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(October 2004 -- 2nd Article)

On the Recently Concluded Inter-Orthodox Conference: Ecumenism: Origins, Expectations, Disenchantment

SOURCE: A press release by Society of Orthodox Studies

"In love, we reject Ecumenism, because we desire to offer to the heterodox  precisely that which the Lord richly bestowed upon all of us within His Holy Orthodox Church: the opportunity to become members of His Body."


    This, among other things, was stressed at the Inter-Orthodox Conference: "Ecumenism: Origins, Expectations, Disenchantment", which was successfully co-sponsored by the Department of Pastoral Theology of the Theological School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the "Society of Orthodox Studies" in the midst of large crowds who filled Ceremony Hall at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


The conference took place from September 20-24, 2004. His All-holiness Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki declared the commencement of the conference. Other Metropolitans and Bishops, the mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Panagiotis Psomiadis, Parliament representatives, and university professors were all on hand to offer greetings to the conference and its attendees. Before a packed audience composed of the Abbots of holy monasteries, clergy, monks, and laity, among which were many theologians and students of the Theological School, over a five day period roughly sixty speakers, including Hierarchs, from nearly all of the Local Orthodox Churches, analyzed thoroughly the phenomenon of Ecumenism.


At the conference it was noted that the roughly one hundred year old movement of Ecumenism -- the organized efforts to unite divided Christians -- even if it was, in the beginning of its development, animated by good intentions, has today reached a total dead end -- a truth which is confessed by even the most fervent supporters of inter-Christian dialogue. This is due to the way in which these dialogues were established and directed, and are conducted even today.


Inter-Christian dialogues, with their unacceptable joint prayers and their syncretism, quickly led to inter-religious syncretism, the underpinning of which is the new age theory which proclaims that all of the religions are paths which lead to the same God.


Ecumenism, with these dialogues, gatherings and joint prayers, is placed among the so-called New Age, the New Order, and Globalization and serves political and geo-strategic aims, which are especially visible, even to the most uninformed observer, after the eleventh of September, 2001.


The ultimate conclusion of the conference is that the conditions have matured and been met and now render imperative the re-examination of the Orthodox Church’s participation in the “World Council of Churches”, and the so-called Ecumenical Movement more generally, as well as inter-religious gatherings.


Joint prayer must be flatly condemned and the Local Orthodox Churches must undertake their heroic exodus from these assemblies.

For this aim to be attained a pan-Orthodox decision is not required, given that the Local Orthodox Churches were incorporated into the W.C.C. and ecumenical movement separately.