Crete

Last June’s meeting of some Orthodox bishops in Crete, ‘representatives’ of 20% of the Orthodox world, served only to produce schism in its Balkan corner. It left the fifteen million members of the six small Greek Churches (Constantinople, Greece, its Albanian satellite, Cyprus, Alexandria and Jerusalem), fragments of the ethnic Greek Empire that long ago disappeared and which in fact are only one, as well as the Churches of Romania and Serbia, bitterly divided between Orthodox and modernists. Since three of these eight Local Churches have US-appointed Patriarchs, this is hardly surprising.

On the other hand, it brought the mainstream of the Syrian/Lebanese Church of Antioch (in reality the Church of Damascus) much closer to the Russian Orthodox Church, which is 75% of the Orthodox world. The Churches of Georgia and Bulgaria were already close. As for the representatives of the small Local Churches of Poland and of the Czechs and Slovaks, although present in Crete, everyone knows that in reality they are merely fragments of the pre-1917 Russian Empire and so of the Russian Church, and so they can ignore anything that went on there.

The meeting in Crete made clear that those Orthodox who, it seems, are Orthodox only by reason of their nationality, who have fallen to Western humanist delusions (nowadays called ‘personalism’) are in danger of falling away from Orthodoxy altogether. Their essentially filioquist and so secularist desire to replace the Divine, the paradisiac and sinless Holy Spirit, with the human, the fallen and sinful human spirit, is leading them out of the Church. Therefore, this meeting was a catalyst, inasmuch as it means that the Orthodox must once and for all clearly define what the Church is. It must also define how the heterodox both fall outside Her and yet also, consciously or else by passive inertia, still preserve some vestiges of Her heritage. And it is this that leads them to labour under the delusion that their vestiges are Christianity.

There is then need for a genuine Church Council, gathering all fourteen Local Orthodox Churches with their 650 or so Orthodox bishops, including the 350 of the Russian Church, in order to define dogmatically the ecclesiology of the Church. These fathers can build on the theological foundations already laid, notably by St Hilarion (Troitsky) and St Justin (Popovich). This Council must anathematize not only the heresy of ecumenism, but also that of phyletism. For these heresies are closely interconnected, as those who confine the Church of God exclusively to a single race and language (phyletism) are by definition also utterly indifferent to dogma. It is precisely on account of this dogmatic indifference that they are willing to compromise the Church with any fashionable secular dogma, which promises money and power to those who are nostalgic for the money and power that they lost in the distant past.