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We have never made a secret of Orthodox Church views on the essentially worldly nature of the twentieth-century Ecumenical Movement. After all, for decades it was governed and financed by Cold War politics and the ethnocentric opinions of the Western liberal-secular establishment. And yet I am one of the few such Orthodox to have met all the Archbishops of Canterbury since and including the late Archbishop Michael Ramsey at various functions and events. I must admit that I still have the highest regard for the latter, Michael Ramsey himself, a man of vision, understanding and humility.

I must also admit that I met the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, some 25 years ago, long before he was a Bishop, let alone the Anglican Primate. And then I met a very scholarly man still in his twenties. Something of a rarity in the Anglican Communion, a man with whom I could discuss the filioque or St Gregory Palamas, a man who had an appreciation of liturgical worship, and a man who understood exactly what was being referred to when discussing Orthodox theology, even if only in the abstract terms of a bookish scholar.

For an Archbishop of Canterbury who knows about these things, in however an abstract way, Orthodox should be grateful, especially given the ignorance and anti-Orthodox stance of the Church of England in recent years. Why, he even dresses as an Orthodox priest!

And we can thoroughly dismiss the disgraceful claims of tabloid newspapers that Archbishop Williams became a 'pagan druid' when he was recently honoured by the Welsh national poetry society (for that is what it is) at their Eistedfodd. Similarly, we can ignore a recent article written by an ex-Anglican 'eternal convert' to the Orthodox Church, which was uncharitable in the extreme to Archbishop Williams. One did get the impression that the author did not yet know what the Orthodox Church is about, i.e. the Love of God and one's neighbour, and that he seemed to think that the Orthodox Church is about being anti-Anglican! Such are the weaknesses of neophytes who have not integrated the Orthodox Church and gained the Orthodox Christian spirit. To be realistic and mature, it is very unfair to reproach the Archbishop of Canterbury for being an Anglican and not an Orthodox! Do Anglicans reproach the Orthodox for being Orthodox?

On the other hand, as Orthodox who live in England of whatever background we may be, we have to be disturbed by the words of the new Anglican Archbishop suggesting Protestant recognition for homosexual couples. Not because those words do not reflect the realities of modern England, which lives outside any sort of Church truth and reality. But because they are the words of the only Christian personality who in any way enters national consciousness and has any sort of national recognition. Moreover, the Archbishop's words tend to show him as not representing any kind of traditional church consciousness, but rather mirroring yet again that same old liberal-intellectual secular establishment. He speaks from outside any Christian Tradition. Is the last bastion of any sort of Church Tradition within Anglicanism about to fall? Archbishop Williams himself is on record as saying that the Anglican Communion could split apart within the next decade, as it has already begun to on issues such as female clergy and homosexuality.

We do not in way doubt Archbishop William's sincerity, but we are thinking that perhaps the great sixteenth-century State-moulded hotchpotch of majority Christianity in England, called Anglicanism, is at last set to fall apart within the next few years. Some may welcome this, including in one way the new Archbishop, who sees the essential corruption of being a State Church when the State is at best agnostic, at worst downright atheistic. But there are also those who see Anglicanism and Anglican teaching as essentially corrupt and time-warped, a mere invention of Henry VIII to justify his greed and lust and therefore doomed.

If Archbishop Williams proves to be only an ineffectual intellectual who is unable to keep together the constantly warring groups of Evangelicals, Broad Churchmen and Anglo-Catholics, then that may be a good thing. However, we should be warned that if the great Anglican compromise is set to collapse within the next few years, then we can only see that as good if we have the infrastructure to put something better in its place.

Realistically: let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

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