickly. By the beginning of the 20th
      century, in 1919, the

      Protestant "churches" organized a World Mission Conference in Edinburgh
      where it was decided

      to organize a worldwide Christian movement to address issues of faith and
      church organization.

      Simultaneously active was the Life and Work movement, whose task was to
      realize the unity of

      Christians through their cooperation on issues of practical life. Out of
      these two exclusively

      Protestant movements and with their unification in 1948 at the first
      General Assembly in

      Amsterdam, the World Council of Churches based in Geneva was created.
      Sadly, also present at

      this assembly, unfortunately, were some of the Orthodox Churches,
      including the Ecumenical

      Patriarchate, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Greece and the Russian
      Metropolia in America

      (today the Orthodox Church in America).

      3. Unfortunately, Orthodoxy did not resist this temptation of modernism
      and secularism for

      long but quickly became infected with it. Among the Orthodox Churches, the
      first to make a

      concession to ecumenism was the Patriarchate of Constantinople, from as
      early as January 1920,

      with its Encyclical "To the churches of Christ everywhere". Not only does
      it refer to all local

      Orthodox Churches as "churches" but for the first time this name is
      equally given to the various

      heretical confessions.

      Thus, at the very beginning of this unfortunate encyclical it is said:
      "...rapprochement

      between the various Christian Churches and fellowship between them is not
      excluded by the

      doctrinal differences which exist between them..." The Encyclical further
      appeals that it is

      necessary to work on "preparation and advancement of that blessed union";
      it calls various

      heretical groups "churches that should no more consider one another as
      strangers and foreigners,

      but as relatives, 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) As
      the first practical step in

      the building of mutual confidence and love, it is considered necessary for
      the Orthodox Church

      to accept the New (Gregorian) Calendar, "for the celebration of the great
      Christian feasts at the

      same time by all the churches." This was soon done by the Patriarchate of
      Constantinople (and

      later by some other local Orthodox Churches), which paid a high price:
      internal schism both

      within the Church and among the people.

      Other Orthodox Churches resisted this evil temptation for a time. The
      Patriarchate of

      Moscow in particular demonstrated certain signs of caution toward
      ecumenism. The Conference

      of the bishops of local Orthodox Churches held in Moscow on 8-18 July
      1948, on the occasion of

      the 500-year anniversary of the proclamation of autocephaly of the Russian
      Church bore witness

      to this. Representatives of the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Russia,
      Serbia, Romania,

      Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania taking part in the
      meeting rejected

      participation in the world ecumenical movement and in the WCC, which had
      just been formed,

      condemning it as a heresy.

      4. However, this zealousness of the Orthodox in teaching God’s Truth about
      the Church,

      unfortunately, did not last long. Only four years after the formation of
      the World Council of

      Churches, in 1952, Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople issued an
      encyclical calling on all

      heads of local Orthodox Churches to join the World Council of Churches. In
      spite of the fact that

      the reasons for such exhortations were totally trite, clichéd and
      non-ecclesial (for example,

      "rapprochement of peoples and nations" for the purpose of "confronting the
      great problems

      which occupy the whole of humanity"), during the course of the same year
      (1952) individual

      Orthodox Churches rushed to join the WCC. The Ecumenical Patriarchate sent
      its permanent

      representatives to WCC headquarters in Geneva. In 1959 the Central
      Committee of the WCC

      met with the representatives of all the Orthodox Churches on the island of
      Rhodes. Since then,

      ecumenism has penetrated the walls of Orthodoxy and began like a cancer to
      consume it from

      within. After the Rhodes meeting, the Orthodox began to compete among
      themselves as to who

      would be the most ecumenical.

      Beginning in 1961, Orthodox ecumenists began to convene one conference
      after another for

      the purpose of realizing their ecumenistic goals. Thus, in 1964, a Third
      Conference was held on

      Rhodes where the decision was made to conduct dialogues with heretics "on
      an equal basis" and

      each local Orthodox Church was obligated to establish, independently,
      "brotherly relations" with

      heretics. The ringleader in all of these ecumenical games was Patriarch
      Athenagoras, who began

      a series of meetings with the Pope of Rome, effected the mutual removal of
      anathemas from

      1054, conducted common prayers, etc., later followed by his successors and
      assistants,

      Archbishops Iakovos of North and South America, Stylianos of Australia,
      Damascene of

      Geneva, and many others.

      This work on the ecumenical agenda was also accompanied by independent
      statements by

      individual representatives of the Orthodox Churches, not only those from
      the Throne of

      Constantinople – statements which have nothing in common with the
      positions and teachings of

      the Holy Fathers. The boundaries established by our Fathers between truth
      and falsehood, light

      and darkness, Christ and Belial had been violated. The fundamental task of
      all the outpourings of

      sentimental (in essence, mutually hypocritical) love supposedly manifested
      in these statements

      was to develop a consciousness among Orthodox Christians that they were
      brothers in Christ


      with the un-Orthodox, and members together of the one and true Church of
      Christ.

      This was stated at meetings and conferences, printed in magazines and
      books, and broadcast

      on radio and television. And all this was supposed to lead to "a common
      Cup", i.e. to common

      communion (intercommunio), which is the basic goal of the so-called
      "dialogue of love".

      According to Father Justin Popovich, this is in fact "the most evil
      betrayal of the Lord Christ, the

      betrayal of Judas, and the betrayal of the Church of Christ as a whole".


      The Serbian Orthodox Church joins the WCC


      Following the example of the other local Orthodox Churches, especially the
      Patriarchate of

      Constantinople, the Serbian Orthodox Church from the very beginning made
      an effort to keep in

      step with the times. Although it was not yet formally a member of the WCC,
      it inaugurated close

      and frequent contacts with this "council of heresy", as Father Justin has
      referred to it, and began

      to receive official visits from members of the WCC, above all individuals
      responsible for

      sending inter-ecclesial assistance, such as Mr. Tobias, Mr. Maxwell, and
      Ms. Meyhoffer, and

      finally, the General Secretary, Mr. Visser’t Hooft.

      Although it is true that the Serbian Church did not have an official
      representative-observer at

      the WCC’s Second Assembly in Evanston, U.S.A. in 1954, or at the Third
      Assembly in New

      Delhi in 1961, it had a three-member delegation (headed by Bishop
      Visarion). At this assembly,

      there was a complete turnabout with regard to the participation of local
      Orthodox Churches.

      Apparently under the pressure from the Communist Soviet government, the
      Moscow Patriarchate

      and all of the Churches in the satellite countries along with it became
      members of the WCC.

      Joining at that time were the Patriarchates of Moscow, Georgia, Romania
      and Bulgaria, as well

      as the Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia.

      The Serbian Church became a member of the WCC by way of the "back door"
      and somewhat

      dishonorably. Namely, the WCC General Secretary, W.A. Visser ‘t Hooft paid
      a visit to Serbia

      and proposed that the Serbian Orthodox Church become a member without
      necessarily signing

      certain theological documents that were dogmatically and canonically
      unfounded. The Holy

      Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church at that time (not the Assembly of
      Bishops), with

      Patriarch German as its head, decided that the Serbian Church should
      become a member. This

      was accepted and made official at a meeting of the WCC’s Central Committee
      in Africa, in 1965.

      Subsequently, the Serbian Church, like the other local Orthodox Churches,
      has become an


      organic member of the WCC. Through our official representatives (bishops
      and theologians), we

      took part in all later assemblies, conferences, symposiums, meetings,
      prayer gatherings and

      everything else that occurred to the WCC, to which we agreed without
      question. The result of

      this participation was reflected in certain material aid which the Serbian
      Orthodox Church

      periodically received from the WCC in the form of medicine, medical care
      and rehabilitation of

      some individuals in Switzerland, student scholarships, and financial
      donations for certain

      concrete purposes and needs of the SOC, such as, the construction of a new
      building for the

      Theological School. We paid for these crumbs of material assistance by
      losing, on the spiritual

      plane, the purity of our faith, canonical consistency and faithfulness to
      the Holy Tradition of the

      Orthodox Church.

      The presence of our representatives (and Orthodox representatives in
      general) at various and

      sundry ecumenical gatherings has no canonical justification. We did not go
      there in order to

      boldly, openly and unwaveringly confess the eternal and unchangeable Truth
      of the Orthodox

      Faith and Church but in order to make compromises and to agree more or
      less to all those

      decisions and formulations offered to us by the non-Orthodox. That is how
      we ultimately arrived

      at Balamand, Chambésy, and Assisi, which taken as a whole represent
      infidelity and betrayal of

      the Holy Orthodox Faith.

      During this entire period of the decline and ruin of the Church of Saint
      Sava in every respect,

      the only voice that could be heard was that of Father Justin of Chelije,
      who was and remains the

      vigilant and unchanging conscience of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Deeply
      feeling and

      liturgically experiencing the spirit of Apostolic and Patristic Truth, he
      wrote, regarding the

      ecumenical "labor" of Patriarch Athenagoras: "And the Patriarch of
      Constantinople? By his neo-

      Papist behavior, his words and deeds, he has scandalized Orthodox
      consciences for decades,

      renouncing the unique and all-saving Truth of the Orthodox Church and
      Faith, acknowledging

      the Roman Pontifex Maximus with demonic pride..."

      These words clearly express a mature, sincere and patristic position
      toward a heretical

      Patriarch and a precise diagnosis of the basic intentions of
      Constantinople, which the successors

      of Patriarch Athenagoras are carrying out to this day under the eyes and
      with the silent

      acquiescence of officials from the other Orthodox Churches.

      And what would Father Justin say today?

      The only good thing in this whole affair is that our official
      representatives and participants in

      various ecumenical gatherings are not writing or publishing anything in
      the church press upon

      their return home that would poison the Orthodox people. Frequently, even
      we Bishops gathered

      in Assembly receive no official reports from our brother Bishops who
      represent us, which I

      consider unacceptable.

      Taking into account everything we have stated above, on the one hand, and
      the eternal and

      unerring evangelical measure "that every tree can be recognized by its
      fruits" on the other, it is as

      clear as day what we should do.

      At this same Assembly, we must pass a decision that the Serbian Orthodox
      Church must

      withdraw from the WCC and from all similar organizations (such as the
      European Council of

      Churches and others) and put an end to its participation in all ecumenical
      and atheistic

      gatherings.

      This must be done for the following reasons:

      1. Out of obedience toward the Holy Apostle Paul, who counsels and
      commands: "As for a

      man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing
      more to do with

      him." (Tit 3:10)

      2. Because it is consistent with all the holy Canons of the Orthodox
      Church against which

      we have now grievously sinned.

      3. Because there is not a single one among the Holy Fathers of the Church
      who by his

      teaching, life and deeds could serve as an example for us that would
      justify our joining

      and continuing to remain in the non-ecclesial organization of the WCC and
      others like it.

      4. For the sake of the salvation of our souls, of the souls of the flock
      entrusted to us, which

      we have severely scandalized and spiritually harmed by our ecumenizing to
      date, as well

      as for the sake of all those who are still outside the Ark of Salvation –
      the One Holy

      Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church, whom such a decisive and clear
      action on our

      part can help more in seeking and finding the truth and the path to
      salvation than the

      continuation of our colorless and godless association with them."


      The Decision to Withdraw


      Two years after our report, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian
      Orthodox Church

      decided at its council of May-June 1997 that the Serbian Church should
      withdraw from the

      WCC, that is, it decided that the Serbian Church should no longer be an
      organic member of this

      organization. In the explanation of this decision, the Bishops stated that
      the World Council of

      Churches was created as an expression of the desire for the establishment
      of a unified Church,

      especially among the fractions of the Protestant world (beginning in
      1910). As we have seen, the

      Orthodox Churches, each in its own way, regularly participated in the
      so-called Ecumenical

      Movement, especially after 1920, in order to realize Christ’s commandment
      "that they may be

      one" (Jn. 17:11).

      In the beginning eminent theologians took part in ecumenism, including the
      Holy Bishop

      Nikolai of Zhicha, Bishop Irinej (Ciric) of Backa, Bishop Irinej
      (Djordjevic) of Dalmatia,

      Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky, Dumitru Staniloae and others. At every
      opportunity they

      witnessed to Eternal Truth and the position of Orthodox theology that
      "without unity of faith

      there is no unity in the Church as the theanthropic organism of Christ,
      and there cannot be". At

      all ecumenical meetings and assemblies, they separated their Orthodox
      positions and decisions in

      separate conclusions. Only later, with the forming of the WCC, this
      principle was gradually

      abandoned, and Orthodox representatives increasingly melted into the
      common (essentially non-

      Orthodox) conclusions and decisions. This is especially demonstrated by
      the justification

      presented at the council of the Serbian Orthodox Church explaining and
      justifying the decision to

      withdraw from the WCC, as follows:


      o Because in its activities the WCC has begun to neglect it’s original
      position regarding the

      unity in faith as a precondition for the unity of the Church;


      o Because this Council has begun to have the nature of a super-Church and
      to behave in

      this spirit, practically accepting in its activities the Anglican "branch
      theory", which is

      unacceptable to Orthodoxy, and more recently called the theory of
      "Christian traditions",

      according to which the "traditions" of some Protestant sects (created, for
      example, in the

      previous century) are equated and considered equal with the living
      Tradition of the Eastern

      Orthodox Church, which has existed in continuity since apostolic times;


      o Because the WCC is increasingly influenced by secularism;


      o Because of the very organization of the WCC, where Protestant
      communities hold the

      overwhelming majority, the Orthodox Church is always outvoted, and
      consequently the

      Orthodox Church cannot influence the WCC’s decisions nor be adequately
      represented;


      o Because questions of faith and order and unity in faith and the One
      authentic Church of

      Christ are being increasingly neglected in official circles of the WCC
      because of

      pragmatism and everyday secular policies;


      o Because official circles of the ecumenical movement are dominated by the
      spirit and

      organization of religious syncretism in practical expression and
      implementation (especially

      after the general assemblies in Uppsala and Canberra);


      o Because instead of trying to reduce existing dogmatic and canonical
      differences in the

      spirit of ecumenism, some of the most important members of the WCC (for
      example, the

      Anglican Church) are introducing new "church" traditions and practices
      that they

      dogmatically justify, customs that imperil the ethos of the Gospel, and
      the entire Christian

      tradition of East and West (ex. the ordination of women "bishops" and
      "pastors"), creating

      a radically new order, ecclesiology and morality in the "church";


      o Because the WCC tolerates some Christian communities among its members
      that accept

      and bless unnatural and anti-natural sexual practices (the marriage of
      persons of the same

      sex – lesbians and homosexuals) that are "shameful to even hear".


      o Because this ecumenical, syncretistic and secularist spirit is also
      being transmitted to

      certain Orthodox circles, especially among the Diaspora and mixed areas,
      where

      intercommunion and prayer meetings with the non-Orthodch denies the very ethos and the patristic manner
      of thinking and

      life in the Church (meaning it has a negative impact on the Church
      itself);


      o Because organic membership in the WCC causes scandals and serious
      polarization

      among local Orthodox Churches within the Fullness of Orthodoxy (meaning
      that instead of

      contributing to pan-Christian unity, this type of membership directly
      endangers unity within

      the Orthodox Church itself, let alone the ecclesiological unacceptability
      of these kinds of

      memberships!);


      o Because of all the reasons given above, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the
      faithful

      witness and guardian (together with the other local Orthodox Churches) of
      the faith and

      ethos of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, announced
      its withdrawal

      from the WCC; and its resignation as an ORGANIC member of this
      organization (as has

      also been done by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Georgian Church).
      In doing so,

      however, the Serbian Church does not withdraw from continuing to work on
      the "unity of

      all" and continuing to cooperate with all, including work with the WCC in
      the humanitarian

      field, as well as in other areas of inter-Christian responsibility for
      peace, justice and unity

      among the peoples and states of the world.


      · Taking into account, however, that this is a far-reaching decision that
      affects not only the

      life and mission of the Serbian Church but of Orthodoxy in general and its
      salvific mission

      in the world, the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Church has decided
      that prior to its

      final resignation, it will first forward its position and rationale to the
      Ecumenical Patriarch

      of Constantinople and to all heads of local Orthodox Churches with the
      proposal and

      request that a Pan-Orthodox Conference be convened as soon as possible
      with regard to

      further participation of Orthodox Churches in general in the World Council
      of Churches.

      Only after this consultation would our own local Church adopt its final
      position on the issue

      and share it with the public".


      The Decision Sabotaged at the "Thessaloniki Summit"


      Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the concluding points of this
      decision of the

      Serbian Orthodox Church Assembly annulled all the aforementioned
      compelling reasons for a

      final and permanent withdrawal from membership and partnership with the
      WCC.

      The Thessaloniki Summit of the representatives of all of the Orthodox
      Churches was soon

      held and its "conclusions" prevented the Serbian Orthodox Church from
      carrying out its 1997

      decision to withdraw from the WCC. It was as if the purpose of the
      consultation was to water

      down and invalidate the Serbian Orthodox Church’s decision. And sure
      enough, the very next

      year, in 1998, the Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church offered a new
      answer to the

      submitted question. This second answer, according to the interpretation of
      Orthodox Canonist

      Zeljko Kotoranin, "was not theological but political." It consisted, first
      of all, of the

      unwillingness of the Assembly to protect its decision of the previous year
      from falsification,

      denial and a failure to implement it, and second, of the adoption of the
      conclusions reached in

      Thessaloniki and the sending of a delegation of the Serbian Church to the
      WCC Assembly in

      Harare, Zimbabwe. On the other hand, the essence of the conclusions of the
      Thessaloniki

      gathering was to seek a radical reorganization of the Council, which did
      not occur in the next

      seven years to the present day. These "conclusions," therefore, remained
      "a dead letter." The

      WCC did not reorganize itself in any respect and become closer to the
      Orthodox Church of

      Christ, nor did any local Orthodox Church (including the Serbian Church)
      withdraw from

      membership in the WCC as a result of this. The reasons and justifications
      for withdrawing from

      membership from the WCC (as presented in the decision of the S.O.C.
      Assembly) are also still

      valid, as are, unfortunately, the harmful ecclesiological consequences
      that follow from that

      membership.

      Thus by its second response the Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church,
      abandoning its

      earlier decision (from 1997) and its justification, continued and extended
      its organic


      participation as an equal member of the World Council of Churches, guiding
      itself and its flock

      down the path of ruin. Quite simply, extending the membership of the
      Serbian Orthodox Church

      in the WCC is not and cannot be pleasing to God. Those most responsible in
      the Body of the

      Church – the Bishops – are drawing God’s fury upon themselves and their
      flock by

      circumventing Church dogma and violating canon law. The heretical concept
      of "evangelical

      ecumenism" – the Gospel without Christ, salvation without the Church – is
      unacceptable to the

      Orthodox consciousness.


      The Sopocani Appeal


      It is consoling that in the Serbian Orthodox Church despite the
      inconsistencies shown by the

      Holy Synod of Bishops there are still those who have not reconciled
      themselves to this outcome

      and who continue to openly and boldly come forward against distorted
      ecumenism and against

      those who support it, frequently exposing themselves to open persecution
      by individual Bishops.

      It is worth mentioning some names that are well-known to the Serbian
      people. In addition to

      Zeljko Kotoranin whom we have already cited, we have Rodoljub Lazic,
      Miodrag Petrovic,

      Vladimir Dimitrijevic, Presbyter Boban Milenkovic and others. The brave
      monks and nuns of

      almost all of the Dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church are especially
      consistent in their

      opposition to ecumenism "in practice".

      The common voice of all of the fighters for the purity of faith and
      faithfulness to the

      Orthodox Church could be heard at the Sopocani Monastery Meeting, which
      was held in

      February of 2001. From this gathering of monastics, priests and faithful
      children of the Orthodox

      Church, guided by concern and love toward the tradition of St. Sava in
      their mother Church, an

      "Appeal-plea" was sent to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox
      Church, which

      reads as follows:


      o That it carry out its decision from 1997 regarding the withdrawal of our
      Church from the

      WCC without delay, pointing out that every local Orthodox Church has the
      authority to

      make and carry out such a decision for itself, as they joined the WCC
      individually. The

      conclusions of the Thessaloniki Summit are not and cannot be an obstacle
      to this;


      o That it re-examine its attitude toward Roman Catholicism, which all the
      Holy Fathers

      and Teachers of the Church, from Photius the Great to Mark of Ephesus and
      Justin

      (Popovich) of Chelije consider a heresy, not a "sister church," and to
      stop all common

      prayer with the Roman Catholics and the Pope of Rome under the guise of
      "brotherly love";


      o That under no circumstances should it accept the frequently announced
      visit of the Pope

      to the Serbian Church and that certain (frequently heard) motions toward
      the introduction

      of the New Calendar in our Church be stopped because such an attempt would
      result in a

      great schism within our Church, as in all local Orthodox Churches that
      have introduced the

      New Calendar;


      o That a inter-church dialogue be initiated in the Serbian Orthodox Church
      regarding all

      contested issues of spiritual life and theology, because it is the lack of
      well-intentioned

      dialogue that leads to internal divisions among the people into followers
      of various

      liturgical, theological and pastoral schools, some of which introduce
      innovations foreign to

      the Holy Tradition.


      Conclusion: A Gathering of Trumpeters


      Finally, the Sopocani Meeting ends its Appeal by quoting the words of the
      Holy Bishop,

      Saint Nikolai (Velimirovich) regarding the need for zeal and alertness in
      the battle for the

      salvation of our soul:


      "...If someone says: The danger to our Church was in the past, and today
      the danger is gone,

      he is terribly wrong. He is a trumpeter who plays to put us to sleep. And
      in this age we need as

      many trumpeters as possible who will play to awaken us, to arouse us, to
      prepare us, to defend

      ourselves. For the Unmentionable, whom our sacred people and their clergy
      prevented from

      becoming 'embodied in the form of law' [referring to the Concordat of
      1937] nevertheless still

      walks upon this earth like a ghost, like a specter - agitating, agitating,
      agitating."


      We would like to conclude our presentation with the prayerful wish that
      our Thessaloniki

      symposium, the Inter-Orthodox Conference on Ecumenism, become a gathering
      of trumpeters


      who by their testimony and their zeal will awaken the slumbering
      consciences of the

      representatives of all of the local Orthodox Churches, so that all
      together or each individually,

      following its internal voice, withdraw from the World Council of Churches,
      stop prayerful and

      practical participation in the heresy of ecumenism, and thus attest before
      the face of the entire

      world that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was, is and will
      forever remain the

      Orthodox Church, and that outside it, there is no Church, and that without
      the Church and unity

      with the Church, there is no salvation.

      This is the only true service to our neighbor, to those close to us, the
      only true love toward all

      non-Orthodox or heterodox individuals and peoples in the modern world
      because, according to

      Father Justin, "The only true love is that which ensures those close to us
      life eternal."

      Bishop ARTEMIJE Of Raska and Prizren

      Translated by Snezana Ivanisevic De Berthet

      We accept all of seven  Ecumenical Councils... and also we accept  all
      Holy Councils which in Grace of God gathered in various times and places
      for the sake of strenghtening of Orthodox doctrines which Orthodox Church
      accepts. And those whom  Holy Fathers denied we deny them as well, those
      whom Holy Fathers placed under condemnation , we to are placing them under
      condemnation as well.

      Saint Sabba of Serbia
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