An Orthodox theologian discusses the painful topic of ecumenism in Orthodoxy.
A lot of ignorance continues to exist in Romanian Orthodoxy on this matter, surprisingly, even among the most educated. Most Romanian Orthodox feel the need to excuse themselves continually, and state that they are not (God forbid!) ecumenists. It seem to me that pressure from Orthodox monastic circles, not the least from Mount Athos, is the main cause of this anti-ecumenical quasi-paranoia.
To be fait, a similar disease, maybe even more pronounced, exists among Romanian evangelicals. A real pity. In both cases. As Christians, we should know much better.
Orthodox ecumenists and anti-ecumenists both start from the same fundamental ecclesiological principle, succinctly expressed in an anti-ecumenical statement of the Sacred Community of Mount Athos in April 1980: “We believe that our holy Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which possesses the fullness of grace and truth.”
But pro-ecumenical and anti-ecumenical Orthodox draw radically different conclusions from this one principle. Ecumenists, focusing on the notion that the Orthodox Church possesses “the fullness of grace and truth,” conclude that other Christian churches also possess grace and truth, if not in their fullness. This realization opens the door to considering non-Orthodox Christians as true brothers and sisters in Christ and hence to the possibility of dialogue in love, growth in mutual understanding of each other’s faith and traditions, and discovery of common elements which unite Christians of different denominations. This does not…
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