The So-Called "Great" Orthodox Council

The following article was translated with the
blessing of the author, Archimandrite
Gregorios Stephan, Abbot of the Monastery of the Dormition
of the Theotokos in Bkeftine,
Lebanon.

Archimandrite Gregorios Stephan
Archimandrite Gregorios Stephan

The council was finally held. It should have been an
Ecumenical Council for the Orthodox Church, but the shame
of confessing Orthodoxy as the One Catholic Church and
that it holds the fullness of the Faith pushed them to
only give it the epithet “great.”

But this great council was held on a small scale, and it
would have been better not to hold it, for several
reasons. Its unfaithfulness to the spirit and teachings of
the Ecumenical Councils that were held throughout the
history of the Church was evident when inviting all the
Orthodox bishops to the council was refused; and when each
of these bishops was not given the right to vote, in a way
that endowed a sort of Papism to the Orthodox Patriarchs.
But the greatest danger of this council resides in that it
is seeking to develop innovative ecclesiological rules
disintegrating the unity of the Church that is based on
the unity of faith. In Orthodoxy, anyone who opposes the
teaching of the One Church and its faith is outside the
Church, not a church. According to the new ecclesiology of
this council, churches and sacraments outside the Orthodox
Church are accepted; this council does not mention those
outside the faith and Church as heretics and schismatics;
there is only the condoning of “minor dogmas,”
as they call it.

Sts. Gregory Palamas, Photios the Great, and Mark of Ephesus—the Pillars of Orthodoxy
Sts. Gregory Palamas, Photios the Great, and Mark of Ephesus—the Pillars of Orthodoxy
All the previous councils
throughout history, that the Church has accepted in
its living conscience, both Ecumenical and local,
were concerned for preserving the unity of the Church
by preserving the unity of the Orthodox faith,
pointing out heresies and proving their delusion. The
Church Fathers, without any exception, categorically
refused to call a church those who are outside the
one faith. It is evident that this council
discontinues this persistence in preserving the one
holy Orthodox faith, which the Church Fathers toiled
to preserve, from Saint
Ignatios of Antioch, through Ireneus
of Lyons, the
Capadoccians, Maximos
the Confessor, Photios the Great, Gregory
Palamas and Mark of Ephesus. It was clear that
this council, so-called great, does not seek this
continuation in keeping the one holy Orthodox faith,
but instead to harmonize with the worldly spirit.
This is proved by the refusal to confess the previous
councils (879-880 with Saint Photios the Great and
the council of 1351 with the great Saint Gregory
Palamas), which upheld the stature of Ecumenical
Councils in the conscience of Orthodox faithful
everywhere.

Several Orthodox Churches did not participate in the
council, among them Antioch, but its reasons, in addition
to the Qatar issue that should have been solved before
holding the council, were not theological nor dogmatic but
they were pastoral at most. It is disappointing that for
decades until today, the topics of dogma and faith are not
discussed in by the Holy Antiochian Synod, and this a
dangerous matter.

We currently live in an age of secular globalization and
corrupt ecumenical dialogues that destroy all the divine
precepts that the Lord Jesus Christ has handed down to us.
Globalization and its first-born ecumenism marginalize
dogma and neutralize in the mind of the Orthodox faithful
this holy belief in the one faith that was handed down to
them. It is in this manner that the devil confuses truth
with delusion i.e. Christ with Belial.

The bishops in Orthodoxy are first and foremost, before
any other pastoral interest, the guardians of the holy and
Orthodox faith. Their council can only be holy if it knows
how to preserve the purity of the Orthodox faith. It was a
brave and a blessed avowal expressed by some Orthodox
Synods in discussing their decision on whether or not to
participate in this council, for instance, the declaration
of the Bulgarian Church: “Outside the Holy Orthodox
Church there are no other churches, there are only
heresies and schism. Calling these churches is an absolute
mistake, theologically, dogmatically and
canonically”.

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