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The dark "spirit of the age" more and more distinctly appears as the sole master and organizer of the syncretic whirlpool which before our very eyes rapidly carries off the whole wavering world into a fatal "union", to which the holy martyrs and confessors preferred, without a moment's hesitation, any kind of persecution and cruel death. "Better, indeed, a laudable war than a peace which severs one from God", as the divine Gregory the Theologian would say..

From the very first days of the existence of the Church of Christ deviations from the truth appeared side by side with the universal doctrine common to the entire Church. Very often these false teachings were of such usurpative nature, as to cause great confusion among the faithful and were a cause of scandal for many, involving the Church in a difficult and exhausting struggle. The militant Church, aptly so called, has not only the clergy as its warriors, since every Christian who is called a warrior of Christ at his baptism, invariably struggles against heresies. By means of episcopal epistles, exhortations, prohibitions, the authority of Local Councils, and, from the 4th century onwards, also by the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, the holy Church has been preserving the purity of Orthodoxy, its "rule of faith" incorrupt..

According to the Orthodox ecclesiology, an Ecumenical Council is the highest earthly authority of the Church of Christ, implemented by the Holy Spirit, as it was first stated in the decision of the Apostolic Council: "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us" (Acts 15, 28). Moreover, the Orthodox Church considers Holy Scripture, Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, dogmas and canonic conciliar decisions as absolutely inviolable. They may not be either changed, or abolished.

In our age of general apostasy those "desiring salvation" should be particularly vigilant when religious pretenders, having assumed the authority "to bind aged to loose" (Mat. 18,18), permit themselves, at their closed ecumenical gatherings, to interpret conciliar decisions in an arbitrary manner and to secretly prepare the lifting of anathemas and even a change of the dogmas. The contemporary church life presents a disturbing and sinister picture, "where the most important matters of faith are handed over to control of people who not only should not be allowed to touch theology, but should not even partake of the Eucharist, until they have repented of their godlessness." [424]

In order to be in a position to defend the inviolability of the holy faith, it is of vital importance that the Orthodox people of today should study the true, unspoilt theology and seek it in the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Church. Turning to the patristic heritage should not be the result of idle curiosity, but it should be a quest for, and the discovery of help and of spiritual guidance in the cause of salvation. The Church's congregation can prevent the scandalous disregard by the so called theologians of the holy dogmas of the Orthodox faith and their infringement upon these dogmas. For this purpose it is necessary to know them and to remember that «the dogmas of faith, the "garments of truth, woven from heavenly theology", as we hear in a church hymn, have one single theme, the theme of our salvation. And the subject of the whole of Christian theology, with all its wealth of contents, is the "teaching about salvation"» [425].

Lately, many Orthodox believers in the former USSR, who have recently joined the Church and are theologically inexperienced, very often hear about the "Eastern" or "Oriental Orthodox" and see Alexius II and hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate praying jointly with, and embracing Armenian Catholicos, Syrians, Ethiopians, or Copts. Without making much of it, they think of these "Orientals" as Orthodox. They do not know that they are heretics-Monophysites, obdurate in their 1500 years' old heresy, condemned by the Holy Fathers of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical, and also Local, Councils, anathematized and unrepentant.

In the words of Archpriest Michael Pomazansky, "Church history tells us that the heresy of Monophysites, which has been distorting the truth of the teaching about God-Man and was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon, has harmed the Church more than any other heresy." [426] Along with Monothelitism it has been unsettling the Church for almost two and a half centuries, much longer than the Iconoclast heresy.

The father of the Monophysite heresy was Archimandrite Eutyches of Constantinople, who was supported by Archbishop Dioscorus of Alexandria. According to St. John Damascene, "this godless and vile heresy", disseminated by not only "Dioscorus and Eutyches, who were spurned by God", but also by Theodosius of Alexandria (hence the heresy of Theodosians), Jacob of Syria (hence the "Jacobites"), Severus -- this "corrupter of Antiochians, and the false teacher John Triphet, enticed many souls and have thus ruined them" ("Against Heresies").

Monophysitism has received its name from the Greek "monos physis", i.e. "only one nature". This heresy impiously maintains that the human nature of Jesus Christ was, allegedly, absorbed by His Divine nature, and therefore they declare that our Savior had a single nature. By asserting this, Monophysites have impiously separated Christ from mankind, thus ruling out man's chance of salvation in the Lord. But it was precisely for the salvation of mankind that the Word of God became Incarnate. Monophysitism is, in its essence, the negation of the reality of God's Incarnation, i.e. of the main tenet of Christianity.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council of 451 A.D. at Chalcedon, i.e. its 630 participating Holy Fathers (the highest number in all seven Universal Councils) condemned the heresy of Monophysites by anathematizing the "vain-minded Eutyches, who declared that the great mystery of salvation was only seemingly consummated, along with him also Dioscorus and Nestorius, the former being a defender and champion of confusion of Natures, and the latter of dissension of these Natures" [427]

In accordance with the divinely inspired dogma of the Council of Chalcedon "on the two natures in one Person of our Lord Jesus Christ", our Savior is the true God and true Man: as God He is eternally born of the Father, as Man He was born of the All-holy Virgin and is like us in everything except sin. At the Incarnation (the birth from the Virgin Mary) His divine and human natures united in Him, as in one Person "unconfusably, inconvertibly (against Eutyches), indivisibly, inseparably" (against Nestorius).

The decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, 336 years later, regarding the heresy of Monophysites reads as follows: "We confess two Natures of Jesus Christ who was born in flesh of the All-pure Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, we acknowledge Him to be perfect in divinity, and perfect in humanity, as was pronounced at the Council of Chalcedon; however, we subject to anathema the impious deceivers of the Imperial court, Eutyches, Dioscorus and their friends Severus, Peter, and their impious gathering."

The Monophysite heresy engendered Monothelism ("a single will") which essentially is only another formulation of Monophysitism. Monothelism was condemned in 680 by the Sixth Ecumenical Council, where 160 Holy Fathers formulated the dogma "on the two wills and energies of our Lord Jesus Christ", having thus determined to acknowledge two Natures of Jesus Christ, the Divine and the Human, and two wills -- in accordance with these two Natures, but in such a manner that the Human will of Christ does not oppose, but is obedient to His Divine will.

The false teaching on the alleged presence of a single, Divine will in Christ was at first spread by Patriarch Cyrus from Alexandria and Patriarch Sergius from Constantinople. Monothelism was supported by Patriarchs Pyrrhus, Paul, and Theodore of Constantinople who were subsequently subjected to anathema. Honorius, the Pope of Rome, also supported this teaching.

As soon as it arose (in the beginning of 630-ies), Monothelism caused such an indignation that it had to be amended. On behalf of the then reigning Emperor Heraclius, whom Monothelites managed to entice into their heresy, the false teachers compiled a cunning document "Ecthesis" (Exposition). By means of this document Heraclius, in particular, tried to reconcile Monophysites with the Catholic (Universal) Church. Worthy of note is the sophistic trick of the "Ecthesis", similar to verbal stratagems of our contemporary ecumenists in Chambesy: the compilers of "Ecthesis" recognized the two wills in Christ, as belonging to both of His natures, but at the same time it was heretically asserted that they constitute only one will, which corresponds to the single Hypostasis [428].

Monophysites and Monothelites succeeded in winning over almost the entire East of the Roman Empire into their heresy. Only St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, opposed the heresy and defended the true Christological doctrine of the Church. Those who rejected the Chalcedonian dogma, and their number in Egypt alone reached 6 million (there remained only 300 thousand Orthodox people there), became also the traitors of their own land by cutting themselves off the Christian world forever. At the beginning of the 7th century, when Avars and Persians, and later Arabs, swooped over Byzantium, it was Monophysites who were moved by their hatred of the Orthodox Empire to help Moslems in capturing Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Asia Minor. «And in a shortest possibly time the crowds of "Non-Chalcedonian Christians", with a few exceptions, turned into the crowds of infidels.» [429]

The dubious notion of the Orthodox being identical with the Monophysites appeared at the dawn of the 20th century in anticipation of the relativist and syncretic tendencies of the then incipient ecumenical movement; this notion had also forestalled the beginning of the campaign for the unification with the Papists.

In the process of the victorious development of apostatic ecumenism the idea of the Orthodox being identical with Monophysites has been widely spread in ecumenist circles. "From then on Monophysites have been called anti-Chalcedonians, pro-Chalcedonians (Gr. pro = before), followers of old Eastern confessions, and even Eastern Orthodox. Thus were the frontiers, established, as of old, by God demolished: "do not move the frontiers established as of old by your fathers". Thus were created the prerequisites for Monophysites, the non-repentant sinners, to become in Church consciousness the co-inheritors of Orthodoxy without any repentance and conversion" [430].

Negotiations between the "Orthodox" ecumenists and Monophysites at their unofficial gatherings, which were sponsored by the WCC and took place in 1964, 1967, 1970 and 1971, were successfully (for anti-Chalcedonians) continued in the course of official dialogues in 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1993. The common task of these pseudo-Christians is, according to their own words: "the development of a post-ideological Christianity where the truth is not a system", and where ecumenic "love by constantly increasing the intensity of contact gradually acquires the force of proof." [431] As a result of the "intensity of contact" with the unrepentant heretics in 1990 and 1993 there appeared documents unprecedented in Church history, seeking to undermine the authority of conciliar decisions and the succession of Church Tradition. It follows that in the area of dogmatics and doctrine allegedly nothing divides Orthodoxy from Monophysitism. Disagreements which have existed until now are, allegedly, bound with the incorrect interpretation of theological terminology.

In the autumn of 1990 (Sept. 23-28) a consultation of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox or Monophysite Churches took place at the Constantinople Patriarchate Center in Chambesy (Switzerland). The Chairman of this, already the third, session was Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland (Patriarchate of Constantinople), and the Secretary -- Prof. Vlasius Fidas (Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria). The Monophysite side was headed by the co-Chairman, the Coptic Metropolitan Bishoi, and the co-Secretary, Bishop Mesrop Krikorian (the Echmiadzin Church of Armenia).

The Commission consisted of 34 representatives from almost all the Local Churches and from the Monophysites from Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia, and Malabar (India). The meeting of 1990 in Chambesy resulted in the Declaration [432], on the basis of which, and for the purpose of realizing its Paragraph Ten (on the mutual lifting of the anathemas), a second joint document, that of 1993 433, was accepted. This document contained specific directions concerning the method of lifting the anathemas and re-establishment of full liturgical communion. The evolution of relations between the "Orthodox" and the Monophysite members of the WCC actually demonstrates how the "combining of partial truths" [434] acquires the force of proof!

It should be noted that the participants of both sides -- the Orthodox and the Monophysites are referred to in the text of the Declaration as "two families", and Monophysites are called "Oriental Orthodox". The entire document, which is capable of misleading the theologically inexperienced people, is based on Monophysite terminology, which, despite all its subtlety, is absolutely unacceptable to the Orthodox. The writings of the Holy Fathers who struggled with heretics and exposed their contrivances, help one to detect the obdurate tricks which the Monophysites are using to this day.

From the Declaration of 1990 (Paragraphs One and Two) it follows that both sides agreed in condemning the heresies of Eutyches, Nestorius and the Crypto-Nestorianism of Theodoret of Cyrrhus. This statement, however, is decidedly not new or exceptional if one takes into account that Monophysitism itself originated as a reaction against Nestorianism; and Eutyches was anathematized by almost all Monophysites already at the end of the 5th century. Thus, this seeming concession of the "Orientals" is nothing but a trick. This is also noted in a Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Holy Mount Athos: "The Joint Commission limited its requirements of Monophysites by insisting only on their condemnation of the extreme Monophysitism of Eutyches. However, according to the teaching of the Holy Fathers and the conscience of the God-serving Church, even the moderate Monophysitism of Dioscorus and Severus constitutes heresy. A comparison of certain formulations in the Joint Declarations with respective expressions of the contemporary Monophysite patriarchs and theologians proves their intention to simply soften Monophysitism." [435]

In Paragraphs Four and Five, which deserve great attention, a compromise view on the teaching of the Church is expounded and an attempt is made to identify Orthodox Christology with heresy. Both Paragraphs are an example of ecumenical cunning which expresses itself in the "language of Babylon":

Paragraph Four: The two families accept that the two natures with their own energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished only in the thought (en theoria mone) (our emphasis - L.P.).

Paragraph Seven also speaks of the distinction of natures and wills of the Savior only in the thought. However, the usage of expressions "only in thought", "in imagination", or "only in speculation" may be interpreted completely in the spirit of Monophysites, i.e. as an absence of this distinction in reality.

The Athonite Memorandum also draws attention to this fact; when speaking of the Joint Declaration (of 1989 and 1990) it notes that they "contain many expressions acceptable from the Monophysite point of view and similar, for example, to the teaching of Severus: "a single united divine-human nature" (First Joint Declaration) and the "natures are distinguished only in the thought" (Second Joint Declaration) [436].

Paragraph Five of the Declaration requires a special explanation. It reads:

The two families accept that the One Who wills and acts is always the single Hypostasis of the incarnate Logos (our emphasis - L.P.).

As noted before, the Chambesy Declaration of 1990 is akin to the fabrications of the Monothelite "Exthesis" of the 7th century. "The essence of the heretical teaching of Sergius and Pyrrhus was, precisely the attribution of natural wills to the Hypostasis. The concepts of "nature" and "hypostasis" were confused and thus constituted the essence of Monophysitism." [437]

St. Maximus the Confessor opposed the attribution of the natural wills of Christ to the Hypostasis, i.e. the confusion of concepts "hypostasis" and "nature". According to his teaching, the concept of energy (activity) of nature is attributable only to nature as a whole, and not to the hypostasis. This teaching was affirmed at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. In the Chambesy Declaration, as it is evident from Paragraph Five, natural wills and energies in Jesus Christ are attributed to His Hypostasis [438]. In other words, this Paragraph is a purely Monotheletic formula, reflecting "the traditional and not a new version of the ancient Monotheletic heresy, the one which St. Maximus the Confessor and his disciples, two Anastasias, opposed until they died martyrs' death, along with St. Martin, the Roman Pope, and other martyrs' and confessors. This heresy was more than once condemned by the Holy Fathers and the Councils." [439]

A very complicated situation arises when dealing with the refusal of Monophysites to accept the Chalcedonian Council, and the subsequent Fifth, Sixth and Seventh, as Ecumenical Councils.

Thus, Paragraph Eight proclaims:

The two families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils which form our common heritage. With regard to the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox affirm that, for them, points one through seven are also the teaching of these four later Councils, whereas the oriental Orthodox consider this affirmation of the Orthodox like their own interpretation. In this sense the oriental Orthodox respond positively to this affirmation.

With regard to the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Orthodox Church, the oriental Orthodox accept that the theology and the practice of the veneration of icons taught by the Council are in fundamental accord with the teaching and practice of the oriental Orthodox since ancient times, well before the convocation of the Council and that in this regard there is no disagreement between us.

The "positive response" of heretics-Monophysites to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, the resolutions of which they regard as merely a "personal interpretation" of the Orthodox Church, is but a subterfuge which brings to naught the work of the Holy Fathers and the Councils regarding Christological teaching.

As to the deceitful assurance about the veneration of sacred icons by the Orthodox and the heretics being alike, the "authors of the Chambesy Declaration acted thoughtlessly, to say the least" when they hastily declared their like-mindedness without subjecting this question to a special investigation. "It sounds convincing only to those who are not familiar with the history of the Monophysite veneration of icons." [440]

As is known from the history of the Church, the actistism of Julian of Halikarnassus, which was one of the most extreme but most tenacious variants of Monophysitism, was distinguished by its iconoclasm. Actistism flourished amongst the Armenian Monophysites from the 6th century and until 1441, when the Armenian Catholicosate was moved from Sis to Echmiadzin; subsequently it was observed there even in the 18th century. In Ethiopia, however, one could see the traces of the Monophysite iconoclasm even at the beginning of the 20th century. All the other branches of Monophysitism were forced to counterbalance actistism by substantiating their "veneration of icons" in a special manner [441].

"Christological heresy, as is shown by history, is always fraught with consequences affecting the veneration of sacred icons -- it does not always cause overt iconoclasm, but always and without exception it leads to the rejection of the veneration of icons in the spirit of Orthodoxy" [442].

Unlike the Orthodox teaching on the veneration of icons, Monophysites sharply differentiate between the icons of Christ and the Mother of God (in keeping with their false veneration of the Holy Theotokos [443]), and the icons of saints whose depictions they treat as useful "pious pictures". From the dogmatic point of view, such "veneration" of the icons of saints is only a variety of iconoclasm and has nothing in common with the teaching of the Orthodox Church. The great teacher of the Church, Saint John Damascene, in his work "On the Sacred Icons", has made the following substantiation of the fact that the icons of the Savior and of the Mother of God are equal in honor with the icons of saints: "In their life-time the saints were imbued with the Holy Spirit, so after their death the grace of the Holy Spirit abides both in their souls and in their bodies, lying in graves, as well as... in their sacred images -- not on account of their essence, but owing to the grace and action (of Divine energies - L. P.) [444].

Therefore, in the sacred icons, in which we venerate One and the Same God, there can be no distinction in honor. "The Monophysite teaching is quite different. For them there can be no God in the images of saints because for them He cannot dwell in the saints themselves. "The one single nature (according to their false teaching - L. P.), which absorbs into itself the humanity of Christ, finds itself cut off from the humanity of all the rest of the people, even the saints. The human nature of Christ Himself presupposes deification within the "single nature" of Christ (as it follows from the Monophysite heresy), but this "deification" itself separates Christ from Christians. Hence, the Monophysite teaching on icons of saints as being "second-rate". The question of the veneration of icons very vividly reveals the difference between the two teachings on a "single nature of God the Word Incarnate" -- that of the Orthodox and of the Monophysites of all trends." [445]

Despite all the noted contradictions, Paragraph Nine of the Declaration of 1990 categorically asserts:

Paragraph Nine: In the light of our joint declaration on Christology and the joint affirmations mentioned above, we now clearly realize and understand that our two families have always loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox faith, and have maintained uninterrupted the apostolic tradition although they may have used the Christological terms in a different manner. It is that common faith and that continual loyalty to the apostolic tradition which must be the basis of our unity and communion.

Thus, ecumenists reduce the fifteen centuries of Monophysite excommunications from the Orthodox Church to a mere terminological misunderstanding! The above-cited Paragraph Nine of the Declaration is a model of true perfidy. Without having brought Monophysites closer to Orthodoxy, those "Orthodox" who signed the Declaration have actually renounced the Holy Fathers of the four Ecumenical Councils, which "is an unprecedented instance in Church history, when the Orthodox Church rejects its own teaching to please the heretics." [446]

In the course of 1500 years, which have passed since the Fourth Ecumenical Council, "no Orthodox teacher, or saint has ever taught that Orthodoxy is the same as the teaching of anti-Chalcedonians [447]. On the contrary, many Holy Fathers, the teachers of Orthodoxy have been decisively exposing the Monophysite heresy. One can name "such exalted minds and such outstanding authorities that it becomes simply ridiculous to insist that they were allegedly unable to understand the anti-Chalcedonian arguments." [448] It should suffice to remember St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Anastasius of Sinai, St. John Damascene, St. Photius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Theodore Studite, St. Theodosius Kinoviarchus, and the other holy teachers and confessors who had tirelessly, and often until they died a martyric death, struggled against the Monophysite and the Monothelite heresies, in order to doubt the arguments of the advocates of the Union with the anti-Chalcedonians.

Who of the contemporary "pillars" of ecumenism has the right to make himself equal to those who were glorified by God? Can anyone of those who dares to call the teaching of the divinely enlightened minds into question, state with assurance that he is led by the Holy Spirit?! "Blind leaders of the blind" (Mt. 15,14), they ascribe to themselves the right to judge the Holy Fathers, being themselves hardly familiar with Patristic teaching. The Archpriest Prof. Theodore Zeses says: "The bitter experience of the recent inter-confessional discussions leaves one with an impression that the members of Orthodox delegations lack systematic theological training, a knowledge of Patristic writings and of conciliar resolutions. Our representatives appear as though they had never studied with Orthodox teachers, but were brought up by ecumenical literature." [449]

The Joint Commission passed the decision, unprecedented in the history of the Orthodox Church, on the possibility of lifting the anathemas. Paragraph Ten and Recommendations of the Declaration proclaim: "The two families accept that all the anathemas and the condemnations of the past which kept us divided must be lifted by the Churches so that the last obstacle to full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and power of God. The two families accept that the lifting of the anathemas and the condemnations will be based on the fact that the Councils and the fathers previously anathematized or condemned were not heretics.

Recommendations - We therefore recommend to our Churches the following practical steps:

a) The Orthodox should lift all the anathemas and the condemnations against the oriental Orthodox Councils and fathers which they have pronounced in the past.

b) The oriental Orthodox should simultaneously lift all the anathemas and condemnations against all the Orthodox Councils and Fathers which they have pronounced in the past.

c) The manner according to which the anathemas have to be lifted must be decided by the individual Church.

Conclusion: Confident in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, of unity and of love, we submit this joint declaration and these recommendations to our venerable Churches for examination and follow-up, praying that the same Spirit will lead us to the unity for which our Lord prayed and prays.

Chambesy, 28 September 1990" [450]

On the basis of the First Joint Declaration accepted at the Anba Bishoy Monastery in 1989 and the Second Joint Declaration at Chambesy in 1990, yet another document was produced in 1993 in the same Center of the Patriarchate of Constantinople at Chambesy. It gave precise instructions on the lifting of anathemas. Thirty representatives, from Albania, Austria, Great Britain, Greece, Egypt, India, Cyprus, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Rumania, Syria, USA, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Ethiopia participated in the work of this Joint Commission.

The text of their Communique reads as follows:

"Following the introductory session, both parties met separately for the examination of documents prepared on the following topics:

What ecclesiastical authority of each party has the competence for lifting the anathemas, and what are the prerequisites for the re-establishment of ecclesiastical communion?

Which anathemas of which Councils and persons may be lifted in accordance with Paragraph Ten of the Second Joint Declaration?

What canonical procedure of the lifting of anathemas and of the re-establishment of ecclesiastical communion is available to both parties?

How do we understand and realize ecclesiastical communion in the life of our Churches?

What are the canonical and liturgical consequences of a full Communion?"

Following the discussion of reports compiled by both parties, "Proposals for lifting of the anathemas" were passed "unanimously". The Second and the Third Paragraphs of these "Proposals" read:

"2. The lifting of the anathemas must be carried out unanimously and simultaneously by the Heads of Churches of both parties by signing the respective Ecclesiastical Act, where each of the parties will be advised that the other party is Orthodox in all respects.

3. The lifting of the anathemas must include the following:

a) an immediate reestablishment of full communion by both parties;

b) any mutual condemnation of the past, be it conciliar, or personal is no longer valid;

c) Heads of the Churches must coordinate their diptychs [451] for liturgical use."

It is worth noting that this document was not included (possibly because it was the most outrageous?) in the official publications of the Moscow Patriarchate. Monophysites, too, have kept their negotiations secret from their church people, and their documents were published only in the Armenian language [452]. Proceedings of the meetings of this Joint Commission have not been published either, which deprives the faithful of any information about the activities of the supporters of the Union.

This is mentioned in the Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Mount Athos: ... "The intention of the Joint Commission to conceal facts and to provide the Church with misleading information is evident." [453] It may be easily assumed that the members of the WCC conceal the details of their meetings because they are aware of the dark and sacrilegious nature of the cause which they have undertaken.

They ask: "Which ecclesiastical authority has the competence to lift the anathemas?" The Orthodox Church, through the decisions of Ecumenical Councils, provides an immutable answer that such authority does not exist. In order to protect the Church from any encroachment, the Holy Fathers adopted canons which were divinely inspired. One of them reads: "... we solemnly decree that this Council, while preserving intact the common body of Christ our God, and, succinctly speaking, of all the men who have distinguished themselves in the Church of God and have become luminaries in the world, "holding forth the word of life" (Phil. 2,16), is committed to holding the faith firm and sure, even till the consummation of the age, and that it shall remain immutable and unaltered, as well as their God-imparted writings and dogmas; and rejecting and anathematized, on the ground that its authors were enemies of the truth, and snortingly and ravingly uttered vain things against God and made injustice and unrighteousness the highest objects of their study and meditation. If, however, there be anyone in the world who does not care to hold and embrace the aforesaid dogmas of piety, and believe and preach thus, but, on the contrary, attempts to by-pass them, let him be anathema, in accordance with the definition (or rule) already previously promulgated by the aforesaid holy and blessed Fathers, and let him be cursed and expunged from the Christian Roll like an alien, and as one not belonging to our faith. For we are fully resolved and have been determined not to add anything to or to remove anything from what has previously been decreed..." (Rule One of the Sixth Ecumenical Council).

The last, i.e. the Seventh Ecumenical Council, confirmed the resolution of all the preceding "Six holy Ecumenical Councils, and of the ones assembled regionally... For all those men, having been guided by the light dawning out of the same Spirit, prescribed rules that are to our best interest. Accordingly, we too anathematize whomsoever they consign to anathema; and we too depose whomsoever they consign to deposition; and we too excommunicate whomsoever they consign to excommunication". (Rule One of the Seventh Ecumenical Council).

The contemporary apostates authorize the Heads of Churches to lift the indisputable and inviolable anathemas. These are the very same Heads who have often shown themselves to be hirelings indifferent to the catching of their flock (compare John 10, 12).

Could one imagine greater impudence and impiety?! Could the 630 Holy Fathers of the Fourth (Chalcedonian) Ecumenical Council have been mistaken when they anathematized Dioscorus for his heretical Christological views and for his support of Eutyches? Is it permissible to contemplate the lifting of the anathema from the malicious heretic who had organized the "Robber Synod" at Ephesus (449) and caused so much harm to the Orthodox confessors of faith?! Today "the Church is in such a disarray, with so many of its hierarchs actively working to undermine the faith... " [454]

The Athonite Memorandum also speaks of the harmful theology of the "Orthodox" ecumenists, who endanger the faith: "The Joint Commission has rebelled against the lawfulness and authority of the Holy Ecumenical Councils when it insisted that the heresiarchs Dioscorus, Jacob, Severus, and others, who fought against Chalcedon, should not be considered as heretics, but as Orthodox in their way of thinking. The consciousness of the Orthodox Church acknowledges the infallibility and the authority of the Ecumenical Councils, which were guided by the Holy Spirit, and it refuses to consider the possibility of re-examining the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils by another Ecumenical Council without exposing the latter as a heretical assemblage.

We ask: which Orthodox bishop, who has vowed to defend Ecumenical and Local Councils, will establish eucharistic communion with the bishops who will debate whether the Ecumenical Councils were actually Ecumenical?" [455]

Amidst the "Orthodox" ecumenists there have been those who went even further. Thus, Romanian bishops have frankly expressed that which the supporters of the Union with the Monophysites have been covering up with ornate phrases. The Holy Synod of the Rumanian Church officially expressed its conviction that "the anathemas were imposed on the heretics by the Ecumenical Councils in the spirit of insufficient love, whereas today, inasmuch as love does exist the Union can be accomplished." [456] When commenting this the Athonite Memorandum says that "this way of thinking is openly blasphemous of the Holy Spirit under Whose guidance these decisions were adopted". Moreover, "the Rumanian ecumenists profane the sacred memory of the Holy Fathers, whom the Church calls "God-bearing", "the lips of the Word", "the harps of the Spirit", etc."

According to the canons, those who have signed the Declarations in Chambesy and who are "widely spreading a heresy" can no longer be considered members of the Holy Church, and bishops even less so, and communion with them should be severed even "prior to a conciliar examination" (Rule 15 of the First and Second Council).

Results of the "Robber Council" at Chambesy, as the Orthodox have named it, have not been slow in affecting the lives of the Local Churches, who are participants of the WCC. "It is well known that at the present time both the Orthodox and the Monophysites are compelled into a hasty Union, despite the existing dogmatic differences and unsolved ecclesiological problems." [457]

As far back as 1992, Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch had officially regulated the details of the unification of the communities of his Church with those of the Monophysites. He had even issued a special encyclical [458] expounding a method of joint Orthodox-Monophysite service. Following the example of the Balamand Agreement, the Patriarchate of Antioch concluded an agreement with the Monophysite Church of Antioch on the mutual recognition of one another as "Sister Churches" providing for eucharistic communion, marriages and convocations of joint councils of bishops.

The Patriarch of Moscow now regularly conducts prayer-services jointly with the Armenian Catholicos and has high-level discussions with him "on the further fusion of the two Sister Churches". Metropolitan Kirill (Gundyaev) of Smolensk (MP) expresses the opinion that the dialogue with Non-Chalcedonians is formally concluded; "the next stage is the ratification by the Churches" of the agreement jointly signed at Chambesy, since the "parties have agreed that, despite certain differences in terminology, they have the same faith." [459] Profanation of holy places does not trouble the apostates. Thus, in July 1996 the clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate concelebrated with the Patriarch-Monophysite of Ethiopia during the latter's visit to the Monastery of Caves in Kiev. [460]

One can list many more examples of outrages legitimized at Chambesy. But the examples given should suffice in order to come to disheartening conclusions, and, with God's help, to oppose this fast approaching betrayal of Orthodoxy.

As to the Monophysites, their dialogues with the Orthodox have demonstrated that they do not intend to repent of their heresy. Their intricate way of expressing themselves and their meticulous avoidance of any comprehensive statements, make their actual re-unification with the Orthodox Church impossible. It should be emphasized that Orthodox believers, moved by the Christian spirit of love, would sincerely welcome the return of anti-Chalcedonians, who have fallen into a grave dogmatic error. "However, this unity is not so desirable that we should abandon Orthodoxy to achieve it. Orthodoxy is what its name suggests -- right belief. The Monophysites have diverged from this right belief and if their desire for unity is not based on a desire to reestablish right belief then it is based on false motives and must be rejected. To reestablish right belief a recognition of error is essential. This is not meant to humiliate. Far from it, it is meant to clarify for the Orthodox and Monophysites the eternal truths that the Orthodox have preserved and which the Monophysites now, presumably, wish to reaffirm. A recognition of error must be followed by unconditional acceptance of the seven Ecumenical Councils." [461] It is not possible to violate something in theology without the most serious consequences for the entire Church. "Holy Fathers were aware of this, and they considered that the only path leading towards reconciliation with the heretics was their repentance and their adoption of Orthodoxy" [462]

[424] Pagubnoe edinomyslie. Unii: istoriia i sovremennost'. Seriia: "O dukhovnom razsuzhdenii". (Engl: Pernicious Unanimity of the Union" Ser. "Concerning the Spiritual Reasoning", Second edition, SPb., 1996, p. 90.

[425] Archpriest Michael Pomazansky, "O zhizni, o vere, o Tserkvi" (On Life, Faith, Church). Collection of articles. Second edition. Printing Press of St. Job of Pochaev. Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., 1976, p. 133.

[426] Ibid., p. 149.

[427] The translations of quotations from Canons in this chapter are adapted from: "The Rudder (Pedalion)", transl. D. Cummings, publ. by the Orthodox Christian Educational Society, Chicago, Ill., 1957.

[428] Comp. "Pagubnoe edinomyslie..." (Pernicious Unanimity..., p. 93

[429] Anton Tuskarev, "Ot eresi tserkovno-gosudarstvennoi k eresi dogmaticheskoi" (From the ecclesiastical-state heresy to the dogmatic heresy), Russkii Vestnik, Moscow, 1992, No. 40, p. 12.

[430] Archpriest, Prof. Theodore Zeses, op. cit., p. 7.

[431] Sermon of Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch. (For more detail see Chapter 2, The Language of Babylon.)

[432] The Second Joint Declaration and Recommendations to the Churches of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Episkepsis, No. 446 (October 1, 1990).

[433] Reunion de la Commission mixte de dialogue entre l'Eglise orthodoxe et les Eglises orthodoxes orientales, Episkepsis, No. 498 (30 Novembre 1993).

[434] The words used by Antiochian Patriarch Ignatius IV in his sermon from which we quoted above.

[435] "Memorandum Sviashchennago Sobraniia Sviatoi Gory (Gora Afon) otnositelno dialoga mezhdu Pravoslavnymi Tserkvami i Monofizitskimi tserkvami" (Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Mount Athos regarding the Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Monophysite churches), Orthodox Russia, No. 1538, 1/14 July 1995, pp. 2-3.

[436] Ibid., p. 2.

[437] "Pagubnoe edinomyslie..." (Pernicious unanimity...), p. 93.

[438] This view "confirms that, for instance, hunger, thirst, fear of death, human lack of omniscience were experienced in Christ not by His human nature (as it is its way), but the Very Hypostasis of the Son of God. In accordance with this impious thought it follows that Christ experienced not the human kind of hunger and thirst, but of some special "Christ's" kind, and consequently, in His body He is not of the same essence as we are. This means a destruction of any chance of salvation in the Orthodox sense of the word, if the human nature has remains alien to Christ" ("Pernicious Unanimity..." p. 93).

[439] Ibid.

[440] Ibid., p. 95.

[441] Ibid.

[442] Ibid.

[443] This theological question requires particular attention and is beyond the scope of the present work.

[444] St. John Damascene, "O sviatykh ikonakh" (On the Sacred Icons), St. Petersburg, 1893, Ch. 1, 19.

[445] "Pernicious unanimity...", p. 97.

]446] Archpriest, Prof. Theodore Zeses, op. cit., p. 23. "' Ibid., p. 11.

[448] Ibid.

[449] Ibid., p. 12.

[450] The signatories of this document were: on the part of the Orthodox Church: co-Chairman -- Metropolitan Damaskinos, of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; Secretary -- Professor Vlasius Fidas, Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. On the part of the Monophysites: co-Chairman -- Metropolitan Bishoi of the Coptic Church; Secretary -- Bishop Dr. Mesrop Krikorian, of the Armenian Church at Echmiadzin.

Below is the list of the participants of the Joint Commission.


Prof. Athanasius Araniti, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Peristria, Prof. Fr. George Dragas -- of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Fr. Tadros Malatii, Fr. George Kondorfa, Metropolitan Khodr, Metropolitan Eustaphius -- of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Mr. Nikolai Zabolotsky, Mr. Grigory Skobei -- of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

Prof. Stojan Gosvec -- of the Patriarchate of Serbia.

Dr. Ivan Zhelev Dimitrov -- of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria.

Metr. David of Sukhumi, Mr. Boris Gagua -- of the Patriarchate of Georgia.

Metr. Peter of Aksum -- of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Bishop Barnabas of Salamis -- the Church of Cyprus.

Prof. Andreas Papabasiliu, Metr. Meletios of Nicopolis, Prof. Fr. John Romanides -- of the Church of Greece.

Bishop Jeremiah of Wraclaw (Breslau), Bishop Christofor of Olomouc -- Polish Orthodox Church.

Fr. Joseph Hauser -- of the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia.

Fr. Heikki Hettunen -- the Orthodox Church of Finland.


Metr. Paul Mar Gregory -- of the Oriental Orthodox Church in Syria.

Dr. Joseph M. Faltas, Asst. Secretary -- of the Coptic (Orthodox) Oriental Church.

Bishop Serapion -- of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Matta Rum -- of the Oriental Orthodox Church of Syria.

Archbishop Mesrop Kasheshian -- of the Armenian Church in Echmiadzin.

Archbishop Abba Garima, Habta-Mariam Harkine -- of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

[451] Diptych -- a booklet listing the names of persons to be commemorated during the liturgy. In the given context it means a strictly prescribed sequence of commemoration of First Hierarchs of the Churches which are in liturgical communion with one another.

[452] "Pernicious Unanimity...", p. 84.

[453] "Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Mount Athos...", p. 3.

[454] Monk Lucas (Murianka), "Commentary on Latest Recommendations of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches", Orthodox Life, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY, No. 3, 1991, p. 15.

[455] "Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Mount Athos p. 3.

[456] Quoted from the "Memorandum of the Sacred Council of Mount Athos...", p. 4.

[457] Ibid., p. 2.

[458] See the monthly journal "The Word" (April 1992).

[459] Quoted from: Orthodox Russia, No. 1574, 1/14 January 1997, p. 16.

[460] Vestnik IPTs (Messenger of the True Orthodox Church), No. 3, 1996. Quoted from the Orthodox Russia, No. 1568, 1/14 October, 1996, p. 16.

[461] Monk Lucas (Murianka) in 1992, "Commentary..." p. 16-17.

[462] Archpriest Prof Theodore Zeses, op. cit., p. 11.