On Ecumenoclasm: Who Is a Heretic?

Public Orthodoxy

by Paul Ladouceur

One of the preferred weapons of Orthodox opponents of ecumenism is to call ecumenism a heresy and to refer to non-Orthodox, and indeed often Orthodox who support ecumenism, as heretics. Examples abound, for example in documents emanating from the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia (ROCOR) and in the writings of St. Justin Popovich. For ROCOR’s Metropolitan Philaret, Catholics and Protestants are “modern preachers of heresy” and the World Council of Churches, the union “of all possible heresies.” In a 1974 letter, Justin Popovich refers to all non-Orthodox Christians as “heretics.” But the ultimate weapon of Orthodox anti-ecumenists is to describe ecumenism as “the heresy of heresies.”

“Heresy” and “heretic” are the Kalashnikovs of anti-ecumenists, aimed at both non-Orthodox Christians and fellow Orthodox.

In the Orthodox tradition, “heresy” and “heretic” have very precise and long-standing historical meanings. A heresy is an erroneous doctrine held and expounded by…

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