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The Moscow Patriarchate and Ecumenism

'The Papacy is like a fruit, of which skin of Christian Churchliness, inherited from ancient times, is gradually decaying, thus revealing its anti-Christian core'.

St Philaret (Drozdov) of Moscow

'I condemn ecumenism and consider it not only a heresy, but a pan-heresy - the receptacle of all heresies and evil beliefs. The forces of Antichrist, which control ecumenism behind the scenes, are well-known to us. Ecumenism is directed against Orthodoxy'.

Patriarch Nicholas VI of Alexandria, 1972

Our Orthodox Church contains the whole truth, since She is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and the trusted receptacle of the divine dogmas of our immaculate faith and our holy Tradition, having as Her Head our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1,2). Therefore, our Orthodox Church, being assured of the correctness of Her path and Her Apostolic mission on earth, has no need whatsoever of theological conferences with the heterodox, who can themselves study our Orthodox faith and, if they so desire, live according to it.

Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem (1989)

The recent, extraordinary statements of a young bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate actually justifying ecumenism, which died its death many years ago, have upset many within all parts of the Russian Church. However, we should remember that such views are probably shared by no more than a few dozen extremist members on the fringes of the Moscow Patriarchate. Patriarch Alexis II has himself dubbed many of them 'Neo-Renovationists'.

We would do well in this context to recall the anti-ecumenical petition of 1997 of 112 Abbots and monks, Moscow seminary teachers, rectors and priests, the March 1998 petition of the Abbot and 149 monks of Valaam, the petitions of the same era of Bishop Benjamin of Vladivostok and his clergy, the monks of Sviatogorsk Monastery and the clergy of the Diocese of Barnaul, all calling for the Patriarch to abandon the World Council of Churches and similar activities. Similarly, we well know of the views of Archbishop Augustine of Lvov and several other straight-talking bishops. Below we translate some of the statements on this question of leading bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate:

'Through political intrigues and exclusively worldly methods the Roman Papacy is everywhere striving to destroy the unity of Orthodoxy'.

'Why would the Orthodox Church take part in an administrative union of Christian organizations, which have different opinions, and would not such participation mean that we would be sacrificing the treasury of faith on behalf of some illusory and false unity'.

'A Church organized on an ecumenical basis threatens to draw nearer to the world than to heaven...In fact it is preparing to resurrect the worldly ideal of universal dictatorship. A new temple with a high roof and proud sign saying 'The World Council of Churches' is being built'.

'In Her concerns for the universal flock of Christ, our Orthodox Church must take upon Herself the task of attempting to save that flock from deviating from the true path to the Kingdom of God'.

'May all those who confess Christ know that there is in the world the One, Holy, Apostolic, Orthodox Church, which leads to the gates of the Kingdom of God and which possesses in inexhaustible abundance the fullness of the gifts of grace of the Holy Spirit. May every Christian soul come to know the unconquerable defence of the Church, all the fullness of the grace of the Holy Mysteries, all the wisdom of the Tradition of the fathers and all the power of the grace of God, unfailingly dwelling within the Church'.

Patriarch Alexis I, 9 July 1948

‘Hiding behind the 'high-minded' aim of 'removing inter-religious discord' and 'the reunion of believers in one fraternal family', the theorists of ecumenism forget to mention one thing. This is that in such a reunion, the greatest and most precious thing of all will be lost - that is the truth of the Law of God, buried underneath the burden of false human reasoning. Like all heresies, ecumenism lies when it offers the fraternal union of Truth with the lie, cunningly pretending that it does not understand the unnatural nature of such a union, hoping that people bewitched by high-minded slogans will not notice the dreadful forgery'.

Metropolitan John of St Petersburg (+ 1995)

'Contemporary ecumenical practices come from a conscious false teaching concerning the nature of the Church, that is, they are examples of an ecclesiological heresy. In 1962 our Church was forced to join the WCC...this decision was taken under the direct and brutal pressure of the KGB and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union....Perhaps, with time, much has changed in the WCC? Yes, plenty of changes. And they all clearly and unambiguously witness to the satanic nature of this masonic organization'.

The Clergy of the Diocese of Barnaul, in Orthodox Russia, No 4, 1997

‘We consider that it is indispensable to use the relatively favourable time that has come for our Church to cleanse Her without delay of all that is superficial and spiritually alien to us, foisted on us by the militant atheist government…We therefore appeal to you to renounce participation in the activities of ecumenical organizations and ask our sister Local Orthodox Churches to take similar decisions’.

Bishop Benjamin and the clergy of the Vladivostok Diocese in their Appeal to Patriarch Alexis II and the Synod

‘In all, I only once took part in the work of the World Council of Churches and I hasten to say that I will never do this again. We can clearly state now that the WCC has lost its significance. I consider it inadmissible to take part in it. I was always very indignant at joint prayers. I condemned, condemn and will condemn them, and I will never allow such scandalous happenings in my churches’.

Metropolitan Nicholas of Nizhegorod and Arzamas in The Orthodox Word, No 18, 1998.

'The building of the Church of Antichrist and its domination is the real and ultimate aim and crown of all this diabolical ecumenical activity...All these agreements are in glaring contradiction with the holy teachings and Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. We call on all the faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church…to be bold and denounce the evil heresies of ecumenism and renovationism and those who preach them…to call heretics to account and obtain the Conciliar condemnation of the heresy’.

Sviatogorsk Monastery of the Annunciation, in Orthodox Russia, No 4, 1998

‘What must we obtain?
The Conciliar condemnation of the heresy of ecumenism, the abandoning of ecumenical activity, the Moscow Patriarchate leaving all ecumenical organizations, such as the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, the dissolution of all ecumenical proposals and agreements. The public condemnation and dissolution of the heretical Chambesy and Balamand agreements’.

The Rectors of churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, in For the Faith and the Fatherland, Special Issue 2000, p.16 on.

Fr Andrew

Sunday of St Gregory Palamas, 6/19 March 2006



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