Athens, October 25, 2016
Vladyka noted that the document “Relations of the Orthodox Church With the Rest of the Christian World” has become an opportunity for disputes, “for the fall, and the uprising of many,” with unpredictable consequences for the unity of the holy Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Seraphim characterized the document as a “stumbling block” not only for “many believers, but for four Local Churches, making up the majority of Orthodox believers.” Vladyka criticized the conduct of the delegation of the Greek Church at the Crete council, which, yielding to pressure, did not defend to the end the amendments to the conciliar documents proposed by the Holy Synod of the Greek Church.
The metropolitan accused the Cretan council of a “serious violation of conciliarity,” in that the majority of Orthodox bishops did not have the opportunity to take part in its work. He also called unacceptable the decision to confess the ecclesiality of other Christian confessions. “For nineteen centuries the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has refused to name various heretical Christian communities as Christian Churches,” noted the bishop. He called such a position a “manifestation of humanism.” “We do not abandon those abiding in the darkness of heresy and malicious intentions to find rest in their confusions and spiritual darkness, but we remind them of the words of the Lord: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (Jn. 8:32).”
Vladyka Seraphim noted that the heterodox consider themselves to be “Christian Churches,” and that the Orthodox do not possess the fullness of truth: Catholics consider the Orthodox Church “defective” because there is no papal primacy, and Protestants “see shortcomings in that we don’t have women’s ordination and gay marriage.” “In such circumstances, calling the heterodox Churches, do we not contribute to the fact that they continue to dwell in their delusions, not troubling about anything? Are we not hiding the truth and light of Christ from them? Won’t we, the Orthodox, answer on the day of judgment for constructing this spiritual tower of Babel and concealing the saving Truth of God?” the bishop asked.
Metropolitan Seraphim emphasized that in the texts “Relations of the Orthodox Church With the Rest of the Christian World,” “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Modern World,” and “The Sacrament of Marriage and Its Impediments” “have points of ecclesiological deviations that distort Orthodox teaching about the Church.”
Translated by Jesse Dominick