Chapter 10  //  Contents  //  Chapter 12




The inter-religious evolution of Ecumenism

            The very profound orientation crisis that appeared quite soon in the Ecumenist Movement, forced it to firstly turn towards the confrontation of the people’s socio-political problems, thus abandoning theology as the path towards unity and the ensuing attempt at an opening towards the non-Christian religions. It has been admitting that all religions comprise different roads to salvation, all parallel to Christianity, and that the Holy Spirit acts within them as well.  Its slogan is the New Age tenet of:  “Believe what you want, only don’t assert that you have exclusivity to the truth and to the path of salvation”.

            So, it convenes inter-religious meetings, which are not ordinary scientific conventions –as their organizers claim- but are in fact congregations for the confession of unity on the basis of the belief in one God. This is why they frequently include common worship, where orthodox, heterodox and other religions pray together.  But the Triadic God of the Orthodox –the true and self-revealing God- is not the same as the whichever other “God” of the heterodox and other religions; in other words an imaginary “God” who was created and preserved by the religious needs of post-downfall mankind.

            Unfortunately, this inter-religious opening is also condoned by orthodox ecumenist hierarchs, who actually voice views such as the following:

            «The Ecumenist Movement, albeit of a Christian origin, must become a movement for all religions…All religions serve God and mankind. There is but one God…»[1].

            «Deep down, a church and a mosque both aspire to the same spiritual awarding of mankind[2].

            «In the Koran, Islam speaks of Christ, the Holy Mother; thus, we too must speak of Mohammed with courage and boldness. We must examine his history and his contribution to the preaching of the one God, as well as the lives of his disciples, who are the disciples of the one God…»[3].

            «Roman Catholics and Orthodox, Protestants and Jews, Buddhists and Confucians….we must all contribute towards the promotion of the spiritual principles of ecumenism, brotherhood and peace.   However, this can be achieved, only if we areunited in the spirit of the one God»[4].

            The basic aspiration of these inter-religious meetings is the creation of points of contact between all the religions, in order to facilitate the common confrontation of social and international problems.  This aspiration is also occasionally exploited by powerful secular potentates, by means of rallying religions for the sake of promoting their own, unlawful interests. This was clearly evident after the11th of September 2001, after which occurrence a swarm of  “commandeered” inter-religious meetings took place.

            But in circumstances like this, our Church is transformed into a supporter and maintainer of unlawfulness, instead of a “judge” and a “monitor” thereof.  It is entrapped in the secular perspective of the assorted religions, and is itself demoted to the level of a secular religion, with a self-serving and utilitarian character.  At the same time, it is compelled to violate its missionary duty, since it has been acknowledged –by its official representatives, no less- that all religions are “paths of salvation willed by God»![5]

            Besides, certain orthodox ecumenists have even reached the point of talking about peace, justice, freedom and other, purely spiritual commodities with a cold, secular language.  They suppress the fact that these “commodities” are the fruits of the Holy Spirit; divine gifts that are bestowed on a person’s spiritually active life in Christ, and not through any inter-religious meetings.

            It must of course be stressed that Orthodoxy is not a religion, not even the best.  It is a Church. It is the self-revelation and the manifestation of God in History. It is conscious of its ecumenicity and of the Truth of Christ that it possesses, and that is why it is not afraid of associating with non-Christians.  It does, however, acknowledge the boundaries of such associations -as defined by the holy Patristic Tradition- and its own sacramental experience.  For example, Saint Gregory Palamas conversed with the Ottoman Turks, under the harshest conditions of captivity, yet, he did not hesitate –at the risk of losing his life- to speak the truth and check their misguided belief. Besides, how did the holy Martyrs confront the idolaters, and the holy neo-Martyrs the Mohammedans? Didn’t they confess the Truth?  Could we ever imagine them praying together with the infidels? We would not have had any Martyrs, if that were the case!

            Our Church therefore refuses to sacrifice its uniqueness on the altar of other expediencies and accept the ecumenist slogan that «in every religion, behind the assorted names, the same God is being worshipped». It has the unswerving belief that man is saved only through Christ, according to the apostolic words:: «Salvation is not found in anyone else, for there is no other name under the heavens which has been given to mankind, in which we can be saved» (Acts, 4, 12).

[1] News Paper of Athens «Ïñèüäïîïò Ôýðïò», Aug.-Sept. 1968.

[2] Mag. «Åðßóêåøéò», No. 494, p. 23, Geneva 1993.

[3] Mag. «Pantens», No. 1, p. 59, Alexandria 1991.

[4] Mag. «Åðßóêåøéò», No. 511, ó. 28, Geneva 1994.

[5] Mag. «Åðßóêåøéò», No. 523, ó. 12, Geneva 1995.


Chapter 10  //  Contents  //  Chapter 12

Page created: 16-3-2006.

Last update: 16-3-2006.