Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Loyal Opposition:Conservatives Respond to Holy and Great Council

A commission of the Sacred Community of Mt.Athos,Greece,the center of Orthodox monasticism,has responded with a report to last summer's Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.The commission praised the freedom of speech at the Council and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's exemplary conducting of its sessions.It also lauds the brilliant attempt to improve the conciliar documents undertaken by the Primates and members of the conciliar delegations.*
The commission was uncomfortable,however,with the conciliar text "Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian World" as the documents still allow for a double interpretation and they await a more precise formulation,that the truth would shine forth,the faithful would receive consolation,and arguments and conflicts would stop.The current division and conflict in the Church without a doubt contribute to allowing a dual interpretation of the texts of the Crete Council.The ambiguity of these documents creates the prerequisite for interpreting them in an ecumenical spirit and consequently pose a threat to the unity of the Church.The documents of the Crete Council must overcome their one-sidedness which is due to the neglect of the theological tradition,traced by the modern God-bearing elders and authoritative theologians,who have looked upon the path of ecumenical dialogue as an ecumenistic deviation from the truth.*
The documents of the Holy and Great Council contain inaccuracies and deficiencies.However,no union was signed as at Lyons or Florence-not one Orthodox bishop fell into heresy as defined by the Church.The desire for mass non-commemoration pleases only enemies of the Church.We look with hope for further theological revisions and more accurate formulations of the conciliar documents,the commission says.*
For his part,His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos,Church of Greece,told the Orthodox Typos publication he feels the documents are diplomatic compromise texts,from which each can draw the conclusion that he wants.He cautions,however,that Orthodox should not go into schism or cease commemorating their hierarchs.The answer is to hold a Great Council to give a theological interpretation and refinement to the documents.
The Metropolitan refused to sign the document "Relations of the Orthodox Church..." as he feels the Council was not a council of bishops,but of Primates and their entourages.The document contains a number of questionable assertions and wasn't ready for signing,according to Metropolitan Hierotheos.