Friday, December 19, 2008

On the Anathema against Ecumenism

“…Without doubt, the time for discussion and polemics has passed and the time has come to judge this movement and, however insignificant our Council of 1983 may seem, it has at last condemned ecumenism and anathematized it in the following words:

‘To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ’s Church is divided into so-called “branches” which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all “branches” or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians: Anathema.’…”

“…In regard to ecumenism, every Local Church has had ample time, more than a century, to spend examining it and, if the Local Churches base their teachings and life upon the canons of the Holy Apostles and the other Orthodox Councils, then they cannot but recognize that ecumenism is clearly the most pernicious of heresies, for it has gathered all the heresies that exist or have existed and has called this union a Church — a deed that savors of Antichrist."

“By proclaiming this anathema, we have protected our flock from this apocalyptic temptation and, at the same time, have reluctantly put before the conscience of all the Local Churches a serious issue, which sooner or later they must resolve in one way or the other. Their future spiritual fate in the universal Orthodox Church will depend upon the resolution of this question [italics added].”

~Archbishop Vitaly
Orthodox Life (Vol. 34, No. 4, July-August, 1984)