Posted by: oldbelieving | March 20, 2012

Blasphemy at Balamand

This is a paper I wrote against the Balamand Statement of 1993 which was a betrayal of Orthodoxy in favor of Ecumenism with the Roman Catholics.

BLASPHEMY AT BALAMAND[1]

“We have cut the Latins off from us for no other reason than that they are not only schismatics, but also heretics. For this reason it is wholly improper to unite with them.” – St. Mark of Ephesus[2]

From June 17-24, 1993 the Seventh Plenary Session of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church met at the Balamand School of Theology in Lebanon at which all local Orthodox Churches were represented except those of Jerusalem, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Czechoslovakia. The session concerned the search for unity between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic communities and the problem of Uniatism and, unfortunately, the resulting document represents an Orthodox capitulation to Papist diplomacy and ecclesiology. The document characterizes the Orthodox and Catholics as “Sister Churches” (§12, 14), and declares that Christ’s entrustment of the faith and sacraments and the responsibility of maintaining the His Church belongs to both the Orthodox Church and the communities of the Papacy (§13, 14). Having so fully accepted these errors, the agreement also forbids proselytizing (§18, 35) because it is not important for salvation to be united to the Orthodox Church (§15)! There are other problematic statements that betray the Orthodox ethos, but those mentioned are the most objectionable, as they indicate another surrender to Rome in the vein of Florence, and even an implicit acceptance of the heretical Branch Theory.

The blasphemy at Balamand is not without its predecessors. In 1920 Metropolitan Dorotheus, Locum Tenens for the Patriarchal throne in Constantinople issued an encyclical that espoused the Branch Theory, embracing any and all Christian communities as our brethren and co-heirs of the promise in Christ, and proposing a common calendar for the celebration of major Christian feasts.[3] Later, validating Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and even Buddhism, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras stated, “We are deceived and we sin, if we think that the Orthodox faith came down from Heaven and that all [other] creeds are unworthy.”[4] The only way to view the Catholic communities as our Sister Church is to willfully ignore their heretical dogmas, and thus Patriarch Athenagoras also stated, “Let the dogmas be placed in the storeroom,” and “The age of dogma has passed,”[5] and denying the continuity of Christ’s one holy Church he stated, “let us all together refound the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, coexisting in the East and the West, as we lived up until 1054, in spite of the theological differences that existed then.”[6] Finally, in December 1965 the anathemas between Rome and Constantinople were unilaterally lifted by Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, which evoked a storm of protest from the Holy Mountain, Met. Philaret of New York, and St. Philotheos Zervakos among many others. Additionally, the Sixth Plenary Session in Freising in 1990 already spoke of “Sister Churches” and rejected Orthodox-Catholic proselytizing.[7] These sayings and events are the John the Baptists of the egregious Balamand Union.

The Balamand Statement also provoked a storm of protest from the traditionally-minded within the Church, although it did find acceptance in some circles and from some individuals. According to Fr. John Erickson’s article, “Concerning the Balamand Statement” in The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, the Holy Synod of Romania formally accepted it on July 6-7 1993, but in Greece the Old Calendarists, Mt. Athos, and even the Holy Synod were very against it. It received a generally favorable response from theologians in the West: the U.S. Orthodox/Roman Catholic Consultation referred to it as “a strong and positive contribution to the theological dialogue between our churches,” and the Catholic/Orthodox Mixed Commission of France (including Olivier Clement, Nicholas Lossky, Boris Bobrinskoy) declared that it “adheres fully to the great ecclesiological principles of the Balamand Statement” and pledged full support for its implementation.[8]

Among the most outspoken amongst the Orthodox in favor of the Balamand Statement was Bishop Vsevolod of Scopelos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate who was present at the session that produced the lamentable document. He has written, “Probably the most important point of the Balamand Statement, and the most controversial point among the Orthodox, is the affirmation that the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are ‘Sister Churches.’ This rich teaching of ecclesiology must be understood and taught everywhere; it must not remain simply a paper statement! . . . This teaching is the most important fruit of the Balamand statement,” and

Let me be quite unequivocal: I fully assent to these affirmations of the Balamand Statement. I genuinely believe that the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are Sister Churches, that the ‘profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops’ are fully present in both communities, and that the tragedy of our estrangement is that each has failed to appreciate the full reality of the other.[9]

Regrettably it would seem His Grace has forgotten the memory of St. Mark of Ephesus. Of course there was Catholic praise for the statement as well. On August 3, 1993, the Archbishop of the Ukrainian Uniates, Miroslav Cardinal Lubachivsky, wrote Edward Cardinal Cassidy a very detailed letter which approves the text of the agreement,[10] and in the official publication of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Episkepsis, Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope John Paul II published a join communiqué that praised the Balamand Statement, saying, “”The Joint Commission was able to proclaim that our Churches are recognized mutually as Sister Churches, responsible together for the preservation of the One Church of God.”[11]

Despite these betrayals of pure Orthodoxy, thankfully God also rose up voices of true witness in response to the profanity of Balamand. As always, the monastics rose up to be the guiding conscience of the Church. In a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch signed by all Representatives and Presidents of the Twenty Monasteries of the Holy Mountain, it is lamented that such a union apart from Orthodox truth will surely lead only to further schism within the Body of Christ. Responding to §13 which states, “the rediscovery and the giving of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes,” they reject the notion that the Orthodox and Catholics profess the same Apostolic faith: “The Orthodox Church, however, has always had the consciousness that she is not a simple communion but a theanthropic communion or a ‘communion of theosis,’ Moreover, the communion of theosis is not only unknown in but also irreconcilable with Roman Catholic theology, which rejects [the doctrine of] the uncreated energies of God that form and sustain this communion.”[12] They also state, “Unfortunately, it is the first time that Orthodox have officially accepted a form of the branch theory.”[13] In a response to Balamand, tracing the errors of the Franco-Latins, Fr. John Romanides similarly appeals to the Church’s experience of theosis. He explains that the “theologians” incorrectly point to Christ’s prayer in John 17 as evidence that He desires union between disparate churches:

This prayer is not for the union of the members of the Body of Christ with those who are not in the states of purification, illumination and glorification (theosis) . . . it is certainly not a prayer for the union of churches. That John 17 can be applied to Churches which have not the slightest understanding of glorification (theosis) and how to arrive at this cure in this life is very interesting, to say the least. This agreement takes advantage of those naive Orthodox who have been insisting that they are a “Sister” Church of a Vatican “Sister” Church, as though glorification (theosis) can have a sister otherwise than herself (§ 25-26).[14]

Finally Archbishop Dimitri (OCA) wrote in a letter to Metropolitan Theodosius: “It is inconceivable that the Orthodox, especially the bishops, priests and teachers, should agree to describe a church that is not in doctrinal agreement with her as a ‘sister church.’ To promote such an understanding . . . is to contradict and to be betray the Fathers who have defended Orthodoxy against Papism . . .”[15] His Grace is surely thinking of fathers such as the Pillars of Orthodoxy St. Photios the Great, St. Gregory Palamas, and St. Mark of Ephesus[16] who are renowned for their stands against the errors of the Papal communities. While some capitulated to the pressures of false union, the Balamand Statement was a clear transgression against the purity of Holy Orthodoxy.

There are many grounds on which to demonstrate that the flock of the Papacy cannot be the “Sister Church” of the Holy Orthodox Church, including several major and theological divergences, such as the Filioque, Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception, created grace, the entire scholastic and rationalistic system that grew up in the West, etc. However, I would like to examine just two Patristic teachings: the ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and Apostolic Succession according to St. Irenaeus of Lyons. For St. Ignatius the Eucharist is the “medicine of immortality”[17] and thus it follows that it is necessary to be united to those who liturgically offer this gift to God. Hence he states: “be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality.”[18] According to St. Ignatius the life of unity is centered in the clergy[19] which is an image of the Church’s unity with Christ and of Christ with the Father.[20]  Also, submission to the bishop is an image of submission to God and each other.[21] And of course, his famous statement is: “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”[22] St. Ignatius knows of no universal submission to the bishop of Rome. For him, the local Church manifests the fullness of the Church by virtue of its presiding bishop. Following the New Testament model, the Church is the Church in a place (i.e. St. Paul’s epistles to the Church or Saints in Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, etc.), and this is the model followed by the Orthodox Church to this day. On the other hand, “’Pope’ is a title applied to the bishop of Rome, particularly with respect to his role as the center of communion of the Roman Catholic Church.”[23] For the Catholics, the Church is not the faithful with their local bishop, but rather those who are in submission to and communion with St. Peter via the bishop of Rome.[24] This ecclesiology betrays a radically different conception of the Church which is incompatible to Orthodox tradition[25], which is the third major fall in human history, behind those of Adam and Judas according to St. Justin Popovich.[26]

St. Irenaeus of Lyons is known as an early witness to the doctrine of Apostolic Succession. Against various heretics he writes, “when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition . . . “[27] Later he writes:

It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about . . . And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.[28]

And again he writes, “Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church,—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession.”[29] His belief is clear: there is one true Church, united in doctrine that descends from the Christ and His Apostles. Thus the line of succession tracing back to the Apostles concerns not merely the laying on of hands, but also the preserving of the same and true Apostolic faith. This is why the Orthodox Church understands itself as the one, true Church of Christ. The Fathers painstakingly preserved and protected our faith, denouncing heresies in their writings and the Councils when need be. This is why we have no communion with those who teach differently. This teaching is wholly Scriptural. St. Paul continually exhorts us to be of one mind and to fellowship only with those of our same doctrine (i.e. Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them), and he lays out the doctrine of Apostolic Succession in his epistles to Timothy and Titus.

However, in today’s ecumenical world, Apostolic Succession has been gutted of its content and reduced to a mere line of human hands tracing to the Apostles. In this sense many communities can claim Apostolic Succession including the Catholics, Assyrians, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc, and it is in this sense that the Orthodox can falsely claim fellowship and communion and “sisterhood” with the Papal communities. For example, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev writes, “Among the members of the WCC there are more than a few such groups, which in our view long ago lost the fundamental properties of church-ness or which never possessed them in the first place. We are speaking here of such properties as apostolic succession of the hierarchy, the mysteries, faith in the reality of the Eucharist, etc.”[30] While His Grace’s statement appears soundly Orthodox at first glance, the problem is that he acknowledges that more than a few groups have lost or never had succession, but not all groups. According to St. Irenaeus, every Christian community outside the Orthodox Church is devoid of true and full Apostolic Succession. Only a disregarding or renunciation of this principle can allow for the abysmal ecclesiology espoused in the Balamand Statement.

In June of 1993, representatives from nine of the local Orthodox Churches met with twenty-four representatives of the Papacy for the Seventh Plenary Session of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in Balamand, Lebanon, to discuss the Unia in relation to unity between the Holy Orthodox Church and the communities of the Papacy. The resulting document is an appalling failure of theology, denying the continuity and singularity of the true Church of Christ, espousing the notion that Catholic communities make up the “Sister Church” of Orthodoxy, which is equally responsible for the Apostolic deposit of faith emanating from the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to the ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Irenaeus of Lyons’ teaching on Apostolic Succession, the Balamand Statement is wholly un-Orthodox, and a slap in the face to the countless Saints who have shed their blood to preserve the faith against the errors of the Latins. But the Lord promised that His Church would persevere and so He rose up voices of truth against demon-inspired pens, and thankfully, the heretical pronouncements of Balamand have never taken effect in the Orthodox Church. Glory to God!


[1] Although my tone may seem polemical throughout, quite frankly, I think the absurdities of the Balamand Statement deserve it.

[2] “Is the Papacy a Church?” Orthodox and Catholic Union: The Reply of the Holy Orthodox Church to Roman Catholic Overtures on Reunion and Ecumenism. Seattle: St. Nectarios, 1985, p. 22.

[3] It should be noted that the proposal had nothing to do with astronomical accuracy. The 1920 Encyclical is discussed on Moss, Vladimir. “Ten Reasons Why the Ecumenical Patriarchate is Not Orthodox.” Vladimir Moss: Orthodox Christianity Author. 29 Sept. 2009. Web. 12 May 2011. http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/281/ten-reasons-why-ecumenical-patriarchate-is-not-orthodox/, although I do not endorse the conclusion of the author, Vladimir Moss. The New Calendar was instituted in the Church of Greece in March 1924 by Abp. Chrysostomos Papadopoulis

[4] Archbishop Gregory. “Athenagoras (1948-1972).” True Orthodox Polemics. 2005. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_athenagoras.shtml&gt;.

[5] Cavarnos, Constantine. Ecumenism Examined: a Concise Analytical Discussion of the Contemporary Ecumenical Movement. Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1996, pp. 11, 28-30. Akropolis, June 29, 1963

[6]True Orthodox Polemics

[7] Erickson, Fr. John H. “Concerning the Balamand Statement.” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 42.1-2 (1997), p. 29

[8]Ibid., p. 33-36

[9] Scopelos, Bishop Vsevolod. “Reflections on Balamand.” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 42.3-4 (1997), p. 223, 224

[10] Barker, Patrick G., trans. “Papism, the Hagiorite Fathers, and the Aftermath of the “Balamand Union.” Orthodox Tradition: p. 16. Orthodox Christian Information Center. 11 May 2011. <http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/paphagfr.pdf&gt;.

[11]Episkepsis, No. 520, 31 July 1995, p. 19. Quoted at “Ecumenism Awareness: The Balamand Agreement.” Orthodox Christian Information Center. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ea_balamand.aspx&gt;..

[12] All Representatives and Presidents of the Twenty Sacred Monasteries of the Holy Mountain of Athos. “Letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Concerning the Balamand Agreement.” Trans. George S. Gabriel. The Ark 39-40 (1994). This letter can be found at http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/athos_bal.aspx.

[13]Ibid.

[14] Romanides, Fr. John. “A Critique of the Balamand Agreement.” Theologia 6.4 (1993): 570-80. The article is posted at http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/frjr_balamand.aspx.

[15] Archbishop Dimitri. “Letter from Archbishop Dimitri to Metropolitan Theodosius on the Balamand Agreement.” Orthodox Christian Witness (Oct. 8, 1995). Quoted in Young, Archpriest Alexey. The Rush to Embrace. Richfield Springs, NY: Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society, 1996, p. 69.

[16] St. Mark is quoted at the beginning of this paper.

[17]To the Ephesians 20

[18]To the Magnesians 6

[19]To the Ephesians 2, 4, 5: To the Trallians 7; To Polycarp.6

[20]To the Ephesians 5; To the Magnesians 2, 13; To the Trallians 7; To the Philippians 2, 3: To the Smyrneans 8, 9

[21]To the Ephesians 5, 20; To the Magnesians 2, 13; To the Philippians 7

[22]To the Smyrneans 8

[23] Walsh, Michael J. “Popes, Roman Catholic, and the Papacy.” The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Ed. Daniel Patte. 2010, p. 976.

[24] The understanding of the Papacy in the West underwent great development, beginning with Pope St. Stephen’s (254-257) first appeal to Matthew 16:18 to bolster Papal authority and ending with Papal Supremacy and Infallibility, and the teaching that to be a Christian is to submit to the Pope who is the mediator between Christ and man as the Vicar of Christ, as seen in the Papacy of Nicholas I (858-867).

[25] For a thorough study on this matter see Sherrard, Philip. Church, Papacy, and Schism: a Theological Enquiry. London: S.P.C.K., 1978.

[26] “In the history of the human race there have been three principal falls: that of Adam, that of Judas, and that of the pope.” Popovich, St. Justin. “Reflections on the Infallibility of European Man.” Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ. Ed. Asterios Gerostergios. Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1994. Quoted on “Quotes from St. Justin Popovich on the Papacy and the Apostolicity of the Church.” Full of Grace and Truth. 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/04/quotes-from-st-justin-popovich-on.html&gt;.

[27]Against Heresies, Book 3.2.2.

[28]Ibid., Book 3.3.1,3

[29]Ibid., Book 4.26.2

[30] Alfeyev, Bishop Hilarion. “Will the Ecumenical Ship Sink?” Interview. In Communion. Orthodox Peace Fellowship, 23 Apr. 2006. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.incommunion.org/2006/04/23/will-the-ecumenical-ship-sink/&gt;.

Works Cited

Alfeyev, Bishop Hilarion. “Will the Ecumenical Ship Sink?” Interview. In Communion.

Orthodox Peace Fellowship, 23 Apr. 2006. Web. 12 May 2011.

<http://www.incommunion.org/2006/04/23/will-the-ecumenical-ship-sink/&gt;.

All Representatives and Presidents of the Twenty Sacred Monasteries of the Holy Mountain of

Athos. “Letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Concerning the Balamand Agreement.”

Trans. George S. Gabriel. The Ark 39-40 (1994).

Archbishop Dimitri. “Letter from Archbishop Dimitri to Metropolitan Theodosius on the

Balamand Agreement.” Orthodox Christian Witness (Oct. 8, 1995).

Archbishop Gregory. “Athenagoras (1948-1972).” True Orthodox Polemics. 2005. Web. 12 May

2011. <http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_athenagoras.shtml&gt;.

Barker, Patrick G., trans. “Papism, the Hagiorite Fathers, and the Aftermath of the “Balamand

Union.” Orthodox Tradition: p. 16. Orthodox Christian Information Center. 11 May

2011. <http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/paphagfr.pdf&gt;.

Cavarnos, Constantine. Ecumenism Examined: a Concise Analytical Discussion of the Contemporary

 Ecumenical Movement. Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek

Studies, 1996, pp. 11, 28-30. Akropolis, June 29, 1963.

“Ecumenism Awareness: The Balamand Agreement.” Orthodox Christian Information Center.

Web. 13 May 2011. <http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ea_balamand.aspx&gt;.

Erickson, Fr. John H. “Concerning the Balamand Statement.” Greek Orthodox Theological

 Review 42.1-2 (1997).

Episkepsis, No. 520, 31 July 1995.

“Is the Papacy a Church?” Orthodox and Catholic Union: The Reply of the Holy Orthodox

 Church to Roman Catholic Overtures on Reunion and Ecumenism. Seattle: St. Nectarios,

1985.

Moss, Vladimir. “Ten Reasons Why the Ecumenical Patriarchate is Not Orthodox.” Vladimir Moss:

 Orthodox Christianity Author. 29 Sept. 2009. Web. 12 May 2011.             <http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/281/ten-reasons-why-ecumenical-patriarchate-

is-not-orthodox/>.

Popovich, St. Justin. “Reflections on the Infallibility of European Man.” Orthodox Faith and Life

 in Christ. Ed. Asterios Gerostergios. Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern

Greek Studies, 1994.

“Quotes from St. Justin Popovich on the Papacy and the Apostolicity of the Church.” Full of

 Grace and Truth. 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 13 May 2011. <http://full-of-grace-and-

truth.blogspot.com/2010/04/quotes-from-st-justin-popovich-on.html>.

Romanides, Fr. John. “A Critique of the Balamand Agreement.” Theologia 6.4 (1993): 570-80.

Scopelos, Bishop Vsevolod. “Reflections on Balamand.” Greek Orthodox Theological Review

42.3-4 (1997).

Sherrard, Philip. Church, Papacy, and Schism: a Theological Enquiry. London: S.P.C.K., 1978.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Ephesians.

— To the Magnesians

— To the Philippians

— To Polycarp

— To the Symerneans

—  To the Trallians

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies.

Walsh, Michael J. “Popes, Roman Catholic, and the Papacy.” The Cambridge Dictionary of

 Christianity. Ed. Daniel Patte. 2010

Young, Archpriest Alexey. The Rush to Embrace. Richfield Springs, NY: Nikodemos Orthodox

Publication Society, 1996

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Responses

  1. “Sister church” is a perfectly acceptable phrase. It is a way of saying, “We are separate. We are not the same church. But we might have to get together on holidays and pretend that we like each other.” To reject the term is tantamount to rejecting the Ishmaelites as unrelated to the Israelites. This is not what God’s word demonstrates.

    I also wonder why you included “the tragedy of our estrangement is that each has failed to appreciate the full reality of the other” as if it justified your argument. That *is* the tragedy of our estrangement. We have failed them and allowed their theology to decay by not maintaining a constant influence, and by refusing to rescue them. We refuse them the opportunity to enjoy what we have to offer, that is, salvation. *We* are responsible for the decay of the West. We have the solution to their problems, and we are refusing to give it to them. This is abhorrent. The Balamand statement is a splash of cold water in our faces, by us. It allows us to establish warm relations to begin exposing the Romans to our structure and outlook, to begin inviting them back in.

    It is time to cease rejecting them as unworthy and, rather, to invite them into our fold, one at a time. That needs a public statement.

  2. Awesome. I am with you 100%.

    Why must it be the Old Calendarists who always speak against these sorts of things? My concern is that I’m in communion with the people who wrote it.

    Where are our bishops who should be the one’s taking this heretical statement to task?

    Has there ever been a retraction of this heresy?

    Also, do you realize that you’ll be considered an “unloving traditionalist zealot” now?

  3. Jeffrey, I dont believe this is what the Statement means by “Sister Churches.” It seems to me to that it needs to be understood in the context that both Churches are supposedly both preservers of the Church and that therefore conversion from Catholicism to Orthodoxy is not necessary. This is not acceptable.

    also, Bp. Vesevolod speaks of the tragedy of our estrangement in the sense that Orthodoxy and Catholicism are completely equal in Apostolic Succession and sacramental reality and thus we SHOULD be one united Church. Again, this is unacceptable.

    I agree with you that we need to invite them into the flock one at a time, but this is forbidden by the Statement. It says there is no need to bring Catholics into the Orthodox Church. Also, I dont understand why it would be necessary to have a public statement to bring in individuals (even if it were more of an Orthodox statement than is this one). Lots of individuals have converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, both before and after this statement.

    I have no problem with having warm relations with the Catholics, but Balamand calls for much more than that.

    Maximus, as far as I know this statement never really received any kind of authority. Proselytizing still goes on and I don’t have to think that Catholicism is equal in order to be Orthodox. Fear not, there are non-Old Calendarists out there who also take a strong stand, such as the Holy Mountain!

  4. […] promise in Christ, and proposing a common calendar for the celebration of major Christian feasts.[3] Later, validating Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and even Buddhism, Ecumenical Patriarch […]


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