If Nothing Else, the True Faith

Fr. Srboljub Miletich Fr. Srboljub Miletich
Fr. Srboljub Miletich was born on November, 14 1953 in Krusevac, Serbia, to the V. Rev. Professor Milun and Olivera Miletich. He graduated from the St. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Prizren, Kosovo in 1973, and from the Department of Theology of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Beograd, Serbia in 1982.

Fr. Srba has been serving the Church in Australia since 1983. He was Dean of the Serbian Orthodox St Stephen Church in Rooty Hill, NSW from 1994 to 2007, and is currently a member of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand Executive Board.

Fr. Srba is the author of numerous Orthodox books and articles, including a history of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand.

Ecumenical love

The Orthodox understanding of the Church and of belonging to the Church is different from Catholic, Protestant, and other heterodox groups. Today, in the minds of the Orthodox people this distinction is fading, because our theologians, bishops and clergy rarely speak about it. Instead, the media increasingly report on various conferences, lectures, inter-religious meetings and engagements, making it known that “we should look for points that unite us, not the points that divide us” as “we have common problems, common challenges, as there are many more things that unite us than divide us.” These meetings and the ceremonies that accompany them send a message that “getting to know each other, living together in a multicultural and multi-religious society, as well as our co-operation would heal the wounds that divide us, that we have inflicted on each other through history.” Their position is clear: we will not through humbleness and repentance come to unity in truth and justice, but through learning from each other, friendship and cooperation we will reach “unity”. For this purpose, advocates of “unity” advise the Orthodox “not to close themselves off” and suggest that “it is better to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem”; however, they never specify exactly whose solution, and what problem.

Under the influence of these and similar ideas are those Orthodox who take care to keep apace with the world. Imitating Catholics and Protestants, and cooperating with them in modernism and ecumenism, some naively think that the ideas imposed by the West are in fact a “friendly helping hand”, and that our acceptance of these ideas will eventually bring about the Western economic standard together with its political and social systems. It is natural then, that they want to be mixed and merged with the heterodox wishing visible, administrative and jurisdictional unity with other religions and different faiths that they generously call “other Christians”. This ambitious desire of theirs, and their generosity at the expense of their faith and Church, they proclaim as Christian, ecumenical love.

Photo: sib-catholic.ru Photo: sib-catholic.ru
    

In the same ecumenical spirit and collaborative mood, the Council of Crete issued its statement on “churches” and alleged “other Christians” struggling to explain how the Orthodox Church is supposed to accept “the historical name of other heterodox Christian churches and denominations that are not in communion with it”. This statement was issued despite many disagreements, warnings and decisions made before the Cretan Council, such as the unanimous decision of the hierarchy of the Church of Greece that heterodox communities in Conciliar texts can not be called ‘churchesʼ. The decision of the Greek Church hierarchy was simply ignored by the Cretan Council, just like everything else that was not in line with its decisions—which were set in advance.

On the other hand, Roman Catholics and so-called “Other Christians” have no problem with the name “churches”. In the spirit of global unity, the Pope welcomed the Cretan Council, sending to Patriarch Bartholomew a delegation with a special message that was read at the end of the Divine Liturgy in the Phanar. According to his own words the Pope has “confirmed the general desire for the restoration of the unity of Christians”, stressing the role of ecumenical dialogue, which “helps the Orthodox and Catholics to evaluate each other’s talents and cooperate in the preaching of the Gospel, to promote peace, human dignity, family values and care for our common home.” It was not specified which “Gospel” is to be preached—the one according to the Pope or the one known to us: the Gospel according to Jesus Christ?

The question of the true Church

What is the difference in the understanding of the Church and the Church affiliation between Orthodox and Roman Catholics? For other “Christians”, there is no clear and consistent teaching about it, so we will consider this particular difference, in hopes that the understanding of it will also make the other differences clearer.

The affiliation with the Roman Catholic “church” is perceived primarily as a notion of competence, a jurisdiction: spiritual, ecclesiastical, canonical and administrative, (which includes) the recognition of the Pope as “Peterʼs successor” and “Vicar of Christ”, as the chief, the supreme judge and high priest. For unity with that “church” it is enough that a community recognizes the Pope as its supreme authority in order to be an integral part of Roman Catholicism, over which the Bishop of Rome has full authority and jurisdiction.

Unlike the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox Church confesses the unity of faith and not the unity of the administrative jurisdiction. According to the Gospel of Christ, the Church is a correct and saving confession of faith in God. The question of true religion is the question of the true Church; ultimately it is a question of true religion, and not a matter of “right jurisdiction”. St Maximus the Confessor, when asked what jurisdiction he belonged to, testified what the Church professes from the beginning—that it was “God and Lord of all who said that the Catholic Church is a proper and saving confession of faith in Him!”

Bishop Athanasije (Jevtic) summarized: “The Roman Catholic norms and criteria for the Church and ecclesiality are not the same as the Orthodox because for them, the ‘supreme criterionʼ is The Pope and subordination to him and communion with him; and with us it is the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ. Ultimately, the question of true faith is also the question of the true Church—that is, of the faith as God revealed the “Truth, the Way, and the Life.” (John 14: 6) When the envoys of the emperor and the patriarch came to St Maximus to convince him to agree to compromise on the heresy of Monothelitism, they asked Maximus: ‘What church jurisdiction do you belong to: Constantinople, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? Because all of these churches, with the dioceses that are under them, merged; so if you belong to the One Catholic Church, you too must unite!ʼ To this the Holy Confessor characteristically answered and reiterated in a letter to his student Anastasios: ‘The God and Lord of all said (‘απεφήνατο = expressed, ordered) that the Catholic Church is a proper (τήν ‘ορθήν = Orthodox) and saving confession of faith in Him, and that is why He called Peter the apostle blessed—because he had a good confession... and said that He is going to build the correct, right believing Church upon that which is confessed” (cf. Mt. 16: 16-18),

To the Roman Catholics, who have repeatedly, for a long time, and apparently even now, have listened to and heard this answer, it is not clear how the Orthodox can have the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and be its members without recognizing the Pope, and not be subordinate to “Peterʼs successor”. What kind of unity can there be without one leader and head!? Roman Catholics ask these and similar questions; although it is hard to believe that they do not know the answer and are so uninformed. It is possible that they do not want to hear, nor to know that the Orthodox have the one and only Leader and Head: our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Hierarch, who is depicted as such—sitting on the throne in any Orthodox temple. For He Himself said: “Behold, I am with you always, even till the end of the world!” (Matt. 28: 20).

This response represents a double problem for Roman Catholics, because:

1) The Head of the Church is Christ and not the Pope

2) The unity of the Church and Her members, the Christians, can only be in Christ and not in a bishop, leader, hierarch—whether from Rome, Constantinople, or in any other man or institution of human provenance.

Legislative and executive power

From the very beginning, it was clear to the Apostles and Christians that the Church is the Body of Christ and that people are Her members: “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” (1 Cor. 12: 27) The body of Christ includes the Apostles, later the bishops and priests, and to this day all the faithful and all of the Church ranks—from patriarch to simple sacristan—because all ecclesiastical ranks are subordinate to Christ as members of His Body. The Bible says that the Lord our God according to the working of his mighty power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at his own right hand in the heavenly places… far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1: 19-23). Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone, in Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in Whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 2: 19-22).

    

Not only the apostles and prophets, but every man who by faith and baptism follows after Christ, holds the faith of Christ, has the mind of Christ, becomes Christ-minded, only then becomes a child of God by the grace that Christ grants it. St. Justin (Popovic) testifies this in his works: “In becoming man and founding the Church by Himself and to Himself and in Himself, the Lord Christ as the God-man immensely exalted man. He not only saved man from sin, death and hell, but also raised Him above all the heavens, and over all the creatures and substances. The Pan-mystery of man in the Pan-mystery of the God-man, Who is the Church, and yet the body of the Church and the Head of the Church... A man—coexisting in the God-man body of Christ—the Church, the most sacred and dearest secret of God, the mystery of mysteries, and mystery above all mysteries. The Church is the God-man Christ extended through the ages and through all eternity; but also, the Church is the man—extended by the God-man Christ throughout the centuries and through all eternity.” Therefore Fr. Justin warns: “Let us be in awe of our Head, let us think of whose Head we are the body!”

It is the head that controls the body, and not the body the head. Thus the Lord reserves all legislative and governing authority in all matters of faith exclusively for Himself. To people who are communicants of the Body of Christ (= Church), the Lord gave only the executive power in matters of faith—but not the legislative.

On the other hand, the Pope confused his administrative legislature of human arrangements and turned it into—and expanded it over—matters of faith. Therefore, the Orthodox rejected the Pope, because they are not, and do not want to be the Pope’s body, but the Body of Christ! Do not obey a man—the Pope—but the One Who hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him (Christ) to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1: 23).

Bishop Irinej of Bachka witnesses to this in his dissertation, “Dialogue according to St. Mark of Ephesus”, where it reads: “Since the head of the Body (=the Church) is Christ, the Incarnate Logos of God and Hypostatic Truth of God, so the foundation and basis of unity and uniqueness of the Church is Orthodoxy, the right faith, the Truth. Christ, the Church, and Orthodoxy are synonymous. Therefore St. Mark in his reply to Manuel Kaleki, who attacked the Orthodox Church because it allegedly contradicted itself during different periods, says: ‘What then? Shall we wrap in wool those divine councils, and then drive them off into the desert because in the same Church on the same matter a contrary opinion was disclosed before them? Or shall we think that the Church is always one and the same—not according to the places but to the character of orthodox thinking, according to which the Church throughout the whole the universe is called the One Catholic and Apostolic Church? Or the ‘corrupters’, who at times penetrate into the Church, according to the apostles’ prophecy—don’t we reckon them as not being the fullness of the Church, or even pastors and teachers, but rather see them as angry wolves who do not spare the flock?ʼ Accordingly, all who separate themselves from the unity of the Catholic faith of the Church therefore also separate themselves from the Church; and these are the heretics—they fall away from the Church, they are outside of Her, but the Church remains One and Holy. The Church however remains wounded and damaged by the loss and waste of Her former dear children, but no less complete, and no less Catholic and universal than before. For St Mark and for the Church in general, ‘under the laws against heretics, a heretic is anyone who succumbs to the slightest deviation from the true faith’. According to St. Mark, heretics of various types are ‘counterfeiters of the divine dogmasʼ—and their common characteristic is that they, to their own hand, misinterpret the holy theologians and Church Fathers.”

Why are we disunited?

Photo: wikimedia.org Photo: wikimedia.org
Not only are false teachings about God and faith, for example the Filioque and Purgatory, the causes for falling away from the Church, but also the Pope himself, namely the understanding and the exercise of his role as the Bishop of Rome, who sees himself as the supreme leader, judge and master of the religious community, as well as the belief that unity is in him. Those who recognize and profess this idea are not pastors and teachers, but are, according to St Mark, heretics of various types and “counterfeiters of the divine dogmas.” The Apostle John testifies that we, as Christians, are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5: 20). To be in Christ means to be in the Church; to be in unity with Christ is to be in unity with the Church. Any other unity outside Christ is also outside the Church of Christ. Those who do not follow Christ but rather this world, its systems, something or someone else, can be neither the Church nor in the Church. Those who do not have Christ as the head, but the Pope or anyone else, cannot be the Body of Christ.

Bishop Irinej also testifies to this in the aforementioned dissertation on St Mark: “Not just today at the time of so-called ‘Ecumenismʼ but at the time of St Mark there were people who believed that Western Christians only ‘differently formulate’ the truths of God given faith; thus they do not make mistakes in the faith and therefore, are not heretics. But here is what St Mark says about that: ‘Some say that we have never viewed the Latins as heretics, but only as schismatics!’ Those who say this have taken it from the Latins themselves; because they call us schismatics—for they do not have anything to complain about in our faith; therefore they complain that we have not been obedient to them—which in their view, we were required to be.ʼ St Mark adds: ‘We first separated from them; that is, we separated ourselves from them—we cut them off from the common Body, the Church. Why, tell me? Is it because they have true faith, or because they have properly asserted a supplement (to the Creed)? Who could say so, unless he had a strong concussion? No, but we cut them off because they think inappropriate and impious matters, and because they unjustifiably inserted that annexation. That is why we turned away from them as from heretics, and therefore we are separated from them.ʼ Later St Mark writes, ‘If the Latins do not in any way err from the true faith, then we have, it seems, vainly rejected them from ourselves; and if they have gone astray in the theology on the Holy Spirit (and blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the worst of all the dangers), then they are heretics, and as heretics we cut them off.” Catholics, Protestants of various types and other heterodox faiths that are not in communion with the Church cannot be called ‘churchesʼ.

Alas, what are we seeing today from some people? Exactly the opposite. At the time when certain local Orthodox Churches became “an integral part of the World Council of Churches”, in their publications, in relation to Catholic and other heterodox, the term “church” with a small “c” initially timidly appeared. The explanation was that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is written with a capital “C”, unlike the others, whom we do not recognize as churches, and so we use the lower case “c”. During the last decade or so, the press of our Serbian Orthodox Church is writing about the Catholics and Protestant “churches” with a capital “C”. Then came the Cretan Council, which issued a statement—a decision on “churches” in the plural, of course with a small “c”. A capital “C” will probably be written when these “Cretan churches” are discussed in the singular. Itʼs their “historical name”, for Godʼs sake, same as the names of “other heterodox Christian churches and denominations that are not in communion with the Church”!?! I suppose, a normal person would only marvel at these Cretan explanations!

Should we therefore speak the truth, or we would we do better to flatter? Do we want to be honest, or shall we juggle and manipulate the words? Whose spiritual children will we be, and who will be our spiritual father: Niccolo Machiavelli or St Sava Nemanjić?

“Christʼs Church has once and for all determined its attitude towards heretics—and heretics are all who are non-Orthodox—according to the Apostles and the fathers, through God-revealed Sacred Tradition, unique and unchangeable. According to this stance, the Orthodox are prohibited to have any prayerful communion and fellowship with heretics. Rule 45 of The Apostolic Canons says: ‘Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who has only prayed with heretics be excommunicated; but if he has permitted them to perform any clerical office, let him be deposed.ʼ This sacred canon of the Holy Apostles does not specify what kind of worship, but forbids any common prayer with the heretics, even individual (συνευξάμενος). Do we not see something even more extreme at the common ecumenical prayers?”

But, alas! More and more of those who fear the consequences of offending cunning enemies make compromises in order to preserve their peace, work, position, benefits, rank... But no one has the right to modify faith and dissipate the Church on the pretext that his life is threatened! However, they are afraid to hold to the truth and be honest, thinking that the truth is not worth it, and that honesty is a kind of weakness—but the holy apostle Paul says to us: God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind! (2 Tim. 1: 7). And St. Justin (Popovic) of Celije warns: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5: 29). “This is the soul, the heart of the Orthodox Church; It is its Gospel, its All-Gospel. The Church lives and works by it, and exists because of it. This is its immortality and eternity; this is its eternal value: obey God rather than people—this is its principle above all principles, the holy of holies, the measure of all criteria. It is the entire Gospel. This is the essence of all sacred dogma, and all the holy canons of the Orthodox Church. There, at the cost of all costs, on behalf of the Church there must not be any concessions made to any political regimes, or any compromises with people or with demons!”

Council of the confused

So, some sincerely believe that the Cretan Council was a “Wolves Council”. By all accounts it looks like there were wolves involved in its organization, especially behind the scenes. But as for the meeting itself, it looks like this was only a Council of the confused. Or maybe someone thinks that rank is a guarantee against confusion? Confused are all those who take this world and earthly powers more seriously than the God-revealed Holy Orthodox Faith and the Church, more than the words of Scripture and the Holy Fathers. Because “Her attitude towards heretics—and the heretics are all who are non-Orthodox—Christʼs Church has once and for all determined by the Apostles and the Fathers, through God-revealed Sacred Tradition, unique and unchangeable... These and, in this respect, all other rules of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers are applicable not only to ancient times, but are likewise fully applicable to all of us, modern-day Orthodox Christians. Undoubtedly they are applicable to our attitude toward Roman Catholics and Protestants; because Roman Catholicism is a manifold heresy, and of Protestantism it is better not to speak. Even St Sava in his time, seven and a half centuries ago, called the Roman Catholic church the ‘Latin heresyʼ. And how many more new dogmas have the Popes invented since then and infallibly proclaimed them as ‘truthsʼ!”

Where is the confusion? In the non-discernment of spirits, ignorance and misunderstanding of the Gospel of Christ, the Church and Christianity. People think God blesses even good works and intentions that are contrary to the Gospel. However we know, we are told that He will not, because there is a difference between the work of faith and human labor. The Lord asks of us the works of faith, and not the works of our fallen nature, our diplomatic wisdom. The foundation and the cornerstone on which the Church stands are not some kind of human good intentions, but the God-man Christ, the God-revealed Word that we know by the Spirit of faith according to the Gospel of Christ, and according to the words and deeds of the Fathers. In the words of Holy Scripture: The thoughts of mortal men are miserable, and our devices are but uncertain (Wisdom of Solomon 9: 14).

The Church cannot be built upon some inter-religious and ecumenical agreements, the decisions of various conferences and symposiums, or theological conclusions, because Christ is the source of truth, and we need to learn to stay within the limits that the Lord has set for us, for without these boundaries we are not Christians. For “Friends of God” are those who preserve the laws of that friendship and teach them to others. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love (John 15:10). St Ignatius Brianchaninov laments: “You say, ‘Heretics are also Christians.ʼ Where did you get this? The Orthodox Church has always considered heresy a mortal sin, always realized that a man infected with the terrible disease of heresy is dead in his soul, separated from grace and salvation, and that he is in communion with the devil and his destruction. Heresy is a sin of the mind. Heresy is a sin more diabolical than human; it is the daughter of the devil, his invention, opprobrium close to idolatry. Fathers usually called idolatry unbelief, and heresy—evil-belief!”

Heresy therefore kills the soul for eternity! “Let me give you an example here. Let us imagine that a woman’s husband has fallen ill with tuberculosis, but he does not consider it a dangerous disease, and looks at his symptoms as the individual characteristics of man. He moves around the apartment, plays with the children, coughing here and there, while refusing to be treated. The woman takes the children and leaves him, saying that they cannot be together until he has been cured. Our understanding of this woman’s behaviour depends on whether or not we recognize TB as a deadly disease. If we do, then this woman behaved this way towards her husband because she wants to encourage him to be aware of the seriousness of the situation, and to get treatment. But if we believe that there is no such thing as tuberculosis, or that TB is in no way harmful to health, then this woman’s behaviour seems inappropriate, even bordering on mental illness. It is the same with the history of the Church.”

“If the Church appears to be ‘Oneʼ in the creed and the self-awareness of the Orthodox Church (Point 1 in releases from Crete), then how can we simultaneously talk of some other “Christian churches”? The Orthodox Church cannot accept any “historical names” nor any “other heterodox Christian churches and denominations that are not in communion with her”—as churches amongst the rest—for the same historical reasons: the Church has never in history accepted any idea of the existence of many churches. The gathering of the patriarchs in Crete issued a confusing and contradictory statement with which the bishops accompanying them did not agree, neither did all the local Orthodox Churches, much less all the clergy, monastics and Orthodox people.

Let us conclude with the words of St. Mark: “All fathers and teachers of the Church, all of the councils and all the Divine Scriptures teach us to flee from those who believe otherwise, to depart from communion with them. So do I now despise all of these fathers and councils who follow those who under the guise of a false peace call us to unite with those who ruined the sacred and divine Creed... Do not let it happen to me, O Gentle Comforter, that I should ever step away from Thee, the sound mind and sound faith, but let me always keep Thy teaching and that of the blessed men inspired by Thee, and that I may join my Fathers, taking with me from earth to heaven, if nothing else, the true faith (την Ευσεβειαν = Orthodox).”

See also
Fr. George Florovsky on The Boundaries of the Church Fr. George Florovsky on The Boundaries of the Church
Bishop Athanasius (Yevtich)
Fr. George Florovsky on The Boundaries of the Church Fr. George Florovsky on The Boundaries of the Church
Bishop Athanasius (Yevtich)
We consider the essay on “The Boundaries of the Church” as a product of a young Florovsky, fragmented and lacking clarity.
Only the Orthodox Church can be called apostolic—Met. of Nikaia Only the Orthodox Church can be called apostolic—Met. of Nikaia Only the Orthodox Church can be called apostolic—Met. of Nikaia Only the Orthodox Church can be called apostolic—Met. of Nikaia
Metropolitan Alexios of Nikaia, Greece celebrated the Divine Liturgy today for the new calendar feast of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles in the church of the same name in Nikaia. Recalling the labors and teachings of the holy apostles, the hierarch emphasized in his homily that only the Orthodox Church has true apostolicity.
Reading between the lines of the article “Enhancing the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarch” Reading between the lines of the article “Enhancing the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarch”
Tamar Lomidze
Reading between the lines of the article “Enhancing the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarch” Reading between the lines of the article “Enhancing the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarch”
Tamar Lomidze
Dennis Menos believes that “the Ecumenical Patriarch needs to be elevated to the rank of “head” of the Orthodox East, with authority to act and speak for the entire Church” and that His Holiness “will need to be freed of all responsibility for serving also as the Primate of the Church of Constantinople”.
Abbot Gregory of Dochariou: Orthodox Church receives no benefit from dialogues with heterodox Abbot Gregory of Dochariou: Orthodox Church receives no benefit from dialogues with heterodox Abbot Gregory of Dochariou: Orthodox Church receives no benefit from dialogues with heterodox Abbot Gregory of Dochariou: Orthodox Church receives no benefit from dialogues with heterodox
Archimandrite Gregory (Zumis), abbot of the Dochariou Monastery on Mt. Athos, has released another article, this time devoted to topical problems of Church life, including persecutions against monks who do not accept the Crete Council, and ecumenical dialogues.
Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is dominated by unclean spirits Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is dominated by unclean spirits
Dr. Demetrios Tselengidis
Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is dominated by unclean spirits Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is dominated by unclean spirits
Fr. Ephraim’s attestation to Professor Demetrios Tselengidis
Dr. Demetrios Tselengidis
"I went to my cell and prayed, asking Christ to inform me what Ecumenism is. I received His reply, which was that Ecumenism has a spirit of wickedness and is dominated by unclean spirits."
Bulgarian Orthodox Church: Outside the Orthodox Church Bulgarian Orthodox Church: Outside the Orthodox Church "there are no other churches, only heresies and schisms" Bulgarian Orthodox Church: Outside the Orthodox Church Bulgarian Orthodox Church: Outside the Orthodox Church "there are no other churches, only heresies and schisms"
On the matter of the Orthodox Church’s stance towards the wider Christian world, the Synod took into consideration a letter from Metropolitan Gavriil of Lovech and priests of his diocese, and a letter from Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv that included a petition signed by 240 priests of his diocese
Saint Hilarion (Troitsky). The Unity of the Church and the World Conference of Christian Communities Saint Hilarion (Troitsky). The Unity of the Church and the World Conference of Christian Communities Saint Hilarion (Troitsky). The Unity of the Church and the World Conference of Christian Communities Saint Hilarion (Troitsky). The Unity of the Church and the World Conference of Christian Communities
This brilliant defense of traditional Orthodox ecclesiology by the Holy New-Martyr Archbishop Hilarion — who received a martyr's crown on December 15th, 1929 —, does not seem to be well known, probably owing to its limited publication decades ago by a small monastery press in Canada.
Comments
Rdr Andreas Moran12/17/2017 3:18 pm
In his comment of 12/15/2017 at 12:54, Alex refers to the fate of those who were in the Church and fall away from it, and one must accept that they are in peril. Then there are those who were never in the Church, call themselves Christians, and may not even know anything about the Orthodox Church. It is not the teaching of the Orthodox Church that such people cannot be saved. As St Theophan the Recluse says, the heterodox ‘have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them’.
Alex12/15/2017 1:01 pm
4 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.(John 6:51) BTW, "the sacrament of the Eucharist is also called holy communion since it is the mystical communion of men with God, with each other, and with all men and all things in him through Christ and the Spirit. It is strictly understood as being the real presence of Christ, His true Body and Blood mystically present in the bread and wine which are offered to the Father in his name and consecrated by the divine Spirit of God. Thus, we have genuine communion with God through Christ who is himself “the bread of life.” (John 6:34, 41)
Alex12/15/2017 12:56 pm
3 When are we living in Christ? When we live according to His Gospel and His Church. For He Himself, and not only His Gospel, is in the Church with all of His perfections and virtues. The Church is the eternally living Body of the God-man Christ. In her we find the medium of the holy mysteries. In her we find the means of holy good deeds. Our Lord Jesus Christ abides inseparable from the Church in this world. He abides with each member of the Church throughout all ages. He has His entire self for us in the Church, and continually gives Himself to us entirely, so that we might be enabled to live in this world as He lived. (St. Justin Popovich)
Alex12/15/2017 12:54 pm
Anna, let me leave a few quotes: 1 The chief end of our life is to live in communion with God. To this end the Son of God became incarnate, in order to return us to this divine communion, which was lost by the fall into sin. Through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we enter into communion with the Father and thus attain our purpose.(St. Theophan the Recluse) 2 We know and are convinced that falling away from the Church, whether into schism, heresy, or sectarianism, is complete perdition and spiritual death. For us there is no Christianity outside of the Church. If Christ established the Church, and the Church is His Body, then to be cut of from His Body is to die. (St. Hilarion Troitsky)
Anthony12/14/2017 3:20 pm
Hello. Good morning Anna! Greetings to you beloved! In response to the question you pose and in short. Yes. You are outside of the Body Of Christ and your beliefs are erroneous. You say you believe the Scriptures. These form the foundation but not the fullness of the Life in Christ. Christ didn't give us bits and bobs to believe. He gave us the fullness of His Body. The Scriptures. Tradition. The Sacraments. Etc. These are only found in Orthodox Christianity. Not in papism. Protestantism. Buddhism. Islamism. Or in any other ism.
Joseph12/13/2017 11:24 am
Anna: The Orthodox Church is based in Holy Scripture in the most profound way. It is the Church unchanged in belief and dogma since apostolic times. There are many sincere Protestants who have not been taught this, but once they have heard about it, they should really look into it and research it, so that they will not be judged for their lack of desire to know the truth.
Anthony 12/13/2017 7:54 am
Thank you for this. The Church is in such desperate need of clergy such as the present, as she is attacked from the trojan horse ecumenists within. For any sincere Orthodox I strongly recommend the lectures of Constantine Zalalas. He has amazing talks that set the record straight on so many different issues that clergy today do not speak or even know of. http://www.pantokrator.info/en/modules.php?name=Downloads
Anna12/13/2017 5:00 am
I need to know, whether I as a Protestant, who believes all that the Holy Scriptures say, who has been baptized (in the Baptist Church (church?)) would be considered a heretic? Perhaps those who are Protestant teachers, who have only heard of Eastern Orthodoxy as an ancient sect of Catholicism—as I once was taught—who hold fast to the Holy Scriptures and have rejected all that, to their knowledge, is contrary to The Scriptures, and what was taught them in good faith—perhaps they would not be found heretical in the Judgement day? Am I in error here? What should a lay believer like myself do?
J Clivas12/12/2017 9:03 pm
Whether "we look for points that divide us" or not, they remain unresolved to this day.
Julia12/12/2017 7:48 pm
Well said!
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook , or enter your information:
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

×