OPINION: Position of the Holy Synod of Bulgaria on the Conference held in Crete’s Document Entitled “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World.”


OPINION: Position of the Holy Synod of Bulgaria on the Conference held in Crete’s Document Entitled “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World.”

November 29, 2016 15:00 , Bulgarian Patriarchate

St. Synod in its meeting on 15. 11. 2016 Rev. № 22 – full composition examine the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of Christendom” adopted conditions are. In June this year Fair on the island. Crete, Greece, and adopted the following OPINION:

At its meeting on 01.06.2016, the archpriest. № 12, St. Synod at full strength decided to propose postponement of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church as preparations for implementing it to continue. Otherwise St. Synod said BOC-BP will not participate in it.

Subsequently, similar proposals came and the Holy Synod of other local Orthodox churches – participants in the organization of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. The organizers of the Great and Holy Synod of Crete no regard to these proposals. Subsequently to its opt said four autocephalous local Churches (in chronological order): Bulgarian Orthodox Church (decision of 1 June this year), Patriarchate of Antioch (judgment of June 6 this year) Georgian Orthodox Church (judgment of 10 June this year), the Russian Orthodox church (decision of 13 June this year).

From 16 to 27 June this year the Orthodox Academy of Crete, Greece, took place planned for the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, but without the participation of four Autocephalous autocephalous churches, and without the participation recognized by BOC-BP autocephalous Orthodox Church in America (OCA), whose participation at the outset of preparations for the meeting was not foreseen, even as a guest. At the Council attended by representatives of the media and guests from heterodox religious groups (Roman Catholic, Anglican, etc.).

The fair, held in Crete, voted and adopted with some changes six predsaborni documents and his “Encyclical” and “Message”. 33 persons from participating in the Synod bishops have not signed the document “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world,” as some non-signatory bishops (among them prominent Orthodox theologians) issued a public explanation of its position.

By its letter archpriest. № 798 / 07.14.2016, the (filed at the Synodal office under № 498 / 20.09.2016 years) His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent St. Synod of the BOC-BP voted and adopted by the council documents. After specialized translation made by an authorized translator, diocesan bishops received these documents.

The first important conclusion is that, compared to their predsaboren version voted and adopted by the council on the island. Crete documents have undergone certain but insignificant and insufficient for Ecumenical acceptance change.

I. To document “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of Christendom”

1. With regard to the text in point. 4. can say that always the Orthodox Church under the “unity of all” is understood jointing or return to its bosom by St. Baptism, St. Chrismation Penance and all wandering in the elements in this world and drop it into heresy and schism, in accordance with canon law of the Church. One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church never lost unity in the faith and fellowship of the Holy Spirit and can not accept the alleged “recovery unity “with” other Christians “because this unity there is invariably the body of Christ and the very unity and uniqueness are essential definitions of the Church. Also, the Orthodox Church can not accept the different concepts and doctrines on which heterodox justify this unity . such are the theories about the existence of a seemingly “unity” of all Christian denominations, such as. the teachings of the “invisible church”, “the theory of branches”, “baptismal theology” or “equality of the denominations”. All these theories can be connected with scholastic doctrine of created Grace St. Spirit, which was demolished condemned by St. Church. If we accept this doctrine, then it can justify the presence of God’s grace in various Christian denominations, which differs for different denominations in quantitative and qualitative terms. According to this heterodox theory assumes that far in a Christian community made liturgical actions, they can cause gracious life in different ways, which varies depending on the condition of each denomination. This theological theory says that liturgical action may give access to the salvation of Christians from the communities to which they belong. Therefore presumption of grace in all Christian denominations should be joint effort to achieve the fullness of unity in Christ (cf.. Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council).

2. In connection with the statement and approval in point. 5. search for “the lost unity of all Christians” believe that it is unacceptable and inadmissible, because the Orthodox Church has never lost its national unity, although heresies and schisms, which are breaking away from the body of the Church, from which the body does not lose its primordial ontological integrity, which implies ontological inseparability of Christ’s hypostasis.

3. pt. 6 pt. 16 and so on. 20. recognizing “the historical name” to “others, not finding in communion with her heterodox Christian churches and confessions”, although in item 1. The document is approved different thing, namely that no heretical or schismatic community can not be called “church”. The presence of many churches is unacceptable according to the dogmas and canons of the Orthodox Church. Moreover, initially in point. 2. the document pioneers, that “the Orthodox Church based unity of the Church the fact of its founding of our Lord Jesus Christ and on the communion of the Holy Trinity and the sacraments. This unity is expressed through apostolic succession and patristic tradition and experiencing it today.” Addition of “historical name” and the explanation that heterodox confessions are not in communion with the Orthodox Church does not remove problematic and falsity of this text. As mentioned in pt. 6 of the document passage correlate disparate realities. That the name “Orthodox” relative to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, is historically established name, it reduces its validity and importance? Any real name arose in history, reflecting a certain nature, existing reality. Otherwise, it is a concept without real volume just a name without a real object that it expresses or reflects. Such a name without real subject is fiction. In this case, catholic document should have noted that “the historical name ” churches’ relative to the deviants from the Orthodox Church communities is fictitious name without a real referent in reality. If you do not make this appointment, then the historical name “heterodox churches” will have its real historical referent to which it relates. Ie. Will recognize the reality of other churches other than Orthodox, which is in clear contradiction with paragraph. 1 and with the opening words of pt. 6 of the document (The Church is One and Only).

4. Statement in Item. 12 affirmation that “in the conduct of theological dialogues common goal of all is the final restoration of the unity of the true faith and love” is too simplistic and does not represent an exhaustive dimensions of the process. Unity implies edinoverie, think and act in all dogmatic definitions and church rules, approved by the Ecumenical councils and in relation to the liturgical tradition and sacramental life in the Holy. Spirit. The way to achieve this unity is through repentance, confession of the Orthodox faith and baptism.

5. Item. 20 states that “the prospects of the theological dialogues of the Orthodox Church with the rest of Christendom always be determined on the basis of the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology and canonical criteria already established church tradition” – but more accurate term would be “already established church tradition” be replaced with “the tradition of the Orthodox Church.”

6. The overall impression from this paper is that there are many ambiguous expressions and terminology ecclesiological inconsistencies. It is also important that it is not being justified and comprehensive primary objective of these theological dialogues with the heterodox religions, which is the return of heterodox in canonical order in the bosom of the Orthodox Church, and also not formulated clearly in accordance with this objective main founding and principles of these dialogues. Instead, ie. 16 et seq. Legitimizes NGO “World Council of Churches,” in which BOC-BP, thankfully, long ago not to participate.

7. In the section of the main objective mentioned above in point. 6, the document (m. P. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) too consistently and comprehensively regulates the methodology for conducting various dialogues.

8. The text of item. 22 clearly implies infallibility and uncritical reference to the Festival that took place in Crete, because at this point affirming that “the preservation of the true Orthodox faith is guaranteed only by the catholic system end time is the most competent and reliable criterion of the Church in matters of faith and canonical provisions. “But could indicate targets periods of church history showing that the final criterion for the establishment of the Ecumenical councils is awake dogmatic conscience of the whole Orthodox implementation. The system of Ecumenical and Ecumenical Council can not provide automatic or mechanical correctness of the professed faith of Orthodox Christians.

II. The main conclusion

Hold a commemoration of Crete is neither great nor world nor Ecumenical:

1. Due to non participation in a number Autocephalous autocephalous churches and admitted due to organizational and theological errors. However, we respect and appreciate the efforts of all the organizers and participants for its implementation.

2. Careful examination of the documents adopted by the council in Crete, leads us to the conclusion that some of them contain discrepancies with the Orthodox Church teaching with dogmatic and canonical tradition of the Church with the spirit and letter of the Ecumenical and Local Council.

3. adopted by the council in Crete documents subject to further theological discussion with a view straightening, editing, correction or replacement with other (new documents) in the spirit and tradition of the Church.

BOC-BP is an integral part living member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As part of the Body of Christ by this very body of the Local territory of Bulgaria and Bulgarian dioceses abroad, BOC will still continue to be in fraternal Eucharistic, spiritual, dogmatic and canonical communion with all other local Orthodox churches – both participated in the Festival Crete as well as non-participants. Church is not a secular organization, the divine-human organism. It is not affected and should not be influenced in their life went down by political and social interests and their respective divisions. Its head is the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, who is “the Way and the Truth and the Life.”

The principles of autocephaly and catholicity in church life not only does not contradict, but complement each other, stemming from one another and are in complete unity.


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