The Resolution of the Pastoral Conference of the Canadian and American Clergy of ROCE Regarding the Issue of Terminating Eucharistic Communion with Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili.
Note: Although Metropolitan Vitaly had been in Eucharistic communion with the Synod of Resistors since 1994, seven years later, being motivated to return to a true Orthodox confession of Faith, Metropolitan Vitaly broke Eucharistic communion with them. Although he did not repent of his falling away from the Church in the proper manner, and thereby created another schism by not seeking to be united with those who had remained Orthodox, yet this document well defines the heretical views of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili.
The Conclusion Concerning the Ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili.
On the basis of having studied the ecclesiological teachings of Metropolitan Cyprian, which are set forth in the book “Ecclesiological Thesis, or the Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church for the Orthodox, Resisting the Heresy of Ecumenism” (pub. Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, Fili, Attica, Greece, 1993) [Editor’s Note: This is the same text he studied and approved 7 years earlier!!!], Metropolitan Cyprian’s report at the 6th Orthodox Conference “The Heresy of Ecumenism and the Patristic Position of the Orthodox” (23 February 1998), and also a host of publications and declarations of other hierarchs of the Synod of the Resistors, we have arrived at the following conclusions:
1. Metropolitan Cyprian and his Synod, while recognizing ecumenist world Orthodoxy to be heretical, nevertheless, considers it to be a part of the Church of Christ, thus contradicting the teaching and tradition of the Church, which clearly bears witness in Conciliar decrees and the writings of the Holy Fathers to the effect that heretics are fallen away from the Church.
2. Metropolitan Cyprian replaces the concept of “heretics” with a description of those who are essentially in error in their judgments concerning the Orthodox. Thus, in regard to ecumenist-heretics, he writes: “Persons in error concerning the correct understanding of the faith -- and thereby sinning, but not yet judged by an ecclesiastical court -- are ailing members of the Church” (“Ecclesiological Theses,” ch. 1, 4; pp. 2, 7). Calling for a walling-off from these ailing members, Metropolitan Cyprian, nonetheless, considers them to be within the Church. However, to permit membership in the Church outside an Orthodox confession of faith is by no means possible; hence, “those ailing in the faith” cannot be members of the Church, which is also confirmed by the teachings of the Holy Fathers.“Without a doubt,” says the venerable John Cassian the Roman, “he who does not confess the faith of the Church is outside the Church.” The same is confirmed also by Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople: “Members of the Church of Christ are wholly devoted to the truth, and those not wholly devoted to the truth are not members of the Church of Christ.” And St. Cyprian of Carthage teaches: “Just as the devil is not Christ, although he deceives in His name, so also such a one cannot be accounted a Christian as does not abide in the truth of His Gospel and Faith.” In agreement with all the Fathers, the Great Hierarch Gregory the Theologian, in his Second Epistle Against Apollinarius, also teaches: “Avoid those holding to another doctrine and consider them alien to God and to the Universal Church.” The Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs Concerning the Orthodox Faith states: “We believe that all amongst us are members of the catholic Church, even the faithful themselves, i.e., those who unconditionally confess the pure faith of Christ the Saviour.” And St. Gregory Palamas also explains: “Those who are of the Church of Christ, the same are of the truth; and those who are not of the truth, the same are also not of the Church of Christ...”
Metropolitan Cyprian declares in his thesis that “the Orthodox have become divided into two parts: those who are ailing in the faith and those who are healthy...” (Ch. 3, p. 4), but then he immediately goes on to speak of “restoring to Orthodoxy” those ailing in the faith (Ch. 3, p. 5), whereby he clearly falls into a doctrinal contradiction, for how is it possible “to receive into Orthodoxy” those who already are Orthodox?!
3. Metropolitan Cyprian makes a statement concerning the division of the Church by reason of ecumenism, by drawing an analogy between the present state of the Church and Her state during the time of the iconoclastic heresy. In his ecclesiology, he attempts to compare the present-day new-calendarists and ecumenists with the iconoclasts, whom the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council united to the Church through repentance and the renouncing of their heresy. Likewise, Metropolitan Cyprian refers to the 7th Ecumenical Council, the Acts of which employ the expressions “severance,” “divisions,” etc. He reaches a totally unfounded conclusion, that the iconoclasts, prior to their having been judged by the Council, were not yet heretics, as such; and that their mysteries were therefore recognized as being valid. However, concerning the iconoclasts who were joined to Orthodoxy, neither did the Ecumenical Council consider them as having belonged previously to the Church, nor did they themselves make any pretenses as to their comprising Her. Here are the testimonies of the joining iconoclasts themselves. Basil, Bp. of Ancyra: “To the extent of my ability, I investigated the question of icons, and with complete conviction turned to the Holy Catholic Church.” Theodore, Bp. of Myra in Lycia: “...I pray God and your holiness to join me, a sinner, to the Holy Catholic Church, as well.” John, the most-God-pleasing Locum Tenens of the Apostolic Throne in the East said: “Heresy separates every man from the Church.” The Holy Council stated: “that is obvious.”
But Metropolitan Cyprian, in his ecclesiology, changes the terminology: “they were received into Orthodoxy,” thereby inferring an unthinkable distinction between the Church and Orthodoxy, which is impossible.
The Church, as the Body of Christ, cannot be divided. Such a phenomenon is ontologically impossible, inasmuch as the Lord Jesus Christ cannot have several bodies. Those divisions mentioned at the Council, and in the writings of the Holy Fathers, relate exclusively to a temporary division between Christians, like those arising during times of troubles when heresies are being spread, and when, initially, it can be difficult to discern just who is who. St. Basil the Great compared an occasion like this to a night-battle when, in the darkness, it is not immediately possible to discern friend from foe.
In the Church there can be no division; there can only be a falling away from Her. The Catechism of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitski) states the same concerning this: “Question: Is it possible to grant that there once took place, or that there will take place, a division within the Church, or a separation of Churches? Answer: In no case: heretics and schismatics fell away from the one indivisible Church at various times and thereby ceased to be members of the Church, but the Church, as such, cannot lose her unity” (Experience of Christian Catechism. Pub. Australo-New Zealand Ep. 1989, p. 65). In its Epistle of 18 November/ 1 December 1962, the ROCOR Sobor of Bishops likewise confessed: “We cannot accept their (the ecumenists’) point of view, that the Church has become divided. We believe in One, Exclusive Church, the Head of Which is Christ. As there is one Head, so also is there one Body – the Church. If a house is divided within itself, then it cannot stand. Thus, also, the Church, having become divided, would cease to be the Church. There can only be a falling-away from the Church – a departure from Her of individuals -- or of entire groups who are not of like mind with Her.” In accordance with this confession, the 18/31 December, 1931, Declaration of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops states: “Preserving the Faith in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Synod of Bishops confesses that this Church has never been divided.”
4...[Here Metropolitan Vitaly and company discuss the new-calendar innovation, which discussion we omit for the sake of a little brevity and maintaining coherence of argument, since this detour paragraph adds nothing to our purpose. – Editor’s note]...
5. The unification Council that Metropolitan Cyprian is hoping for can unite only these “separated Orthodox.” But heretics do not belong to the Church and can return into the Bosom of the Church of Christ only through being united to Her. Metropolitan Cyprian sets forth a false theory of uniting those of unlike mind, at the same time making the very convening of said Council dependent upon this unnatural union.
In this fashion, Metropolitan Cyprian’s doctrine, being the fundamental position of the Synod of Resistors, contradicts the Patristic traditions of the Church. He declares that he is not in communion with heretical ecumenist churches. Meanwhile, however, he and his Synod fail to sever themselves from these churches spiritually, considering themselves to be the “healthy” part of the one Church at the same time as the heretical, ecumenist and new-calendarist churches are the “ailing” part. Thus, Metropolitan Cyprian’s Synod, despite the absence of communion in the mysteries [Editor’s note: Actually, ‘Met.’ Cyprian communes New Calendarists, as reported in Greek newspapers.], finds itself, de facto, in a total “healthy-ailing” union with heretical world “Orthodoxy.” This “Orthodox” crypto-ecumenism, so to speak, even as open ecumenism, falls under the 1983 anathema against the heresy of ecumenism, which was proclaimed by the ROCOR Synod of Bishops under presidency of the third First Hierarch of the Church Abroad, Metropolitan Philaret: “and to those who have communion with these heretics, or who aid and abet them, or who defend their new heresy of ecumenism, supposing that to be brotherly love and the uniting of separated Christians: Anathema!”
+ Metropolitan Vitaly
+ Archbishop Varnava (in agreement with the resolution)
+ Bishop Sergii
+ Bishop Vladimir
+ Bishop Varfolomei (in agreement with the resolution)
The preceding document adequately outlines the heretical teachings of Metropolitan Cyprian and his Synod of Resistors, who are known as “the Ecumenists of the Greek Old Calendar Church”. We strongly recommend that all those who belong to this Church, or are in communion with this Church, leave them, considering carefully the previously given explanation and the serious theological implications it entails.
All the teachers of the Church, all the Councils, and all he Divine Scriptures, exhort us to flee those who uphold other doctrines and to separate from communion with them. (St. Mark of Ephesus, Confession of Faith, XII, 304)
With a great voice, Saint John Chrysostom declared that only heretics, but also they who hold communion with them are enemies of God. (Saint Theodore the Studite, Letter to the Abbot Theophilos)
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