UNIA: The Face and the Disguise
8. What is the real danger?
When observing the relatively small number of Uniates in Greece (a total of a mere few thousand), one is given the impression that the Nation is not exactly in any serious danger by Unia, which is the very same argument used by the Greek Uniates themselves and their supporters. However, events in countries of Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Rumania) have proven how immense a threat the presence alone of Unia is, and to what extents it can go. Events have proven that in our Country also, the danger from Unia is inversely proportional to the number of its members.
In researching Unia’s activity in the Orthodox East over time, we feel compelled to justify the Patriarchal Synod which in 1838 referred to the Uniates as “onerous wolves, corruptive, pernicious, in the form of sheep, devouring unsparingly and destroying those for whom Christ had died.” It is a fact that –unfortunately– many unpleasant things have been committed, both visibly and secretly by the Uniate element – both to the detriment of Hellenism (also), but in general to Orthodoxy – on account of their blind obedience to and their collaboration with Papism. Whereas with the illusory peace in the relations between Papism and Orthodoxy during recent years many have come to believe that all the aforementioned events were simply an “unfortunate past”, the new Uniate crimes in Eastern Europe - as well as the anti-Hellenic stance of the Vatican in the so-called “Macedonian” issue – have proven that NOTHING has changed in Papism’s intentions towards the Orthodox East and Hellenism. The Vatican’s medieval mentality continues to prevail, even today, simply because it has never changed. The Vatican functions as a secular power-State. Expansionism, as the incrementing of its influence, constitutes its permanent and immovable objective and to this end, insists on using Unia as its most obedient instrument.
The potential peril that Unia also presents in our land, becomes apparent in various directions:
(a) Uniatism breeds a spirit and conscience of “janissarism”; in every generation it creates janissaries, who become the most formidable enemies of their fellow countrymen and capable of everything. During the prolonged enslavement of our Nation, it was not only the converts to Islam who were janissaries – that is, those who had aligned themselves with the conqueror from the East (the Turks) – but also the “Latinizers” – that is, those who had aligned themselves with a far more dangerous enemy of the Nation: the Pope (the Franks).
Saint Kosmas of Aetolia had codified the relative teaching of our Saints (Photios the Great, Gregory Palamas, Mark of Ephesus and many others), by also interpreting the (historically justified) stance of the “anti-unionists”, who had preferred the lesser of the two evils, i.e., the Ottoman domination. Being in the likeness of janissaries of the Franks, the Uniates are in an extremely difficult position and as such, are truly tragic existences! This is because they feel like ones who have no hearth or home, since they essentially do not belong anywhere as they are being utilized as pitiful instruments in the service and the reinforcement of the ruthless enemies of their own race. This is precisely what a Greek Uniate had tearfully admitted to me recently. Nevertheless, it is their janissary mentality that renders them a danger to their race, because at any given moment, they are willing (maybe even forced) to collaborate in every conspiracy against Greece. Regardless whether they claim that they feel they are Greeks. That is what the “Latin-minded” and the “janissaries” of the Turks also used to claim, and we are well aware today if they were telling the truth.
The Papist element, with which the Greeks have so unreservedly aligned themselves nowadays, has never been friendly towards Hellenism, nor has it ever supported the rightful Hellenic national interests. It has always sided with the will of its “headquarters” – the Vatican or Rome – and has always collaborated in favour of the miscarriage of Hellenic pursuits. In both the Venetian-occupied regions and Turkish-occupied Greece, the Papists had maintained the same, adamant stance. Not only were they opposed to the Hellenic Revolution of Independence of 1821; they in fact fought against it, by supporting the interests of the Turks. They did the same in 1920-1922, during the Asia Minor war. Afraid of a revival and strengthening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Vatican had incited the French to assist the Turks. The Vatican had declared that it preferred “to have atop the dome of Haghia Sophia the crescent rather than the Greek Cross” and “the Muslim indifference rather than the Orthodox fanaticism”. With their silence, the “Greek” Uniates were essentially approving this anti-Hellenic campaign.
Papists and Uniates had (and continue to have) the impression that they too are a “State within a State”, and even more so, after the initiation of Greece’s diplomatic relations with the Vatican (1979). This is why, both during the “inter-confessional” era and their protection by the French, as well as later on, they have never ceased to be on call, and ready to act as “fifth columnists”: a direct threat to Greek national interests. That is why one can feel only sorrow and pity for those Greek Papists, and more so for Greek Uniates. When the files pertaining to the Cyprus issue (1974) are eventually opened, the continuing anti-Hellenic stance of the Papist element will emerge, albeit the existing data has already shed ample light on the matter.
I truly and sincerely desire that these views of mine regarding the “Hellenic” conscience of the Papists and the Uniates of our Country will be proven unrealistic, and attributable to mistaken evaluations. And I will be willing to recant every historically-based note that I have made, if the Papists (and Uniates) of Greece reply directly to the following questions:
1) Do the Greek Uniates possess the Greek bravery to demand from the Vatican to assimilate them immediately into the “Roman Catholic Church”, thus putting an end to their hermaphrodite role? Let Greece make the first move for the elimination of Unia, in order to truly pave the way to a new era in the relations between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.
2) If the Vatican should reject such a proposal, would they be prepared to return to Orthodoxy through the proper procedure (libel, chrism, etc.)?
3) Bearing in mind the irregular situation in the Balkans and the Vatican’s involvement in favour of the Papist forces (e.g. Croatia), are they willing, in case that –God forbid– the war is extended further, to fight at the side of Greece against the Papist forces?
(b) An equally great danger lies in the permanent corruption that the Orthodox flock is exposed to, with the presence of Unia, because a specific model of union is being permanently projected, which in fact facilitates this movement immensely, and that model is Unia. The Vatican has every reason for Unia to continue to exist, both because it is able to use it for its political-economic objectives – as it is doing in the Countries of Eastern Europe – but mainly because there is a clearly visible model of union between Orthodox and Papism, which creates the impression that the union is taking place without the abandonment of Orthodoxy. This was proclaimed as early as the 1970’s by Pope Paul VI, when projecting the model of the Ukraine and pronouncing as Cardinal its Uniate archbishop, Josyf Slipyj. At any rate, it has already been made clear how the Vatican envisages the union: The Vatican does not desire union “in the truth” of the Prophetic-Apostolic-Patristic tradition, but a “mutual recognition”. By acting as a State, it has lost every trace of sensitivity in matters of the Faith, in spite of the promulgations to the contrary by its theologians.
(c) There is yet another aspect – the most important – which however becomes obvious, only wherever the Orthodox conscience is healthy and robust. It is the spiritual-soteriological aspect. Unia exists, for the purpose of leading to the direct or indirect recognition and acceptance of Papism – the most serious estrangement from Christianity of all time (Protestantism had emanated later from Papism, as did all other socio-political developments in the West). When the ever-memorable fr. Justin Popovic linked the historical Fall of the Pope (Papism) to the Falls of Adam and of Judas, that was precisely the truth that he intended to stress: the complete de-Christianization by Papism as an awarding of absolutism and totalitarianism. It must furthermore be noted that the awarding of totalitarianism by Papism is diametrically different to related phenomena, which are observed from time to time in Orthodox environments. These perversions, which are incarnated through the Papist dogmas, will for us Orthodox forever remain blatant deviations from the salvatory Truth and as such are rejected and condemned as Falls and sins. In Papism however, they have been rendered dogmas of faith; ones that are necessary for salvation (can a Latin Church exist without a Pope?). In the long run, this means that the incarnation of God the Logos took place in order for Papism to be instated in the world, and totalitarianism (with all its consequences) be sanctified. Could there be a bigger blasphemy than this?
The recognition of Papism constitutes an abandonment of the in-Christ Truth, a denial of the in-Holy Spirit living (spirituality) and a reversal of Christianity into a secular ideology that is being drowned in everything endocosmic and in the thirst for power. Christianity however – as preserved in the persons of our Saints – comprises Man’s therapy through the catharsis/cleansing of the heart from passions and of the ‘nous’ (mind) from reflections, so that he might attain the “visitation” (enlightenment) of the Holy Spirit and thus reach theosis (deification) – the “glorification” of his entire being within the uncreated, Holy Trinitarian Grace (the ‘Kingdom’). Wherever this prospect is lost, and this objective is altered, Christianity-Orthodoxy does not exist! Because Man’s course towards theosis simultaneously transforms Man’s environment and it creates the potential to realize selfless love – which is the foundation of the authentic Christian society. And History teaches us that the slackening, or even the loss of this tradition, even in a section of us Orthodox, was reinforced or even provoked by the influence of that estranged Western Christianity in our lives during the previous centuries. The effect of the decadence in the West's civilization has, after all, always been catalytic among Orthodox peoples.
From the above, I believe one can understand just where the acceptance of Unia – as a method of unification with Papism - can lead. Every independence and freedom is lost for the Orthodox and consequently, so is the possibility to help Western Christianity through a Dialogue, in order for it to re-discover its forgotten Orthodox prerequisites and its Orthodox past. This alone can be the only purpose for a theological Dialogue from an Orthodox point of view, and never a “mutual recognition”. Besides, what kind of recognition does Orthodoxy need to receive, from anti-Christian Papism? It would be like Christ asking for recognition from Belial! (2 Cor. 6:15) On the contrary, Unia contributes towards the preservation of Papist estrangement and the promotion of Papism as the authentic Church which we all need to be joined to, for our salvation. Thus, it becomes doubly harmful: firstly to non-Latin Christianity, because it leads it to a spiritual impasse; and secondly to Latin Christianity itself, because it impedes it from becoming aware of its downfall and thereafter from seeking –like the prodigal son– to return to the Truth.
Article published in English on: 23-12-2008.
Last Update: 23-12-2008.