DEMETRIOS (1972-1991)

“The Church’s limits are ever extended
and its bounds are nowhere.”

Biographical Note:

Born in Constantinople, in 1914, he attended the French lycee in the Galata district of Constantinople and graduated from the Holy Trinity School of Theology at Halki. Ordained a presbyter in 1942, he served as a parish administrator in northern Greece and later, served as chaplain of the Greek community in Teheran. Consecrated Bishop in 1964, he was appointed Metropolitan of Imroz Adasi and Bozca Ada, Turkish islands of the Aegean, formerly Greek (Imbros, etc.), which, at the time, had considerable Greek populations. Elected Patriarch on July 16, 1972, he continued the work of his predecessor, Athenagoras, toward unification with the Roman Catholics, Monophysites, etc. In 1975, he established official intercommunion with the Roman Catholic Church ‘by economia’. Concelebrations and fraternal epistles followed annually. After receiving and co-worshipping with the Pope and his cardinals at the Phanar in 1979, Demetrius announced the formation of the “Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches” of which recent statements or ‘discoveries’ like Papists and Orthodox together constitute the Church, the Filioque is the actual Orthodox teaching, etc. are the fruit. He also supervised the work and reaped the fruit of the “Joint Commision for Theological Dialogue with the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox” which included the mutual recognition at Chambessy, Switzerland, of Orthodoxy and Monophysitism as constituting a single Faith and Church in 1990. After the debaucle of the 6th World Council of Churches Assembly in Vancouver, Canada, in 1983, with its publicized ‘Orthodox’ leadership in pan-religious liturgies as well as pagan Native American additions to the worship and the preaching of religious universalism, Demetrios and his protegй Met. [now-Patriarch] Bartholomew of Chalcedon were the most vocal proponents of continued participation in the WCC. That same year in an “Ecumenical Doxology” at the Davies Symphony Hall, July 20, 1990 in San Francisco, Demetrios prayed with numerous clergy from the Roman Catholic, Monophysite, and Protestant heresies, as well as Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams. He died an unhappy and mysterious death in 1991. Again, the funeral was a closed-coffin one.

Preface

Although Demetrios did not go to such lengths as Athenagoras in publicizing his apostasy, nonetheless what blasphemous actions and words were made public show a man no less indifferent to Christ and His Church than his predecessor. Athenagoras ‘lifted’ the anathemas on Papism, Demetrios instituted the official intercommunion; Athenagoras co-worshipped with Monophysites, Demetrios pronounced the last four Ecumenical Councils to be in error and the fathers of Monophysitism ‘Church Fathers’; Athenagoras said that the all religions were equally good and had the same aim, Demetrios declared that Orthodox Christians and Muslims worship the same God; just as Caiaphas succeeded Annas as High-Priest, so Demetrios succeeded Athenagoras as Patriarch. The Ecumenist program, through the ‘dialogue of love’, continued apace, ‘broadening minds’ and searing consciences more and more among the pitiable flock of these cold-blooded deceivers and false shepherds.

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As an intimation of the future Universalist character of his patriarchate, a few short months after his elevation to the Patriarchal throne, he addressed the disciples of that prophet of Satan, Muhammed, on their feast of Bairam as follows:

The one Great God of all--all we who worship and adore Him are His children--desires us to be saved and to be brothers. Though we belong to different religions--and have nonetheless learned of and acknowledge the Holy God as the beginning and end of all things--He desires that we should love one another and think and do only that which is good in our dealings with one another. This is the present hour’s commandment for the world: love and goodness. Of course, all faithful and good Muslims are filled with this same ideal, and with the same joy will accept this message of brotherhood in God, which is addressed to you on the great feast of Islam.

With congratulatory prayers, love and feelings of mutual goodwill of the faithful Christians,

+ Demetrius of Constantinople (1)

How is it that both Muslims and Orthodox Christians are all the children and worshippers of the same God, the Holy Trinity? Do they somehow worship the Father without the Son or the Spirit as some say? Rather, is it not as the Lord says through St. John: “Everyone who denieth the Son, neither doth he have the Father” [1 Jn. 2:23] “This is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son” [1 Jn. 2:22]. The Muslims are not our ‘brothers’, not ‘sons of God’, not anything but idolatrous, albeit monotheistic, worshippers of the moon-‘god’ of the older Meccan pagan cult. Demetrios, if he wishes to contradict Christ and say with His deniers “We have one Father, God” [Jn. 8:41], then we will respond with Christ: “Ye are of your father, the devil” [Jn. 8:44] for “All the gods of the nations are demons” [Ps. 95:5].

One who does not believe that Christ is the Son of God, rather regards Him with Muslims as a common man, will likewise regard His precious Body and Blood as common, giving it to any and all as if it were mere bread and wine. And this was precisely the policy that Demetrios would institute as his next milestone in his career of blasphemy through the official sanctioning and putting into universal effect of the apostate policies and theology laid out in the “Thyateira Confession”.

The Thyateira Confession , by Archbishop Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Thyateira and Great Britain, was printed “With the Blessing and Authorization of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople” in 1975. In his letter of commendation of the Thyateira Confession to Archbishop Athenagoras (Jan. 10, 1975), Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios wrote the following:

This Study [i.e. the Thyateira Confession] has been examined by the Synodical Committee of the Patriarchate and has been found appropriate for the care of the spiritual needs of the rational flock which is entrusted to the care of your Eminence. In addition it has been considered as a fit aid even for our own Catechists and for the benefit of the non-Orthodox who desire to receive general information concerning our Orthodox Church.

Gladly, therefore, according to the Decision of the Synod, We extend our Blessing for the Publication of this excellent work, the product of pastoral zeal and the spiritual endurance of your Eminence and congratulate you whole-heartedly on its production.

Here follow some characteristic excerpts from this “excellent work ”:

O n page 77, we read, “The Holy Spirit is active both within the Church and outside the Church. For this reason its limits are ever extended and its bounds are nowhere. The Church has a door but no walls.

Consequently, in the “Thyateira Confession” emphasis is made the whole time on the “new understanding ” which prevails among “Christian people ”. “Christian people now visit churches and pray with other Christians of various traditions with whom they were forbidden in the past to associate, for they were called heretics ” (p. 12 ).

Since, for instance, according to the “new understanding”, Papists were only “called heretics”, but they were not such in fact, intercommunion with them is now permissible:

When they are not near a Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholics are permitted to receive the Holy Communion in Orthodox Churches; and the same is also extended to Orthodox when they are not near an Orthodox Church.

It is now permissible for Orthodox and Roman Catholics to pray together, and for the Orthodox Liturgy to be offered in a Roman Catholic Church. Parallel permission is now granted by some Orthodox Churches for the celebration of the Catholic Mass in Orthodox Churches . ” [ Thyateira Confession , p. 69] (2)

Demetrios concelebrates
  with Pope John Paul II in the Bascilica of St. Peter in Rome. (December, 1977)

Demetrios concelebrates with Pope John Paul II
in the Bascilica of St. Peter in Rome.
(December, 1977)

Is not such blasphemy worthy of the holy Apostle Paul’s words:

“Of how much worse punishment, do ye think that one shall be deemed worthy who trampled underfoot the Son of God, and deemed common the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” [Heb. 10:29]

Lest anyone should think that this confirmation of the Thyateira Confession was not to be taken seriously, Demetrios himself repeated and publicaly put it into effect.

Pope John Paul II and
  Patriarch Demetrios concelebrate with their attendant cardinals, bishops, and clergy.
  (Phanar-Constantinople, Nov. 30, 1979)

Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Demetrios concelebrate
with their attendant cardinals, bishops, and clergy.
(Phanar-Constantinople, Nov. 30, 1979)

Demetrios himself confirmed the reality that the Thyateira Confession describes by either concelebrating with the Pope or at least issuing public ‘festal’ epistles to “the Most Blessed and Holy Pope of the Elder Rome(3) every year in celebration of “the completion of the first year of your radiant Episcopacy on the Throne of Rome (4) , or “Rejoicing and prayerfully celebrating the birthday of Your Most Blessed Holiness and your reaching an important stage in your life, which has been entirely dedicated to the Lord, to His Gospel, to His Church, and to the service of mankind (5) , or the ‘great’ anniversaries of the ‘Lifting of the Anathemas’. Such epistles were always accompanied by appropriate gifts, (e.g. “a vigil-lamp which has been kept burning in our private Patriarchal Chapel, so that it might be placed in your private chapel, to show that ‘the light of Christ illumines all’ (6) ) and ecumenical statements declaring, for instance, “our recognition of your august person as the first Bishop of worldwide Christianity (7) and that

the Holy Church of Christ in Constantinople embraces the Bishop of Rome and the Holy Church in Rome, in the incense, acceptable to the Lord, of the pentarchy of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, in which the Bishop of Rome is defined as presiding in love and honor, ascribing all honor to Your Holiness,... first in rank and honor in the universal Body of the Lord.... (8)

Demetrios and Pope John
  Paul II recite the Nicene Creed in Greek.Demetrios gives fraternal kiss
  at the consecration of the wafer.

(Rome, Dec. 6, 1987) - Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Demetrios concelebrate,
yet again, the Papal High Mass before the world in the Bascilica of St. Peter.

Left:
Demetrios and Pope John Paul II recite the Nicene Creed in Greek.
Right: Demetrios gives fraternal kiss at the consecration of the wafer.

But did this “new understanding ” that the Thyateira Confession speaks of ‘only’ apply to Roman Catholics? No, it had a universal application, as is obvious from the official statement of the ‘Orthodox’ delegation to the Monophysites, Nestorians, Protestants, and Papists of the 5th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya, 1975:

Demetrios
  co-worshipping with Anglican Archbishop of Cantebury, Ramsey.

Demetrios co-worshipping with Anglican Archbishop of Cantebury, Ramsey.

The Orthodox do not expect that other Christians be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and present and to become members of the Orthodox Church.(9)

An “Ecumenical
  Doxology” (July 20, 1990) at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California.An
  “Ecumenical Doxology” (July 20, 1990) at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco,
  California.

An “Ecumenical Doxology” (July 20, 1990)
at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California.

Patriarch Demetrios, Bartholomew of Chalcedon (the next Patriarch, standing to Demetrios’ left), Iakovos of North and South America (shown above leading a prayer), and many other Ecumenical Patriarchate hierarchs spent July of 1990 traveling around the U.S.A., participating in various Ecumenical Prayer Services in San Francisco, in Washington (July 9), etc. They prayed with numerous clergy from the Roman Catholic, Monophysite, and Protestant heresies, as well as Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams. The Washington gathering is described on the webpage “Other EP Hierarchs”. Above Demetrios is shown blessing the San Francisco gathering.

Such is the natural conclusion from statements like “The Holy Spirit is active both within the Church and outside the Church. For this reason its limits are ever extended and its bounds are nowhere. The Church has a door but no walls ” (see previous citation). If all are a part of the Church, even without having the Faith which Christ gave the Church, then no conversion is necessary.

The
  “blessing” at the end of the 1987 concelebration.

The “blessing” at the end of the 1987 concelebration.

Consequently, in 1991, Demetrios, who had met and prayed with Monophysite leaders many times since his meeting with Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Monophysites in 1972 in Constantinople, approved the following work of the E.P. ‘theologians’ assigned to hasten the public union with the Monophysites:

“[W]e now clearly realize and understand that our two families [Orthodox and Monophysites- editor] have always loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox faith, and have maintained uninterrupted the apostolic tradition although they may have used the Christological terms in a different manner. It is that common faith and that continual loyalty to the apostolic tradition which must be the basis of our unity and communion... The two families accept that all the anathemas and the condemnations of the past which kept us divided must be lifted by the Churches so that the last obstacle to full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and the power of God. The two families accept that the lifting of the anathemas and the condemnations will be based on the fact that the Councils and the fathers previously anathematized or condemned were not heretics....” (10)

All of this Universalism is typical of a man who, in his “Christmas Message” of 1978, refered to Origen, the arch-heretic anathematized by countless individual Fathers as well as the 5th Ecumenical Council, as a “Father of the Church ” and, moreover, one on par with the great Ss. Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory the Theologian. (11) Perhaps one reason for Origen’s dramatic change of status is that, among other heretical doctrines of his favored by Demetrios, Origen also taught the ultimate salvation of all?

Thus, we should not be surprised that, when, in 1986, the Pope began his annual practice of calling all religious leaders to Assisi, Italy, to pray both together and each to his own ‘god’ for world peace, Demetrios sent representatives to participate in prayers to ‘the common Father of all’. [These annual prayer and co-worship services will be described more fully in a separate web-page.]

The interreligious
  World Day of Prayer at Assisi, 1986.

On Oct. 27, 1986, Demetrios sent his representative
Archb. Methodios of Thyateira and Great Britain (far left)
to the Pope’s Prayer for World Peace
with all the world’s religions in Assisi.

Along with peace-smoke offerings and chants to the ‘Great Spirit’ (Native American), hymns to and invocations of the ‘Great Thumb’ (African Shamanist), chants and offerings to a Buddha statue by the Dalai Lama, Jewish prayers, Monophysite prayers, Papist prayers, Protestant prayers, etc. along with all of this were heard the chanting of “Agios ho Theos, Agios Ischuros, Agios Athanatos eleison emas” from the Ecumenical Patriarchate choir and other prayers from the representatives of ‘Orthodox’ Patriarchates (all of whom attended along with representatives from their autonomous branches). Demetrios did not himself appear at these inter-religous prayer services for fear of the great scandal that such an unmistakably obvious contradiction to Orthodox teaching would cause among his followers.

Nor should it shock us that He commissioned his ‘trained theologians’ to work together with Roman Catholics and Protestants under the aegis of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in order to draw up the Barr Statement, a document expressing a Christology more in line with the Universalist message of the Ecumenical movement.

The committee met to study “My Neighbor’s Faith and Mine, Theological Discoveries Through Interfaith Dialogue: A Study Guide” (Geneva: WCC [Division of Interfaith Dialogue], 1986), the product of the Vancouver 1983 WCC Assembly’s recommendations. After citing the need for “a more adequate theology of religions ”, the committee affirmed:

that in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, the entire human family has been united to God in an irrevocable bond and covenant. The saving presence of God’s activity in all creation and human history comes to its focal point in the event of Christ.

To this they added: “because we have seen and experienced goodness, truth, and holiness among followers of other paths and ways than that of Jesus Christ..., we find ourselves recognizing a need to move beyond a theology which confines salvation to the explicit personal commitment to Jesus Christ.

Consequently: “We explicitly affirm that the Holy Spirit works in the life and traditions of peoples of living faiths.(12)

For those unfamiliar with the ecumenical term “living faiths” the World Council of Churches “Consultation on the Church and the Jewish People” defined “living faiths” clearly enough in its 1988 statement when it spoke of the solidarity of “living faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism...”(13) . Hence Demetrios’ men in drawing up the Barr statement may as well have stated “We explicitly affirm that the Holy Spirit works in the life and traditions of peoples of” “living faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism....

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ENDNOTES

(1) Orthodoxos Typos (15 Dec., 1972).

(2) Athenagoras Kokkinakis, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, The Thyateira Confession, or The Faith and Prayer of Orthodox Christians , The Faith Press, 1975; cited in the “3rd Sorrowful Epistle” of Met. (St.) Philaret, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, (dated December 6/19, 1975), translated from the Russian text in Orthodox Russia , 1976, no. 2, pages 1-3.

On December 28, 1983, Demetrios reacted to strong criticisms and threats of seperation by some of the commemorator-monasteries of Mt. Athos by telling them the lie that they wanted to hear, that he was suspending the official sanctioning of intercommunion between Roman Catholics and ‘Orthodox’. However, this was said simply to deceive them; for the reality of the intercommunion did not change at all, and even was approved of publicly on various occasions afterwards by Demetrios. For instance, in an inteview with Greece’s largest international newpaper, Kathimerini (August 6, 1987), Demetrios was asked whether or not an ‘Orthodox’ person may take communion in a Roman Catholic church, especially if one is not near an ‘Orthodox’ church, to which he responded: “By an extreme economy, it can be done, and by all means, if it concerns one who is dying” (cited by Athanasios K. Sakarellos (a member of the Patriarchate) in Orthodoxos Typos [September 4, 1987, Athens, Greece]). Regardless of whether Demetrios adds phrases like “By an extreme economy [dispensation]” to this ‘blessing’ of intercommunion with heretics or not, it shows that he is in full communion with Rome. Infrequent participation in the pseudo-eucharist of the Pope is still participation and shows complete unity with the Papal synagogue nonetheless. As St. Paul says, we are one Body because we partake of the one Body of Christ.

(3) Festal Epistle of Dec. 7, 1975, in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Lifting of the Anathemas, Episkepsis , no. 139 (January 13, 1976), pp. 13--15.

(4) Epistle to Pope John Paul II of October 16, 1979; Episkepsis, No. 219 (1 November 1979), p. 2 [in Greek].

(5) Epistle in honor of the 80th birthday of Pope Paul VI, 1977; Episkepsis, No. 176 (15 October 1977), p. 2 [in Greek]. [Our emphasis]

(6) “Message” to Pope Paul VI (dated December 3, 1977); cited P. Gregoriou, Journey to Unity, (Athens: 1978), Vol. II, pp. 684-685; Episkepsis, No. 180 (15 December 1977), p. 12 [in Greek]: “The Visit of His Eminence, Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon to Rome”; L’Osservatore Romano (9-10 February 1977), p. 2.

(7) see endnote #6.

(8) Episkepsis , no. 139 (January 13, 1976), pp. 13--15.

(9) cited by Rev. Robert C. Stephanopoulos, “The Inter-Church Relations of the Orthodox Church,” A Companion to the Greek Orthodox Church (N.Y.: Dept. of Communication, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, 1984) p. 213.

(10) “Joint Declaration of the 3 rd Meeting of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches”; see Episkesis , No. 446 (Oct. 1, 1990).

(11) Episkepsis (Dec. 25, 1978).

(12) From the Statement of the 21 member committee of ‘Orthodox’, Roman Catholics, and Protestants that met in Barr, Switzerland, from January 9-15, 1990, entitled “Religious Plurality: Theological Perspectives”; Ecumenical Press Service , Jan. 16-31, 1990; our emphasis; see also VanElderen, “Consultaion Speaks on Plurality”, Ecumenical Press Services , No. 3 (90.01.82); also EPS , No. 30 (90.09.23): “The Holy Spirit and Religious Plurality”.

(13) “The Churches and the Jewish People: Toward a New Understanding”, statement at the conclusion of the meeting of the Consultation on the Church and the Jewish People (CCJP) in Sigtuna, Sweden, 31 October -- 4 November 1988, available online: www.jcrelations.net/stmnts/wcc_sigtuna.htm , 4/29/2002.


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