Category Archives: OTSA Special Project on the Holy and Great Council

On Ecumenoclasm: Who Can Be Saved?

by Paul Ladouceur  |  ελληνικά

Orthodox ecumenists and anti-ecumenists both start from the same fundamental ecclesiological principle, succinctly expressed in an anti-ecumenical statement of the Sacred Community of Mount Athos in April 1980: “We believe that our holy Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which possesses the fullness of grace and truth.”

But pro-ecumenical and anti-ecumenical Orthodox draw radically different conclusions from this one principle. Ecumenists, focusing on the notion that the Orthodox Church possesses “the fullness of grace and truth,” conclude that other Christian churches also possess grace and truth, if not in their fullness. This realization opens the door to considering non-Orthodox Christians as true brothers and sisters in Christ and hence to the possibility of dialogue in love, growth in mutual understanding of each other’s faith and traditions, and discovery of common elements which unite Christians of different denominations. Continue Reading…

On Consensus: A Canonical Appraisal

by Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel

A key component of the document “Organization and Working Procedureis the requirement for unanimity for the approval of any texts or amendments. The primates of the Churches can adopt procedures for the running of the council; nothing in the canonical tradition forbids the adoption of such rules, and consensus as a rule for decision making has a long history in the Church. While it would be anachronistic to claim that the Council of Jerusalem described in Acts was a council like subsequent councils, the description there provided a paradigm for later conciliar activity. The phrasing of the Apostolic decree, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15.28),” expresses the two-fold requirement that anything the conciliar process arrives at must be consistent with the revelation, manifested in the consensus of those in the Church. These seemingly practical requirements emerge from the conviction that the Church is the body of Christ, where humans are united with Jesus Christ and each other by the grace of the Spirit. Continue Reading…

Some Comments on the Mission Document by Orthodox Missiologists

The Center for Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies “Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou” (CEMES)

Without denying the importance of the other pre-conciliar documents, the one on mission is of extraordinary significance. Not only because the Church exists for the world, and not for herself, but also because it comes at a time that the entire world has enthusiastically received two similar mission statements: Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (2013), and almost simultaneously the new Mission Statement: “Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes”.

On the initiative of the Center for Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies “Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou” (CEMES), we, the undersigned 15 Orthodox professional missiologists, were engaged in a thorough examination of this document and submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch and all the Orthodox Primates an extended study with suggestions for certain improvements (in Greek and English).

In this study we focused on five main areas: Continue Reading…

Marriage, Family, and Scripture

by Bryce E. RichFr. Robert M. Arida, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, David Dunn, Maria McDowell, and Teva Regule 

The title of the working document “The Sacrament of Marriage and Its Impediments” appears to promise a meaningful teaching on the spousal relationship. Instead, much of the document is devoted to a particular, modern vision of family. Beginning with the central claim of §I.1 regarding the dangers posed by secularization and moral relativism to the institution of the family, over half the paragraphs of Section I address relationships deemed incongruous with the purported Orthodox model of family, mixed with claims about the welfare of civil society. While much can be said, the following essay offers a cursory examination of the scripture passages supporting this view, along with an exploration of biblical passages that belie this facile model. Continue Reading…