Encyclical of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew issued for the Sunday of Orthodoxy 2010 on Fanaticism and Ecumenism
We ask all of our readers to examine the very important Encyclical of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew that was to be read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy by the Clergy to all Greek Orthodox Parishes in the United States. In this Encyclical, Patriarch Bartholomew addresses, among other things, Orthodox Fanaticism and Ecumenism. Unfortunately for the Faith abiding, these two concepts are entangled and used to gain a following among the fringe groups that exist within our Church today.
The fringe groups, which include the Ephraimites, have strategically and narrowly defined the typical layman’s understanding of Ecumenism and use this as propaganda to attest that they are the true protectors of the faith. We now have a growing number of laity who accept the Ephraimite’s definition of Ecumenism. The term Ecumenism can be broadly defined as a movement promoting unity between different Christian religions. The Ephraimites and their followers have narrowed the definition and characterize Ecumenism as any conversation, dialogue, or negotiation of theological issues between any Orthodox Hierarch and any other Christian group. They have convinced their followers that most Greek Orthodox Hierarchs, but, especially the Patriarch has betrayed our Faith. Time after time, the Fanatics use the “Straw Man” method of argument to successfully convince their followers that only the old calenderists, Russian Hierarchs, or the Monastics have the best interest of the Orthodox Christians in mind. They have succeeded where many of our own Hierarchs have failed. They have educated those that hunger for the truth. Sadly, the hungry are not fed the truth. The Ephraimites have found a vacuum, now they fill it with their own brand of Heresy. Soon, you will need a Hierarch standing next to you to distinguish fact from fiction.
So let us look at one of the authors of this upheaval to understand the germination of this disease. In Elder Ephraim’s first book entitled “A Call From The Holy Mountain” he devotes several pages to the discussion of Ecumenism. So, not be accused of quoting the Elder out of context we will provide you with the entire entry. On pages 42 and 43, the author, Elder Ephraim, states as follows:
“The Church Has No Place Among The Conglomeration Of Errors and Heresies: Ecumenism
The rule is that where much is being said about virtue, that virtue is not to be found there. The voice raised in favor of that virtue is the cry of its absence. This is the case with the ‘love’ of all those who believe that they should contribute towards the realization of the Lord’s wish ‘that they all may be one.’ Let us be more specific. They say that we Orthodox should unite with the Roman Catholics and then with the Protestants and with all the known and unknown heresies conceived by the Devil in the name of Christianity. After all Christians without exception unite, they should then unite with the Mohammedans, the Jews and in extension with the Buddhists, Brahmins, Shintoists and with all the religions of the universe in general.
The pan-heretical alchemy is being inspired through the so-called World Council of Churches. We think that the term is not true to the fact, for it does not concern a World Council of Will Worship. The only god to demand a tribute of worship there will be the fallen Beelzebub who through his representative amongst men, the Antichrist, will try to substitute his own will for the faith and worship of the true God; for consistent ecumenists the doctrine of the Trinitarian God is utterly rejectable.
It is well known that the devil-instigated Zionism is coordinating two insidious operations both within and without the Church aspiring to one and the same end; to destroy the fortress known as Orthodoxy.
Papists, Protestants, Jehovah Witnesses, Freemasons, Unionists, Ecumenists and any other “root of bitterness”—all these have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
We believe that Orthodoxy has no place among this conglomeration of errors and heresies. This insidious “ecumenical fabrication does not wish to seek out the truth but”, according to Father Haralambos Vasilopoulos, “is a mixture aimed at exterminating the Truth. It is an effort not for those that have been deceived to find the truth but for those that do have it to lose it; that is, those who believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”” (Father Ephraim, A Call From The Holy Mountain, New Sarov Press, Blanco, Texas 78606-1049, ISBN 1-880364-05-0 Printed with the blessing of His Grace Bishop HILARION Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia).
Some Ephraimites have denied that this book exists. Up until approximately six months ago, you could download the book off the internet for free. After posting the book’s link on GOTRUTHREFORM.ORG under “Orthodox Resources”, this site was recently taken down. Thankfully, we have in our collective possession innumerable copies. We will allow our readers to draw their own interpretations of the Elder’s words. All those who are genuinely concerned about our Faith should, as always do your own due diligence and read the primary sources for material to form your own opinions.
In response to our efforts, we have received a number of emails to our editors asking why we have started a website that has questioned the Fanatical Ephraimite Movement. Some profess that Orthodox fanatics do not exist. Still others have questioned the motivation and intent of the members of our organization. Allow us to make a few points that hopefully shed some light on these valid questions:
A. The danger and damage to the Greek Orthodox faith as it has been practiced for generations by our faithful here in North America is apparent to those who want to clearly understand the condition of our Church. Now many will include the Ecumenical Patriarch among those who are informed.
B. Fanatic beliefs and teachings are destroying the delicate fabric of our Church one Parish at a time. The tool used to accomplish this insidious task is quite simply Heresy.
C. Many in the Ephraimite camp are key players and have as their ultimate goal the schismatic division of the faithful. Do all Ephraimites have this or even understand this to be their collective goal? The answers is of course no. So many sincere innocent Greek Orthodox Christians have fallen prey to a Heretical Theology that it is now being examined and is the subject of this important Encyclical.
D. Did your Parish Priest read this Encyclical? We have received emails from Greek Orthodox Priests that profess to have agreed with the Patriarch’s Encyclical, yet they regularly go to one of the Ephraimite Monasteries for “sessions” with their spiritual fathers. How does this reflect on their integrity?
We encourage everyone to discuss this Encyclical with your respective Parish Proistamenos. At the end of the Encyclical we will provide you with a direct link to the website of the Ecumenical Patriarch. We will also provide you a small sample of emails from supporters of the Ephraimite Monasteries to judge for yourselves if there is a Fanatic element within our Church. As always we ask all of you to educate yourself about Orthodoxy. If you believe that your Priest is an Ephraimite, it is imperative that you seek a second opinion on your faith based questions. So in its entirety here is the Encyclical:
Patriarchal and Synodal Encyclical
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy
(February 21, 2010)
By God’s Grace
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
And Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Fullness of the Church, Grace and Peace
From our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Our most holy Orthodox Church today commemorates its own feast day, and —from this historical and martyric See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate —the Mother Church of Constantinople directs its blessing, love and concern to all of its faithful and dedicated spiritual children throughout the world, inviting them to concelebrate in prayer.
Blessed be the name of the Lord! Those who endeavored over the ages to suppress the Church through various visible and invisible persecutions; those who sought to falsify the Church with their heretical teachings; those who wanted to silence the Church, depriving it of its voice and witness; they all proved unsuccessful. The clouds of Martyrs, the tears of the Ascetics, and the prayers of the Saints protect the Church spiritually, while the Comforter and Spirit of Truth leads it to the fullness of truth.
With a sense of duty and responsibility, despite its hurdles and problems, as the First-Throne Church of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate cares about protecting and establishing the unity of the Orthodox Church, in order that with one voice and in one heart we may confess the Orthodox faith of our Fathers in every age and even in our times. For, Orthodoxy is not a museum treasure that must be preserved; it is a breath of life that must be transmitted and invigorate all people. Orthodoxy is always contemporary, so long as we promote it with humility and interpret it in light of the existential quests and needs of humanity in each historical period and cultural circumstance.
To this purpose, Orthodoxy must be in constant dialogue with the world. The Orthodox Church does not fear dialogue because truth is not afraid of dialogue. On the contrary, if Orthodoxy is enclosed within itself and not in dialogue with those outside, it will both fail in its mission and no longer be the “catholic” and “ecumenical” Church. Instead, it will become an introverted and self-contained group, a “ghetto” on the margins of history. This is why the great Fathers of the Church never feared dialogue with the spiritual culture of their age – indeed even with the pagan idolaters and philosophers of their world – therby influencing and transforming the civilization of their time and offering us a truly ecumenical church.
Today, Orthodoxy is called to continue this dialogue with the outside world in order to provide a witness and the life-giving breath of its faith. However, this dialogue cannot reach the outside world unless it first passes through all those that bear the Christian name. Thus, we must first converse as Christians among ourselves in order to resolve our differences, in order that our witness to the outside world may be credible. Our endeavors for the union of all Christians is the will and command of our Lord, who before His Passion prayed to His Father “that all [namely, His disciples] may be one, so that the world may believe that You sent me.”(John 17.21) It is not possible for the Lord to agonize over the unity of His disciples and for us to remain indifferent about the unity of all Christians. This would constitute criminal betrayal and transgression of His divine commandment.
It is precisely for these reasons that, with the mutual agreement and participation of all local Orthodox Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has for many decades conducted official Panorthodox theological dialogues with the larger Christian Churches and Confessions. The aim of these dialogues is, in a spirit of love, to discuss whatever divides Christians both in terms of faith as well as in terms of the organization and life of the Church.
These dialogues, together with every effort for peaceful and fraternal relations of the Orthodox Church with other Christians, are unfortunately challenged today in an unacceptably fanatical way — at least by the standards of a genuinely Orthodox ethos— by certain circles that exclusively claim for themselves the title of zealot and defender of Orthodoxy. As if all the Patriarchs and Sacred Synods of the Orthodox Churches throughout the world, who unanimously decided on and continue to support these dialogues, were not Orthodox. Yet, these opponents of every effort for the restoration of unity among Christians raise themselves above Episcopal Synods of the Church to the dangerous point of creating schisms within the Church.
In their polemical argumentation, these critics of the restoration of unity among Christians do not even hesitate to distort reality in order to deceive and arouse the faithful. Thus, they are silent about the fact that theological dialogues are conducted by unanimous decision of all Orthodox Churches, instead attacking the Ecumenical Patriarchate alone. They disseminate false rumors that union between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches is imminent, while they know well that the differences discussed in these theological dialogues remain numerous and require lengthy debate; moreover, union is not decided by theological commissions but by Church Synods. They assert that the Pope will supposedly subjugate the Orthodox, because they latter submit to dialogue with the Roman Catholics! They condemn those who conduct these dialogues as allegedly “heretics” and “traitors” of Orthodoxy, purely and simply because they converse with non-Orthodox, with whom they share the treasure and truth of our Orthodox faith. They speak condescendingly of every effort for reconciliation among divided Christians and restoration of their unity as purportedly being “the pan-heresy of ecumenism” without providing the slightest evidence that, in its contacts with non-Orthodox, the Orthodox Church has abandoned or denied the doctrines of the Ecumenical Councils and of the Church Fathers.
Beloved children in the Lord, Orthodoxy has no need of either fanaticism or bigotry to protect itself. Whoever believes that Orthodoxy has the truth does not fear dialogue, because truth has never been endangered by dialogue. By contrast, when in our day all people strive to resolve their differences through dialogue, Orthodoxy cannot proceed with intolerance and extremism. You should have utmost confidence in your Mother Church. For the Mother Church has over the ages preserved and transmitted Orthodoxy even to other nations. And today, the Mother Church is struggling amid difficult circumstances to maintain Orthodoxy vibrant and venerable throughout the world.
From the Ecumenical Patriarchate, this sacred Center of Orthodoxy, we embrace all of you lovingly and bless you paternally, praying that you may journey in health through the holy period of contrition and asceticism known as Holy and Great Lent in order that you may become worthy of celebrating the pure Passion and glorious Resurrection of our Savior Lord with all faithful Orthodox Christians
throughout the world.
Sunday of Orthodoxy 2010
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
Fervent supplicant to God for all
+ Constantine of Derkon
+Evangelos of Perge
+ Kallinikos of Lystra
+ Michael of Austria
+ Alexios of Atlanta
+ Joseph of Proikonnisos
+ Demetrios of Sevasteia
+ Irenaios of Myriophyton and Peristasis
+ Chrysostom of Myra
+ Emmanuel of France
+ Makarios of Gortyna and Arkadia
+ Amphilochios of New Zealand
The link to the Encyclical from the Patriarchate is provided to confirm the original source of the text of this document:
Here is a small sample of emails that were sent to the Editors of GOTRUTHREFORM.ORG in response to emailing the Encyclical to our email lists. (Please note we have not edited these in any way and have not corrected grammatical or contextual errors of any nature):
EMAIL # 1
Absurd! I hope you’re not implying by sending me this letter that the monasteries are fanatics or that those of us that attend are? My letter must have really boiled your blood. Good!! His Holiness is certainly not speaking of anybody I know. I haven’t come across any militant Orthodox! Sounds to me that he knows that no changes will be made to our church without an ecumenical council of all patriarchs. He says it himself. Talking to other churches doesn’t ruffle any feathers. Nobody is worried about the patriarch. If he was to ever alter anything within the church without a unanimous decision of all patriarchs, I have complete faith that the true Orthodox Christians would continue to worship as usual under true Orthodox clergy that will never bow to political pressure of heretics, while the heretics will reign over their own smaller, hybrid, new-age church. Clearly their free will to do so! I’m assuming that some type of watered down, anything goes type of Christianity is your aim? Something that will make you feel less different/unique from your peers. Perhaps a system where those opposed to the teachings of our faith will get their opportunity to fight over kissing the papal ring and jockeying for the scraps of the Vatican table. I actually hope that that is just what you get. I will honestly tell you that I want you get that. That way, you and others like you can congregate with each other and no longer interfere with those of us who will keep the church intact. The problem with you is, you actually beleive that you will one day get the Orthodox church handed to you, change it to your liking, make political alliances with other churches and become a hero in your own mind. Sad. What will actually happen, if it was to ever get that far, is that you and your buddies will be exposed as heretics, people will personally decide if they will join your new age reform church or stay with the communities that will maintain the faith as it is and will always be. That’s the reality of your pipe dream! Sorry to burst your bubble. Again, as I have told you many times…You will NEVER get your way! God Bless you!
You are confusing “fantacism” with Holy Tradition. Why dont you learn the Orthodox faith ,and read the canons and learn how Greek Orthodoxy got modernized and watered down by western influence before you spew out more of your stupidity have a blessed saraksoti
Every Orthodox Theologian of note agrees that there are insurmountable roadblocks to a meaningful dialogue with the Roman Catholic Christians that will prohibit union between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Yet, every opportunity is taken to attack the Patriarch. Fear of subjugation of the Orthodox is the propaganda used to bring new novice Ephraimites into the fold. Does anyone really believe that even 100 years from now the two Faiths can reach an agreement and understanding on issues like:
1. Papal Primacy
2. Papal Infallibility
3. Use of the filioque in the Creed
4. And many others issues, as important, yet too numerous to list.
There is not a single shred of evidence that our Patriarch has committed to a false union with Rome. There is only evidence that the Orthodox position on union with Rome or any other Faith would require that there be an acknowledgement by the other Faith, that Orthodoxy is responsible for the preservation of the fullness of the truth and that Orthodoxy has given Christians a living manifestation of one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Never has there been a representation by this Patriarch that the Orthodox Church will compromise its Faith and moral beliefs. Nor has he indicated a willingness to lead us into or have us fall into heresy. We acknowledge there have been visits and dialogue between the Patriarch and the Pope. In a world filled with turmoil, we expect no less from these leaders of over a billion Christians whose primary focus at this time is to promote peace and love.
We ask that each of you examine and reflect upon the issues we have raised in this website. We respectfully request that you enter into dialogue with those who share a love for our Faith. Please help to end this Fanatic movement and its negative impact upon the faithful.