In light of Fr. Deacon Matthew's intervention, I'd like to just bring the discuss back to the initial question, relating to the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church. Namely, what are proper responses for the Orthodox faithful, when hierarchs of the Antiochian Church deliberately commune those who are outside the Church (irrespective of whether these outsiders ultimately share the same faith or not)? What consequences should there be for such activity?
After analyzing the whole question of Ecumenism (with attention being paid to the "non-Chalcedonian" question), the 2004 Inter-Orthodox Theological Conference, sponsored by the School of Pastoral Theology at The Aristotelian University, Thessaloniki, Greece, the following propositions were issued:
1. In so far as it is now universally confessed, after more than a century of participation of the Church in the "World Council of Churches" and inter-christian and inter-religious dialogues, on terms which level inter-confessional differences and make all religions equal, that such participation is unbeneficial and detrimental, it is proposed that the remaining autocephalous churches also withdraw from the "World Council of Churches" and bring an end to these kinds of dialogues. Toward this end, a Pan-Orthodox decision is not necessary, since the original decision to participate was made separately. The only dialogue which can be justified on the basis of the Gospel and the Patristic Tradition is to answer the question asked by those heterodox and persons of other religions who voluntarily approach in order to find salvation: "What must I do to be saved?" or "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
2. The Orthodox Churches, and above all the Church of Constantinople—which is first in honor and initiative—review and revise their relations with Papism, which all of the Holy Fathers, from St. Photios the Great, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mark of Ephesus, the Kollyvades Fathers (St. Nikodemos the Athonite, St. Athanasios of Paros, St. Makarios of Corinth) up to, and including, St. Nectarios of Aegina and Elder Justin Popovich, have considered to be heretical and not a "sister church."
3. The holy canons of the Church be observed which forbid joint prayer with the heterodox in general, in every circumstance, and not only in eucharistic prayer, as has been suggested as of late.
4. An appeal be sent to the Orthodox Churches which have not, to date, agreed to allow the pope to visit their countries, to remain firm in this decision. Can one imagine one of the Holy Fathers organizing receptions in order to honor and embrace Arius, Nestorius, Eutichius, etc.? Likewise, let the unacceptable entry in the Calendar of the Church of Greece be erased which records the visit of the pope as a great historic event; let every attempt at reciprocation or repetition of such a visit in the future be prevented.
5. The issue of sacramental inter-communion of the Patriarchate of Antioch with the Monophysites [Syrian Jacobites] be investigated, as well as the recognition of certain mysteries of these heretics [Coptic Monophysites] by the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Let the canonical principle be enforced in this case which says: "he who communes with the excommunicated is likewise excommunicated."
6. Let inner-ecclesial dialogue (among the Orthodox) be strengthened and encouraged in the spirit of conciliarity (synadikoteta), and not be limited only to the bishops. It is, at the very least, lamentable that dialogue with various heretics and non-Christians is pursued while the differing views of brothers in the faith, who are slandered as fanatics, are rejected.
7. That liturgical changes and innovations be discouraged and terminated, since they constitute an application of the principles of Ecumenism whose aims are the creation of non-dogmatic worship, so as to facilitate the acceptance of heresy. Furthermore, the liturgical wealth of the Orthodox Church does not belong to any one local church. It expresses the life of the Church through the ages, and must be guarded as the apple of ones eye. 8. That it be made manifest to church leaders everywhere that, in the event that they continue to participate in, and lend support to, the pan-heresy of Ecumenism—both inter-christian and inter-religious—the obligatory salvific, canonical and patristic course for the faithful, clergy and laity, is excommunication: in other words, ceasing to commemorate bishops, who are co-responsible for, and co-communicants with, heresy and delusion. This is not a recourse to schism but rather to a God-pleasing confession, just as the ancient Fathers, and bishop-confessors in our own day have done, such as the esteemed and respected former Metropolitan of Florina, Augustinos, and the Fathers of the Holy Mountain (Athos).
9. It be declared with the sound of the trumpet that Ecumenism and unconditional dialogue with heterodox and non-Christians are not beneficial, but injurious, and thus not the work of love, but merely of a worldly way of thinking; these are conventional relationships, which aim not at spiritual ends but self-serving interests. They wear down and taint the Orthodox phronema through intermingling and obfuscation, and as a result bring harm to the faithful, since without purity of dogma, even in lesser matters, no one can be saved. To non-Christians and to the heterodox they close the gate of salvation, obstructing the formers view of Christ as being the only path of salvation, and hindering the latter from seeing the Orthodox Church as the ark of salvation, as the only Church. God, in His infinite love for mankind and the world, desires the salvation of every man. On the contrary, the Devil, who is the enemy of salvation, wars against man in a diversity of ways out of envy and hatred
Consequently, out of love we reject Ecumenism, for we wish to offer to the heterodox and to non-Christians that which the Lord has so richly granted to all of us within His Holy Orthodox Church: namely, the possibility of becoming and of being members of His Body. http://www.orthodoxi...onclusions.aspx
Note that the participants in this conference were not Old Calendarists or out-of-communion with their respective local Churches, but respected hierarchs, monastics and theologians.
Also, since this thread concerns the "non-Chalcedonians" in particular, the Conference concluded with this statement regarding dialogue with the Monophysites:
An identical picture of both total fruitlessness and serious compromises in matters of the faith, exists in theological dialogue with those who were until recently considered (and are) Monophysites , but who now, out of "love", are characterized as "anti-Chalcedonians," "pre-Chalcedonians", "Ancient Eastern Churches," or, finally just "Orthodox." At the conference it was established that the dialogue conducted has yielded no positive results. The three joint "Statements" of the Orthodox and anti-Chalcedonians are unacceptable from an orthodox standpoint. Among the most grievous errors are the sacramental intercommunion with the Monophysites [of Syria] accepted by the Patriarchate of Antioch , the partial recognition by the Patriarchate of Alexandria of the mysteries of the Monophysites and the proposals for a revision of liturgical texts and determination of a typikon for the con-celebration of Orthodox and Monophysites. On the level of theological research, some have sunk to the point of arguing for the Department of Theology in the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki to approve two doctoral dissertations which assert that the Monophysites Dioscorus and Severios werent heretics at all, but were rather were condemned for non-theological reasons this would be totally inconceivable and blasphemous for the holy Councils and holy Fathers.
Edited by Christophoros, 21 February 2009 - 07:03 PM.