Orthodox Tradition and Papism
By Archimandrite George Kapsanis
The proud "infallible" man of Rome refuses to cede his position to the Godman Christ, the true and infallible head of the Church.
He subjected under his authority all the Churches of the West and the Eastern Uniates. From the non- papists now remain the Orthodox for submission, since the Protestants do not consist of Churches but of religious groups.
On the submission of the Orthodox Church, the Vatican behaves as if it has changed its ways. It displayed acts of politeness and good intentions, aiming to favourably incline the Orthodox towards it, and thus facilitate their return to Rome.
The lifting of anathemas, the exchange of visits, the granting of permission to the papists to commune in Orthodox Churches and vice-versa for the Orthodox with the papists, the conferences, the co-services, all serve this goal.
The papists believe that with all these actions, the Orthodox who in the world are seen as weaker, in an awkward state and disorganized (namely lacking a strong central government as with Papism) they could be easily absorbed by Papism as happened with other early Orthodox Churches in the West and half of the Patriarchate of Antioch which was devoured by the Uniates.
The response given by Orthodox Patriarchs, Bishops, clerics and lay theologians towards the papist displays, serve the plans of the Vatican. The friendly displays toward the papists by the Orthodox rulers and theologians blunt the traditional opposition of the Orthodox people and prepare the Orthodox members for the Vatican's planned, well designed and gradual application for the conversion of the Orthodox to Uniates.
We do not wish to believe that the Orthodox friends of the papists collaborate consciously for the execution of this plan.
It should not be ignored that the unrepentant Vatican has a very lengthy experience in proselytizing the Orthodox, having certain proselytizing institutions and schools with specialist personnel as well as adequate financial means. It also possesses extensive diplomatic experience and organization. There are papist theologians who follow and know better than the Orthodox, the current events within Orthodoxy, while all of them appearing as friends of Orthodoxy they artfully penetrate Orthodoxy, even in Orthodox Holy Monasteries.
An underhanded means of distorting the Orthodox convictions is the papist granting of generous scholarships to young and poor Orthodox theologians for studies in papist university institutions. What the papist always aimed and what they aim to day through such scholarships is not difficult for one to understand. The expectation is that in the future they may attain positions of leadership in hierarchy and academic theology, having first secured favourable attitude towards the Vatican.
As a respectable Romanian theologian being present at a conference of papal and orthodox theologians, told me, the presence of the Orthodox theologians of whom most were under scholarship of the papists was heartbreaking. Of the twenty Orthodox theologians present, eighteen sided with the mysterious deaconate on the union of Churches. It is known that the young Orthodox who were on papist scholarahips already receive Holy Communion in papist churches.
This climate is also cultivated by Roman Catholic professors. About this we are informed that at Regensburg, teacher Paul Rauch who directs the Santa Clara institution (centre of ecumenical affairs), during the Orthodox Divine Liturgy recites in Greek the Orthodox Creed of Faith and the Sunday prayer, while an Orthodox priest officiates in the presence of the Orthodox congregation.
Through all these the so called "lay ecumenism" is promoted, namely the progressive psychological preparation of the Orthodox people so that with time the union will be realized by the people, independently of the decisions of the hierarchy.
Already lay ecumenism has started to bear fruit. Orthodox abroad are churched, communed and baptize their children with the Roman Catholics. Where we are led by all these, is not hard to foresee.
That we may not be self deceived the Orthodox with respect to the intentions of the westerners, should follow what noted representatives of Papism say during times of frankness.
Thus the known theologian Yves Congar says that the prayer on the union "to the Catholics mean prayer for the spreading of the Catholic Church in which the Church of Christ and of the Apostles is found" and "the catholic remains in whatever it is and invites the others to come to him". 2
How unrepentant are the papists is shown in their demonstrated enmity against Saint Gregory Palamas with epicenter the Istina and the publications against Saint Gregory. Papism has become so severely sick from the anthropocentric and orthologistic spirit, that its therapy appears at least to humans, to be impossible.
And Papism while severely sick persists in its sickness and even worse, it aims at passing it on to the, through the Grace of God, remaining spiritually healthy Orthodox by changing its proselytizing tactics and methods.
However, what forces the Orthodox to fall naively in the trap of Papism and behave towards it as if in reality it changed its mind and why? Is it possible that popes abiding in the anti-evangelical and anti-ecclesiastical deceits to be thought of by our own as "saints", "blessed", "brother presbyters" or as having apostolic succession as we have?
For us Orthodox who wish to remain faithful to the holy Theanthropocentric (God-man centered) tradition of Orthodoxy, every pope who adheres to the above, not only he is not saint and blessed and brother presbyter but to the contrary by continuing to distort the Bible of the God-man Christ, he is, even unintentionally, enemy of Christ and insidious to Orthodoxy.
He is also to this day the most significant obstacle towards the union of the Churches in the truth of Christ. He is heresiarch and guilty of the eternal sin through his unrepentant persistence in the greatest scandal of Christianity, the papist totalitarianism.
The church of Rome is not holy, because it follows unrepentant so many heresies. It has fallen from the Truth and moreover also from grace and the apostolic succession. The Pope would be holy and so would the Church of Rome, after having repented of all their anti-evangelical heresies and then they will be worthy of our respect and reverence.
The Church always believed this way and so do we believe. This is the faith according to the theologian Gregory "what I was taught by the holy Fathers similarly is what I teach", not conforming to the times and teaching without ceasing since I was born and as long as I exist". 3 And we the base ones are not holier nor smarter than the great Fathers, Saint Fotios, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Cosmas Etolos, Saint Nicodemos the Agiorite, to alter the pious prudence of the Church and confess a different faith, compromising the uncompromisable.
We remain with the grace of the God and the blessings of our holy Fathers steadfast in everything we received, were baptized, catechized, confessed, believed and having also come to this place of the Most Holy Theotokos denying the world. "........if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema" (Gal 1:9).
We are aware the difficulties of the clergy and lay theologians who live in the world, to understand this speech. The becoming worldly, the moralizing and the humanism have made the consciences of many Orthodox less sensitive.
Humbly though we ask them not to judge the above by worldly criteria but with the eternal criteria of the bible and of the Holy Fathers.
Who are we, to substitute the eternal criteria of the Church with our own criteria? Do we perhaps have the sanctity or the wisdom or the asceticism or the confession of the holy Apostles, confessors, testifiers of our faith that we may have the right to judge differently than them?
1. From the book, Orthodox Tradition and Papism of the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Saint Gregory of the Holy Mountain, Archimandrite George Kafani, Holy Mountain 1979, we reprint pages 33-37 to inform the congregation of the Church and for its protection from the pan-heresy of Papism and Ecumenism.
2. "The Theology of Prayer for the Christian Union" Athens 1968, pg 13,16
3. To the Arians pg 36, 233B