Tuesday, February 12, 2013




The italicized sections are taken from: 

A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, Published by the Greek Archdiocese of  North and South America, Dept. Of Religious Education in 1969  (Part II)

  “The lifting of the Excommunication Ban (anathemas) cannot by any means be interpreted as nullifying the schism between the churches of the East and west.  That which took place in this instance was simply a mutual gesture of good will between the two churches.” (P110)
(Archbishop Iakovos to the press on December 30, 1965.)


 Theological Causes

 “The first of theological causes which must be considered is the Donation of Constantine, which was forged and  fabricated and allegedly gave the Bishop of Rome the title “Pontiff and Father of the Universe.”

  The second was the document called the False Isidorian  Decretals, which allegedly stated the rules outlining the authority and supremacy of the Pope of Rome based on the promise of Jesus Christ to St. Peter and each subsequent Bishop of Rome to be His sole representative on earth.  This false doctrine gave way to infallibility too.  All of these define a position for the Pope of Rome which was unknown in the early Christian Church, and one which the Patriarchs of the East simply could not accept.”  (P109)

“. . . a desire fore reunion is not enough. Ecumenism, Ecumenical Movement and reunion do not mean a return to Rome, nor a return to Byzantium, for that matter. . .  The Orthodox Church attitude concerning reunion is an appeal to all churches to “return” to the Orthodoxy and Tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church from which all sprang. It means a return to patristic theology.” (P110)
                                           (A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH)

  Many have formed the opinion that it is good to reunite with the Papacy.  But on what terms?  Perhaps not realizing that this is impossible because  union with anyone is not possible for the Orthodox Church, which has never and will never be divided. A person can separate himself from the Church or return, but nothing changes in the Church.  Only he changes by separating  himself. Such a person can be reunited by abandoning  his errors and embracing the truths of the Church.

     The Archbishop declared that the lifting of anathemas was “ a gesture” Being only a gesture it lacks any force or reality.

What is an anathema?  The term is used by both the Church and the military of Greece. The Latins erroneously translate this word as “accursed.”   However the military of Greece put an anathema sign on their munition storage buildings, where the meaning is well understood:  “Keep away.”  That is the correct meaning of it in the Church.   Anathema marantha, found in Scripture means “Leave it alone until the Lord comes.”   Concerning heretics who are anathematized, we are told to keep away and avoid  associating with them. This conforms to St, Paul’s  teaching: “A man that is a heretic admonish once or twice, and after that have nothing to do with him knowing that such a man is self-condemned.
 But this is a very important question, can an anathema be lifted? Arius falsely preached that Christ was only a man and not the incarnate Logos God. Because he held that teaching he was under an anathema. The anathema is not against the person but against the belief that the person  holds. If Arius denied his heresy and taught that Jesus Christ was both God and man, he would no longer be under the anathema, but the anathema remains on all who deny that Christ is both God and man. Obviously an anathema cannot be lifted.

The anathema against Arius can never be lifted, but  he can come out from under it if he changed to the correct belief. The Pope of Rome is under the anathema of the Orthodox churches, and we hear that the anathema was “lifted”.  But how can this be possible, when he did not give up a single one of the multitude of his erroneous beliefs?  So long as the Pope proclaims himself to be the head of the Church, judged by none but the judge of all, the anathema remains.

In the above opening paragraph, Archbishop Iakovos says the same thing in different words. “That which  took place (lifting the anathemas) was a gesture of good will between the churches.”  We agree with Archbishop Iakovos, that it is but a gesture and not reality.  The present retiring Pope correctly says that we Orthodox have everything!  Then he adds, and this is the very reason why they remain under the anathema: 
“The Orthodox have everything   e x c e p t   m e !

 Will Orthodoxy and the Papacy ever unite?  Impossible. Will the Papacy abandon all of its erroneous teaching and beliefs and accept Holy Orthodoxy? Only God knows, but we pray that this would come about.  For we know for certain, that we constitute the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, headed only by Jesus Christ, guided only by the Holy Spirit, against which the gates of Hades will not prevail.

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