Recently it has been asserted repeatedly by some people that, although the Church is “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” and it is the Orthodox Church, we can also make use of the term “Churches” for the non-Orthodox, and in this case it is a “technical term” (terminus technicus).This view makes a particular impression, as it is not just written in articles but is also being put forward by bishops, even in official Synodical bodies, in order to support the decision of the “Great and Holy Council” of Crete that “the Orthodox Church accepts the historical name of other non-Orthodox Christian Churches and Confessions that are not in communion with her.” I have a different view, of course, and I would like to express it in this article.
Thus, the final text is diplomatic. It is distinguished by its “creative ambiguity”, as has been written. It contains arguments that can be received by all sides. I think that it displeases both the Orthodox and the heterodox. It is imbued with baptismal theology and, indirectly but clearly, with the branch theory, as was also demonstrated during the discussions, and it also moved slightly, but consciously, away from the principle of exclusivity and towards the principle of inclusiveness.
"As I stated in the meeting of the Holy and Great Synod, the text doesn’t have a strict ecclesiological basis. The question of what the Church is and who are its members was one of the nearly one hundred issues which had been raised by the Holy and Great Synod, but, over time, fell to the wayside in view of a wider conversation and dialogue, to be decided later. Hence what the Church is and who are its members must first of all be discussed and defined, and only after this can the position of the heterodox be defined."
Many texts have been written recently by experts and non-experts, by those who are competent and those who are not, on this great event. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out in another text, in some of them we see that theology is mixed with politics, or rather, various ecclesiastical elements get involved knowingly or unknowingly in the aspirations of politicians, and politicians, too, use various ecclesiastical elements in order to implement their plans through the Church.
Eventually, all of the dreams of the "Fathers" of this idea resulted in it becoming, not an Ecumenical Council, but a Holy and Great Council which is still unable to find its identity, tackling just six issues that are vague, untimely, without a clear cut goal, and some of which are detached from the tradition of the Fathers.
His Eminence Met. Hierotheos Vlachos offers an indepth look at several problematic terms and phrases in the draft documents approved for consideration at the upcomign Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete in June.
For the edification of the whole Church, in this second letter to the Holy Synod of Greece, Met. Hierotheos Vlachos calls attention to and calls for correction of certain ambiguities and ecclesiological and anthropological errors and imprecisions in the texts "Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Church world," and "The mission of the Orthodox Church in the modern world" which were prepared for the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council in June.
Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktou has written the Archbishop of Athens and the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece concerning the process by which the texts for consideration at the Great and Holy Synod (planned for June of 2016) are to be approved.The Metropolitan brings to light serious violations and disregard for the synodical system of the Church with regard to the acceptance of the pre-synodical texts. He requests that answers be given as to why the hierarchy of the Church never discussed, let alone approved, the documents which will be considered at the Holy and Great Council.
Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos speaks about how a study of St. Gregory Palamas lead him to wondrous experiences on the Holy Mountain, the saints he met there, and the continuing living Tradition that they hand on in each generation, encapsulatd in the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
The dogmas are the results of decisions made at the Ecumenical Councils on various matters of faith. Dogmas are referred to as such, because they draw the boundaries between truth and error, between sickness and health. Dogmas express the revealed truth. They formulate the life of the Church. Thus they are, on the one hand, the expression of Revelation and on the other act as "remedies" in order to lead us to communion with God; to our reason for being.
So, when I see people holding a lit candle and chanting “Christ is Risen” on the night of the Resurrection of Christ, I understand better that we should regard death as a process of passing from the “land of Egypt” to the “land of Promise”, from death to life, which takes place in Christ, and as a hope for our resurrection which again takes place in Christ. It would be very fortunate if we were to anticipate death in this position, holding the candle of the Resurrection and chanting “Christ is Risen”.
But there is a basic principle: Christianity does all its social work mainly within the church area. Those who perceive the Church as an ideology, as a social and religious system, become frustrated. Those living outside the Church and are involved a few times a year in church life, do not know what is in it.