Kosta: As far as your other concerns, canon 15 of the 1st-2nd synod answers your questions. You can opt to seperate from a bishop who is teaching heresy and temporarily suspend communion with him, but no where in this canon does it give you the authority to declare all those that dont follow your way as graceless heretics. Guess what? Its only the SiR that observes this canon, while the Matthewites and all russian splinter groups have officially declared the Cyprianites heretics for their "heretical ecumenist ecclesiology"! ... I give respect to the SiR. I support the Esphigmenou monks over the EP, but i must point out the inconsistencies of the extremist elements that have hijacked the old calendarist movement, the same extremists who attempted in the 1970's and 80's to hijack the ROCOR.
I agree with these sentiments, Kosta. The 15th canon of the 1st-2nd Synod does indeed grant the right to sever communion with bishops who obstinately and publicly teach heresy. But, as you said, most of the Old Calendarists have gone well beyond this. What they should have done was simply follow the advice of the contemporary elder Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos (+1989), who wrote: "If your conscience wishes to to exercise the right provided by the Fifteenth Canon of the First-Second Synod, then your course is clearly marked out: in ceasing to commemorate the Patriarch, you will avoid commemorating any other Bishop, and you await the judgment of a Synod in the desert of your conscience." This is precisely what the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou has done, and what the ROCOR Skete of the Prophet Elias did: they recognized the Holy Mountain as the territory of the EP (as the Greece mainland is the territory of the Church of Greece), but when they viewed the occupant of the throne of Constantinople as having fallen into heresy, they ceased commemorating him. They continued to recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate
, as an institution, as the rightful overseer of Athos, but considered the patriarch
, or the occupier of the throne of Constantinople, as illegitimate. And they have refrained from commemorating any other bishop in their divine services, so as to not question the authority of the Patriarchate as an institution separate from the patriarch.
I also respect the Synod in Resistance; they have given serious thought to the meaning of their existence in a way others haven't. However, I find their arguments just as compelling a reason to stay within
the "new calendar" church. Example - In document, "On the Status of Uncondemned Heretics," they state the following:a. First and foremost, it is not correct, or even just, that a local Church should be characterized and regarded as ecumenist in toto, simply because a number of Her clergy - and sometimes a small number, at that - are actually ecumenists: they are certainly not to be equated with the local Church. b. The local Orthodox Churches today are fundamentally anti-ecumenist ; the inertia of the silent majority does not in any way imply agreement with, or endorsement of, ecumenist activities and teachings. c. It should not be forgotten that no local Church has proclaimed synodally that the primary dogma of the ecclesiological heresy of ecumenism is a teaching of the Orthodox Church that must be believed and that is necessary for salvation; and neither has this ever been proclaimed in a pan-Orthodox manner. d. The aforementioned views, concerning the need to avoid indiscriminate generalizations, if one is to have a reliable understanding of the true ecclesiological identity of our ecumenist brothers who are caught up in innovation and heresy, but have not yet been brought to trial, are grounded in the Fathers and are strongly upheld by St. Theodore the Studite, as follows: - St. Theodore, in his detailed analysis of the extremely intricate question of "whether one should receive communion from the Presbyter of a bishop who is himself Orthodox," but out of fear "commemorates his own Metropolitan", who is a heretic, ultimately makes the following declaration: "If the Metropolitan falls into heresy, it is not the case that all of those who are in direct or indirect communion with him are regarded automatically and without distinction as heretics," despite, of course, the fact that by this stand of theirs, "they bring upon themselves the fearful charge of remaining silent."
In their "Informatory Epistle Concerning the Ecclesiological Identity of the Orthodox in Resistance to the Panheresy of Ecumenism," it states:With regard to the tremendous confusion caused by ecumenism, we should avoid indiscriminate generalizations deriving from undiscerning zeal, and we should not forget that the local Churches cannot be characterized, today, in their entirety as ecumenist, taking into consideration, on the one hand, that only a small portion of them consists of out-and-out ecumenists, while the overwhelming, albeit silent, majority is anti-ecumenist; and, on the other hand, that no local Church has proclaimed synodally that the primary dogma of ecumenism is a teaching of the Orthodox Church, which must be believed and is necessary for salvation; neither has there ever been any Pan-Orthodox proclamation to this effect.
And finally, in regards to the Pan-Orthodox anathemas against the new calendar, the same epistle says this:(b) These Synods did indeed "condemn the calendar innovation," but they condemned that of Pope Gregory XIII, which directly affected the Orthodox Paschalion, and certainly not the partially implemented innovation of 1924, which did not alter the four "Stipulations" concerning Pascha, and for this reason, as the Confessor-Hierarch, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina stated, "is an issue that appears for the first time in the history of the Orthodox Church." © Likewise, these sixteenth-century Synods did not "cut off from the Body of the Church those who accepted this innovation," for the simple reason that none of the Orthodox of that time accepted it; in fact, it was rejected at a pan-Orthodox level.(d) There was certainly never any possibility of any Synod in the sixteenth century "proleptically" cutting off from the Body of the Church "those who would accept" an innovation in the distant future, because excision, when it is deemed necessary, according to St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, is always "put into actual effect by a Synod of living," that is, present "Bishops," while "the imperative force of Canons remains unexecuted and does not act of itself, either immediately or before a decision." (e) This issue is extremely serious, if one takes into account that any acceptance of the erroneous idea of the automatic efficacy of Patristic and Synodal penalties and anathemas, prior to a specific ruling by a competent synodal body, would entail, for example, that the various Synods which have hitherto been convoked in order to condemn heretics and schismatics were wrongly convoked, since all of these persons would already have been cut off from the Body of Christ, on the basis of the Apostolic anathema: "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed"; furthermore, it would entail that, in essence, all of those Christians who in other respects are truly Orthodox in outlook are already cut off from the Church and have been handed over to Satan, on the basis of the other Apostolic anathema: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema."(f) Besides, the mere idea that these Synods held in the sixteenth century cut off from the Body of the Church those who would in the future accept this innovation, aside from being inherently absurd, demonstrates the perversity of those who accepted and endorsed the idea, for the following very simple reason: if it really is the case that, at the time of the calendar change in 1924, all those who accepted it and, of course, those in communion with them were automatically and indiscriminately cut off from the Body of the Church, then the proclamation, seventy-four years later, of an anathema against them and the ecumenists who came after them would be completely devoid of meaning, because, as is well known, the Church does not judge those outside Her, according to the Apostle Paul, of whose words St. Theophylact offers an excellent interpretation: For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? says [Paul]; therefore, it is superfluous to apply the ordinances of God to those outside Christs fold; for whatever the Law says, it says to those under the Law.
If all these things are true, they just made a sound case for recognizing legitimate resistance to ecumenism - and the calendar innovation - with the bounds of the "new calendar" Church. But to do this legitimately, we must never allow ourselves to "remain silent" on these issues.
Edited by Christophoros, 08 August 2009 - 03:41 PM.
corrected references and typo