Earlier this year, the Holy Synod in Resistance, established by Metropolitan Cyprianos of Oropos and Fili, and currently headed by Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi, issued a general appeal entitled, “An Appeal, Anti-Ecumenism: Towards the Surmounting of Fragmentation”. This news, coupled with the news of dialogue generated between the SiR and the Genuine Orthodox Church under the presidency of Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens, as well as previous attempts by other True Orthodox confessing bodies to unite, has led to the formation of a Commission by the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas and the British Isles.
With the blessing of the Metropolitan, three clergymen (and one alternate) have been appointed as working members of this commission tasked with issuing appeals, responses, and other documents in the hopes first of establishing contact with other bodies; and further, to improve relations with bodies that express views that approximate our own in regards to our condemnation of the heresies of ecumenism, Sergianism, and modernism; or, with purpose of bringing others into line with the True Orthodox view. Further, the commission is tasked with explaining True Orthodoxy and our Metropolia in response
to formal outside inquiries.
All of these factors– most importantly the attempts to surmount the dissension between those who profess the True Orthodox Faith– have led to the production of a number of documents. One such document, in regards to the Synod in Resistance, has been issued. It has been sent by means of email and postal mail, and is now being posted to the Metropolia’s website for the general public. It is reproduced below.
Holy Synod in Resistance
Holy Monastery of St. Cyprian
P.O. Box 46006
133 10 Ano Liosia
September 1/14, 2012
The Ecclesiastical New Year
To the Committee established by the Synod in Resistance for dealing with matters concerning Orthodox traditionalists:
It was neither with trepidation nor exultation that news of the reasonable proposition for discussions regarding the issues that divide those who profess the True Orthodox Faith was received. On the one hand, we are neither nervous nor fearful of any reasonable proposition to settle much disputed points, nor should we be overly optimistic about an outcome. Instead, we should desire to behave in a manner that would be open and honest, and bereft of pride, condescension, intellectual arrogance, spite, or any of the vices, in dealing with such a discussion.
The proposition for the establishment of authorities for dealing with such discussions is most commendable, its virtue befitting common sense but common sense as-yet-unaccomplished. The same Spirit that gives us thought to say, “Come let us reason together,” is the same Spirit that inspired those who “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) For as recent events in human memory have called forth such conditions of great sorrow– most notably the struggles and dissensions that tormented the True Orthodox Christians of Greece, and indeed, lamentably, throughout the world– we are reminded of St. Basil who spoke of how every man fights as if in a night battle, unable to discern friend from foe.
Are we not also reminded of the battles between the Orthodox Meletians and the Orthodox Eustathians of Antioch; and how the Eustathians would even refuse to recognize the Baptism of the Holy Meletius. Or do we call to mind the accusations with which St. Gregory was confronted about his spiritual father, St. Basil? How many a zealous monk accused St. Basil of denying the Divinity of the Holy Ghost! How much confusion indeed had the Devil wrought in the Church of the 4th century if even many were saying such things of St. Basil the Great!
However, as many troublesome issues have arisen, and as the professors of the True Orthodox Faith have found themselves assaulted and besieged, from within and from without, by every foe imaginable, it should be most reasonable to discuss the matters that confound all of us; in particular, those matters that are seen as dividing one from the other. This does not, and must not, imply in any way an acceptance of an erroneous and heretical branch theory, which states that the Church of Christ is dividing into mutually contradictory organizations holding contrary dogmatic formulations; instead, it should be handled, or understood in a three-fold manner:
1. Each synod could view the other as schismatic, yet, with the hope of reconciliation,
2. Each synod could view the other as in some irregular status;
3. Each synod could, in accordance with the historical situation related above make an impartial determination as to the Orthodoxy of the other.
As much rancour and personal disputation has arisen, often time due to disagreement, arguments, and vitriolic hatred, combined with individual incapacity to endure insults, there has been a great stagnation of any such kindly discussions. Kindly discussion does not refute the notion of vigorous debate; indeed, the Holy Emperor Justinian, in his many valiant attempts to reconcile the Monophysites to the Church, was often very reasonable. This did not mean he would compromise the True Faith; for he is a saint. Yet, the Sergio-Ecumenist heretics have often taken such words with a veneer that seems to approach such as these, and use them to justify praying along with the ceremonies of the non-Orthodox and participating in a sacramental manner, which practice is forbidden by the Scriptures and Canons. They go even further, and propound the pan-heresy of ecumenism that seeks to unify all denominations and religions into one future organization; such a society or organization shall surely be a forerunner, if not the actual, religion of the Antichrist.
Therefore, the following questions are put forth, not in a manner to attack, or beguile, but keeping in mind the proposition given by the Synod in Resistance. If, perchance, your members should think us ignorant, do not be so harsh; for many, the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Fathers, and Councils and Canons, and the tradition of the Church are but a simple proposition. For, it is not necessarily the wise of this world, nor the wealthy and not the influential, who see the Truth of Christ, but it is oft the most despised, the most ignorant, and the poorest, who often have no place to lay their head. It is better to have nothing whatsoever in terms of worldly goods, than to have the greatest temples, if the gain of such gold necessitates the negation of the Faith of Our Holy Fathers.
As much as has been said and written both in print and on the Intenet, we must be frank with all our questions. If we have been laboring under a misapprehension, then, our illumination on some point of the Synod in Resistance’s position is much desired. It is better to know the truth, than to insist consistently on misrepresenting an opponent’s position; indeed it is desired to understand fully what another means by his words, even if we ourselves have used those words differently.
Thus we have endeavored to compose a series of questions aimed at resolving disagreements on our part with statements, positions, and writings that we have seen over the years. With your indulgence, we request an answer to the following questions:
1. We have read in a few documents, most notably that on “Anti-Christology”, that the faithful are not even to read Patristic writings on the Antichrist, as well as the claim that 666 plausibly stood for Nero (although there is no unanimity on this position even among modern writers.) What is the Synod in Resistance’s stance on whether there will be a literal and actual Antichrist figure at the end of this age?
2. Following that logic it seems to us that the Synod in Resistance insists that the Book of the Apocalypse or its historic Patristic interpretation has no reference, or application, to understanding the events of the end times; is this an accurate understanding of its position or not?
3. In a related understanding and simply put: does the Synod in Resistance allow for Orthodox Christians to take a mark upon their bodies for government identification?
4. In reading the seminal work of Metropolitan Cyprian of Filii on a theology of resistance, An Ecclesiological Position Paper, there seems to be an implication that only ecumenical councils can practically condemn heresy (“For they are not condemned schismatic or heretical Christians, but members of the Church who have not yet been brought to trial”). However, as we know, the Iconoclast bishops were received by confession of Faith, during the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and thus were received as returning to the Orthodox Faith of the Catholic Church after departing from that faith (outside of which Catholic Church and faith there is absolutely no salvation). Thus the Council received back those already condemned. In this context, our question is: why does the Synod in Resistance insist on an Ecumenical Council, and further, what is the Synod in Resistance position on whether local Councils can condemn heretics (such as the Lateran Synod of 649 under St. Martin and St. Maximus, which condemned the Monothelites)?
5. Following this logic as we understand it, we are forced to ask: What is the Synod in Resistance position on whether the Sergianist and/or Ecumenist clergy who occupy the seats of the fallen and heretical Patriarchates are part of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?
6. Further, we would like to understand precisely: what is the practice of the Synod in Resistance position on giving of Sacraments to those who are in communion with Sergianist and/or Ecumenist clergy who call themselves Orthodox and occupy falsely the seats of the fallen Patriarchates?
7. Does the Synod in Resistance ask that the Sergianist and/or Ecumenists who currently occupy the structural facilities of the fallen Patriarchates be allowed to sit as members of a hypothetical future council, instead of coming to be judged as heretics, penanced, and received by a rite appropriate to their station and examination of forms?
8. Finally, on that matter, we conclude: what is the Synod in Resistance position on praying with those who are in communion with Sergianist and/or Ecumenist clergy who call themselves Orthodox and occupy falsely the seats of the fallen Patriarchates? Specifically, what is the policy concerning joint prayer with the clergy of the New Calendarists, Moscow Patriarchate, et cetera.?
9. What is the Synod in Resistance’s position on the views propounded and enunciated by Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and others such as Alexander Kalomiros, which culminate in a teaching that denies the traditional Orthodox doctrine of the Atonement?
10. What is the position of the Synod of Resistance on the consecration of bishops without the formal permission of the Synod to which the consecrating bishops belong? Further, what is the Synod in Resistance’s position on how bishops should be deposed?
11. What, in the view of the Synod in Resistance, constitutes a valid deposition since many of those who profess to be True Orthodox have descended from Synods which have depositions leveled against them?
12. What is the Synod in Resistance’s position on who constitutes a valid ecclesiastical body?
13. What is the justification for the Synod in Resistance’s foundation as a separate ecclesiastical body from the True Orthodox Church of Greece which was headed by Archbishop Auxentios?
14. Can those who remain in communion with the Sergianist and/or Ecumenist clergy of the fallen and heretical Patriarchates be considered valid ecclesiastical bodies?
We hope you will receive this letter in the spirit in which it was written– a sincere attempt to understand the positions of your Synod, and an offering of clarification on our part as well– and will deem such letter worthy of a response. We believe, also, that these questions are not solely our own, but are questions that have been asked by many throughout the True Orthodox world– thus, answering these questions will further not only any potential dialogue with our own Synod, if you so choose to do– but assist in the clarification of dialogue with other True Orthodox Synods everywhere.
The undersigned are therefore hopeful of a response, to see if this may serve as a beginning for a fruitful dialogue in the hope of uniting True Orthodox Christians throughout the world.
The Committee for Inter-Orthodox and External Relations for the
Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas and British Isles
Hieromonk Enoch (Fetter)
Deacon Finbarr Brandt-Sorheim
Deacon Joseph Suaiden