Part of my ongoing Correspondence series, featuring replies to people who contacted me and asked questions, mostly when I served as a priest (2008-2013).
What is your take on this? Very strongly worded. The list of signers is impressive.
I rejoice when people in the New Calendar Church make the correct confession, but here are a few points to consider:
1) This is the latest in a series of such statements. If you see the one (and only!) Romiosini we put out in 2007, we republished similar statements that were made then. It raises the question: how many statements do they need to make before they do something about it?
2) They do not include New Calendarism in the category of Ecumenism for obvious reasons; if they did, they would have to conclude that they fall under their own anathema.
3) The signatories to this statement are the usual crowd. Fr George Metallinos, Fr Thomas Zisis. Other members of the New Calendar Church ridicule them behind their backs–I have seen this first hand when I was in the seminary, where the dean of St Vladimir’s referred to Fr George as basically a crackpot.
4) Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus just wrote a blazingly arrogant piece against us, totally unprovoked. You can see our response (in Greek) on ecclesiagoc.gr
That being said, I am hopeful, but in a way most people do not anticipate. After the Council of Nicea in 325, the group that remained faithful from Day 1, the Orthodox, are referred to as “Old Nicenes” by scholars. They confessed “homoousios” ie. that Christ is the of the same substance as the Father. The compromisers, who arose under the heretical Emperors that succeeded St Constantine, confessed “homoiousios” ie. that Christ is of similar substance to the Father. They remained in communion with the Arians and are termed semi-Arians by many scholars.
At some point, the Arians became more extreme and confessed Eunomianism–Christ is not of the same substance as the Father. This finally scared the Semi-Arians, who broke communion with them and joined communion with the Old Nicenes. They became known as New Nicenes as they were the “johnny come latelies.” Together, these two groups vanquished the Arians.
In our modern situation, I believe that we are the Orthodox and that the conservative New Calendarists are like the Semi-Arians/New Nicenes. If they follow their consciences they will eventually break communion with the blatant heretics and join with us, and together we’ll win. That’s my opinion for what it’s worth. I therefore support reaching out to these people, and having good relations with them, not being too antagonistic towards them, while at the same time reminding them that as long as they are with the Ecumenists, they are not doing anyone any good. Also, we will have to be patient with them, as they will continue to lash out at us like Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus did, because we prick their conscience.
Postscript: The above-mentioned statement against Ecumenism was published in 2009. Nothing has come of it whatsoever in the intervening five years. In fact, as I edit this post for publication on my website, Patriarch Bartholemew of Constantinople is preparing to meet Pope Francis in Jerusalem to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the so-called “Lifting of the Anathemas,” which inaugurated a syncretistic ferver with Roman Catholicism.