The executive committee for what is called the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America (that’s a mouth full!) met recently and issued a statement which reaffirmed their commitment to Orthodox unity in the U.S. –
The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America met today, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Elpidophoros, to discuss the state of Orthodox Christian unity in the USA. Recognizing the challenges in global Orthodoxy, the jurisdictional representatives reiterated their commitment to the local faithful of America and rededicated themselves to fulfilling the call for canonical normalcy and pastoral unity on contemporary issues.
No one would deny that this is a desirable thing. YET, what unity can be had under the chairmanship of a Bishop who is supporting the division of the Church in other lands? How can one who is supporting schismatics and heretics speak authoritatively on Orthodox unity? As my readers will know by now, I’m referring to the ongoing events in Ukraine where the Ecumenical Patriarchate, under whose authority the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) exists and whose head is Archbp. Elipidophoros, actively supports schism and division in the Orthodox Church.
How, pray tell, can I take seriously the words of active dividers of the Church regarding unity?
How can one who is preparing to give a “Human Rights” award to the illicit and unchristian leader of the schismatics in Ukraine, Mr. Epiphany, be trusted when he speaks on Church Unity?
How can one who actively supports those who use violence and hatred against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church even be given credence?
The main challenge to “Global Orthodoxy” is the extreme arrogance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) and its divisive work in the Orthodox world. “With friends like these who needs enemies?” As the saying goes.
Let Archbp. Elipidophoros show forth his commitment to unity by first renouncing the uncanonical works of the EP in Ukraine. Let him condemn the evil work being done in Ukraine.
Also, why would I want to be united to one who has united himself to heretics and schismatics? This is not a desirable unity; nor is it true unity around the Truth of Christ the Lord in His Church. The canons clearly state that if one communes with schismatics, one becomes a schismatic.
How can we have true unity with those who are in unity with schismatics?
Would that the other bishops on the Assembly had the courage to fearlessly speak up for our persecuted brethren in Ukraine. Do they think that such a toxic work will have no eventual effect on Orthodoxy in America? Unity preserved through turning a blind eye is but false unity. The evil seed of the EP planted in Ukraine will bring corrupt fruit to America too. Why are we sticking our heads in the sand?
Would not a humble and loving rebuke from the other Bishops be a true act which shows a true desire for real unity? And yet the Assembly is chaired uncontested by the most active dividers of the Orthodox Church in our times.
What account will we give before the Judgment Seat of Christ when we are unwilling to speak humbly and yet boldly on behalf of our true brothers and sisters who are persecuted? And in this case, the persecution is taking place at the hands of those who pose as Christians. And it is being supported by the EP and GOA. Is it possible that Archbp. Elipidophoros is unaware that the Frankenstein creation of the EP in Ukraine is carrying out very unchristian actions? I think not.
If you support the schismatics in Ukraine you are a participator in their deeds and you will share in their reward.
With their mouth they say “Unity, Unity!” and with their hands, they actively divide the Church?! Let the EP and its leadership repent and heal the schism they are promoting and then we will be able to listen to a call for unity.
And let us remember that unity for the sake of unity is never a Christian call. Unity is found only around the unchangeable Truth of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. When a man or a group actively violates the true integrity of the Church, then we are never called to have unity with such ones. Let them repent, and then we will rejoice in unity.