1. Statement of Worldwide Synaxis of Primates of the Orthodox Church 2008
2. Statement of Worldwide Synaxis of Primates of the Orthodox Church 2000
3. 1895 Reply of the Orthodox Church to Roman Catholic Overtures on Reunion
4. 1848 Response of the Orthodox Church to the Epistle of Pius IX "to the Easterns"
Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Church, Worldwide Synaxis, 2008
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
1. Through the Grace of God, the Primates and the Representatives of the local Orthodox Churches have gathered from 10-12 October, 2008, in the Phanar, at the invitation and under the presidency of the First among us, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of the proclamation of this year as the year of Saint Paul, Apostle to the Nations. We have deliberated in fraternal love on the issues that concern the Orthodox Church, and participating in the festivities of this occasion, we celebrated together the Holy Eucharist in the Most Sacred Patriarchal Church of the Ecumenical Throne, today, 12 October 2008, Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. During these days, we have been strengthened by the truth of the gifts of divine providence received by the Apostle to the Nations, which rendered him a superb “chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15) of God and a shining model of apostolic ministry for the body of the Church.
The entire Orthodox Church is honoring this Apostle during the current year of the Lord, promoting him as an example to its faithful for a contemporary witness of our faith to “those near and those afar” (Eph. 2:17).
2. The Orthodox Church, having the understanding of the authentic interpretation of the teaching of the Apostle to the Nations, in both peaceful and difficult times of its two-thousand year historical course, can and must promote to the contemporary world the teaching not only regarding the restoration in Christ of the unity of the entire human race, but also regarding the universality of His work of redemption, through which all the divisions of the world are overcome and the common nature of all human beings is affirmed.
Nevertheless, the faithful promotion of this message of redemption also presupposes overcoming the internal conflicts of the Orthodox Church through the surrendering of nationalistic, ethnic and ideological extremes of the past. For only in this way will the word of Orthodoxy have a necessary impact on the contemporary world.
3. Inspired by the teaching and the work of the Apostle Paul, we underscore first and foremost, the importance of the duty of Mission for the life of the Church, and in particular for the ministry of us all, in accordance with the final commandment of the Lord: “you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem, but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The evangelization of God’s people, but also of those who do not believe in Christ, constitutes the supreme duty of the Church. This duty must not be fulfilled in an aggressive manner, or by various forms of proselytism, but with love, humility and respect for the identity of each individual and the cultural particularity of each people. All Orthodox Churches must contribute to this missionary effort, respecting the canonical order.
4. The Church of Christ today fulfills it ministry in a rapidly developing world, which has now become interconnected through means of communication and the development of means of transportation and technology. At the same time however, the extent of alienation, divisions and conflicts is also increasing. Christians emphasize that the source of this condition is the alienation of man from God. No change in social structures or of rules of behavior suffices to heal this condition. The Church consistently points out that sin can only be conquered through the cooperation of God and humankind.
5. Under such circumstances, the contemporary witness of Orthodoxy for the ever-increasing problems of humanity and of the world becomes imperative, not only in order to point out their causes, but also in order to directly confront the tragic consequences that follow. The various nationalistic, ethnic, ideological and religious contrasts continuously nurture dangerous confusion, not only in regard to the unquestionable ontological unity of the human race, but also in regard to man’s relationship to sacred creation. The sacredness of the human person is constrained to partial claims for the “individual”, whereas his relationship toward the rest of sacred creation is subjected to his arbitrary use or abuse of it.
These divisions of the world introduce an unjust inequality in the participation of individuals, or even peoples in the goods of Creation; they deprive billions of people of basic goods and lead to the misery for the human person; they cause mass population migration, kindle nationalistic, religious and social discrimination and conflict, threatening traditional internal societal coherence. These consequences are still more abhorrent because they are inextricably linked with the destruction of the natural environment and the entire ecosystem.
6. Orthodox Christians share responsibility for the contemporary crisis of this planet with other people, whether they are people of faith or not, because they have tolerated and indiscriminately compromised on extreme human choices, without credibly challenging these choices with the word of faith. Therefore, they also have a major obligation to contribute to overcoming the divisions of the world.
The Christian teaching about the ontological unity between the human race and sacred creation, as expressed by the entire mystery of the redemptive work in Christ, constitutes the foundation for interpretation of man’s relationship with God and the world.
7. Efforts to distance religion from societal life constitute the common tendency of many modern states. The principle of a secular state can be preserved; however, it is unacceptable to interpret this principle as a radical marginalization of religion from all spheres of public life.
8. The gap between rich and poor is growing dramatically due to the financial crisis, usually the result of manic profiteering by economic factors and corrupt financial activity, which, by lacking an anthropological dimension and sensitivity, does not ultimately serve the real needs of mankind. A viable economy is that which combines efficacy with justice and social solidarity.
9. With regard to the issue of the relationship of Christian faith to the natural sciences, the Orthodox Church has avoided pursuing ownership of developing scientific research and assuming a position on every scientific question. From the Orthodox viewpoint, freedom of research constitutes a God-given gift to humanity. While affirming this however, at the same time Orthodoxy underscores the dangers concealed in certain scientific achievements, the limits of scientific knowledge, and the existence of another “knowledge” that does not immediately fall with the scope of science. This other “knowledge” proves in many ways to be necessary for establishing the proper boundaries of freedom, and utilizing the fruits of science by the restraint of egocentrism and respect for the value of the human person.
10. The Orthodox Church believes that technological and economic progress should not lead to the destruction of the environment and the exhaustion of natural resources. Greed to satisfy material desires leads to the impoverishment of the human soul and the environment. We must not forget that the natural riches of the earth are not only man’s property, but primarily God’s creation: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell therein” (Ps.23:1). We ought to remember that not only today’s generation, but also future generations are entitled to have a right to the resources of nature, which the Creator has granted us.
11. In firmly supporting every peaceful effort for just solutions to conflicts that arise, we salute the position of the Churches of Russia and Georgia and their fraternal cooperation during the period of recent military conflict. In this way, the two Churches fulfilled the obligation to the ministry of reconciliation. We hope that their mutual ecclesiastical efforts will contribute to overcoming the tragic consequences of military operations and the swift reconcilement of the peoples.
12. In the ever-growing confusion of our times, the institution of family and marriage faces a crisis. In a spirit of understanding the new complex social condition, the Church is obliged to find ways to spiritually support and generally encourage the young and large families.
We turn our thoughts especially to the young people, in order to call them to actively participate both in the sacramental and sanctifying life, as well as in the missionary and social work of the Church, transferring their problems and their expectations to the Church, since they constitute not only its future, but also its present.
13. As Primates and the Representatives of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches, fully aware of the gravity of the aforementioned problems, and laboring to confront them directly as “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries” (1 Cor. 4:1), we proclaim from this See of the First-throne among the Churches and we re-affirm:
i) our unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church in “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), the faith of our Fathers, in the common Divine Eucharist and in the faithful observance of the canonical system of Church governance by settling any problems that arise from time to time in relations among us with a spirit of love and peace.
ii) our desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology. In this respect we welcome the proposal by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to convene Panorthodox Consultations within the coming year 2009 on this subject, as well as for the continuation of preparations for the Holy and Great Council. In accordance with the standing order and practice of the Panorthodox Consultations in Rhodes, it will invite all Autocephalous Churches.
iii) our desire to continue, despite any difficulties, the theological dialogues with other Christians, as well as the interreligious dialogues, especially with Judaism and Islam, given that dialogue constitutes the only way of solving differences among people, especially in a time like today, when every kind of division, including those in the name of religion, threaten people’s peace and unity.
iv) our support for the initiatives by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as by other Orthodox Churches, for the protection of the natural environment. Today’s ecological crisis, which is due to both spiritual and ethical reasons, renders imperative the obligation of the Church to contribute through the spiritual means at her disposal, to the protection of God’s creation from the consequences of human greed. In this regard, we reaffirm the designation of the 1st of September, the first day of the Ecclesiastical Year, as the day of special prayers for the protection of God’ creation, and we support the introduction of the subject of the natural environment in the catechetical, homiletic, and general pastoral activity of our Churches, as this is already the case in some.
v) the decision to proceed with the necessary actions, in order to form an Inter-Orthodox Committee to study issues of bioethics, on which the world also awaits the position of Orthodoxy.
Addressing these things to the Orthodox people throughout the world and to the entire oikoumene, we pray “again and again” that peace, justice, and God’s love may finally prevail in people’s lives.
“Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, glory be to him in the Church and in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:20-21). Amen.
In the Phanar, 12th October 2008.
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
+ Theodore of Alexandria
+ Ignatius of Antioch
+ Theophilos of Jerusalem
+ Alexey of Moscow
+ Amphilochios of Montenegro
(representing the Church of Serbia)
+ Laurentiu of Transylvania
(representing the Church of Romania)
+ Dometiyan of Vidin
(representing the Church of Bulgaria)
+ Gerasime of Zugdidi
(representing the Church of Georgia)
+ Chrysostomos of Cyprus
+ Ieronymos of Athens
+ Jeremiasz of Wrocław
(representing of the Church of Poland)
+ Anastasios of Tirana
+ Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia
MESSAGE OF THE PRIMATES OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
DURING THEIR SYNAXIS-ASSEMBLY AT THE PHANAR
Nativity 2000 AD
This message was written and signed by all the primates after the Christmas Eucharistic Co-celebration in the see of the Phanar and read during the Eucharistic Co-celebration in Nicaea (Iznik) the 26th of December 2000.
1.- Having gathered with divine cooperation and by kind invitation of the Archbishop of the City of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch in his see at the Phanar, and having concelebrated unto to the Lord in this historical sacred Church of the Wisdom of God in the glorious city of Nicaea, where our Fathers were moved by the All-Holy Spirit and formulated the unshakeable doctrines of our Orthodox Faith, the Primates, by God's mercy, of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches throughout the world, address the Orthodox faithful all over the earth, our Christian brothers and sisters in the whole world, and every person of good will, with a blessing from God and an embrace of love and peace. Rejoice in the Lord always, brethren; again we say, rejoice! (Cf. Phil. 4:5)
2.- The festivities on the occasion of the sacred jubilee of the two millennia of Church life are concluded and culminated by our Synaxis (Assembly). Through these festivities, the entire Orthodox Church the world over offered praise and glory to the Triune God, whose boundless love and immeasurable mercy have so deigned that His Son and Word "may dwell among us" (John 1:14) through His incarnation, whereby "we have seen His glory, the glory as of a Father's only Son, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14)
3.- In consideration of this great gift, whereby our Lord emptied Himself and, being humbled, assumed within Himself fallen humanity, for our sake becoming "Emmanuel, God with us" (Matt. 1:24), the Church of Christ, as His body that has been extended through the ages, is conscious of its noble mission and profound responsibility within history. It beholds with a sense of awe its course over the last two thousand years, as well as its impending challenges of the times.
4.- In regards to its historic course thus far, the Most Holy Orthodox Church of Christ, filled with thanksgiving, exclaims the words of that Golden-Mouthed Father of the Church: "Glory be to God for all things". From the first day of its life to this very moment, and even "until the Lord comes" (I Cor. 11:26), the Orthodox Church has lifted His cross and possessed His grace, which "is perfected in weakness" (II Cor. 12:9). Being persecuted by all kinds of enemies, it is victorious; and dying daily, behold it lives! (Cf. II Cor. 6:9). Calling to mind the Lords words that "even the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18) and based on the power of His Resurrection (cf. Phil. 3:10), it is not daunted by those who assault it, no matter how powerful these may be from a worldly perspective. Rather, it agonizes and strives for one thing alone: to transmit and embody faithfully the love of God that was incarnate and revealed in Christ for all people and all times. In this way, the Church and every individual - even the most despised and deserted person in the world - will feel that God is also for their sake "Emmanuel," that it is especially and primarily for their sake that God became human, was crucified and is risen. And it is for their sake that He granted to the world His body, the Church, in order to gather the scattered (cf. John 11:52), to reconcile the separated, and to include in its embrace, as if in the embrace of God Himself, all those who "labour and are heavy laden" (Matt. 11:28), righteous and sinners alike, both poor and wealthy, indeed the whole of creation.
5.- When gathered in the Holy Eucharist, the Church realizes and reveals to the world and to history the incorporation of all in Christ, the transcendence of every discrimination and contrast, a communion of love wherein "there is neither male nor female, neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian or Scythian, slave or free" (Col. 3:11 and Gal. 3:28). In this way, it presents an image of the Kingdom of God, but at the same time also an image of ideal human society, and the foretaste of the victory of life over death, of incorruption over corruption, and love over hatred.
6.- Bearing this Message of unity and reconciliation as a sacred deposit through the centuries, the Church regards its unity as its primary and greatest concern and benefit. It feels deeply grieved and painfully wounded whenever or for whatever reason - although in its nature it always remains undivided - the seamless garment of the Lord is torn apart and its unity is threatened or fragmented. This is why, in casting our minds back over the past two millennia, we express our pain that, while during the first thousand years after Christ His Church experienced a common and undivided tradition, during the next thousand years the Christian world was divided and fragmented lamentably to the great scandal of the whole world and to the impairment of the message of love and reconciliation which the Lord entrusted to us. Without seeking or listing at this time the historical causes of this division, we invite everyone to work in a dialogue of truth and love for the unity of those who believe in Christ. We should not be sparing in pain or labour, but "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15), "without each one looking to their own interests, but to the interests of others" (Phil. 2:4). It is only through dialogue that is sincere and without ulterior motives, based on the common and undivided tradition of the first millennium after Christ, that we are able to construct the unity that is so deeply desired and needed. Thus the proclamation of love and of reconciliation in Christ will be more convincing to the contemporary world. This is what we wish to underline in regard to the overall endeavour for the restoration of unity among all Christians through the so-called "ecumenical movement," in which our Orthodox Church has participated from the outset.
7.- Out of concern then for the unity of all those who believe in Christ, indeed agonizing and striving for such unity, we - the ones entrusted with the leadership of the Most Holy Orthodox Church - in no way ignore the necessity and obligation to care also for the preservation and increase of unity within our own Orthodox Church. We have received this unity from our Fathers as a unity, in the same faith, in a common worship, especially in the Holy Sacraments, and most especially in the Holy Eucharist, as well as in the communion of Saints who bequeathed to us an example in whose footsteps we may follow. Indeed, it is particularly wonderful that, in spite of the variety of languages, races and cultures, this unity pervades the entire body of Orthodoxy, rendering the local Holy Orthodox Churches a single undivided body, namely the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. We humbly recognize this as a gift of the Holy Spirit, and safeguard it as the apple of our eye.
8.- Those serving in the ministry of ecclesiastical leadership, having been appointed guardians and protectors of this unity, bear a heavy sense of responsibility whenever dangers and divisive tendencies appear in the holy body of Orthodoxy. We have at other previous synaxis (assemblies) such as these strongly condemned schisms that plague the unity of the Most Holy Orthodox Church. Once again we invite all those who for whatever reason have separated from the canonical structure of the Church to return to it. At this present Synaxis (Assembly), we regard it as our duty to remind ourselves and one another that in no way should the historically inherited system of Autocephalous Orthodox Churches provide opportunity or ground for the development of an independence that acts against our unity. For though we are many local Churches, we do not cease to comprise one Church.
9.- This reminder is most especially compelling whenever autocephaly is connected to the national identity and peculiarity of peoples. The diversity of nations and cultures is beneficial and blessed by God. Our Holy Orthodox Church blesses and sanctifies it. Nevertheless, of its very nature the Church cannot constitute a vehicle for the facilitation or propagation of political, nationalistic, or racial interests. The condemnation by the Orthodox Church of the heresy of ethno-phyletism at Constantinople in the year 1872 forever remains of critical importance. Any interference in another canonical jurisdiction through the establishment therein of bishops not belonging to the local Church and its canonical shepherds endangers the unity of the Church and contradicts fundamental principles of Orthodox Ecclesiology.
10.- Every fragmentation of the unity of the Church, on the pretext of preserving customs and traditions or supposedly defending authentic Orthodoxy, is equally unacceptable and must be considered condemnable. As the whole life of the Orthodox Church bears witness, diversity in customs in no way prevents eucharistic communion among Orthodox Churches, while the preservation of the authentic Orthodox Faith is guaranteed through the Synodical system which has always been the ultimate criterion on matters of faith in the Church.
11.- On this significant and historic occasion, we share these thoughts about the unity of the Church with believers in Christ throughout the world, especially with those who bear the name of Orthodox Christians, firmly considering that without unity in faith, worship, sanctity of life, but unity in the Episcopal and canonical structure of the Church, its witness in the contemporary world is in no way feasible.
12.- This unity does not constitute a luxury for the Church, but a constitutive element of its existence and witness in the world. The unity of the Church concerns not only the Church in and of itself, but also the unity of all humankind and the whole world. According to St. Maximus the Confessor, the Church is and depicts and contains in seed all of creation, because it is the body of Christ, "who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:23). Consequently, in caring and striving for the unity of the Church, we have in mind the deeper human search to transcend various divisions, oppositions, conflicts and battles. We also recall the human thirst for peace and cooperation, and the vision of a society where everyone lives in harmony, "bearing with one another in love," in accordance with the Apostolic exhortation (Eph. 4:2). The unity of the Church is offered in this way as a proper example for human unity, a unity that respects particularity among persons and nations, in an age of rapid development of various tendencies and forms of "globalisation".
13.- Thus, we invite all those who believe in Christ to labour tirelessly for the restoration of the shattered unity among Christians, forging dialogues with one another in truth and in love. We urge all those belonging to the Holy Orthodox Church to remain united around their canonical bishops, recalling always the divinely inspired words of St. Ignatius the God-Bearer: "wherever the bishop is, there also is the Church".
14.- Once again, we assure everyone that, as responsible shepherds and leaders of the Church of Christ, we are vigilantly caring for its unity and for the fulfilment of its sacred mission in the world and in history. We attentively listen to humanity's anguish and expectations, as well as its fears as we enter the third millennium after Christ. We shall do everything in our capacity, by gathering regularly in person or through our representatives, to secure and promote the invaluable unity of the Church of Christ. We shall strive to render perceptible and tangible for the entire world the saving reality that, in Christ and through the Church, God is not far from humanity, but rather is everywhere present and near everyone; He is Emmanuel, God with us.
15.- Finally, embracing everyone - both those afar and those nearby - in the love of our Lord and God who was incarnate for the salvation of the world, we pray His grace and mercy be abundantly upon all.
At the Phanar, Christmas 2000
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
+ Petros of Alexandria
+ Ignatius of Antioch
+ Iakovos of Laodiceia (on behalf of the Holy Church of Jerusalem)
+ Pavle of Belgrade
+ Theoctist of Bucharest
+ Maxim of Sofia
+ Abraham of Siatoura (on behalf of the Holy Church of Georgia)
+ Vasilios of Trimythoun (on behalf of the Holy Church of Cyprus)
+ Christodoulos of Athens
+ Sawa of Warsaw
+ Anastasios of Tirana
+ Nikolai of the Czech Lands and all Slovakia
+ Ambrose of Oulu (on behalf of the Church of Finland)
+ Stephanos of Tallinn
The Reply of the Orthodox Church to Roman Catholic Overtures on Reunion
The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895: A Reply to the Papal Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Reunion (1895)
(received and accepted by all local Orthodox Churches)
To the most Sacred and Most Divinely-beloved Brethren in Christ the Metropolitans and Bishops, and their sacred and venerable Clergy, and all the godly and Orthodox Laity of the Most Holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Throne of Constantinople.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their own conversation: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. (Heb. xiii. 7, 8).
Every godly and Orthodox soul, which has a sincere zeal for the glory of God, is deeply afflicted and weighed down with great pain upon seeing that he, who detests that which is good and is a murderer from the beginning, impelled by envy of man's salvation, never ceases continually to sow divers tares in the field of the Lord, in order to sift the wheat. From this source indeed, even from the earliest times, there sprang up in the Church of God heretical tares, which have in many ways made havoc, and do still make havoc, of the salvation of mankind by Christ; which moreover, as bad seeds and corrupted members, are rightly cut off from the sound body of the Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ. But in these last times the evil one has rent from the Orthodox Church of Christ even whole nations in the West, having inflated the bishops of Rome with thoughts of excessive arrogance, which has given birth to divers lawless and anti-evangelical innovations. And not only so, but furthermore the Popes of Rome from time to time, pursuing absolutely and without examination modes of union according to their own fancy, strive by every means to reduce to their own errors the Catholic Church of Christ, which throughout the world walks unshaken in the Orthodoxy of faith transmitted to her by the Fathers.
Accordingly, the Pope of Rome, Leo XIII, on the occasion of his episcopal jubilee, published in the month of June of the year of grace 1895 an encyclical letter, addressed to the leaders and peoples of the world, by which he also at the same time invites our Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ to unite with the papal throne, thinking that such union can only be obtained by acknowledging him as supreme pontiff and the highest spiritual and temporal ruler of the universal Church, as the only representative of Christ upon earth and the dispenser of all grace.
No doubt every Christian heart ought to be filled with longing for union of the Churches, and especially the whole Orthodox world, being inspired by a true spirit of piety, according to the divine purpose of the establishment of the church by the God-man our Saviour Christ, ardently longs for the unity of the Churches in the one rule of faith, and on the foundation of the Apostolic doctrine handed down to us through the Fathers, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.1 Wherefore she also every day, in her public prayers to the Lord, prays for the gathering together of the scattered and for the return of those who have gone astray to the right way of the truth, which alone leads to the Life of all, the only-begotten Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.2 Agreeably, therefore, to this sacred longing, our Orthodox Church of Christ is always ready to accept any proposal of union, if only the Bishop of Rome would shake off once for all the whole series of the many and divers anti-evangelical novelties that have been privily brought in to his Church, and have provoked the sad division of the Churches of the East and West, and would return to the basis of the seven holy Ecumenical Synods, which, having been assembled in the Holy Spirit, of representatives of all the holy Churches of God, for the determination of the right teaching of the faith against heretics, have a universal and perpetual supremacy in the Church of Christ. And this, both by her writings and encyclical letters, the Orthodox Church has never ceased to intimate to the Papal Church, having clearly and explicitly set forth that so long as the latter perseveres in her innovations, and the Orthodox Church adheres to the divine and Apostolic traditions of Christianity, during which the Western Churches were of the same mind and were united with the Churches of the East, so long is it a vain and empty thing to talk of union. For which cause we have remained silent until now, and have declined to take into consideration the papal encyclical in question, esteeming it unprofitable to speak to the ears of those who do not hear. Since, however, from a certain period the Papal Church, having abandoned the method of persuasion and discussion, began, to our general astonishment and perplexity, to lay traps for the conscience of the more simple Orthodox Christians by means of deceitful workers transformed into apostles of Christ,3 sending into the East clerics with the dress and headcovering of Orthodox priests, inventing also divers and other artful means to obtain her proselytizing objects; for this reason, as in sacred duty bound, we issue this patriarchal and synodical encyclical, for a safeguard of the Orthodox faith and piety, knowing that the observance of the true canons is a duty for every good man, and much more for those who have been thought worthy by Providence to direct the affairs of others.4
The union of the separated Churches with herself in one rule of faith is, as has been said before, a sacred and inward desire of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ; but without such unity in the faith, the desired union of the Churches becomes impossible. This being the case, we wonder in truth how the Most Blessed Pope Leo XIII, though he himself also acknowledges this truth, falls into a plain self-contradiction, declaring, on the one hand, that true union lies in the unity of faith, and, on the other hand, that every Church, even after the union, can hold her own dogmatic and canonical definitions, even when they differ from those of the Papal Church, as His Blessedness declares in a previous encyclical, dated November 30, 1894. For there is an evident contradiction when in one and the same Church one believes that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and another that He proceeds from the Father and the Son; when one sprinkles, and another baptizes (immerses) thrice in the water; one uses leavened bread in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and another unleavened; one imparts to the people of the chalice as well as of the bread, and the other only of the holy bread; and other things like these. But what this contradiction signifies, whether respect for the evangelical truths of the holy Church of Christ and an indirect concession and acknowledgement of them, or something else, we cannot say.
But however that may be, for the practical realization of the pious longing for the union of the Churches, a common principle and basis must be settled first of all; and there can be no such safe common principle and basis other than the teaching of the Gospel and of the seven holy Ecumenical Councils. Reverting, then, to that teaching which was common to the Churches of the East and of the West until the separation, we ought, with a sincere desire to know the truth, to search what the One Holy, Catholic and Orthodox Apostolic Church of Christ, being then of the same body, throughout the East and West believed, and to hold this fact, entire, and unaltered. But whatsoever has in later times been added or taken away, every one has a sacred and indispensable duty, if he sincerely seeks for the glory of God more than for his own glory, that in a spirit of piety he should correct it, considering that by arrogantly continuing in the perversion of the truth he is liable to a heavy account before the impartial judgement-seat of Christ. In saying this we do not at all refer to the differences regarding the ritual of the sacred services and the hymns, or the sacred vestments, and the like, which matters, even though they still vary, as they did of old, do not in the least injure the substance and unity of the faith; but we refer to those essential differences which have reference to the divinely transmitted doctrines of the faith, and the divinely instituted canonical constitution of the administration of the Churches. In cases where the thing disregarded is not the faith (says also the holy Photius),5 and is no falling away from any general and Catholic decree, different rites and customs being observed among different people, a man who knows how to judge rightly would decide that neither do those who observe them act wrongly, nor do those who have not received them break the law.6
And indeed for the holy purpose of union, the Eastern and Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ is heartily ready to accept all that which both the Eastern and Western Churches unanimously professed before the ninth century, if she has perchance perverted or does not hold it. And if the Westerns prove from the teaching of the holy Fathers and the divinely assembled Ecumenical Councils that the then Orthodox Roman Church, which was throughout the West, even before the ninth century read the Creed with the addition, or used unleavened bread, or accepted the doctrine of a purgatorial fire, or sprinkling instead of baptism, or the immaculate conception of the ever-Virgin, or the temporal power, or the infallibility and absolutism of the Bishop of Rome, we have no more to say. But if, on the contrary, it is plainly demonstrated, as those of the Latins themselves, who love the truth, also acknowledge, that the Eastern and Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ holds fast the anciently transmitted doctrines which were at that time professed in common both in the East and the West, and that the Western Church perverted them by divers innovations, then it is clear, even to children, that the more natural way to union is the return of the Western Church to the ancient doctrinal and administrative condition of things; for the faith does not change in any way with time or circumstances, but remains the same always and everywhere, for there is one body and one Spirit, it is said, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.7
So then the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils believed and taught in accordance with the words of the Gospel, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father; but in the West, even from the ninth century, the holy Symbol of Faith, which was composed and sanctioned by Ecumenical Councils, began to be falsified, and the idea that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son to be arbitrarily promulgated. And certainly Pope Leo XIII is not ignorant that his Orthodox predecessor and namesake, the defender of Orthodoxy, Leo III, in the year 809 denounced synodically this anti-evangelical and utterly lawless addition, and from the Son (Filioque); and engraved on two silver plates, in Greek and Latin, the holy Symbol of Faith of the first and second Ecumenical Synods, entire and without any addition; having written moreover, These words I, Leo, have set down for love and as a safeguard of the Orthodox faith (Haec Leo posui amore et cautela fidei Orthodoxa).8
Likewise he is by no means ignorant that during the tenth century, or at the beginning of the eleventh, this anti-evangelical and lawless addition was with difficulty inserted officially into the holy Symbol of Faith at Rome also, and that consequently the Roman Church, in insisting on her innovations, and not coming back to the dogma of the Ecumenical Synods, renders herself fully responsible before the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, which holds fast that which has been received from the Fathers, and keeps the deposit of the faith which was delivered to it unadulterated in all things, in obedience to the Apostolic injunction: That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us; avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith.9
The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the first seven Ecumenical Synods baptized by three immersions in the water, and the Pope Pelagius speaks of the triple immersion as a command of the Lord, and in the thirteenth century baptism by immersions still prevailed in the West; and the sacred fonts themselves, preserved in the more ancient churches in Italy, are eloquent witnesses on this point; but in later times sprinkling or effusion, being privily brought in, came to be accepted by the Papal Church, which still holds fast the innovation, thus also widening the gulf which she has opened; but we Orthodox, remaining faithful to the Apostolic tradition and the practice of the seven Ecumenical Synods, stand fast, contending for the common profession, the paternal treasure of the sound faith.10
The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Synods, according to the example of our Saviour, celebrated the divine Eucharist for more than a thousand years throughout the East and West with leavened bread, as the truth-loving papal theologians themselves also bear witness; but the Papal Church from the eleventh century made an innovation also in the sacrament of the divine Eucharist by introducing unleavened bread.
The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Synods held that the precious gifts are consecrated after the prayer of the invocation of the Holy Spirit by the blessing of the priest, as the ancient rituals of Rome and Gaul testify; nevertheless afterwards the Papal Church made an innovation in this also, by arbitrarily accepting the consecration of the precious gifts as taking place along with the utterance of the Lord's words: Take, eat; this is my body: and Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood.11
The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Synods, following the Lord's command, Drink ye all of it,12 imparted also of the holy chalice to all; but the Papal Church from the ninth century downwards has made an innovation in this rite also, by depriving the laity of the holy chalice, contrary to the Lord's command and the universal practice of the ancient Church, as well as the express prohibition of many ancient Orthodox bishops of Rome.
The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Synods, walking according to the divinely inspired teaching of the Holy Scripture and the old Apostolic tradition, prays and invokes the mercy of God for the forgiveness and rest of those which have fallen asleep in the Lord;13 but the Papal Church from the twelfth century downwards has invented and heaped together in the person of the Pope, as one singularly privileged, a multitude of innovations concerning purgatorial fire, a superabundance of the virtues of the saints, and the distribution of them to those who need them, and the like, setting forth also a full reward for the just before the universal resurrection and judgement.
The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Synods teaches that the supernatural incarnation of the only-begotten Son and Word of God, of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, is alone pure and immaculate; but the Papal Church scarcely forty years ago again made an innovation by laying down a novel dogma concerning the immaculate conception of the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, which was unknown to the ancient Church (and strongly opposed at different times even by the more distinguished among the papal theologians).
Passing over, then, these serious and substantial differences between the two churches respecting the faith, which differences, as has been said before, were created in the West, His Blessedness in his encyclical represents the question of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff as the principal and, so to speak, only cause of the dissension, and sends us to the sources, that we may make diligent search as to what our forefathers believed and what the first age of Christianity delivered to us. But having recourse to the fathers and the Ecumenical Synods of the Church of the first nine centuries, we are fully persuaded that the Bishop of Rome was never considered as the supreme authority and infallible head of the Church, and that every bishop is head and president of his own particular Church, subject only to the synodical ordinances and decisions of the Church universal as being alone infallible, the Bishop of Rome being in no wise excepted from this rule, as Church history shows. Our Lord Jesus Christ alone is the eternal Prince and immortal Head of the Church, for He is the Head of the body, the Church,14 who said also to His divine disciples and apostles at His ascension into heaven, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.15 In the Holy Scripture the Apostle Peter, whom the Papists, relying on apocryphal books of the second century, the pseudo-Clementines, imagine with a purpose to be the founder of the Roman Church and their first bishop, discusses matters as an equal among equals in the Apostolic synod of Jerusalem, and at another time is sharply rebuked by the Apostle Paul, as is evident from the Epistle to the Galatians.16 Moreover, the Papists themselves know well that the very passage of the Gospel to which the Pontiff refers, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,17 is in the first centuries of the Church interpreted quite differently, in a spirit of Orthodoxy, both by tradition and by all the divine and sacred Fathers without exception; the fundamental and unshaken rock upon which the Lord has built His own Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail, being understood metaphorically of Peter's true confession concerning the Lord, that He is Christ, the Son of the living God.18 Upon this confession and faith the saving preaching of the Gospel by all the apostles and their successors rests unshaken. Whence also the Apostle Paul, who had been caught up into heaven, evidently interpreting this divine passage, declares the divine inspiration, saying: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.19 But it is in another sense that Paul calls all the apostles and prophets together the foundation of the building up in Christ of the faithful; that is to say, the members of the body of Christ, which is the Church;20 when he writes to the Ephesians: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.21 Such, then, being the divinely inspired teaching of the apostles respecting the foundation and Prince of the Church of God, of course the sacred Fathers, who held firmly to the Apostolic traditions, could not have or conceive any idea of an absolute primacy of the Apostle Peter and the bishops of Rome; nor could they give any other interpretation, totally unknown to the Church, to that passage of the Gospel, but that which was true and right; nor could they arbitrarily and by themselves invent a novel doctrine respecting excessive privileges of the Bishop of Rome as successor, if so be, of Peter; especially whilst the Church of Rome was chiefly founded, not by Peter, whose Apostolic action at Rome is totally unknown to history, but by the heaven-caught apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, through his disciples, whose Apostolic ministry in Rome is well-known to all.22
The divine Fathers, honouring the Bishop of Rome only as the bishop of the capital city of the Empire, gave him the honorary prerogative of presidency, considering him simply as the bishop first in order, that is, first among equals; which prerogative they also assigned afterwards to the Bishop of Constantinople, when that city became the capital of the Roman Empire, as the twenty-eighth canon of the fourth Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon bears witness, saying, among other things, as follows: We do also determine and decree the same things respecting the prerogatives of the most holy Church of the said Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers have rightly given the prerogative to the throne of the elder Rome, because that was the imperial city. And the hundred and fifty most religious bishops, moved by the same consideration, assigned an equal prerogative to the most holy throne of New Rome. From this canon it is very evident that the Bishop of Rome is equal in honour to the Bishop of the Church of Constantinople and to those other Churches, and there is no hint given in any canon or by any of the Fathers that the Bishop of Rome alone has ever been prince of the universal Church and the infallible judge of the bishops of the other independent and self-governing Churches, or the successor of the Apostle Peter and vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.
Each particular self-governing Church, both in the East and West, was totally independent and self-administered in the time of the Seven Ecumenical Synods. And just as the bishops of the self-governing Churches of the East, so also those of Africa, Spain, Gaul, Germany and Britain managed the affairs of their own Churches, each by their local synods, the Bishop of Rome having no right to interfere, and he himself also was equally subject and obedient to the decrees of synods. But on important questions which needed the sanction of the universal Church an appeal was made to an Ecumenical Synod, which alone was and is the supreme tribunal in the universal Church. Such was the ancient constitution of the Church; but the bishops were independent of each other and each entirely free within his own bounds, obeying only the synodical decrees, and they sat as equal one to another in synods. Moreover, none of them ever laid claim to monarchical rights over the universal Church; and if sometimes certain ambitious bishops of Rome raised excessive claims to an absolutism unknown to the Church, such were duly reproved and rebuked. The assertion therefore of Leo XIII, when he says in his Encyclical that before the period of the great Photius the name of the Roman throne was holy among all the peoples of the Christian world, and that the East, like the West, with one accord and without opposition, was subject to the Roman pontiff as lawful successor, so to say, of the Apostle Peter, and consequently vicar of Jesus Christ on earth is proved to be inaccurate and a manifest error.
During the nine centuries of the Ecumenical Synods the Orthodox Church in the East never recognized the excessive claims of primacy on the part of the bishops of Rome, nor consequently did she ever submit herself to them, as Church history plainly bears witness. The independent relation of the East to the West is clearly and manifestly shown also by those few and most significant words of Basil the Great, which he writes in a letter to the holy Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata: For when haughty characters are courted, it is their nature to become still more disdainful. For if the Lord be merciful to us, what other assistance do we need? But if the wrath of God abide on us, what help is there for us from Western superciliousness? Men who neither know the truth nor can bear to learn it, but being prejudiced by false suspicions, they act now as they did before in the case of Marcellus.23 The celebrated Photius, therefore, the sacred Prelate and luminary of Constantinople, defending this independence of the Church of Constantinople after the middle of the ninth century, and foreseeing the impending perversion of the ecclesiastical constitution in the West, and its defection from the Orthodox East, at first endeavored in a peaceful manner to avert the danger; but the Bishop of Rome, Nicholas I, by his uncanonical interference with the East, beyond the bounds of his diocese, and by the attempt which he made to subdue the Church of Constantinople to himself, pushed matters to the verge of the grievous separation of the Churches. The first seeds of these claims of a papal absolutism were scattered abroad in the pseudo-Clementines, and were cultivated, exactly at the epoch of this Nicholas, in the so-called pseudo-Isidorian decrees, which are a farrago of spurious and forged royal decrees and letters of ancient bishops of Rome, by which, contrary to the truth of history and the established constitution of the Church, it was purposely promulgated that, as they said, Christian antiquity assigned to the bishops of Rome an unbounded authority over the universal Church.
These facts we recall with sorrow of heart, inasmuch as the Papal Church, though she now acknowledges the spuriousness and forged character of those decrees on which her excessive claims are grounded, not only stubbornly refuses to come back to the canons and decrees of the Ecumenical Synods, but even in the expiring years of the nineteenth century has widened the existing gulf by officially proclaiming, to the astonishment of the Christian world, that the Bishop of Rome is even infallible. The Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ in the East knows no one infallible upon earth, with the exception of the Son and Word of God who was ineffably made man. Even the Apostle Peter himself, whose successor the Pope thinks himself to be, thrice denied the Lord, and was twice rebuked by the Apostle Paul, as not walking uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel.24 Afterwards the Pope Liberius, in the fourth century, subscribed an Arian confession; and likewise Zosimus, in the fifth century, approved an heretical confession, denying the Ancestral Sin. Virgilius, in the sixth century, was condemned for wrong opinions by the fifth Ecumenical Synod; and Honorius, having fallen into the Monothelite heresy, was condemned in the seventh century by the sixth Ecumenical Synod as a heretic, and the popes who succeeded him acknowledged and accepted his condemnation.
With these and such facts in view, the peoples of the West, becoming gradually civilized by the diffusion of letters, began to protest against innovations, and to demand (as was done in the fifteenth century at the Councils of Constance and Basle) the return to the ecclesiastical constitution of the first centuries, to which, by the grace of God, the Orthodox Churches throughout the East and North, which alone now form the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, the pillar and ground of the truth, remain, and will always remain, faithful. The same was done in the seventeenth century by the learned Gallican theologians, and in the eighteenth by the bishops of Germany; and in this present century of science and criticism, the Christian conscience rose up in one body in the year 1870, in the persons of the celebrated clerics and theologians of Germany, on account of the novel dogma of the infallibility of the Popes, issued by the Vatican Council, a consequence of which rising is seen in the formation of the separate religious communities of the Old Catholics, who, having disowned the papacy, are quite independent of it.
In vain, therefore, does the Bishop of Rome send us to the sources that we may seek diligently for what our forefathers believed and what the first period of Christianity delivered to us. In these sources we, the Orthodox, find the old and divinely-transmitted doctrines, to which we carefully hold fast to the present time, and nowhere do we find the innovations which later times of empty-mindedness brought forth in the West, and which the Papal Church having adopted retains till this very day. The Orthodox Church of the East then justly glories in Christ as being the Church of the seven Ecumenical Synods and of the first nine centuries of Christianity, and therefore the one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, the pillar and ground of the truth;25 but the present Roman Church is the Church of innovations, of the falsification of the writings of the Church Fathers, and of the misinterpretation of the Holy Scripture and of the decrees of the holy councils, for which she has reasonably and justly been disowned, and is still disowned, so far as she remains in her error. For better is a praiseworthy war than a peace which separates from God as Gregory of Nazianzus also says.
Such are, briefly, the serious and arbitrary innovations concerning the faith and the administrative constitution of the Church, which the Papal Church has introduced and which, it is evident, the Papal Encyclical purposely passes over in silence. These innovations, which have reference to essential points of the faith and of the administrative system of the Church, and which are manifestly opposed to the ecclesiastical condition of the first nine centuries, make the longed for union of the Churches impossible: and every pious and Orthodox heart is filled with inexpressible sorrow on seeing the Papal Church disdainfully persisting in them, and not in the least contributing to the sacred purpose of union by rejecting those heretical innovations and coming back to the ancient condition of the one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, of which she also at that time formed a part.
But what are we to say of all that the Roman Pontiff writes when he addresses the glorious Slavonic nations? No one, indeed, has ever denied that by the virtue and the Apostolic toils of Saints Cyril and Methodius the grace of salvation was vouchsafed to not a few of the Slavonic peoples: but history testifies that at the period of the great Photius those Greek apostles to the Slavs and intimate friends of that divine Father, setting out from Thessalonica, were sent to convert the Slavonic tribes not from Rome but from Constantinople, where moreover they had been trained, living as monks in the monastery of St. Polychronius. It is therefore utterly incoherent which is proclaimed in the Roman Pontiff's Encyclical, that, as he says, a kindly relation and mutual sympathy was brought about between the Slavonic tribes and the pontiffs of the Roman Church; for even if the Pope is ignorant of it, history nevertheless explicitly proclaims that these sacred apostles to the Slavs of whom we speak, encountered greater difficulties in their work from the bishops of Rome through their excommunications and opposition, and were more cruelly persecuted by the Frankish papal bishops than by the heathen inhabitants of those countries. Certainly the Pope knows well that the blessed Methodius having departed to the Lord, two hundred of the most distinguished of his disciples, after many struggles against the opposition of the Roman Pontiffs, were driven out of Moravia and led away by military force beyond its boundaries, from whence afterwards they were dispersed into Bulgaria and elsewhere. And he knows also that with the expulsion of the more erudite Slavonic clergy, the ritual of the East, as well as the Slavonic language then in use, were also driven out, and in process of time all vestige of Orthodoxy was effaced from those provinces, and all these things done with the official cooperation of the bishops of Rome in a manner not the least honorable to the holiness of the episcopal dignity. But notwithstanding all this despiteful treatment, the Orthodox Slavonic Churches, the beloved daughters of the Orthodox East, and especially the great and glorious Church of divinely-preserved Russia, having been preserved harmless by the grace of God, have kept, and will keep till the end of the ages, the Orthodox faith, and stand forth conspicuous testimonies of the liberty that is in Christ. In vain, therefore, does the Papal Encyclical promise to the Slavonic Churches prosperity and greatness, because by the goodwill of the most gracious God they already possess these blessings, and such as these, standing firm in the Orthodoxy of their fathers and glorifying in it in Christ.
These things being so, and being indisputably proved by ecclesiastical history, we, anxious as it is our duty to be, address ourselves to the peoples of the West, who through ignorance of the true and impartial history of ecclesiastical matters, being credulously led away, follow the anti-evangelical and utterly lawless innovations of the papacy, having been separated and continuing far from the One Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth,26 in which also their gracious ancestors and forefathers shone by their piety and Orthodoxy of faith, having been faithful and precious members of it during nine whole centuries, obediently following and walking according to the decrees of the divinely assembled Ecumenical Synods.
Christ-loving peoples of the glorious countries of the West! We rejoice on the one hand seeing that you have a zeal for Christ, being led by this right persuasion, that without faith in Christ it is impossible to please God;27 but on the other hand it is self-evident to every right-thinking person that the salutary faith in Christ ought by all means to be right in everything, and in agreement with the Holy Scripture and the Apostolic traditions, upon which the teaching of the divine Fathers and the seven holy, divinely assembled Ecumenical Synods is based. It is moreover manifest that the universal Church of God, which holds fast in its bosom unique unadulterated and entire this salutary faith as a divine deposit, just as it was of old delivered and unfolded by the God-bearing Fathers moved by the Spirit, and formulated by them during the first nine centuries, is one and the same for ever, and not manifold and varying with the process of time: because the gospel truths are never susceptible to alteration or progress in course of time, like the various philosophical systems; for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.28 Wherefore also the holy Vincent, who was brought up on the milk of the piety received from the fathers in the monastery of Lerins in Gaul, and flourished about the middle of the fifth century, with great wisdom and Orthodoxy characterizes the true Catholicity of the faith and of the Church, saying: In the Catholic Church we must especially take heed to hold that which has been believed everywhere at all times, and by all. For this is truly and properly Catholic, as the very force and meaning of the word signifies, which moreover comprehends almost everything universally. And that we shall do, if we walk following universality, antiquity, and consent.29 But, as has been said before, the Western Church, from the tenth century downwards, has privily brought into herself through the papacy various and strange and heretical doctrines and innovations, and so she has been torn away and removed far from the true and Orthodox Church of Christ. How necessary, then, it is for you to come back and return to the ancient and unadulterated doctrines of the Church in order to attain the salvation in Christ after which you press, you can easily understand if you intelligently consider the command of the heaven-ascended Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians, saying: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle;30 and also what the same divine apostle writes to the Galatians saying: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.31 But avoid such perverters of the evangelical truth, For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple32 and come back for the future into the bosom of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of God, which consists of all the particular holy Churches of God, which being divinely planted, like luxuriant vines throughout the Orthodox world, are inseparably united to each other in the unity of the one saving faith in Christ, and in the bond of peace and of the Spirit, that you may obtain the highly-to-be-praised and most glorious name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, who suffered for the salvation of the world, may be glorified among you also.
But let us, who by the grace and good will of the most gracious God are precious members of the Body of Christ, that is to say of His One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, hold fast to the piety of our fathers, handed down to us from the apostles. Let us all beware of false apostles, who, coming to us in sheep's clothing, attempt to entice the more simple among us by various deceptive promises, regarding all things as lawful and allowing them for the sake of union, provided only that the Pope of Rome be recognized as supreme and infallible ruler and absolute sovereign of the universal Church, and only representative of Christ on earth, and the source of all grace. And especially let us, who by the grace and mercy of God have been appointed bishops, pastors, and teachers of the holy Churches of God, take heed unto ourselves — and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made us overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He has purchased with His own Blood33 as they that must give account. Wherefore let us comfort ourselves together, and edify one another.34 And the God of all grace, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus ... make us perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle us35 and grant that all those who are without and far away from the one holy, Catholic and Orthodox fold of His reasonable sheep may be enlightened with the light of His grace and the acknowledging of the truth. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
In the Patriarchal Palace of Constantinople, in the month of August of the year of grace MDCCCXCV.
ANTHIMOS of Constantinople, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
NICODEMOS of Cyzicos, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
PHILOTHEOS of Nicomedia, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
JEROME of Nicea, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
NATHANAEL of Prusa, beloved brother and intercessor of Christ our God.
BASIL of Smyrna, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
STEPHEN of Philadelphia, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
ATHANASIOS of Lemnos, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
BESSARION of Dyrrachium, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
DOROTHEOS of Belgrade, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
NICODEMOS of Elasson, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
SOPHRONIOS of Carpathos and Cassos, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
DIONYSIOS of Eleutheropolis, beloved brother and intercessor in Christ our God.
II Cor. 11:13.
Phot. Epist. iii. §10.
Patriarch of Constantinople
Phot. Epist iii. §6.
See life of Leo III by Athanasius, presbyter and librarian at Rome, in his Lives of the Popes. The holy Photius also, making mention of this invective of the Orthodox Pope of Rome, Leo III, against the holders of the erroneous doctrine, in his renowned letter to the Metropolitan of Acquileia, expresses himself as follows: For (not to mention those who were before him) Leo the elder, prelate of Rome, as well as Leo the younger after him, shew themselves to be of the same mind with the Catholic and Apostolic Church, with the holy prelates their predecessors, and with the Apostolic commands; the one having contributed much to the assembling of the fourth holy Ecumenical Synod, both by the sacred men who were sent to represent him, and by his letter, through which both Nestorius and Eutyches were overthrown; by which letter he moreover, in accordance with previous synodical decrees, declared the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father, but not also from the Son. And in like manner Leo the younger, his counterpart in faith as well as in name. This latter indeed, who was ardently zealous for true piety, in order that the unspotted pattern of true piety might not in any way whatever be falsified by a barbarous language, published it in Greek, as has already been said in the beginning, to the people of the West, that they might thereby glorify and preach correctly the Holy Trinity. And not only by word and command, but also, having inscribed and exposed it to the sight of all on certain shields specially made, as on certain monuments, he fixed it at the gates of the Church, in order that every person might easily learn the uncontaminated faith, and in order that no chance whatever might be left to secret forgers and innovators of adulterating the piety of us Christians, and of bringing in the Son besides the Father as a second cause of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father with honour equal to that of the begotten Son. And it was not these two holy men alone, who shone brightly in the West, who preserved the faith free from innovation; for the Church is not in such want as that of Western preachers; but there is also a host of them not easily counted who did likewise. — Epist. v. 53.
III Tim. 1:14; 1 Tim. 6:20-21.
St. Basil the Great, Ep. 243, To the Bishops of Italy and Gaul.
Matt. 26:26, 28
Matt. 26:31; Heb. 11:39-40; II Tim. 4:8; II Macc. 12:45.
I Cor. 3:10, 11.
Eph. 2:19, 20. Cp. 1 Pet. 2:4; Rev. 21:14.
See Acts of the Apostles 28:15, Rom. 15:15-16; Phil. 1:13.
I Tim. 3:15.
I Tim. 3:15.
In ipsa item Catholica Ecclesia magnopere curandum est, ut teneamus, quod ubique quod semper ab omnibus creditum est. Hoc est enim vere proprieque Catholicum (quod ipsa vis nominis ratioque declarat), quod omnia fere universaliter comprehendit. Sed hoc fiet si sequimur universalitatem, antiquitatem, consensionem. (Vincentii Lirinensis Commonitorium pro Catholicæ fidei antiquitate et universalitate cap. iii, cf. cap. viii and xiv.
I Thess. 5:11.
I Pet. 5:10.
Response of the Orthodox Church to the Epistle of Pius IX “to the Easterns”
Encyclical of the Orthodox Patriarchs and Hierarchs of the Patriarchal Sees, 1848
[*Note, please recognize that, up until the late 1800’s, it was common to refer to the Orthodox Church as simply “the Catholic Church.” Thus, when the Orthodox Patriarchs are speaking of the Catholic Church, they are speaking, not of the Roman Church, but of the Orthodox Church. Actually, both the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church still officially both have the term Catholic as part of their names.]
To All the Bishops Everywhere, Beloved in the Holy Spirit, Our Venerable, Most Dear Brethren; and to their Most Pious Clergy; and to All the Genuine Orthodox Children of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: Brotherly Salutation in the Holy Spirit, and Every Good From God, and Salvation.
The holy, evangelical and divine Gospel of Salvation should be set forth by all in its original simplicity, and should evermore be believed in its unadulterated purity, even the same as it was revealed to His holy Apostles by our Savior, who for this very cause, descending from the bosom of God the Father, made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant (Phil. ii. 7); even the same, also, as those Apostles, who were ear and eye witnesses, sounded it forth, like clear-toned trumpets, to all that are under the sun (for their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words into the ends of the world); and, last of all, the very same as the many great and glorious Fathers of the Catholic Church in all parts of the earth, who heard those Apostolic voices, both by their synodical and their individual teachings handed it down to all everywhere, and even unto us. But the Prince of Evil, that spiritual enemy of man's salvation, as formerly in Eden, craftily assuming the pretext of profitable counsel, he made man to become a transgressor of the divinely-spoken command. so in the spiritual Eden, the Church of God, he has from time to time beguiled many; and, mixing the deleterious drugs of heresy with the clear streams of Orthodox doctrine, gives of the potion to drink to many of the innocent who live unguardedly, not giving earnest heed to the things they have heard (Heb. ii. 10), and to what they have been told by their fathers (Deut. xxxii. 7), in accordance with the Gospel and in agreement with the ancient Doctors; and who, imagining that the preached and written Word of the LORD and the perpetual witness of His Church are not sufficient for their souls' salvation, impiously seek out novelties, as we change the fashion of our garments, embracing a counterfeit of the evangelical doctrine.
§ 2. Hence have arisen manifold and monstrous heresies, which the Catholic Church, even from her infancy, taking unto her the whole armor of God, and assuming the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. vi. 13-17,) has been compelled to combat. She has triumphed over all unto this day, and she will triumph for ever, being manifested as mightier and more illustrious after each struggle.
§ 3. Of these heresies, some already have entirely failed, some are in decay, some have wasted away, some yet flourish in a greater or less degree vigorous until the time of their return to the Faith, while others are reproduced to run their course from their birth to their destruction. For being the miserable cogitations and devices of miserable men, both one and the other, struck with the thunderbolt of the anathema of the seven Ecumenical Councils, shall vanish away, though they may last a thousand years; for the Orthodoxy of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the living Word of God, alone endures for ever, according to the infallible promise of the LORD: the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. xviii. 18). Certainly, the mouths of ungodly and heretical men, however bold, however plausible and fair-speaking, however smooth they may be, will not prevail against the Orthodox doctrine winning, its way silently and without noise. But, wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? (Jer. xii. 1.) Why are the ungodly exalted and lifted up as the cedars of Lebanon (Ps. xxxvii. 35), to defile the peaceful worship of God? The reason of this is mysterious, and the Church, though daily praying that this cross, this messenger of Satan, may depart from her, ever hears from the Lord: My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness (2. Cor. xii. 9). Wherefore she gladly glories in her infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon her, and that they which are approved may be made manifest (1. Cor. x. 19).
§ 4. Of these heresies diffused, with what sufferings the LORD hath known, over a great part of the world, was formerly Arianism, and at present is the Papacy. This, too, as the former has become extinct, although now flourishing, shall not endure, but pass away and be cast down, and a great voice from heaven shall cry: It is cast down (Rev. xii. 10).
§ 5. The new doctrine, that "the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father and the Son," is contrary to the memorable declaration of our LORD, emphatically made respecting it: which proceedeth from the Father (John xv. 26), and contrary to the universal Confession of the Catholic Church as witnessed by the seven Ecumenical Councils, uttering "which proceedeth from the Father." (Symbol of Faith).
i. This novel opinion destroys the oneness from the One cause, and the diverse origin of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, both of which are witnessed to in the Gospel.
ii. Even into the divine Hypostases or Persons of the Trinity, of equal power and equally to be adored, it introduces diverse and unequal relations, with a confusion or commingling of them.
iii. It reproaches as imperfect, dark, and difficult to be understood, the previous Confession of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
iv. It censures the holy Fathers of the first Ecumenical Synod of Nice and of the second Ecumenical Synod at Constantinople, as imperfectly expressing what relates to the Son and Holy Spirit, as if they had been silent respecting the peculiar property of each Person of the Godhead, when it was necessary that all their divine properties should be expressed against the Arians and Macedonians.
v. It reproaches the Fathers of the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh Ecumenical Councils, which had published over the world a divine Creed, perfect and complete, and interdicted under dread anathemas and penalties not removed, all addition, or diminution, or alteration, or variation in the smallest particular of it, by themselves or any whomsoever. Yet was this quickly to be corrected and augmented, and consequently the whole theological doctrine of the Catholic Fathers was to be subjected to change, as if, forsooth, a new property even in regard to the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity had been revealed.
vi. It clandestinely found an entrance at first in the Churches of the West, "a wolf in sheep's clothing," that is, under the signification not of procession, according to the Greek meaning in the Gospel and the Creed, but under the signification of mission, as Pope Martin explained it to the Confessor Maximus, and as Anastasius the Librarian explained it to John VIII.
vii. It exhibits incomparable boldness, acting without authority, and forcibly puts a false stamp upon the Creed, which is the common inheritance of Christianity.
viii. It has introduced huge disturbances into the peaceful Church of God, and divided the nations.
ix. It was publicly proscribed, at its first promulgation, by two ever-to-be-remembered Popes, Leo III and John VIII, the latter of whom, in his epistle to the blessed Photius, classes with Judas those who first brought the interpolation into the Creed.
x. It has been condemned by many Holy Councils of the four Patriarchs of the East.
xi. It was subjected to anathema, as a novelty and augmentation of the Creed, by the eighth Ecumenical Council, congregated at Constantinople for the pacification of the Eastern and Western Churches.
xii. As soon as it was introduced into the Churches of the West it brought forth disgraceful fruits, bringing with it, little by little, other novelties, for the most part contrary to the express commands of our Savior in the Gospel—commands which till its entrance into the Churches were closely observed. Among these novelties may be numbered sprinkling instead of baptism, denial of the divine Cup to the Laity, elevation of one and the same bread broken, the use of wafers, unleavened instead of real bread, the disuse of the Benediction in the Liturgies, even of the sacred Invocation of the All-holy and Consecrating Spirit, the abandonment of the old Apostolic Mysteries of the Church, such as not anointing baptized infants, or their not receiving the Eucharist, the exclusion of married men from the Priesthood, the infallibility of the Pope and his claim as Vicar of Christ, and the like. Thus it was that the interpolation led to the setting aside of the old Apostolic pattern of well nigh all the Mysteries and all doctrine, a pattern which the ancient, holy, and Orthodox Church of Rome kept, when she was the most honored part of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
xiii. It drove the theologians of the West, as its defenders, since they had no ground either in Scripture or the Fathers to countenance heretical teachings, not only into misrepresentations of the Scriptures, such as are seen in none of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, but also into adulterations of the sacred and pure writings of the Fathers alike of the East and West.
xiv. It seemed strange, unheard of, and blasphemous, even to those reputed Christian communions, which, before its origin, had been for other just causes for ages cut off from the Catholic fold.
xv. It has not yet been even plausibly defended out of the Scriptures, or with the least reason out of the Fathers, from the accusations brought against it, notwithstanding all the zeal and efforts of its supporters. The doctrine bears all the marks of error arising out of its nature and peculiarities. All erroneous doctrine touching the Catholic truth of the Blessed Trinity, and the origin of the divine Persons, and the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, is and is called heresy, and they who so hold are deemed heretics, according to the sentence of St. Damasus, Pope of Rome, who says: "If any one rightly holds concerning the Father and the Son, yet holds not rightly of the Holy Spirit, he is an heretic" (Cath. Conf. of Faith which Pope Damasus sent to Paulinus, Bishop of Thessalonica). Wherefore the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, following in the steps of the holy Fathers, both Eastern and Western, proclaimed of old to our progenitors and again teaches today synodically, that the said novel doctrine of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son is essentially heresy, and its maintainers, whoever they be, are heretics, according to the sentence of Pope St. Damasus, and that the congregations of such are also heretical, and that all spiritual communion in worship of the Orthodox sons of the Catholic Church with such is unlawful. Such is the force of the seventh Canon of the third Ecumenical Council.
§ 6. This heresy, which has united to itself many innovations, as has been said, appeared about the middle of the seventh century, at first and secretly, and then under various disguises, over the Western Provinces of Europe, until by degrees, creeping along for four or five centuries, it obtained precedence over the ancient Orthodoxy of those parts, through the heedlessness of Pastors and the countenance of Princes. Little by little it overspread not only the hitherto Orthodox Churches of Spain, but also the German, and French, and Italian Churches, whose Orthodoxy at one time was sounded throughout the world, with whom our divine Fathers such as the great Athanasius and heavenly Basil conferred, and whose sympathy and fellowship with us until the seventh Ecumenical Council, preserved unharmed the doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. But in process of time, by envy of the devil, the novelties respecting the sound and Orthodox doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the blasphemy of whom shall not be forgiven unto men either in this world or the next, according to the saying of our Lord (Matt. xii. 32), and others that succeeded respecting the divine Mysteries, particularly that of the world-saving Baptism, and the Holy Communion, and the Priesthood, like prodigious births, overspread even Old Rome; and thus sprung, by assumption of special distinctions in the Church as a badge and title, the Papacy. Some of the Bishops of that City, styled Popes, for example Leo III and John VIII, did indeed, as has been said, denounce the innovation, and published the denunciation to the world, the former by those silver plates, the latter by his letter to the holy Photius at the eighth Ecumenical Council, and another to Sphendopulcrus, by the hands of Methodius, Bishop of Moravia. The greater part, however, of their successors, the Popes of Rome, enticed by the antisynodical privileges offered them for the oppression of the Churches of God, and finding in them much worldly advantage, and "much gain," and conceiving a Monarchy in the Catholic Church and a monopoly of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, changed the ancient worship at will, separating themselves by novelties from the old received Christian Polity. Nor did they cease their endeavors, by lawless projects (as veritable history assures us), to entice the other four Patriarchates into their apostasy from Orthodoxy, and so subject the Catholic Church to the whims and ordinances of men.
§ 7. Our illustrious predecessors and fathers, with united labor and counsel, seeing the evangelical doctrine received from the Fathers to be trodden under foot, and the robe of our Savior woven from above to be torn by wicked hands, and stimulated by fatherly and brotherly love, wept for the desolation of so many Christians for whom Christ died. They exercised much zeal and ardor, both synodically and individually, in order that the Orthodox doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church being saved, they might knit together as far as they were able that which had been rent; and like approved physicians they consulted together for the safety of the suffering member, enduring many tribulations, and contempts, and persecutions, if haply the Body of Christ might not be divided, or the definitions of the divine and august Synods be made of none effect. But veracious history has transmitted to us the relentlessness of the Western perseverance in error. These illustrious men proved indeed on this point the truth of the words of our holy father Basil the sublime, when he said, from experience, concerning the Bishops of the West, and particularly of the Pope: "They neither know the truth nor endure to learn it, striving against those who tell them the truth, and strengthening themselves in their heresy" (to Eusebius of Samosata). Thus, after a first and second brotherly admonition, knowing their impenitence, shaking them off and avoiding them, they gave them over to their reprobate mind. "War is better than peace, apart from God," as said our holy father Gregory, concerning the Arians. From that time there has been no spiritual communion between us and them; for they have with their own hands dug deep the chasm between themselves and Orthodoxy.
§ 8. Yet the Papacy has not on this account ceased to annoy the peaceful Church of God, but sending out everywhere so-called missionaries, men of reprobate minds, it compasses land and sea to make one proselyte, to deceive one of the Orthodox, to corrupt the doctrine of our LORD, to adulterate, by addition, the divine Creed of our holy Faith, to prove the Baptism which God gave us superfluous, the communion of the Cup void of sacred efficacy, and a thousand other things which the demon of novelty dictated to the all-daring Schoolmen of the Middle Ages and to the Bishops of the elder Rome, venturing all things through lust of power. Our blessed predecessors and fathers, in their piety, though tried and persecuted in many ways and means, within and without, directly and indirectly, "yet confident in the LORD," were able to save and transmit to us this inestimable inheritance of our fathers, which we too, by the help of God, will transmit as a rich treasure to the generations to come, even to the end of the world. But notwithstanding this, the Papists do not cease to this day, nor will cease, according to wont, to attack Orthodoxy,—a daily living reproach which they have before their eyes, being deserters from the faith of their fathers. Would that they made these aggressions against the heresy which has overspread and mastered the West. For who doubts that had their zeal for the overthrow of Orthodoxy been employed for the overthrow of heresy and novelties, agreeable to the God-loving counsels of Leo III and John VIII, those glorious and last Orthodox Popes, not a trace of it, long ago, would have been remembered under the sun, and we should now be saying the same things, according to the Apostolic promise. But the zeal of those who succeeded them was not for the protection of the Orthodox Faith, in conformity with the zeal worthy of all remembrance which was in Leo III., now among the blessed.
§ 9. In a measure the aggressions of the later Popes in their own persons had ceased, and were carried on only by means of missionaries. But lately, Pius IX., becoming Bishop of Rome and proclaimed Pope in 1847, published on the sixth of January, in this present year, an Encyclical Letter addressed to the Easterns, consisting of twelve pages in the Greek version, which his emissary has disseminated, like a plague coming from without, within our Orthodox Fold. In this Encyclical, he addresses those who at different times have gone over from different Christian Communions, and embraced the Papacy, and of course are favorable to him, extending his arguments also to the Orthodox, either particularly or without naming them; and, citing our divine and holy Fathers (p. 3, 1.14-18; p. 4, 1.19; p. 9, 1.6; and pp. 17, 23), he manifestly calumniates them and us their successors and descendants: them, as if they admitted readily the Papal commands and rescripts without question because issuing from the Popes is undoubted arbiters of the Catholic Church; us, as unfaithful to their examples (for thus he trespasses on the Fold committed to us by God), as severed from our Fathers, as careless of our sacred trusts, and of the soul's salvation of our spiritual children. Usurping as his own possession the Catholic Church of Christ, by occupancy, as he boasts, of the Episcopal Throne of St. Peter, he desires to deceive the more simple into apostasy from Orthodoxy, choosing for the basis of all theological instruction these paradoxical words (p. 10, 1.29): "nor is there any reason why ye refuse a return to the true Church and Communion with this my holy Throne."
§10. Each one of our brethren and sons in Christ who have been piously brought up and instructed, wisely regarding the wisdom given him from God, will decide that the words of the present Bishop of Rome, like those of his schismatical predecessors, are not words of peace, as he affirms (p. 7,1.8), and of benevolence, but words of deceit and guile, tending to self-aggrandizement, agreeably to the practice of his antisynodical predecessors. We are therefore sure, that even as heretofore, so hereafter the Orthodox will not be beguiled. For the word of our LORD is sure (John x. 5), A stranger will they not follow, but flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.
§11. For all this we have esteemed it our paternal and brotherly need, and a sacred duty, by our present admonition to confirm you in the Orthodoxy you hold from your forefathers, and at the same time point out the emptiness of the syllogisms of the Bishop of Rome, of which he is manifestly himself aware. For not from his Apostolic Confession does he glorify his Throne, but from his Apostolic Throne seeks to establish his dignity, and from his dignity, his Confession. The truth is the other way. The Throne of Rome is esteemed that of St. Peter by a single tradition, but not from Holy Scripture, where the claim is in favor of Antioch, whose Church is therefore witnessed by the great Basil (Ep. 48 Athan.) to be "the most venerable of all the Churches in the world." Still more, the second Ecumenical Council, writing to a Council of the West (to the most honorable and religious brethren and fellow-servants, Damasus, Ambrose, Britto, Valerian, and others), witnesseth, saying: "The oldest and truly Apostolic Church of Antioch, in Syria, where first the honored name of Christians was used." We say then that the Apostolic Church of Antioch had no right of exemption from being judged according to divine Scripture and synodical declarations, though truly venerated for the throne of St. Peter. But what do we say? The blessed Peter, even in his own person, was judged before all for the truth of the Gospel, and, as Scripture declares, was found blamable and not walking uprightly. What opinion is to be formed of those who glory and pride themselves solely in the possession of his Throne, so great in their eyes? Nay, the sublime Basil the great, the Ecumenical teacher of Orthodoxy in the Catholic Church, to whom the Bishops of Rome are obliged to refer us (p. 8, 1.31), has clearly and explicitly above (§ 7) shown us what estimation we ought to have of the judgments of the inaccessible Vatican:—"They neither," he says, "know the truth, nor endure to learn it, striving against those who tell them the truth, and strengthening themselves in their heresy." So that these our holy Fathers whom his Holiness the Pope, worthily admiring as lights and teachers even of the West, accounts as belonging to us, and advises us (p. 8) to follow, teach us not to judge Orthodoxy from the holy Throne, but the Throne itself and him that is on the Throne by the sacred Scriptures, by Synodical decrees and limitations, and by the Faith which has been preached, even the Orthodoxy of continuous teaching. Thus did our Fathers judge and condemn Honorius, Pope of Rome, and Dioscorus, Pope of Alexandria, and Macedonius and Nestorius, Patriarchs of Constantinople, and Peter Gnapheus, Patriarch of Antioch, with others. For if the abomination of desolation stood in the Holy Place, why not innovation and heresy upon a holy Throne? Hence is exhibited in a brief compass the weakness and feebleness of the efforts in behalf of the despotism of the Pope of Rome. For, unless the Church of Christ was founded upon the immovable rock of St. Peter’s Confession, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (which was the answer of the Apostles in common, when the question was put to them, Whom say ye that I am? (Matt. xvi. 15,) as the Fathers, both Eastern and Western, interpret the passage to us), the Church was built upon a slippery foundation, even on Cephas himself, not to say on the Pope, who, after monopolizing the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, has made such an administration of them as is plain from history. But our divine Fathers, with one accord, teach that the sense of the thrice-repeated command, Feed my sheep, implied no prerogative in St. Peter over the other Apostles, least of all in his successors. It was a simple restoration to his Apostleship, from which he had fallen by his thrice-repeated denial. St. Peter himself appears to have understood the intention of the thrice-repeated question of our Lord: Lovest thou Me, and more, and than these?. (John xxi. 16;) for, calling to mind the words, Thou all shall be offended because of Thee, yet will 1 never be offended (Matt. xxvi. 33), he was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? But his successors, from self-interest, understand the expression as indicative of St. Peter's more ready mind.
§12. The Pope says (p. viii. 1.12.) that our LORD said to Peter (Luke xxii. 32), I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Our LORD so prayed because Satan had sought to overthrow the faith of all the disciples, but the LORD allowed him Peter only, chiefly because he had uttered words of boasting, and justified himself above the rest (Matt. xxvi. 33): Though all shall be offended, because of thee, yet will I never be offended. The permission to Satan was but temporary. He began to curse and to swear: I know not the man. So weak is human nature, left to itself. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. It was but temporary, that, coming again to himself by his return in tears of repentance, he might the rather strengthen his brethren who had neither perjured themselves nor denied. Oh! the wise judgment of the LORD! How divine and mysterious was the last night of our Savior upon earth! That sacred Supper is believed to be consecrated to this day in every Church: This do in remembrance of me (Luke xxii. 19), and As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the LORD's death till he come (1 Cor. xi. 26). Of the brotherly love thus earnest1y commended to us by the common Master, saying, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciple, if ye have love one to another (John xiii. 35), have the Popes first broken the stamp and seal, supporting and receiving heretical novelties, contrary to the things delivered to us and canonically confirmed by our Teachers and Fathers in common. This love acts at this day with power in the souls of Christian people, and particularly in their leaders. We boldly avow before God and men, that the prayer of our Savior (p. ix. l.43) to God and His Father for the common love and unity of Christians in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, in which we believe, that they may be one, ever as we are one (John xvii. 22), worketh in us no less than in his Holiness. Our brotherly love and zeal meet that of his Holiness, with only this difference, that in us it worketh for the covenanted preservation of the pure, undefiled, divine, spotless, and perfect Creed of the Christian Faith, in conformity to the voice of the Gospel and the decrees of the seven holy Ecumenical Synods and the teachings of the ever-existing Catholic Church: but worketh in his Holiness to prop and strengthen the authority and dignity of them that sit on the Apostolic Throne, and their new doctrine. Behold then, the head and front, so to speak, of all the differences and disagreements that have happened between us and them, and the middle wall of partition, which we hope will be taken away in the time of is Holiness, and by the aid of his renowned wisdom, according to the promise of God (St. John x. 16): "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also 1 must bring and they shall hear my voice (Who proceedeth from the Father "). Let it be said then, in the third place, that if it be supposed, according to the words of his Holiness, that this prayer of our LORD for Peter when about to deny and perjure himself, remained attached and united to the Throne of Peter, and is transmitted with power to those who from time to time sit upon it, although, as has before been said, nothing contributes to confirm the opinion (as we are strikingly assured from the example of the blessed Peter himself, even after the descent of the Holy Spirit, yet are we convinced from the words of our LORD, that the time will come when that divine prayer concerning the denial of Peter, "that his faith might not fail for ever" will operate also in some one of the successors of his Throne, who will also weep, as he did, bitterly, and being sometime converted will strengthen us, his brethren, still more in the Orthodox Confession, which we hold from our forefathers;—and would that his Holiness might be this true successor of the blessed Peter! To this our humble prayer, what hinders that we should add our sincere and hearty Counsel in the name of the Holy Catholic Church? We dare not say, as does his Holiness (p. x. 1.22), that it should be done "without any delay;" but without haste, utter mature consideration, and also, if need be, after consultation with the more wise, religious, truth-loving, and prudent of the Bishops, Theologians, and Doctors, to be found at the present day, by God's good Providence, in every nation of the West.
§ 13. The Pope says that the Bishop of Lyons, St. Irenaeus, writes in praise of the Church of Rome: "That the whole Church, namely, the faithful from everywhere, must come together in that Church, because of its Primacy, in which Church the tradition, given by the Apostles, has in all respects been observed by the faithful everywhere." Although this saint says by no means what the followers of the Vatican would make out, yet even granting their interpretation, we reply: Who denies that the ancient Roman Church was Apostolic and Orthodox? None of us will question that it was a model of Orthodoxy. We will specially add, for its greater praise, from the historian Sozomen (Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. cap. 12), the passage, which his Holiness has overlooked, respecting the mode by which for a time she was enabled to preserve the Orthodoxy which we praise:—"For, as everywhere," saith Sozomen, "the Church throughout the West, being guided purely by the doctrines of the Fathers, was delivered from contention and deception concerning these things." Would any of the Fathers or ourselves deny her canonical privilege in the rank of the hierarchy, so long as she was guided purely by the doctrines of the Fathers, walking by the plain rule of Scripture and the holy Synods! But at present we do not find preserved in her the dogma of the Blessed Trinity according to the Creed of the holy Fathers assembled first in Nicea and afterwards in Constantinople, which the other five Ecumenical Councils confessed and confirmed with such anathemas on those who adulterated it in the smallest particular, as if they had thereby destroyed it. Nor do we find the Apostolical pattern of holy Baptism, nor the Invocation of the consecrating Spirit upon the holy elements: but we see in that Church the eucharistic Cup, heavenly drink, considered superfluous, (what profanity!) and very many other things, unknown not only to our holy Fathers, who were always entitled the catholic, clear rule and index of Orthodoxy, as his Holiness, revering the truth, himself teaches (p. vi), but also unknown to the ancient holy Fathers of the West. We see that very primacy, for which his Holiness now contends with all his might, as did his predecessors, transformed from a brotherly character and hierarchical privilege into a lordly superiority. What then is to be thought of his unwritten traditions, if the written have undergone such a change and alteration for the worse ? Who is so bold and confident in the dignity of the Apostolic Throne, as to dare to say that if our holy Father, Sr. Irenaeus, were alive again, seeing it was fallen from the ancient and primitive teaching in so many most essential and catholic articles of Christianity, he would not be himself the first to oppose the novelties and self-sufficient constitutions of that Church which was lauded by him as guided purely by the doctrines of the Fathers? For instance, when he saw the Roman Church not only rejecting from her Liturgical Canon, according to the suggestion of the Schoolmen, the very ancient and Apostolic invocation of the Consecrating Spirit, and miserably mutilating the Sacrifice in its most essential part, but also urgently hastening to cut it out from the Liturgies of other Christian Communions also,—his Holiness slanderously asserting, in a manner so unworthy of the Apostolic Throne on which he boasts himself, that it "crept in after t.he division between the East and West" (p. xi. 1.11)—what would not the holy Father say respecting this novelty ? Irenaeus assures us (lib. iv. c. 34) "that bread, from the ground, receiving the evocation of God, is no longer common bread," etc., meaning by "evocation" invocation: for that Irenaeus believed the Mystery of the Sacrifice to be consecrated by means of this invocation is especially remarked even by Franciscus Feu-Ardentius, of the order of popish monks called Minorites, who in 1639 edited the writings of that saint with comments, who says (lib. i. c. 18, p. 114,) that Irenaeus teaches "that the bread and mixed cup become the true Body and Blood of Christ by the words of invocation." Or, hearing of the vicarial and appellate jurisdiction of the Pope, what would not the Saint say, who, for a small and almost indifferent question concerning the celebration of Easter (Euseb. Eccl. Hist. v. 26), so boldly and victoriously opposed and defeated the violence of Pope Victor in the free Church of Christ? Thus he who is cited by his Holiness as a witness of the primacy of the Roman Church, shows that its dignity is not that of a lordship, nor even appellate, to which St. Peter himself was never ordained, but is a brotherly privilege in the Catholic Church, and an honor assigned the Popes on account of the greatness and privilege of the City. Thus, also, the fourth Ecumenical Council, for the preservation of the gradation in rank of Churches canonically established by the third Ecumenical Council (Canon 8),—following the second (Canon 3), as that again followed the first (Canon 6), which called the appellate jurisdiction of the Pope over the West a Custom,—thus uttered its determination: "On account of that City being the Imperial City, the Fathers have with reason given it prerogatives" (Canon 28). Here is nothing said of the Pope's special monopoly of the Apostolicity of St. Peter, still less of a vicarship in Rome's Bishops, and an universal Pastorate. This deep silence in regard to such great privileges—nor only so, but the reason assigned for the primacy, not "Feed my sheep," not "On this rock will I build my Church," but simply old Custom, and the City being the Imperial City; and these things, not from the LORD, but from the Fathers—will seem, we are sure, a great paradox to his Holiness entertaining other ideas of his prerogatives. The paradox will be the greater, since, as we shall see, he greatly honors the said fourth Ecumenical Synod as one to be found a witness for his Throne; and St. Gregory, the eloquent, called the Great (lib. i. Ep. 25), was wont to speak of the four (Ecumenical Councils [not the Roman See] as the four Gospels, and the four-sided stone on which the Catholic Church is built.
§14. The Pope says (p. ix. 1.12) that the Corinthians, divided among themselves, referred the matter to Clement, Pope of Rome, who wrote to them his decision on the case; and they so prized his decision that they read it in the Churches. But this event is a very weak support for the Papal authority in the house of God. For Rome being then the center of the Imperial Province and the chief City, in which the Emperors lived, it was proper that any question of importance, as history shows that of the Corinthians to have been, should be decided there, especially if one of the contending parties ran thither for external aid: as is done even to this day. The Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, when unexpected points of difficulty arise, write to the Patriarch of Constantinople, because of its being the seat of Empire, as also on account of its synodical privileges; and if this brotherly aid shall rectify that which should be rectified, it is well; but if not, the matter is reported to the province, according to the established system. But this brotherly agreement in Christian faith is not purchased by the servitude of the Churches of God. Let this be our answer also to the examples of a fraternal and proper championship of the privileges of Julius and Innocent Bishops of Rome, by St. Athanasius the Great and St. John Chrysostom, referred to by his Holiness (p. ix. 1. 6,17), for which their successors now seek to recompense us by adulterating the divine Creed. Yet was Julius himself indignant against some for " disturbing the Churches by not maintaining the doctrines of Nice" (Soz. Hist. Ec. lib. iii. c. 7), and threatening (id.) excommunication, "if they ceased not their innovations." In the case of the Corinthians, moreover, it is to be remarked that the Patriarchal Thrones being then but three, Rome was the nearer and more accessible to the Corinthians, to which, therefore, it was proper to have resort. In all this we see nothing extraordinary, nor any proof of the despotic power of the Pope in the free Church of God.
§15. But, finally, the Pope says (p. ix. l.12) that the fourth Ecumenical Council (which by mistake he quite transfers from Chalcedon to Carthage), when it read the epistle of Pope Leo I, cried out, "Peter has thus spoken by Leo." It was so indeed. But his Holiness ought not to overlook how, and after what examination, our fathers cried out, as they did, in praise of Leo. Since however his Holiness, consulting brevity, appears to have omitted this most necessary point, and the manifest proof that an Ecumenical Council is not only above the Pope but above any Council of his, we will explain to the public the matter as it really happened. Of more than six hundred fathers assembled in the Counci1 of Chalcedon, about two hundred of the wisest were appointed by the Council to examine both as to language and sense the said epistle of Leo; nor only so, but to give in writing and with their signatures their own judgment upon it, whether it were Orthodox or not. These, about two hundred judgments and resolution on the epistle, as chiefly found in the Fourth Session of the said holy Council in such terms as the following:—"Maximus of Antioch in Syria said: 'The epistle of the holy Leo, Archbishop of Imperial Rome, agrees with the decisions of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers at Nice, and the hundred and fifty at Constantinople, which is new Rome, and with the faith expounded at Ephesus by the most holy Bishop Cyril: and I have subscribed it."
"Theodoret,the most religious Bishop of Cyrus: 'The epistle of the most holy Archbishop, the lord Leo, agrees with the faith established at Nice by the holy and blessed fathers, and with the symbol of faith expounded at Constantinople by the hundred and fifty, and with the epistles of the blessed Cyril. And accepting it, I have subscribed the said epistle."'
And thus all in succession: "The epistle corresponds," "the epistle is consonant,"the epistle agrees in sense," and the like. After such great and very severe scrutiny in comparing it with former holy Councils, and a full conviction of the correctness of the meaning, and not merely because it was the epistle of the Pope, they cried aloud, ungrudgingly, the exclamation on which his Holiness now vaunts himself: But if his Holiness had sent us statements concordant and in unison with the seven holy Ecumenical Councils, instead of boasting of the piety of his predecessors lauded by our predecessors and fathers in an Ecumenical Council, he might justly have gloried in his own Orthodoxy, declaring his own goodness instead of that of his fathers. Therefore let his Holiness be assured, that if, even now, he will write us such things as two hundred fathers on investigation and inquiry shall find consonant and agreeing with the said former Councils, then, we say, he shall hear from us sinners today, not only, "Peter has so spoken," or anything of like honor, but this also, "Let the holy hand be kissed which has wiped away the tears of the Catholic Church."
§16. And surely we have a right to expect from the prudent forethought of his Holiness, a work so worthy the true successor of St. Peter, of Leo I, and also of Leo III, who for security of the Orthodox faith engraved the divine Creed unaltered upon imperishable plates—a work which will unite the churches of the West to the holy Catholic Church, in which the canonical chief seat of his Holiness, and the seats of all the Bishops of the West remain empty and ready to be occupied. For the Catholic Church, awaiting the conversion of the shepherds who have fallen off from her with their flocks, does not separate in name only, those who have been privily introduced to the rulership by the action of others, thus making little of the Priesthood. But we are expecting the "word of consolation," and hope that he, as wrote St. Basil to St.Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (Epis. b6), will "tread again the ancient footprints of the fathers." Not without great astonishment have we read the said Encyclical letter to the Easterns, in which we see with deep grief of soul his Holiness, famed for prudence, speaking like his predecessors in schism, words that urge upon us the adulteration of our pure holy Creed, on which the Ecumenical Councils have set their seal; and doing violence to the sacred Liturgies, whose heavenly structure alone, and the names of those who framed them, and their tone of reverend antiquity, and the stamp that was placed upon them by the Seventh Ecumenical Synod (Act vi.), should have paralyzed him, and made him to turn aside the sacrilegious and all-daring hand that has thus smitten the King of Glory. From these things we estimate into what an unspeakable labyrinth of wrong and incorrigible sin of revolution the papacy has thrown even the wiser and more godly Bishops of the Roman Church, so that, in order to preserve the innocent, and therefore valued vicarial dignity, as well as the despotic primacy and the things depending upon it, they know no other means shall to insult the most divine and sacred things, daring everything for that one end. Clothing themselves, in words, with pious reverence for "the most venerable antiquity" (p. xi. 1.16), in reality there remains, within, the innovating temper; and yet his Holiness really hears hard upon himself when he says that we "must cast from us everything that has crept in among us since the Separation," (!) while he and his have spread the poison of their innovation even into the Supper of our LORD. His Holiness evidently takes it for granted that in the Orthodox Church the same thing has happened which he is conscious has happened in the Church of Rome since the rise of the Papacy: to wit, a sweeping change in all the Mysteries, and corruption from scholastic subtleties, a reliance on which must suffice as an equivalent for our sacred Liturgies and Mysteries and doctrines: yet all the while, forsooth, reverencing our "venerable antiquity," and all this by a condescension entirely Apostolic!—"without," as he says, "troubling us by any harsh conditions"! From such ignorance of the Apostolic and Catholic food on which we live emanates another sententious declaration of his (p. vii. 1. 22): "It is not possible that unity of doctrine and sacred observance should be preserved among you," paradoxically ascribing to us the very misfortune from which he suffers at home; just as Pope Leo IX wrote to the blessed Michael Cerularius, accusing the Greeks of changing the Creed of the Catholic Church, without blushing either for his own honor or for the truth of history. We are persuaded that if his Holiness will call to mind ecclesiastical archaeology and history, the doctrine of the holy Fathers and the old Liturgies of France and Spain, and the Sacramentary of the ancient Roman Church, he will be struck with surprise on finding how many other monstrous daughters, now living, the Papacy has brought forth in the West: while Orthodoxy, with us, has preserved the Catholic Church as an incorruptible bride for her Bridegroom, although we have no temporal power, nor, as his Holiness says, any sacred "observances," but by the sole tie of love and affection to a common Mother are bound together in the unity of a faith sealed with the seven seals of the Spirit (Rev. v. 1), and by the seven Ecumenical Councils, and in obedience to the Truth. He will find, also, flow many modern papistical doctrines and mysteries must be rejected as "commandments of men" in order that the Church of the West, which has introduced all sorts of novelties, may be changed back again to the immutable Catholic Orthodox faith of our common fathers. As the Pope recognizes our common zeal in this faith, when he says (p. viii. l.30), "let us take heed to the doctrine preserved by our forefathers," so he does well in instructing us (l. 31) to follow the old pontiffs and the faithful of the Eastern Metropolitans. What these thought of the doctrinal fidelity of the Archbishops of the elder Rome, and what idea we ought to have of them in the Orthodox Church, and in what manner we ought to receive their teachings, they have synodically given us an example (§ 15), and the sublime Basil has well interpreted it (§ 7). As to the supremacy, since we are not setting forth a treatise, let the same great Basil present the matter in a f'ew words, "I preferred to address myself to Him who is Head over them."
§ 17. From all this, every one nourished in sound Catholic doctrine, particularly the Pope, must draw the conclusion, how impious and anti-synodical it is to attempt the alteration of our doctrine and liturgies and other divine offices which are, and are proved to be, coeval with the preaching of Christianity: for which reason reverence was always bestowed on then, and they were confided in as pure even by the old Orthodox Popes themselves, to whom these things were an inheritance in common with ourselves. How becoming and holy would be the mending of the innovations, the time of whose entrance in the Church of Rome we know in each case; for our illustrious fathers have testified from time to time against each novelty. But there are other reasons which should incline his Holiness to this change. First, because those things that are ours were once venerable to the Westerns, as having the same divine Offices and confessing the same Creed; but the novelties were not known to our Fathers, nor could they be shown in the writings of the Orthodox Western Fathers, nor as having their origin either in antiquity or catholicity. Moreover, neither Patriarchs nor Councils could then have introduced novelties amongst us, because the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves, who desire their religious worship to be ever unchanged and of the same kind as that of their fathers: for as, after the Schism, many of the Popes and Latinizing Patriarchs made attempts that came to nothing even in the Western Church; and as, from time to time, either by fair means or foul, the Popes have commanded novelties for the sake of expediency (as they have explained to our f'athers, although they were thus dismembering the Body of Christ): so now again the Pope, for the sake of a truly divine and most just expediency, forsooth (not mending the nets, but himself rending the garment of the Savior), dare to oppose the venerable things of antiquity,—things well fitted to preserve religion, as his Holiness confesses (p. xi. l.16), and which he himself honors, as he says (lb. 1.16), together with his predecessors, for he repeats that memorable expression o one of those blessed predecessors (Celestine, writing to the third Ecumenical Council): "Let novelty cease to attack antiquity." And let the Catholic Church enjoy this benefit from this so far blameless declaration of the Popes. It must by all rneans be confessed, that in such his attempt, even though Pius IX be eminent for wisdom and piety, and, as he says, for zeal after Christian unity in the Catholic Church, he will meet, within and without, with difficulties and toils. And here we must put his Holiness in mind, if he will excuse our boldness, of that portion of his letter (p. viii. L.32), "That in things which relate to the confession of our divine religion, nothing is to be feared, when we look to the glory of Christ, and the reward which awaits us in eternal life." It is incumbent on his Holiness to show before God and man, that, as prime mover of the counsel which pleases God, so is he a willing protector of the ill-treated evangelical and synodical truth, even to the sacrifice of his own interests, according to the Prophet (Is. lx. 17), A ruler in peace and a bishop in righteousness. So be it! But until there be this desired returning of the apostate Churches to the body of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of which Christ is the Head (Eph. iv. 15), and each of us "members in particular," all advice proceeding from them, and every officious exhortation tending to the dissolution of our pure faith handed down from the Fathers is condemned,as it ought to be, synodically, not only as suspicious and to he eschewed, but as impious and soul-destroying: and in this category, among the first we place the said Encyclical to the Easterns from Pope Pius IX, Bishop of the elder Rome; and such we proclaim it to be in the Catholic Church.
§ 18. Wherefore, beloved brethren and fellow-ministers of our mediocrity, as always, so also now, particularly on this occasion of the publication of the said Encyclical, we hold it to be our inexorable duty, in accordance with our patriarchal and synodical responsibility, in order that none may be lost to the divine fold of the Orthodox Catholic Church, the most holy Mother of us all, to encourage each other, and to urge you that, reminding one another of the words and exhortations of St. Paul to our holy predecessors when he summoned them to Ephesus, we reiterate to each other: take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own Blood. For know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore,watch. (Acts xx.28-31.) Then our predecessors and Fathers, hearing this divine charge, wept sore, and falling upon his neck, kissed him. Come, then, and let us, brethren, hearing him admonishing us with tears, fall in spirit, lamenting, upon his neck, and, kissing him, comfort him by our own firm assurance, that no one shall separate us from the love of Christ, no one mislead us from evangelical doctrine, no one entice us from the safe path of our fathers, as none was able to deceive them, by any degree of zeal which they manifested, who from time to time were raised up for this purpose by the tempter: so that at last we shall hear from the Master: Well done, good and faithful servant, receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, and of the reasonable flock over whom the Holy Spirit has made us shepherds.
§ 19. This Apostolic charge and exhortation we have quoted for your sake, and address it to all the Orthodox congregation, wherever they be found settled on the earth, to the Priests and Abbots, to the Deacons and Monks, in a word, to all the Clergy and godly People, the rulers and the ruled, the rich and the poor, to parents and children, to teachers and scholars, to the educated and uneducated, to masters and servants, that we all, supporting and counseling each other, may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For thus St. Peter the Apostle exhorts us (1 Pet.): Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist, steadfast in the faith.
§ 20. For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith. But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Spirit as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils. This fearful anathema, brethren and sons beloved in Christ, we do not pronounce today, but our Savior first pronounced it (Matt. xii. 32): Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. St. Paul pronounced the same anathema (Gal. i. 6): I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. This same anathema the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the whole choir of God-serving fathers pronounced. All, therefore, innovating, either by heresy or schism, have voluntarily clothed themselves, according to the Psalm (cix. 18), ("with a curse as with a garment,") whether they be Popes, or Patriarchs, or Clergy, or Laity; nay, if any one, though an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Thus our wise fathers, obedient to the soul-saving words of St. Paul, were established firm and steadfast in the faith handed down unbrokenly to them, and preserved it unchanged and uncontaminate in the midst of so many heresies, and have delivered it to us pure and undefiled, as it came pure from the mouth of the first servants of the Word. Let us, too, thus wise, transmit it, pure as we have received it, to coming generations, altering nothing, that they may be, as we are, full of confidence, and with nothing to be ashamed of when speaking of the faith of their forefathers.
§ 21. Therefore, brethren, and sons beloved in the LORD, having purified your souls in obeying the truth (1 Pet. i. 22), let us give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (Heb. ii. 1.) The faith and confession we have received is not one to be ashamed of, being taught in the Gospel from the mouth of our LORD, witnessed by the holy Apostles, by the seven sacred Ecumenical Councils, preached throughout the world, witnessed to by its very enemies, who, before they apostatized from Orthodoxy to heresies, themselves held this same faith, or at least their fathers and fathers' fathers thus held it. It is witnessed to by continuous history, as triumphing over all the heresies which have persecuted or now persecute it, as ye see even to this day. The succession of our holy divine fathers and predecessors beginning from the Apostles, and those whom the Apostles appointed their successors, to this day, forming one unbroken chain, and joining hand to hand, keep fast the sacred inclosure of which the door is Christ, in which all the Orthodox Flock is fed in the fertile pastures of the mystical Eden, and not in the pathless and rugged wilderness, as his Holiness supposes (p. 7.1.12). Our Church holds the infallible and genuine deposit of the Holy Scriptures, of the Old Testament a true and perfect version, of the New the divine original itself. The rites of the sacred Mysteries, and especially those of the divine Liturgy, are the same glorious and heartquickening rites, handed down from the Apostles. No nation, no Christian communion, can boast of such Liturgies as those of James, Basil, Chrysostom. The august Ecumenical Councils, those seven pillars of the house of Wisdom, were organized in it and among us. This, our Church, holds the originals of their sacred definitions. The Chief Pastors in it, and the honorable Presbytery, and the monastic Order, preserve the primitive and pure dignity of the first ages of Christianity, in opinions, in polity, and even in the simplicity of their vestments. Yes! verily, "grievous wolves" have constantly attacked this holy fold, and are attacking it now, as we see for ourselves, according to the prediction of the Apostle, which shows that the true lambs of the great Shepherd are folded in it; but that Church has sung and shall sing forever: " They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them (Ps. cxviii. l1). Let us add one reflection, a painful one indeed, but useful in order to manifest and confirm the truth of our words:—All Christian nations whatsoever that are today seen calling upon the Name of Christ (not excepting either the West generally, or Rome herself, as we prove by the catalogue of her earliest Popes), were taught the true faith in Christ by our holy predecessors and fathers; and yet afterwards deceitful men, many of whom were shepherds, and chief shepherds too, of those nations, by wretched sophistries and heretical opinions dared to defile, alas! the Orthodoxy of those nations, as veracious history informs us, and as St. Paul predicted.
§ 22. Therefore, brethren, and ye our spiritual children, we acknowledge how great the favor and grace which God has bestowed upon our Orthodox Faith, and on His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which, like a mother who is unsuspected of her husband, nourishes us as children of whom she is not ashamed, and who are excusable in our high-toned boldness concerning the hope that is in us. But what shall we sinners render to the LORD for all that He hath bestowed upon us? Our bounteous LORD and God, who hath redeemed us by his own Blood, requires nothing else of us but the devotion of our whole soul and heart to the blameless, holy faith of our fathers, and love and affection to the Orthodox Church, which has regenerated us not with a novel sprinkling, but with the divine washing of Apostolic Baptism. She it is that nourishes us, according to the eternal covenant of our Savior, with His own precious Body, and abundantly, as a true Mother, gives us to drink of that precious Blood poured out for us and for the salvation of the world. Let us then encompass her in spirit, as the young their parent bird, wherever on earth we find ourselves, in the north or south, or east, or west. Let us fix our our eyes and thoughts upon her divine countenance and her most glorious beauty. Let us take hold with both our hands on her shining robe which the Bridegroom, "altogether lovely," has with His own undefiled hands thrown around her, when He redeemed her from the bondage of error, and adorned her as an eternal Bride for Himself. Let us feel in our own souls the mutual grief of the children-loving mother and the mother-loving children, when it is seen that men of wolfish minds and making gain of souls are zealous in plotting how they may lead her captive, or tear the lambs from their mothers. Let us, Clergy as well as Laity, cherish this feeling most intensely now, when the unseen adversary of our salvation, combining his fraudful arts (p. xi. 1. 2-25), employs such powerful instrumentalities, and walketh about everywhere, as saith St. Peter, seeking whom he may devour; and when in this way, in which we walk peacefully and innocently, he sets his deceitful snares.
§ 23. Now, the God of peace, "that brought again from the dead that great Shepherd of the sheep," "He that keepeth Israel," who "shall neither slumber nor sleep," "keep your hearts and minds," "and direct your ways to every good work."
Peace and joy be with you in the LORD.
May, 1848, Indiction 6.
+ ANTHIMOS, by the Mercy of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, new Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.
+ HIEROTHEUS, by the Mercy of God, Patriarch of Alexandria and of all Egypt, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.
+ METHODIOS, by the Mercy of God, Patriarch of the great City of God, Antioch, and of all Anatolia, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.
+ CYRIL, by the Mercy of God, Patriarch of Jerusalem and of all Palestine, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.
The Holy Synod in Constantinople:
+ PAISIUS OF CAESAREA
+ ANTHIMUS OF EPHESUS
+ DIONYSIUS OF HERACLEA
+ JOACHIM OF CYZICUS
+ DIONYSIUS OF NICODEMIA
+ HIEROTHEUS OF CHALCEDON
+ NEOPHYTUS OF DERCI
+ GERASIMUS OF ADRIANOPLE
+ CYRIL OF NEOCAESAREA
+ THEOCLETUS OF BEREA
+ MELETIUS OF PISIDIA
+ ATHANASIUS OF SMYRNA
+ DIONYSIUS OF MELENICUS
+ PAISIUS OF SOPHIA
+ DANIEL OF LEMNOS
+ PANTELEIMON OF DEYINOPOLIS
+ JOSEPH OF ERSECIUM
+ ANTHIMUS OF BODENI
The Holy Synod in Antioch:
+ ZACHARIAS OF ARCADIA
+ METHODIOS OF EMESA
+ JOANNICIUS OF TRIPOLIS
+ ARTEMIUS OF LAODICEA
The Holy Synod in Jerusalem:
+ MELETIUS OF PETRA
+ DIONYSIUS OF BETHLEHEM
+ PHILEMON OF GAZA
+ SAMUEL OF NEAPOLIS
+ THADDEUS OF SEBASTE
+ JOANNICIUS OF PHILADELPHIA
+ HIEROTHEUS OF TABOR