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"Raising the Titanic"...

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  • Rev. John R. Shaw
    Now this one is pretty good, I think. If we have to go back to events in 1984, and the time of a previous Patriarch, it sounds like the good stuff must be
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2000
      Now this one is pretty good, I think. If we have to go back to
      events in 1984, and the time of a previous Patriarch, it sounds like the
      "good stuff" must be buried pretty deep...
      Perhaps we need to go back to those long-ago days when
      Metropolitan Anastassy took part in a service with the Archbishop of

      > http://www.cybercom.net/~htm/86-4.htm
      > Glasnik, the official periodical of the Serbian Orthodox Church (which, like
      > the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, reaches America several months late)
      > reports in its July, 1984, issue, that, at the invitation of Patriarch
      > German of Serbia, Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury arrived in
      > Belgrade.
      > The head of the Anglican Communion was accorded an exceptionally warm and
      > honored reception. At the airport, Archbishop Runcie was met by the
      > Patriarch himself, his Synod and the staff of the Patriarchate. Also present
      > to greet him were the President of Parliament, the Secretary of the
      > Commission for Religious Affairs, and others. The Patriarch and Archbishop
      > Runcie exchanged speeches of greeting right at the airport. The day
      > following the guest's arrival official talks were begun between the Orthodox
      > and the Anglicans. The talks were conducted in an amicable tone, despite the
      > fact that the Patriarch noted that the Anglicans were ordaining women to the
      > priesthood and had far from unanimously removed the "Filioque" clause from
      > the Creed. The Patriarch expressed the opinion that the ordination of women
      > was probably a question of a temporary nature and, thus, in the future would
      > not constitute an obstacle to the establishment of closer ties with the
      > Anglicans. Archbishop Runcie assured the Patriarch that there were no women
      > being ordained in England, and that there would never be. (N.B.: Archbishop
      > Runcie apparently unscrupulously misled the Patriarch. It is highly doubtful
      > that he could be unaware of the mood of his Anglicans, who four months
      > earlier, at one of their general Conferences, had raised the question of
      > priesthood for women; at that time it turned out that, of 41 bishops, only
      > six were opposed; of 131 priests, 98 were opposed; and of 135 laymen, only
      > 79 opposed the ordination of priestesses. For more information, see our
      > article on priestesses among the Anglicans). Women priests, they said, were
      > only permitted in Hong Kong, because there are not enough male priests
      > there.
      > Afterwards, the Patriarch held a large reception in honor of the guest of
      > the Church of Serbia in the Patriarchate headquarters. High-ranking
      > government bureaucrats and the civic administration of Belgrade were
      > present.
      > The hospitality of the Patriarch with respect to the Anglicans extended so
      > far that he even placed at their disposal the chapel of the Holy Cross in
      > the Patriarchate so they could celebrate their eucharistic service.
      > Archbishop Runcie served, in the presence of the Patriarch and his
      > colleagues, after which the Anglicans partook of their eucharist, as did
      > Presbyterians and others; five people received confirmation according to the
      > Anglican rite. Later, a recital of religious music was given by three choirs
      > in honor of Runcie.
      > Runcie and his entourage, accompanied by the Patriarch, were also received
      > by the president of the government and parliament.
      > Archbishop Runcie also visited the Theological School, again accompanied by
      > the Patriarch. The guests were greeted by a choir of students who chanted
      > "Is polla eti, Despota" and the Lord's Prayer in English.
      > Fr. Amphilokhy, the dean of the Theological Faculty (a former disciple of
      > the famous theologian Fr. Justin Popovich) greeted the Anglican delegation
      > with a warm speech, in which, among other things, he said: "Greeting you,
      > Your Grace, we lovingly venerate, in your person, the martyr's blood of St.
      > Alban, the apostolic zeal of Sts. Patrick and Augustine, first Archbishop of
      > Canterbury, being mindful at the same time, and deriving inspiration from
      > the poetic gift of the wondrous Shakespeare.
      > Archbishop Runcie responded to the speeches of greeting with a lengthy
      > speech of his own, in which he pointed out that "The Anglicans and the
      > Orthodox have much in common in their understanding of the role of the
      > Church and the people. People form the Church, but the Church makes the
      > nation. But we know from our history that abuses may come about. Sometimes
      > the Church may fall into the self-enclosed circle of its own history,
      > starting to serve nationalism more than the people. Here the ecumenical
      > movement can set us aright and set before us a broader horizon of the plans
      > of God, while the heritage of Christian divisions exists to incite
      > contemporary antagonism ."
      > Bidding his guest farewell at a formal banquet, the Patriarch greeted the
      > English Ambassador Scott, saying: "The divine service which His Grace served
      > in our Church of the Holy Cross, the presence at it of the distinguished
      > people of your religious community, the communion of them all, has produced
      > a remarkable impression upon me I watched with enthusiasm the conduct of Mr.
      > Scott before communion. Knowing what the bishop signifies in the Church, he
      > received holy communion on his knees. This was very reassuring.
      > The Patriarch gave a number of parting gifts to Archbishop Runcie and his
      > entourage, and Runcie himself gave the Patriarch a donation towards the
      > construction of the new wing of the Theological Faculty in Belgrade.
      > This is by far not the first such ecumenical encounter organized by the
      > Church of Serbia, alas. From the official periodical of the Greek Orthodox
      > Archdiocese of North and South America, The Orthodox Observer (21 Nov.,
      > '84), the World Council of Churches organized an encounter of the Commission
      > on World Mission and Evangelism at the Diocesan Center of the Serbian Church
      > near Hildesheim, West Germany. In the course of several days, the Serbian
      > Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God was used for daily ecumenical
      > services with the close cooperation and support of the host of the meeting,
      > the Serbian Bishop Lavrentije of Western Europe.
      > In many ways, the preceding article speaks for itself, but perhaps a few
      > observations can be made for the sake of clarifying some issues for the
      > readers of the Orthodox Christian Witness.
      > First, we are certainly indebted to our Synod's Department of Public and
      > Foreign Relations for providing all of the above details in connection with
      > Runcie's visit to the Orthodox Church of Serbia. Although the event was
      > reported in the ecumenical press, most of the particulars mentioned in our
      > Synod's' Newsletter were not published elsewhere in English.
      > As for the visit itself, it must be said that it is inconceivable how an
      > Orthodox patriarch -- contrary to every holy canon and all Orthodox
      > Tradition --could offer an Orthodox chapel for the religious rites of a
      > leader of a heretical body, especially one so ardently heretical as the
      > Anglican denomination.
      > The holy canons are quite specific in this matter:
      > "Let a bishop, presbyter, or deacon who has only prayed with heretics be
      > excommunicated; but if he has permitted them to perf orm any clerical
      > office, let him be deposed." (45th Apostolic Canon)
      > This incident is both regrettable and disheartening, because it demonstrates
      > very clearly that the Patriarch of Serbia has espoused the "Branch Theory"
      > ecclesiology of Ecumenism. This is a classic example of what happens when
      > "conservative" Orthodox remain within the "World Council of Churches" as
      > organic members of that body, and it certainly proves the truth of Visser't
      > Hooft's predictions made at Evanston, Illinois, in 1954. (See the preceding
      > article, Visser't Hooft's Prophecy.)
      > Unfortunately, some years ago, the notorious Metropolitan Nikodim of
      > Leningrad provided a precedent for similar ecumenical activities; for on one
      > notable occasion, Nikodim -- dressed in his episcopal mandia -- permitted
      > Cardinal Willebrands to perform a Roman mass in the Orthodox cathedral of
      > Leningrad in the presence of an Orthodox congregation.
      > As for the other incidents that took place during the reception afforded to
      > Runcie in Serbia, they serve only to confirm what we have written above:
      > i.e., that the "Branch Theory" mentality is, indeed, displacing Orthodox
      > ecclesiology among the churchmen of that very land where St. Savas labored
      > so strenuously to establish the True Faith.
      > To begin with, it would be hard to imagine a more inappropriate manner of
      > greeting an Anglican clergyman than that used by Father (now Bishop)
      > Amphilokhy As far as Anglicans are concerned, the veneration of the "blood
      > of the martyrs" or of their relics is blatant "popery" -- hardly a
      > compliment to one with Anglican sensitivities.
      > But more importantly, can an Orthodox Christian sincerely say that in the
      > person of today's heretical Archbishop of Canterbury we "lovingly venerate
      > the martyr's blood of St. Alban, and the apostolic zeal of SS. Patrick and
      > Augustine"? (Why "the wondrous Shakespeare" was included by Fr. Amphilokhy
      > in this enumeration of British saints is not so clear. Was Shakespeare
      > canonized recently in the United Kingdom?) In any case, if the Archbishop of
      > Canterbury can be addressed in this manner, shouldn't we also -- in all
      > fairness -- venerate the zeal of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the fervor of
      > St. Ignatius the Godbearer, and the wisdom of St. Gregory the Dialogist in
      > the person of today's Pope John Paul II of Rome? The Pope, at least, still
      > gives lip service to the veneration of saints and of holy relics.
      > The crux of the whole matter is that today's Anglicans have nothing in
      > common with the British Saints Alban, Patrick and Augustine. These Saints
      > believed in the Resurrection; the Anglican hierarchy does not. And what does
      > St. Paul say concerning this? "If Christ is not risen, then your faith is in
      > vain" (cf. I Corinth. 15:16). Furthermore, the above-mentioned Christian
      > Saints did not ordain women to the priesthood, nor did they sponsor
      > "Abortion Funds," or celebrate homosexual marriages as today's Anglicans do.
      > And this gives rise to another question: Would Bishop Amphilokhy's spiritual
      > father -- Fr. Justin Popovich -- ever have used such a manner of addressing
      > the leader of such a heretical body? Or, to put it another way, would Fr.
      > Justin Popovich ever have demonstrated such an intentional disregard for the
      > errors and innovations that Anglicanism exemplifies and stubbornly
      > propagates? In many ways, the fact that Fr.. Amphilokhy is the rector of the
      > seminary and has recently been appointed bishop answers this question and
      > reveals the vivid contrast which exists between himself and his former
      > spiritual father, Fr. Justin Popovich.
      > In contrast to Fr. Amphilokhy, Fr. Justin Popovich was not allowed to teach
      > in the seminary, nor was he ever made bishop. Instead, he was placed under
      > house arrest, and then officially forgotten by the current authorities of
      > the Serbian Church. Do not Fr. Amphilokhy's ecumenistic words of greeting to
      > Runcie demonstrate how far he has strayed from the path of his spiritual
      > elder? It is one thing to be cordial and hospitable to guests, and it is
      > quite another thing to calumniate the Saints by identifying them with a
      > heresiarch bishop, and then chanting "Is polla eti, Despota" to him! It
      > seems quite apparent from the above that Fr. Amphilokhy has certainly
      > compromised himself so that he might receive the honors and promotions which
      > were denied his former spiritual father, Fr. Justin Popovich. who was one of
      > the outstanding Orthodox theologians of this century.
      > Certainly, Runcie and the WCC have contributed large sums to the
      > construction of a new seminary building in Serbia. But this does not justify
      > the obsequious oratory used by Fr. Amphilokhy, and the "Is polla eti,
      > Despota's," and the like. For Fr. Justin Popovich, at least, Orthodoxy's
      > birthright and heritage were worth far more than a bowl of lentils.
      > Some years ago, our Synod's Newsletter (Nov.-Dec., 1979) published a report
      > entitled "The Church of Serbia at the Crossroads?" The article noted that
      > Bishop Christopher of the Serbian Patriarchal Church in America had
      > participated in joint prayers with Archbishop Iakovos, and an assortment of
      > heterodox clergymen, clergywomen and rabbis.
      > All these recent ecclesiastical events have caused us to ponder how it has
      > become fashionable today in some Orthodox circles to talk about restoring
      > the "mind of the Fathers" in our lives and in our theology. Certainly, if
      > "the mind of the Fathers" is absent in some Orthodox quarters, then this
      > restoration is all to the good. But we ask: Where is the "mind of the
      > Fathers" in all these mindless ecumenistic gestures and incidents?
      > In view of these sad developments, both past and present, it is no wonder
      > that more and more Orthodox Christians find it difficult to continue having
      > relationships with the Serbian Patriarchate.
      > *From the Department of Public and Foreign Relations of the Synod of Bishops
      > of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, "Newsletter No. 49,"
      > January-March, 1985.
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