Piraeus, Greece, May 21, 2020
God does not hear prayers offered by Orthodox Christians together with the heterodox, such as the ecumenical prayer service held on the feast of Annunciation in which Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America together with a Catholic cardinal and a Lutheran bishop, the Metropolis of Piraeus of the Orthodox Church of Greece writes in a new document.
Yesterday, May 20, the Piraeus Metropolis’ Department of Heresies and Cults issued a statement affirming the traditional Orthodox teaching that joint prayers with members of other Christian denominations or other religions is a grave sin and a mockery of the Holy Spirit, reports Vima Orthodoxias.
In particular in the new statement, the Metropolis condemns ecumenical services being held as part of a common struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, as was the ecumenical recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Chicago.
“Apart from the deadly coronavirus that has recently appeared in humanity, there is another ‘virus,’ much more deadly and dangerous, because it does not kill the perishable body, but the immortal soul. This ‘virus’ is not new, but it has been around for more than a hundred years. It is the ‘virus’ of Ecumenism,” the statement reads.
Ecumenism is “the worst and most satanic sect of all time,” according to the saints and holy elders, the Metropolis emphasizes.
The Orthodox faithful understand the pandemic as an admonition from God and a call to repentance, while “the supporters of Ecumenism also took the opportunity to act,” the statement reads.
“They have organized worldwide, inter-Christian and inter-religious prayers (which, as we know, are strictly prohibited by the holy canons of our Church) to ‘unite,’ as they claim, ‘people of all religious faiths in common prayers to ask a common God for help and salvation from the epidemic,’” the Metropolitan Department continues.
Unfortunately, many Church leaders are imbued with the spirit of Ecumenism or are under heavy pressure from political figures, and thus lead the simple faithful astray, teaching them that all Christian confessions or even all religions are the same, the statement says.
Such people, the text reads, “in our humble opinion, are the most dangerous, because they are fighting the Church from within, looking like shepherds, when in fact they are ‘wolves.’”
The Metropolis of Piraeus is particularly indignant about the words of Met. Nathanael at the ecumenical service on March 25, who said: “Brothers and sisters, dear friends, Christ is in our midst. As we continue our effort to reduce the effects of the coronavirus on society, it is important now more than ever to recognize that there is far more that unites us than divides us.”
The Metropolis writes strongly: “Does God hear such common prayers? Certainly not… As the holy fathers of our Church, and especially St. Gregory Palamas, teach us, heretics (and in this case Papists and Protestants) are essentially atheists, just like pagans, because heresy is the second type of atheism.”
Having fallen away from the Church, Catholics (and subsequently Protestants) have lost the grace of God, and thus “the participation of the Orthodox in these terrible prayers is a grave sin and in fact a mockery of the Holy Spirit!” the Metropolis of Piraeus affirms.
The statement also criticizes the participation of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem in a joint prayer with “representatives of all religions of Israel,” in which the following prayer was read: “The God of the beginning and the end, the God of all the creatures of the Earth, the Lord of all generations, the one who awakens the sleeping, heals the sick, opens the eyes of the blind, we stand before you, humbly bowing and begging you: Save us and send us prosperity!”
Of course, the Metropolis notes, Muslims and Jews and all others who participated in this prayer do not believe the “God of the beginning and the end” to be the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.
“We saw with horror and disgust that in this confluence of heretics and non-believers, Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem should be present and pray with them,” the statement reads.
Such sad events should be a cause for greater vigilance among the faithful, who are called to remember the words of the Lord: Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them (Luke 21:8), the Metropolis emphasizes.
In a similar vein, the Metropolis’ Department of Heresies and Cults warned in February that through its relation with the Greek Catholic Uniates, the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” will prove to be a catalyst for the future unification of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.