HOW THE MP FELL UNDER THE 1983 ANATHEMA
The founder of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) is usually considered to be the founder of the first of the two major heresies of the MP, Sergianism, but not of the second, Ecumenism. This is broadly correct, because, although we find ecumenist statements among his works<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, Sergius did not receive any instructions from his communist masters to enter the ecumenical movement. It was only during the time of his successors, Alexis I (Simansky) and Pimev (Izvekov), when political conditions had changed and the communist party sought to infiltrate and use the ecumenical purpose for its own ends, that we find Sergianism compounded by the apostasy from the Orthodox Faith that constitutes the “pan-heresy” of ecumenism.
the Second World War, and even before its end, the Soviet Communist Party, and
therefore the Sovietized MP, planned to draw the
other Orthodox Churches into the MP’s orbit. And so in January, 1945, a council
was convened in
”A significant amount of money,” writes S. Shumilo,
“was set apart by Stalin for its preparation. The best hotels of the capital,
the “Metropole” and “National” were placed at the
disposal of the participants of the council gratis, as well as Kremlin
government food reserves, government “ZIS” automobiles, a large government
house with all modern conveniences and much else. Stalin was also concerned
about the arrival in the
“The council opened on
“In its turn the council did not miss the opportunity yet again to express its gratitude and assure the communist party, the government and Stalin personally of its sincere devotion. As the address put it: ‘The Council profoundly appreciates the trusting, and to the highest degree benevolent and attentive attitude towards all church undertakings on the part of the state authorities… and expresses to our Government our sincerely grateful feelings’.
“As was planned, the sole candidate as the new Soviet patriarch was unanimously confirmed at the council – Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky). Besides this, a new ‘Temporary Statute for the Administration of the Russian Orthodox Church’, composed by workers at the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the chancellor of the MP, Protopriest Nicholas Kolchitsky, was accepted at the council. This Statute radically contradicted the canonical principles of Orthodoxy. ‘This Statute turned the Moscow patriarchate into a certain likeness of a totalitarian structure, in which three people at the head with the so-called “patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’” received greater power than a local council, and the right to administer the Church in a still more dictatorial fashion than Peter’s synod. But if the emperors up to 1917 were nevertheless considered to be Orthodox Christians, now the official structures of the Church were absolutely subject to the will of the leaders of the God-fighting regime. Church history has not seen such a fall in 2000 years of Christianity!’ By accepting in 1945 the new Statute on the administration of the Russian Orthodox Church that contradicted from the first to the last letter the conciliar-canonical principles of the administration of the Church confirmed at the All-Russian Local Church Council of 1917-1918, the Moscow patriarchate once more confirmed its own Soviet path of origin and development, and also the absence of any kind of link or descent from the canonical ‘Tikhonite’ Church, which legally existed in the country until 1927.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The MP, having meekly submitted to the rule of the totalitarian dictator
Stalin, was now in effect a totalitarian organization itself. All decisions in
the Church depended effectively on the single will of the patriarch, and
through him, of Stalin. For, as Fr. Sergius Gordun has written: “For decades the position of the Church
was such that the voice of the clergy and laity could not be heard. In
accordance with the document accepted by the Local Council of 1945, in
questions requiring the agreement of the government of the
The power over the Church that the 1945 council gave to the atheists was revealed in the secret 1974 Furov report of the Council for Religious Affairs to the Central Committee: “The Synod is under the control of the Council for Religious Affairs. The question of the selection and placing of its permanent members was and remains completely in the hands of the Council, and the candidature of the non-permanent members is also agreed beforehand with responsible members of the Council. All issues which are to be discussed at the Synod are first discussed by Patriarch Pimen and the permanent members of the Synod with the leaders of the Council and in its departments, and the final ‘Decisions of the Holy Synod’ are also agreed.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
After the enthronement of Alexis (on February 4), writes V. Alexeyev, Stalin ordered the Council to congratulate Alexis
on his election and to give him “a commemorative present. The value of the gift
was determined at 25-30,000 rubles. Stalin loved to
give valuable presents. It was also decided to ‘show gratitude’ to the foreign
bishops for their participation in the Council. The commissariat was told to
hand over 42 objects from the depositories of the
As was to be expected, the Eastern Patriarchs recognised the canonicity of the election, “hastening,” as Shumilo says, “to assure themselves of the support of the head of the biggest and wealthiest patriarchate, which now, moreover, had acquired ‘the clemency [appropriate to] a great power’”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The price the Eastern Patriarchs paid for the favour of this “great
power” was an agreement to break communion with ROCOR. As Karpov
reported: “The Council was a clear proof of the absence of religion in the
In 1948 the World Council of Churches was founded. Seeing this as an
important outpost of Anglo-American power, the Bolsheviks at first tried to
mock it and remove all Orthodox participation in it. And so another
“Pan-Orthodox” council was convened in
When Karpov, the real leader of the Council,
learned that Metropolitan Germanus of Thyateira and
At the council that took place after the
celebrations, only the Churches within
The council, in line with Stalin’s foreign policy, denounced the West
a month a clearly Soviet-inspired “initiative movement” for unification with
the MP headed by Protopresbyter G. Kostelnikov appeared.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> By the
spring of 1946 997 out of 1270 uniate priests in
October, 1948 the 1,250,000 uniates of
However, as Metropolitan Tikhon of Omsk writes, the merger of the uniates
infected the MP, which drew a large proportion of its clergy from the
It is now known that all the decisions of the
The most theological contribution to this council came from Archbishop
Seraphim (Sobolev) of Boguchar
Protopriest G. Razumovsky also spoke well: "The Russian Orthodox Church," he said, "had always taught and still teaches that Pentecost, or the descent of the Holy Spirit, has already taken place and that the Christians do not have to wait for a new appearance of the Holy Spirit, but the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The diminution of the significance of the single sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the prophecy of a future 'third hour', in which the expected Kingdom of the Holy Spirit will be revealed is characteristic of the teaching of the Masons and the heretics; while the newly revealed prophecy of the expected Ecumenical Pentecost can be nothing other than an old echo of the false teaching of these deceived heretics." <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In July, 1951 the heads of the Churches of Antioch, Russia,
The Communists Become Ecumenists
Since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948, it had been
the Ecumenical Patriarchate that had made the running in ecumenism among the
Orthodox. However, in 1959 the MP sent its representative, Metropolitan
Nicholas of Krutitsa, to the Orthodox consultation
proposed by the Faith and Order Committee near
This change of mind was partly the result of the fact that, as Fr.
Georges Florovsky lamented, from the time of the
We have seen that, as late as the
On May 13 Metropolitan Nicholas asserted that “in the last ten years,
thanks to the participation of some Orthodox Churches and the non-participation
of others in the ecumenical movement, significant changes have taken place
witnessing to its evolution towards churchness [tserkovnosti]. Very indicative in this respect have
been huge movements in the sphere of German Protestant theology revealing the
mystical depths of Orthodoxy and overcoming its traditional rationalism… On
coming into contact with our ecclesiastical life, many actors in the ecumenical
movement have completely changed their idea of Orthodoxy… Evidently approving
of the declaration of the Orthodox participants in the
In 1959, as a sign of the changing times, the MP joined the European
Conference of Churches as a founding member… Then, on
The “suggestion” was accepted, and Metropolitan Nicholas was retired on
June 21. In July, he asked Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein)
Some believe that Metropolitan Nicholas was removed because in 1959 KGB defector Major Peter Deriabin had exposed him before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee as a KGB agent<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, and so he had to be replaced. There is no doubt that he was an agent, as we have seen; but it also appears likely that he sincerely wanted to protect the Church. In any case, his career is yet another illustration of the Lord’s words that one cannot serve two masters, God and Mammon…
The new foreign relations supremo turned out to be Bishop Nicodemus (Rotov), who was born in 1929, made priest at the extraordinarily young age of 20, and Bishop of Podolsk on July 10, 1960, at the age of 31.
Fr. Sergius continues: “The personality of
Archimandrite Nicodemus (Rotov), later Metropolitan
Certainly, a new anti-ecclesiastical policy, the so-called “Khruschev persecution” was in the making, and therefore needed masking.
In November-December, 1960 Patriarchs Alexis and Athenagoras met in Constantinople, and discussed questions related to the Second Vatican Council After their meeting Bishop Nicodemus, now president of the MP’s Department of External Relations, gave a press conference at which he said: “The Russian Church has no intention to take part in the Council, since the union between Orthodoxy and Catholicism cannot take place unless the Vatican renounces from the beginning certain principles – for example, the infallibility of the Pope; and unless it accepts the dogmatic reforms accomplished in the Orthodox Church.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Meanwhile, the pressure on the Church
On March 30 the MP Synod resolved “to consider the entry of the Russian Orthodox Church into the World Council of Churches to be timely, and to ask his Holiness the Patriarch to send a letter to the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches declaring the desire of the Russian Orthodox Church to become a member of the World Council of Churches.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
From September 24 to October 1 the Orthodox Churches in the WCC met on
Also discussed was a catalogue of topics for a future Pan-Orthodox Council. This was used by the MP as a way of ensuring that no topic that might prove embarrassing to the Soviet government would be discussed. For, as Gordienko and Novikov write, “in the course of the debate on the catalogue, the Moscow Patriarchate’s delegation [led by Archbishop Nicodemus] suggested the removal of some of the subjects (The Development of Internal and External Missionary Work, The Methods of Fighting Atheism and False Doctrines Like Theosophy, Spiritism, Freemasonry, etc.) and the addition of some others (Cooperation between the Local Orthodox Churches in the Realisation of the Christian Ideas of Peace, Fraternity and Love among Peoples, Orthodoxy and Racial Discrimination, Orthodoxy and the Tasks of Christians in Regions of Rapid Social Change)… Besides working out the topics for the future Pre-Council, the First Conference passed the decision ‘On the Study of Ways for Achieving Closer Contacts and Unity of Churches in a Pan-Orthodox Perspective’, envisaging the search for contacts with Ancient Eastern (non-Chalcedonian) Churches (Monophysites), the Old Catholic, Anglican, Catholic, and Protestant Churches, as well as the World Council of Churches.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In other words, the Orthodox were to abandon the struggle against Atheism, Freemasonry and other false religions, and were to engage in dialogue towards union with all the Christian heretics – while at the same time persecuting the True Orthodox and using ecumenical forums to further the ends of Soviet foreign policy in its struggle with the Capitalist West!<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The argument used by Nicodemus for removing atheism from the agenda was
that discussion of this question might elicit persecution against the Church in
In November, 1961 Archbishop Nicodemus, accompanied by Bishop Anthony
(Bloom) of Sourozh and “a Russian government courier
who is responsible for their comfort and all their expenses”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, went
The KGB-enforced entry of the MP into the WCC, which was followed by the
entry of the
The Orthodox delegates at
In 1968 the Fourth General Assembly of the WCC took place in
Now only ROCOR, the
This definition came in a report that Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinov) of Canada gave to the Synod of ROCOR on the Uppsala Assembly of the WCC: “At the opening of the Assembly an ecumenical prayer was read in the name of all those assembles: ‘O God our Father, You can create everything anew. We entrust ourselves to You, help us to live for others, for Your love extends over all people, and to search for the Truth, which we have not known…’ How could the Orthodox listen to these last words? It would have been interesting to look at that moment at the faces of the Orthodox hierarchs who had declared for all to hear that they, too, did not know the Truth. Every batyushka of ours in the remotest little village knows the Truth by experience, as he stands before the throne of God and prays to God in spirit and in truth. Even The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is completely subject to the censorship of the communist party, in citing the words of the prayer in its account of this conference, did not dare to translate the English ‘truth’ by the word ‘istina’, but translated it as ‘pravda’ [‘righteousness’]. Of course, everyone very well understood that in the given case the text of the prayer was speaking without the slightest ambiguity about the Truth. Perhaps the Orthodox hierarchs have resorted, in the conference, to the old Jesuit practice of reservatio mentalis, but in that case if all these delegates do not repent of the sin of communion in prayer with heretics, then we must consider them to be on the completely false path of apostasy from the Truth of Orthodoxy… Ecumenism is the heresy of heresies because until now each heresy in the history of the Church has striven to take the place of the true Church, but the ecumenical movement, in uniting all the heresies, invites all of them together to consider themselves the one true Church.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Again, at the WCC’s General Assembly at Nairobi in 1975, the Orthodox delegates, having signed an agreement to recognize the sacraments of the non-Orthodox delegates, had declared that “the Orthodox do not expect the other Christians to be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and the present and to become members of the Orthodox Church” – which gave the lie to their excuse that they were participating in the ecumenical movement “to witness to the non-Orthodox”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Rapprochement with the Catholics
During the New Delhi Congress, Nicodemus announced that the
However, in September-October, at the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference on
The arrival of Russian Orthodox observers at the Council in time for its
opening produced consternation in French Catholic circles, which accused the
Why did the
This at first sight unlikely hypothesis gains credibility from the
career of Fr. Michael Havryliv, a Russian priest who
was secretly received into the Catholic Church in 1973. Fr. Serge Keleher writes: “The Capuchin priest told Havryliv that Metropolitan Nicodemus [of
“In 1977 Havryliv was reassigned to the Moscow
Patriarchate’s archdiocese of L’viv and Ternopil… In Havryliv’s final
interview with Kyr Nicodemus, the Metropolitan of
Leningrad ‘blessed me and gave me instructions to keep my Catholic convictions
and do everything possible for the growth of the Catholic cause, not only in
This proved that beneath the “eirenic”
ecumenical activities of the
The MP’s Archbishop Basil of Brussels recalled: “It fell to me to defend
the good name and Orthodoxy of the Russian Church at the Pan-Orthodox
conferences (those like the Pan-Orthodox commission for dialogue with the
Anglicans) with the following argumentation: ‘This resolution of the Synod was
elicited by a completely special situation of believers, and in particular of
Catholics in the Soviet Union. Where there is not one Catholic church of priest
for thousands of kilometres. Such a resolution was made by the Synod of
Constantinople and Patriarch Joachim II in 1878 in relation to the Armenians.
Theologically, it is difficult for me to justify such oekonomia,
but I cannot judge the Russian hierarchs who live in contemporary
Neither side in this argument seemed to understand that the giving of communion to a heretic in any circumstances is harmful for that heretic so long as he remains in his heresy. More Orthodox, therefore, was the robust response of the ROCOR Synod, which on March 31, 1970 condemned the MP resolution as follows: “The decision of the Moscow Patriarchate to give access to Roman Catholics to all the sacraments of the Orthodox Church… both violates the sacred canons and is contrary to the dogmatic teaching of Orthodoxy. By entering into communion with the heterodox, the Moscow Patriarchate alienates itself from unity with the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church. By this action it does not sanctify the heretics to whom it give sacraments, but itself becomes a partaker of their heresy.”
Archbishop Averky of Jordanville commented: “Now, even if some entertained some sort of doubts about how we should regard the contemporary Moscow Patriarchate, and whether we can consider it Orthodox after its intimate union with the enemies of God, the persecutors of the Faith and Christ’s Church, these doubts must now be completely dismissed: by the very fact that it has entered into liturgical communion with the Papists, it has fallen away from Orthodoxy [emphasis in the original] and can no longer be considered Orthodox.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In May-June, 1971 there was a council of the MP attended by 75 hierarchs, 85 clergy and 78 laymen, representatives of many other Orthodox Churches and the general secretary of the WCC. It confirmed all the decisions made by the MP since 1945. Only one candidate for the patriarchate (Patriarch Alexis had died in April) was put forward: the weak Metropolitan Pimen, who was elected unanimously in an open ballot (a secret ballot was not allowed by the all-powerful Metropolitan Nicodemus). The 1961 statute taking control of the parishes away from the bishops and clergy was confirmed<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, as was (unanimously) Nicodemus’ report on the decision to give communion to Catholics, in which he said that the measure was justified “insofar as we have a common of faith with them in relation to the sacraments”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
On the same day the Council issued an important statement on the
reception of heretics, considerably “tightening up” its practice: “The
“However, when the zeal of any heretics in their struggle against the Church weakened, and when there was a question of their mass conversion to Orthodoxy, the Church, to ease their union, accepted them into her bosom by another rite. [There follows a discussion of St. Basil the Great’s first canonical epistle.]
“[There follows a discussion of Timothy of Alexandria’s explanation of this in The Rudder.]
“In relation to the Roman Catholics and Protestants who claim to
preserve baptism as a sacrament (for example, the Lutherans), the practice was
introduced from the time of Peter the First of receiving them without baptism,
through the renunciation of heresy and chrismation of
Protestants and unconfirmed Catholics. Before Peter Catholics were baptised in
“Bearing in mind this circumstance, and the present growth of the ecumenical heresy, which tries completely to wipe out the difference between Orthodoxy and every heresy, so that the Moscow Patriarchate, in spite of the sacred canons, has issued a resolution allowing Roman Catholics to be communed in certain cases, the Hierarchical Council has recognized the introduction of a stricter practice to be necessary, that is, that all heretics coming to the Church should be baptized, and that only insofar as it is necessary and with the permission of the bishop, from considerations of oikonomia, should another practice be allowed in relation to certain people, that is, the reception into the Church of Roman Catholics and Protestants who have been baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity through renunciation of heresy and chrismation.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
From the 1970s we see the ascendancy in the MP of a school of thought devoted both to the interests of the Soviet State and of the ecumenical movement which has been called “Nikodimovschina” from its first leader and originator, Metropolitan Nicodemus, KGB Agent “Sviatoslav”.
The fruits of Nicodemus’ activity was soon evident. “The Great Soviet Encyclopaedia recorded that by 1972 the WCC had been converted from a ‘pro-Western’ to a ‘progressive’ orientation in its policies on peace, disarmament and related matters. Assiduous advocacy by the Christian Peace Conference and othrs of the view that Christianity and communism were natural allies in support of the national liberation movement induced the WCC to provide funds for African guerilla movements, including the Rhodesian Patriotic Front, believed to be responsible for a massacre of British missionaries in 1978.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Ever since writing his master’s thesis on Pope John XXIII, the man who
led the Catholic Church onto the ecumenical scene, Metropolitan Nicodemus had
been trying to do the same for the Moscow Patriarchate. Hierodeacon
(now Hieromonk) Theophanes
(Areskin) writes: “Metropolitan Nicodemus begins his
exposition of his ecumenist faith with an Orthodox thesis on the unity of the
whole human race in Adam: ‘Mankind, the whole Adam (in the expression of St. Macarius the Great) is united by means of the Incarnation,
Cross and Resurrection of the last Adam (I Corinthians 14.45), the
second Man, the Lord Who “for us men” came down from the heavens (I
Corinthians 15.47), and, having tasted “death for us all by the grace of
God” (Hebrews 2.9), “is the Saviour of all men” (I Timothy 4.10)…
We all, in accordance with the ineffable wisdom of God, have been bound from
the beginning with the bonds of unity and brotherhood’. But further on
Metropolitan Nicodemus reveals his understanding of this unity: ‘Christ died
for all men, and, as the new Adam, he laid the beginning for a new humanity…
The fullness of the grace-filled gifts is communicated to people by the Holy
Spirit in the
“And so, according to Metropolitan Nicodemus, all people are ‘Christians’, it is true that the Church of Christ, the Body of Christ, the New Adam, is one, but it is not yet united into one ecclesiastical organization under one leader. The aim of the ecumenists is to create this mediation, that is, one single visible ecclesiastical organization for all. In this way the ecumenical Church and the world become indistinguishable from each other. It is not difficult to find the primary source of this faith. It is sergianism – a heretical teaching that the Church, the Body of Christ, is a simple ecclesiastical organization, just like ordinary secular organizations, political parties, communities, commercial structures, etc.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The death of Nicodemus in 1978 in
Alexis, an Estonian by birth (he was bishop in Tallin
before his transfer to
In the 1974 Furov report to the Central Committee of the USSR Alexis (together with his predecessor Patriarch Pimen) was placed in the category of those bishops who “affirm both in words and deeds not only loyalty but also patriotism towards the socialist society; strictly observe the laws on cults, and educate the parish clergy and believers in the same spirit; realistically understand that our state is not interested in proclaiming the role of religion and the church in society; and, realizing this, do not display any particular activeness in extending the influence of Orthodoxy among the population.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
According to a KGB document of 1988, “An order was drafted by the USSR KGB chairman to award an honorary citation to agent DROZDOV” [i.e. Alexis] for unspecified services to state security.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“Already in 1966,” writes Hierodeacon Theophanes, “in his speech before the delegation of the German Evangelical church at a conference in Moscow, the future head of the MP in the name of Christ Himself declared that ‘Jesus Christ considers His own, that is, as Christians, all those who believe in Him and obey Him, and this is more than the Orthodox Church.’ If we remember that, according to Orthodox teaching, Christ adopted people to Himself only in His Hypostasis, that is, in His Body which is the Orthodox Church, then it is obvious that the metropolitan is here confessing a christological heresy, considering as Christians those who are outside the Church – calling them ‘God’s’, that is, the Church’s.
“Alexis still more clearly confesses that all the non-Orthodox Christians are the Church of Christ in his report to the 8th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, published in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1980 (¹¹ 1-3). Here, blasphemously mixing up and identifying the concepts of the presence of God in the world and His energies and presence in the Church, the metropolitan very distinctly reveals his heretical teaching on the “all-embracing and unconditional” Incarnation of Christ, which automatically turns the whole of humanity, all Christians, Muslims, pagans, and in general all ‘men of good will’ into members of the Body of Christ, that is, the Church! Metropolitan Alexis openly teaches that the same grace of the Holy Spirit acts in the non-Orthodox churches – the participants in the WCC – as in the Orthodox Church: ‘We (the CEC) have learned to pray together, to understand the spirit and depth of prayer for each other, to feel the breath of the grace of the Holy Spirit in joint prayer to the Lord … we must thank God for the joy of our communion in Christ, for the joy of the ever-increasing experience of brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ in our work.’ Thus it was precisely in joint prayers with heretics that the archpastor felt the breath of ‘the grace of the Holy Spirit’! We should note that ‘ecumenical prayer’ is a very important moment in the ecumenical dialogue, it not only witnesses to the presence among the ecumenists of some common ‘god’ to whom this prayer is raised, but it is also a practical recognition of the action of the Holy Spirit in heterodoxy, thereby aiding the aggiornamento of the churches. This is what the future head of the MP says on this subject: ‘The aggiornamento of the churches is attained in the first place by prayer and brotherly love; joint prayers create a special atmosphere, a spiritual mood; (he goes on to cite A.S. Khomiakov) prayer is the life of the Church and the voice of her love, the eternal breathing of the Spirit of God. We believe that through joint prayers the breathing of the Spirit of God jointly enriches us all.’
“According to Orthodox teaching, it is precisely the Holy Spirit that
makes a man a member of the
“The source of this teaching of Metropolitan Alexis on the Holy Spirit
is a heretical Christology, whose essence consists in the assertion that ‘we
all have been received into the nature of Jesus Christ the God-man as an
integral nature. And this truth forces us to believe that every person striving
towards goodness and righteousness does the work of Christ on earth, even if he
intellectually has not known Christ or has even rejected Him. From the Godmanhood of Christ it follows that the path into the
“However, according to the Orthodox teaching, ‘God the Word, on becoming incarnate, did not take on the nature viewed as an abstraction in pure thought,… nor the nature contemplated in species (that is, viewed in all the hypostases of the human race – H. Th.), for He did not take on all the hypostases, but He took on that which received its existence in His Hypostasis’. That is, it is impossible to say that since God the Word became Man, all people are saved by virtue of being men. But Metropolitan Alexis affirms that in the humanity of Christ is contained all men’s hypostases. Such a teaching was confessed in the 11th century by the Monk Nilus of Calabria, who taught that all human hypostases are present or are contained in the humanity taken on by the Lord and are ‘co-deified’ together with Him. The Orthodox Church anathematized Nilus and his heresy: ‘If anyone dogmatises that all human hypostases are in the flesh taken on by the Lord and are co-deified with it, let him be anathema, for this is empty chatter, or, rather, manifest impiety.’ And although the metropolitan makes the qualification that humanity for him is only ‘the potential church’, nevertheless he later on unambiguously speaks of the whole of humanity as of the Church – the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit: ‘Christ redeemed, cleansed and recreated a common human nature for all, while the Holy Spirit morally transfigures each human personality, gives the Christian the fullness of grace, makes him a temple of God and dwells in him, raises the growth of spirituality in the mind and the heart, leads him to every truth and gives him spiritual gifts to his benefit: to one – the word of wisdom, to another – the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit… and other gifts (I Corinthians 12.7-11), so that human talents should be revealed more fully.’ In this way, insofar as God the Word has been incarnate in a common human nature, His Body is the divided Christian Church in the combination of all its separate parts. However, the saving action of the Holy Spirit is poured out even beyond the bounds of the Body of Christ, penetrating into and deifying the body of the whole of humanity: ‘The all-embracing and most powerful force of the Holy Spirit is spread out onto the whole life of our world, transforming it in the course of the historical process of the struggle between good and evil.’
“And so, thanks to a clever substitution of concepts, the real difference between the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which God providentially preserves the world in existence and leads people to the Church, and the deifying mystical presence of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ, the Church, is destroyed, which completely abolishes the difference between the Church and the world: now ‘the cultural efflorescence of European and world Christianity’ is declared to be an action of the Holy Spirit, and even the Salt-2 treaty between Brezhnev and Carter concerning the limiting of strategic offensive weapons is also ‘a manifestation of the invisible power of the Holy Spirit acting in the world for the good of the whole of humanity.’
“The consequences of this ‘pan-human Pentecost’ are expressed by the metropolitan mainly in the terms of humanism and peace-making: ‘Christian concern for questions of social justice’, ‘the elements of the movement for peace’, Christians’ service to people and their ‘involvement in all the complexity of the real life of the world’. In this way the life of grace in the Body of Christ is substituted by a humanistic ‘serving the affairs of the world’.
“It is understandable that this ‘theology of peace’ should be very convenient for the dialogue not only with any heretical Christian communities, but also with any religions, even with utopian teachings like communism.
“But how is such a faith compatible with the Orthodox teaching on the
uniqueness and singleness of the One, Holy, Catholic and
The Anathema against Ecumenism
In 1982, an inter-denominational eucharistic
service was composed at a conference in
The Synod of ROCOR, also meeting in Canada, condemned this latest and
most extreme manifestation of ecumenism as follows: “In its decision of 28 July
/ 10 August, our Council explained that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
Russia does not participate in the World Council of Churches insofar as the
latter attempts to represent those assembled in it, representatives of
religions differing in their opinions, as though they had some sort of unity in
faith. In reality, though, this very position is a lie, inasmuch as they,
members of various confessions and sects, have not given up their points of
disagreement with each other, much less with the Orthodox Church, in dogmas and
in fundamental attitudes. In the name of unifying formulas, these differences
of opinion are not destroyed, but are just set aside. Instead of the unshakable
truths of the faith, they try to see only opinions, not obligatory for anyone.
In reply to the confession of the one Orthodox Faith, they say together with
Pilate: ‘What is truth?’ And the nominally Orthodox members of the Ecumenical
Movement more and more deserve the reproach of the Angel of the Church of Laodicea: ‘I know your works: you are neither hot nor cold:
O if only you were hot or cold’ (Revelation 3.15). A clear manifestation
of such false union was the serving of the so-called
Then the Synod anathematised ecumenism, declaring: “To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ’s Church is divided into so-called ‘branches’ which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all ‘branches’ or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united in one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or advocate, disseminate , or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The implication of this anathema was clear: all Orthodox Churches that
were fully participating members of the WCC – and this, as we have seen,
included the MP – fell under it. As I.M. writes: “There is no heresy without
heretics and their practical activity. The WCC in its declarations says: The
Church confesses, the Church teaches, the Church does this, the Church does
that. In this way the WCC witnesses that it does not recognize itself to be
simply a council of churches, but the one church. And all who are members of
the WCC are members of this one false church, this synagogue of satan. And by this participation in the WCC all the local
Orthodox churches fall under the ROCOR anathema of 1983 and fall away from the
However, this most authoritative condemnation of ecumenism yet had no
discernible effect on the apostates: the 1980s and 1990s were the decades of
“super-ecumenism”, that is, not only inter-Christian but also inter-religious
ecumenism, when there seemed to be no limit to the blasphemy against the
Orthodox Faith committed by “Orthodox” hierarchs. Thus Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk asserted
that ecumenism should include “all men of good will”, including atheists;
Patriarch Parthenius of Alexandria declared that
Mohammed was an Apostle of God; and Patriarch Alexis II of
The only thing that has changed in these decades is that the Church that issued the anathema, ROCOR, has faltered in its understanding, not only of ecumenism and of the MP’s full and unrestrained participation in it, but of the very meaning of heresy and anathemas on heresy. Thus the ROCOR priest Alexander Lebedev called the idea that the anathema strikes down all ecumenists “the heresy of universal jurisdiction”. The present writer replied to Fr. Alexander: “Thinking about your "heresy of universal jurisdiction", it seems to me that you confuse two things: the Church as an external organisation, and the Church as a mystical organism, to use the terminology of Hieromartyr Catacomb Bishop Mark (Novoselov) (+1938). It seems to me that you are right as regards the Church as an external organisation, but wrong as regards the Church as a mystical organism. Let me explain.
“An anathema excludes the person
anathematised from the holy mysteries, from membership of the
“It is a different matter when we consider an anathema sub specie aeternitatis, in its mystical, super-terrestrial significance. From that point of view, the anathematization of a heretic begins in the heavens. Thus even before Arius had been ‘locally’ anathematized by St. Alexander of Alexandria, the Lord appeared to his predecessor, St. Peter, with a torn cloak, and in answer to St. Peter's question: ‘O Creator, who has torn Thy tunic?’, replied: ‘The mindless Arius; he has separated from Me people whom I had obtained with My Blood’ (St. Demetrius of Rostov, Lives of the Saints, November 25). So not only Arius, but all those who followed him, had been separated from the Church by the anathema of Her First Bishop, the Lord Jesus Christ, years (or rather, aeons) before even the first ‘local’ anathema had been uttered. All heresies and heretics are anathematized ‘from all eternity’ by the eternal Lord, for just as every truth is approved by the Truth Himself from all eternity, so is every lie condemned by Him from all eternity, being condemned with ‘the father of lies’ to the gehenna of fire (Revelation 22.15).
“The task of hierarchs on earth is to discern the decisions of the heavenly Church, and then apply these heavenly decisions on earth, in space and time. As St. Bede the Venerable (+735) writes: ‘The keys of the Kingdom designate the actual knowledge and power of discerning who are worthy to be received into the Kingdom, and who should be excluded from it as being unworthy’ (Sermon on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, P.L. 94, col. 219).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> From this point of view, it matters not a jot whether a heretic is anathematized locally or universally, since he has already been anathematized by the heavenly Church. Or rather, it matters in this sense: that if the heretic has been anathematized locally, but this anathema is not accepted by the rest of the Church, then the rest of the Church is under the grave danger of falling under this same anathema. For the local anathema, if it is just, is the reflection of a heavenly anathema; and the anathema of the heavenly Church is universal….
“This explains why, when local Churches
anathematized a heresy, they never qualified the anathema (as you, Fr.
Alexander, would like to qualify ROCOR's anathema
against ecumenism) by saying: ‘but of course, this applies only to the heretics
in our local Church’. On the contrary: history shows that local Churches freely
anathematized heretics, not only in their own Churches, but also in others.
Thus Nestorius, a heretic of the
“Consider what St. Maximus
said of the Monothelites: ‘In addition to having
excommunicated themselves from the Church, they have been deposed and deprived
of the priesthood at the local council which took place recently in
“Administrative matters and moral falls are the business of local Churches and councils. However, heresies of their very nature are of universal significance, having the potential to infect the whole Church. That is why the appearance of a heresy in one local Church is not the business only of that local Church, but of all the local Churches - and every local Church can and must anathematize it.
“Even the anathema of single bishopric has
universal power and validity if it is uttered in the Holy Spirit, in accordance
with the eternal Truth. Thus in 1069 the bishops of the metropolitanate
of York, in the north of England, solemnly anathematized both the Pope of Rome
and his stooge, William the conqueror, the first papist king of England. All
the evidence is that they did not know that the
“In the same way, in 1983 the Sobor of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, using the power to bind and to loose given them by the Bishop of bishops, the Lord Jesus Christ, translated onto earth, into space and time, the completely binding and universally applicable decision already arrived at from all eternity by the Council of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Ecumenism is, was and always will be a heresy, indeed ‘the heresy of heresies’, and the ecumenist heretics are, were and always will be outside the Church, the mystical Body of Christ. The decision of the ROCOR Sobor in 1983, confirmed with no change to its universal wording in 1998, expelled these already self-condemned and Divinely condemned heretics also from the external organization of the Church - and woe to any man, of whatever Church, who despises that decision, for he will then surely fall under the same anathema…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
March 31 /
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Thus in his article, “The Relationship of an Orthodox Person to his Church and to the Heterodox” (Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1993, ¹ 3) he wrote: “Outside the Church one does not find an immediate darkness between the Church and the heretical communities. Rather, there is found a partial shadow, which in its own way falls upon the schismatics and the self-willed (heretics). These two groups cannot be in the strict sense considered strangers to the Church nor completely torn away from Her.”
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo,
“Sovietskij Rezhim i ‘Sovietskaia Tserkov’’ v 40-e-50-e gody XX stoletia” (The Soviet Regime and the ‘
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Fr. Sergius Gordun, "Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov' pri Svyateishikh Patriarkhakh Sergii i Aleksii" (The Russian Orthodox Church under their Holinesses Patriarchs Sergius and Alexis), Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenia (Herald of the Russian Christian Movement), vol. 158, I-1990, p. 94 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Jane Ellis, The Russian
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Alexeyev, "Marshal Stalin doveriaet Tserkvi" (Marshal Stalin trusts the Church), Agitator, ¹ 10, 1989, pp. 27-28 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> RTsKhIDNI.F.17.Op.132.D.111.L.27; Monk Benjamin, “Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij” (Chronicle of Church Events), http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis3.htm, vol. 3, p. 81 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> RTsKhIDNI, f. 17, op. 132, d. 8, l. 30; Monk Benjamin,op. cit., part 3, vol. 3, p. 128.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Bishop Ambrose of Methone, personal communication,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 128-131.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> M.V. Shkarovsky; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 81.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> M.V. Shkarovsky; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 105-106.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 137-138.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> K.E. Skurat, Istoria Pomestnykh Pravoslavnykh Tserkvej (A History of the Local Orthodox Churches); Monk Benjamin, “Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij” (Chronicle of Church Events) http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis4.htm, part 4, p. 2 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Metropolitan Tikhon, “Tiazhkij Iudin grekh pered vsem Russkim narodom” (The terrible sin of Judas before the whole Russian people), http://catacomb.org.ua/modules.php?name=Pages&go=page&pid=779 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Documents in M. Shkarovskij, Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ i Sovietskoe Gosudarstvo s 1943 po 1964 gg. (The Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet State from 1943 to 1964) ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1948, ¹ 12, p. 6 ®; cited in Yakunin, “V sluzhenii k kul’tu (Moskovskaia Patriarkhia i kul’t lichnosti Stalina)” (In the Service of the Cult (the Moscow Patriarchate and Stalin’s Cult of Personality), in Furman, D.E., Fr. Mark Smirnov (eds.), Na puti k svobode sovesti (On the Path to Freedom of Conscience), Moscow: Progress, 1989, p. 197 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archimandrite Charalampus Vasilopoulos, Oikoumenismos khoris maska (Ecumenism Unmasked),
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 133.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), ¹ 8, 1951; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, pp. 12-13.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Andrew Blane
(ed.), Georges Florovsky,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1958, ¹ 6; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 30.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> "Nekotorie
Stranitsy Biografii Mitropolita Nikolaia (Yarushevicha)" (Some Pages from the Biography of
Metropolitan Nicholas (Yarushevich), Vertograd-Inform, ¹¹ 7-9 (16-18), 1996, pp. 16-17 ®;
Christopher Andrew and Vasily Mitrokhin,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Deriabin,
who served in the Kremlin Guard Directorate and then as Rezident
in charge of espionage in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Gordun, op. cit., pp. 120, 133, 134.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 42.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, “Letopis’ Tserkovnoj Istorii (1961-1971)” (A Chronicle of Church History (1961-1971), http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis5.htm, p. 1 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 3.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> "The Russian Orthodox
Church in the System of Contemporary Christianity", in A. Preobrazhensky (ed.), The Russian Orthodox Church,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See William C. Fletcher, Religion
and Soviet Foreign Policy, 1945-1970,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archbishop Basil of
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The Daily Telegraph (
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 5.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> V. Moss, "Ecucommunism", Living Orthodoxy, September-October, 1989, vol. XI, ¹ 5, pp. 13-18.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Kuraiev, "Vo dni pechal'nie Velikago posta" (During the Sad Days of the Great Fast), Den' (Day), ¹ 13, March 29 / April 4, 1992 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Vitaly,
"Ekumenizm" (Ecumenism), Pravoslavnij Vestnik
(Orthodox Herald), June, 1969, pp. 14-30; Moskva
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical
Movement”, Orthodox Christian Witness, October 27 /
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Protopresbyter Vitaly Borovoj, “I on byl veren do smerti” (He, too, was faithful unto death); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, pp. 6-7.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Informations Catholiques Internationales
(International Catholic Information),
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Serge Keleher,
Passion and Resurrection – the Greek Catholic Church in Soviet Ukraine,
1939-1989, Stauropegion, L’viv,
1993, pp. 101-102. Cf. The Tablet,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii
(Journal of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, p. 40.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Averky, Contemporary Life in the Light of the Word of God: Sermons and Speeches (1969-1973), volume III, Jordanville, p. 216.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In his Memoirs Archbishop Basil
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), July-December, 1971, pp. 52-54; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 5, pp. 52-53.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Dr. Olga Ackerly,
“High Treason in ROCOR: The Rapprochement with
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Hierodeacon
Theophanes, “The Head of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> "On the Death of a Soviet
Bishop", Orthodox Christian Witness, October 23 /
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> L. Perepiolkina,
Ecumenism – A Path to Perdition,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Christopher Andrew and Vasily Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin File,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Andrew and Mitrokhin, op. cit., p. 650.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Hierodeacon Theophanes, op. cit., pp. 15-18.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Archbishop Vitaly, "The 1983 Sobor of
Bishops", Orthodox Christian Witness, August 20 /
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See "A Contemporary Patristic Document", Orthodox Christian Witness, November 14/27, 1983, p. 3; "Encyclical Letter of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia", Orthodox Life, vol. 33, ¹ 6, November-December, 1983, p. 13; Bishop Hilarion of Manhattan, "Answers to Questions Posed by the Faithful of the Orthodox Parish in Somerville, South Carolina", Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, 1992.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Iskazhenie dogmata 'O edinstve Tserkvi' v ispovedaniakh very Sinodom i Soborom Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsej “ (Distortion of the Dogma ‘On the Unity of the Church’ in the Confessions of Faith of the Synod and Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) (MS) ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Again, St. Dionysius the Areopagite writes: “The hierarchs have the power of excommunication as expressers of the divine statutes. This is not to say that the All-Wise Godhead slavishly follows their irrational whims, but that they are guided by the Spirit regarding those worthy of excommunication” (On Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, chapter 7).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> V. Moss, “Re: [paradosis} The Heresy of Universal Jurisdiction”, firstname.lastname@example.org,