UNION WITH OTHERS WAS
NEVER ACCEPTED BY THE CHURCH
The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has never sought unity with churches. This is the major flaw of the ecumenical movement. This organization was never meant to search for truth or the true Church, nor do we hear that the Orthodox who attend these meetings openly and without shame invite them to abandon their various misbeliefs and enter the True Church, which we proclaim over and over as the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. None of those outside the Church are baptized with the true baptism, nor anointed with the Holy Spirit with divine chrism, neither to they believe in or partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. We ought to be reaching out to them in a spirit of love, praying for salvation of their souls, for since the WWC was founded many thousands have died outside the Church, without our attempts to bring them to saving Orthodoxy. Who can be saved without true baptism, the grace of chrism and the Holy Mystery? “Unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man you have no life in you.” If we fail to attempt to save such souls, we do them the greatest injustice and harm, and so we oppose Christ’s commandment. Love commands us to struggle to bring salvation to all people. The forum of WCC does not make this possible. The only thing that works properly, and is of greatest benefit to the members of the ecumenical movement, is the friendly persuasion of preaching the True Christ and the True Faith, bringing them in the joy of everlasting life! We cannot keep our Faith to ourselves, lest we be like the servant with the single talent.
There never was and never will be division in the Church, as some ecumenists assert. therefore, there is no purpose to seek any type of unity, for the Church is always indivisible. The idea of the unionists, who seek unity with those outside Orthodoxy, has been around for centuries, but has in every case, been rejected by the Church. For there can be no union with light and darkness, with good and evil, or with truth and falsehood.
History shows that there were unionists who were seeking unity with the papacy at one time,* or with the monophysites, but the Lord prevented such false unity. We know that the Church has not and will not be divided, but there will always be the faithful who remain in the Church as well as those who abandon it. Concerning those who leave the Church, they can choose to repent and return, embracing the faith again, abandoning their errors. Those who were never in the Church, and are outside, if they strip away their wrong beliefs, can then embrace the truths of Orthodoxy, accepting the true Church and baptism, and so gain eternal life.
* The union of the council of Florence and Ferrara before the fall of Constantinople, which St. Mark of Ephesus almost alone, stood in opposition, and resulted in his glorification by the Church.
There cannot possibly be a church among heretics or schismatics, nor can the Orthodox Church even consider any other union than with Jesus Christ. Those outside can be united to the Church after abandoning their errors. This is the teaching of our Church Fathers, and Holy Scripture. St. Paul teaches us those outside:“ a man who is a heretic, after the first and second admonition reject, knowing he is subverted and sins and is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11). Can there possibly be a greater heretic than the Pope of Rome, who fancies himself as the only all powerful Bishop of the church to whom all others bishops and the world must be subordinate? He, without shame, proclaims the Orthodox Church to be defective because of failure to recognize his majestic authority. The thought of uniting with him cannot enter our Orthodox minds, for he arrogantly assumes himself as having the keys to heaven and claims infallibility as the only real bishop in the church? Orthodox unity with the Pope is impossible for it would submit the True Church of Christ to the Papacy, separating us from Jesus Christ, consequently this will never happen as it is a false unity.
The proper approach to those outside the Church is to bid them to come to the truth which never fails. If they seek to be united to the Church they must first abandon their false beliefs and embrace the true beliefs preserved as treasures of Orthodoxy. Because we confess one Baptism those entering are required to confess their sins and be baptized with the same one true and triune Baptism ordained by Christ’: “Go forth and teach the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Concerning the Church, we Orthodox Christians believe and know it to be the house of the Living God, founded upon Christ, ruled and governed by Him, for it is the spiritual house that God built. The Father founded the Church, placing the Lord Jesus Christ as its foundation, the beginning and the end, according to the Scripture: “Behold I lay in Sion, a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believes on Him shall not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6). After the Father laid the chief cornerstone of the Church. The Son of God built upon that foundation which was laid by the Father, taking to himself the twelve Apostles and the seventy, and sending upon them Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, that they were enabled to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit through the Apostles, raised the building, and established out of all nations the new community called the Church, One Holy, catholic and Apostolic. It is one because it always has the same basis, the Lord Jesus Christ, one and the same faith in the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, one and the same legislation – the Gospel laid by Christ, also because its members live holy lives, and are continuously being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, agreeably to the commandments of Christ.
As there are people who enter the Church which leads them to salvation and eternal life, so there are those who abandon the Church, “establishing another church” leading people astray and in danger of perdition and eternal death. This occurred with the formation of the papacy, which left the Church and instituted “a new and different church” preaching a new and different Gospel, crowning a new and different head, a new and different guide, anjd a new and different ecclesiology.
The Church does not exclude anyone who desires to join it, and keeping with the Lord’s commandments, preaches the Gospel, teaches, catechizes and baptized all who choose to be united with it. Concerning the Papacy, and all heretics, St. John the Evangelist says: “Little children, they went out from us, but they were not of us, for had they been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out that it may be made manifest that they were of us” (1 John 19)
The heretic Arius taught that Christ was only a man, and refused to accept Him as the Godman, and from his heretical idea pseudo churches sprang up claiming to be true churches, but leading many astray. When they acquired political power, they slaughtered Orthodox Christians who would not deny the truth.
Nestorius the heretic refused to call the Virgin “Theotokos”, nor do the Protestant of our days do so. Failing to adhere to the truth, but to their personal opinions, heretics always disagree with the Church and choose to remain outside the Church forfeiting their salvation. All the faithful Orthodox in the world, who believe the truth, constitute the Church. Schismatics who break from the Church, by their own choice. Place themselves outside of the Church, hence not on the path of salvation.
There are some who claim that those outside of the Church, by accepting some truths, have a relationship to the Church, but this is obviously a false assumption, for one lie can separate us from God and the Church. The Devil who is the author of all falsehood, does not introduce his lies without disguising and sugar coating them as truth. For example: Christ is God is a truth. Christ is a man is also a truth. Christ has a nature also is a truth. Although these are all true statements, they are not complete truths, which is how deception originates. The complete truth is: Christ is both God and man is. Christ has two natures. The Devil cleverly mixes partial truths with falsehood, covering the deadly poisonous lies with truth.
Those who embrace the idea of unity by means of ecumenism, call those who speak the truths of Orthodoxy: “triumphalists”. Whatever they call those who defend truth does not matter, for the greatest Fathers of the Church did not seek unity with heretics but battled against them until they were driven out. The unity that Christ seeks is with Him: “Let us dedicate ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.” Let us be faithful to Orthodoxy and seek not unity but new ly baptized people who leave their heresies and enter our beloved Orthodoxy, for, “We have seen the true light; we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshiping the undivided Trinity who has saved us.”