Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy… and the “Eastern Church”, Too!

sergei-miloradovich-defense-of-the-st-sergius-trinity-lavra-against-the-poles-in-1610

The Defence of the St Sergius-Trinity Lavra Against the Poles in 1610 (Sergei Miloradovich, 1894). The papists should bear in mind that we have not changed at all since this date… we shall still defend the Church with all our might!

There is a strange notion afoot in some quarters, one bruited about especially by some in the papal confession, in particular. Supposedly, there is something called the “Eastern Church”… it contains both Orthodox and Uniates, we are all truly united under the skin, and that the present separation is only temporary. We shall all “breathe with both lungs”, break into a love-feast, link hands, and sing “Koombayah” together.

Nice picture, ain’t it? Unfortunately, it bears no relation to the actual reality that has existed up to the present moment or to anything that one can reasonably expect in future. It ignores most of the history of the Christian Church (for disunity existed before 1054… that was an effort at reconciliation gone bad, you know) in general and Uniate-Orthodox relations in particular. Let’s take some of the current fables that are in circulation and one can readily see that all of them are pure moonshine and nothing but nursery-tales for the credulous.

Firstly, one hears, “We are nothing but the Orthodox Church in union with Rome”. Izzat so? This one is so simple to kick apart that it is laughable. Hey, Uniates… where are your icons of St Germogen of Moscow and St Maksim of Lemkovshchyna? I don’t see any icons of St Nikolai the Tsar-Martyr and his family, St Seraphim of Sarov, or St Peter the Aleut either. I DO see you lighting candles before “icons” of Francis of Assisi and other papist “saints”. One has no need of going further… this is enough to destroy such a fallacious assertion.

Another thing one sees is that Uniates are forever quoting this-or-that papal encyclical in defence of their positions. All that this does is to increase the conviction amongst grounded Orthodox Christians that Uniates are nothing but Latin Catholics aping Orthodox externals. Uniates (actually, papists in general) do not understand that the Orthodox rejection of the papacy goes much deeper than a merely jurisdictional dispute. The papist conception revolves around the person of the Pope of Rome… to be considered truly Christian, one must be in a state of Eucharistic communion with this one bishop, nothing else matters. Orthodox believe this to be idolatry (to be more precise, I believe that the term should be “homolatry”) of the most perverse and blasphemous sort. It arrogates to a human-being a position that is solely that of Our Lord Christ. Everything else pales into insignificance next to this imposture. I repeat, the papist believes that, in order to be considered fully and authentically Christian, one must, as a matter of course, be in communion with the Pope of Rome and acknowledge him as the Head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

We reject this. We rejected this when it was first introduced in the first millennium, we rejected it when the papacy induced the Teutonic Knights, the Franks, and the Poles to invade Orthodox territories, and we reject it today… things have not changed. We still believe, as Khomiakov wrote in the 19th-century, that the papists were the first Protestants. What happened in 1054 was not a misunderstanding… for that trivialises an important issue. The papal confession fell away from the Church. This does not mean that we have the right to attack papists or ridicule them. It does mean that there is a serious disagreement on the very basis of the Church, one that the papists refuse to address properly.

Unfortunately, there are no grounds for a “compromise”. Uniatism is not a “bridge” between Papalism and Orthodoxy. Rather, sadly, it is nothing but a set of Latin Catholics who use Orthodox rituals and externals. For, you see, they accept the papalist position that the Pope of Rome is the Head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ on Earth. If they rejected this thesis, then, they would be Orthodox. However… the sine qua non of papalism is the acceptance of this syllogism. The two positions are mutually exclusive ontologically and substantially.

I advocate no hatred of Uniates or of “Catholics” in general. I believe that they should be left in peace, but, that we should drop all pretence at “ecumenism”. It is clear that the papalists are wedded to their heresy and that they refuse to abandon it. We should, therefore, end all so-called “dialogues” with the papists. However, we should, at the same time, link hands with all like-minded people in the fight against godless secularism. Does this mean that we and the papists are allies in some societal (not religious) endeavours? Certainly… and why not?

We should repeat the words of one of the Patriarchs of Constantinople in the 16th-century, “Send us no more letters about doctrine. Send us letters of friendship only”.

Now THAT is the Orthodox Way!

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Albany NY

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