The brief synopsis in English of the statement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) under His Beatitude, Met. Onuphy, is well worth a read.
In it, the reader will note vital themes that have been echoed in my blog and by others.
The divisive, one may even say diabolical, actions of the EP in Ukraine are an attack on the very foundations of the Church of Christ.
Also, it is of the utmost importance to understand that the crisis is not one of “administration.” It is not just a spat between Moscow and Constantinople. Such a view is a false narrative. Moreover, such a narrative fails to take into account that the Church in Ukraine is an Autonomous Church.
The root issues have to deal with proper ecclesiology. This is why the actions of the EP in Ukraine can be called heretical. The EP has violated the spiritual unity of the Church and has taken to itself a position which is totally foreign to true Orthodoxy, the claim of being “first without equals.”
Another point of extreme pertinence is that the EP, together with those who have “recognized” the schismatics in Ukraine, are serving and communing with those who have no Christian validity, no apostolic succession. They have also placed schismatics over and above the canonical Church. Such actions are a grave violence against the unity of the Church, the Body of Christ.
The “sacraments” performed by the schismatics in Ukraine are completely devoid of grace. The EP and its supporters are fellowshipping in gracelessness.
The UOC statement clearly says that such communion with graceless schismatics is “blasphemy and a desecration of the Eucharist.” A very true statement.
To break Eucharistic communion with those in fellowship with the corrupt schismatics is indeed a protection of the Eucharist and a guarding of the true Unity of the Church. Also, the breaking of communion protects the healthy members from the corruption and defilement that is being injected in other members, which will eventually lead to death unless repentance is applied. This section of the statement is worth repeating in full here –
In fact, we defend the purity of the canonical tradition of the Church and protect the Church from blasphemy. Otherwise, if persons who do not have canonical ordinations are admitted to the priesthood, if the schism is declared by the Church, and the real Church of Christ is ignored or called a schism, then there is a danger of the substitution of the Church. In addition, such anti-Church actions blur the line between the Church and schism. As a result, a new “Church” is created, founded by people, instead of the one that our Lord Jesus Christ founded, having acquired it for Himself by His own Blood (cf. Acts. 20:28).
As I have pointed out numerous times, the actions of the EP are establishing a “new” church. Yet, this “church” is not founded upon our Lord Jesus Christ, rather it is being founded upon novel and innovative ideologies which are foreign to the true spirit of Orthodoxy. It is also the machinations of godless secular powers.
The Synod points out that much of the motivation for “recognizing” the schismatics comes not from true Christian concerns but rather from secular geopolitical agendas.
The faithful are called to stay faithful to Christ the Lord and fear not. The Lord will bring His Church through even these turbulent times.
Such pertinent and vital spiritual principles should be taken to heart by faithful Orthodox in America.
A starting point may be to at least cease Eucharistic communion with what is called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America EP. This group has been integral to the support of the schismatics in Ukraine. A hierarch of said group, Daniel, was a primary mover in the “recognition” of the schismatics in Ukraine.
This group is responsible for the destruction of Orthodoxy in their homeland and the magnification of schism throughout the Orthodox world.
Since they are emphatically supporting and in communion with the apostate schismatics in Ukraine, Eucharistic communion should be broken with them. This at least would make some real act of support for the True Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Met. Onuphry. As of yet, such “support” has lamentably remained mostly in the sphere of words on the part of American jurisdictions.
One thought on “Refusing Fellowship with Schismatics Guards true Unity”
I was reading a review by Blessed Father Seraphim Rose written sometime in the early seventies of the book ‘A History of the Russian Church Abroad 1917-1970’ [if you haven’t read it, it’s a must – I’m reading it now] and in it he makes two very important characterizations of Orthodoxy in America –then and now – [bulleted below] that is just as apropos for us today: we can choose to be “conscious” or “unconscious” Orthodox.
Unfortunately, it seems to be the latter for most Orthodox that I encounter, where we have THREE jurisdiction-ally represented Orthodox churches within the same city: a Greek parish under the EP, an OCA mission parish [reading the history of OCA’s formation only furthers my questioning of its most “famous” teachers and students, due to its academic seminary’s ties to the Paris School – “Rue Daru” and its sycophants and their involvement in dubious panels and discussions, as well as the protestant and post-patristic theology promulgated by them], and then the Antiochian parish I belong to.
The sad consensus is: “what’s that got to do with me; it’s so far away and it’s just politics.” So thank you for your clear and enlightening commentaries and guidance on these tragic happenings in our Church.
I also wanted to pass along two of St. Nicholai Velimirovic’s homilies from the Prologue on the “bonds that unite us” – the ontological bonds that is – that do not exist with schismatics or heretics…
Thank you again for your vigilance and voice of warning.
Doxa to Theo, John
A History of the Russian Church Abroad Book Review by Fr. Seraphim Rose
History of ROCOR 1917-1971 [also includes link to pdf version of book]
• “unconscious” Orthodoxy is but a step on the road to the abandonment of Orthodoxy altogether.
• But alas, such is the character of our times – indeed, such is the whole history of Christ’s Church – that without knowing the negative side, the work of the Church’s enemies and their often naive and well-meaning fellow-travelers – it is scarcely possible to be a conscious Orthodox Christian at all, for thereby one only holds oneself open to the sophistries of the worldly “theologians” who would make the Church the servant of indifference and compromise.
The Prologue from Ohrid Nov 21: HOMILY on the faithful as one body and one spirit
…There is one body and one spirit (Ephesians 4:4).
The Holy Apostle counsels the faithful to strive to be one body and one spirit. By one body is understood “one Faith,” without divisions, without heresies and without self-will: the whole Church is one body of which Christ is the Head. By one spirit is understood “love,” the ardent love of all the faithful for Christ, from which proceeds mutual love. The many become as one; many men become as one man. This is the miracle of the Christian Faith and Christian love. There is no power in the world which can be a stronger bond among men: not the same blood, or the same language, or the same hearth, or the same parents, or any type of common material interests. None of these is even nearly as powerful a bond as Christian faith and love. By this powerful, irresistible bond, all the members of the Church are bound to each other. The Church of God stands as one man, in time and in eternity–one body and one spirit. There is nothing more contradictory to this wondrous unity than the pride of individual men. Pride distorts faith, cools love, creates heresies, divides the Church, and sacrifices the good of the whole for individual satisfaction. Pride, in essence, is the absence of both faith and love. Brethren, may God save us from pride, the primal infirmity of the human race, that we may always be one body and one spirit in our Lord Jesus Christ.
To Thee, O Lord Jesus; to Thee, the Head of the Church, be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue Nov 22: HOMILY on that which constitutes the unity of the faithful
… One Lord, one Faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:5-6).
Here is the all-important and extremely obvious reason for all Christians to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) and be one body and one spirit (Ephesians 4:4). For the One Lord Jesus Christ is our Creator, Redeemer and Resurrector. There are not two true Christs, that there should be division among us. One and the same blood was shed upon the Cross for us all, just as one and the same mouth prayed for us all in Gethsemane. We have one Faith in the Holy Trinity, undivided and life-creating–the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in Essence and three in Persons–the Unbegotten Father, the Begotten Son and the Spirit proceeding from the Father. We have one Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This Baptism is by threefold immersion in water, for death to sin and the devil, and for the resurrection and life in Christ the Lord. One God and Father of all–the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, Who through Christ and because of Christ adopts us and gives us the right to say to Him, Our Father.
Do you see, my brethren, how strong are the bonds that unite us? Not even the stars themselves are bound by stronger bonds, nor the water to the earth, nor fire to the air. Do you see the overwhelming reasons that we have for unity? Everything else that, from the left hand, would urge us to division is inconsequential compared to these reasons, like a grain of sand compared to the high mountains. The devil cannot destroy our unity if we do not help him. The devil can never conquer us if we do not surrender ourselves to him.
O Lord Jesus, sweet and gracious, how firmly Thou hast bound us for eternal good! Keep us, we pray, in this bond.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
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