Τρίτη, 23 Αυγούστου 2016

ONE HOLY CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH

Introduction of the Subject Matter 
 All Glory and Majesty and Praise be unto our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who of His overflowing Love has given Himself for our Salvation and made us a People and a Church for Himself. He has given the Church as the Ark of Salvation and Furnace of Deification for the universe, that by us He may redeem and reconcile all things unto the Father, with Whom together with the All-Holy, Good and Life-Giving Spirit He Is always worshiped and Glorified forever and ever. Amen. This same Church, which is All-Triumphant by the Despotic Promise that the gates of Hades shall never prevail against her, has often been sorely beset by enemies from left and right. Numerous heresies and schisms reared their heads and hissed against her so that her enemies would have devoured her, but for her Lord Who safeguards her by a Dread Interdiction, commanding, Touch not Mine Anointed Ones, and do My Prophets no harm. The roll of conquest of our Church is long, at the head of which is perfidious Arianism followed by impious Macedonianism which sought to deny the Most-Holy Trinity, at the train of which came mad Nestorianism, Eutychianism and Severianism with their attendant error Monotheletism all seeking to overthrow the Incarnation. And these together with Iconoclasm were justly and rightly trampled down and made a public spectacle by our Holy and God-Bearing Ecumenical Fathers convening in Ecumenical Synods by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is a general fact that we are presently living in an age of Ecclesiological turmoil. A new heresy concerning the Church is bound to arise in the future. We confess the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church in the Symbol of Faith, and any deviation thereof constitutes a fatal heresy.
The Eucharist as the Source of Church Existence  
The Divine and Immaculate Eucharist substantiates the Church. The One Bread and Chalice of the One Lord sets apart His People as a Church, and thus the Church is nothing else but the Eucharistic Synaxis in spacetime. Without the Eucharist we would be nothing but a mere assembly, and only in celebrating the Eucharist do we exist as a Church. This is that Eucharist given by the Lord in the Upper Room and first celebrated in Apostolic Communion after Pentecost. The Apostolic Successors, the Orthodox Bishops, continue in this same Apostolic Eucharistic Communion, and if any remains not within this Communion, either by heresy or schism, the same is cut off from the Eucharist and the Church. For outside of Him we are nothing.
The Churches of God are Absolutely Equal
 Because the Lord Is One and His Eucharist is one, we have not several Eucharists of the same magnitude, we have only the one and the same, the identical Eucharist in every Church of God. Each Eucharistic Synaxis can only celebrate the one identical Eucharist wholly, not partially or supernumerarily. There is thus no ontological superiority or inferiority among the Churches of God, because one and the same Eucharist of the One Lord is wholly and equally possessed by each. A Church of ten people is no less a Church than one of ten thousand people, and the Church of ten thousand people is no more a Church than one of ten people. The least does not possess less of the Eucharist, and the greatest does not possess more of the Eucharist, but all possess it wholly and equally. 
 The Unity of the Church, and the Principle Thereof
 Unity is the essential condition of the Church. We are only one in one another according to the Trinitarian Life revealed in the Great Prayer of Christ, that we may be one even as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit Are One. If we are not one, and that only in one another, we are nothing at all. The Churches of God exist only by inhering or abiding in each other, or by a Communion of Mutual Perichoresis. Schism therefore, is the sundering of the Bond of Mutual Love and Inherence, which is the truest and most intimate condition of Communion. We ought therefore to always be of one mind and to walk together in all things that none should walk in his own way, for this is most hateful and abominable to God. So great is the sin of inciting division and schism that the blood of martyrdom does not suffice to wash away this dreadest sin. In the Communion of ontologically equal Churches, within which each is wholly and identically the Whole Church, essential and indispensable Unity is only possible under the presidency of Primacy. Or to speak of it from the reverse direction, Primacy is only possible in a Communion of Equals where no supremacy is possible at all. They are shown to be ignorant who imagine that there is any similarity whatsoever between Orthodox Primacy and Papal supremacy. Nothing can be more antithetical to each other, and as light and darkness cannot even exist together, so Orthodox Primacy and Papal supremacy are direct negations of one another.
Synodality is the Mode of Church Existence 
 Unity and Equality, without which the Catholic Church is abolished, cannot allow for any superiority or unilateralism in Church life. Synodality is therefore the very mode of Church existence, the exercise and manifestation and guarantee of Unity and Equality. When it is lost the People of God perish, but when it is safeguarded the Church is all-powerful. Primacy and Synodality are thus mutually implicit. Without Primacy each would go his own way and there would be no walking together. Without Synodality there would take place unlawful subjection and hateful supremacy abolishing Primacy. Primacy manifests, exercises and guarantees Unity and Equality as Synodality does. One is not possible without the other. Unity and Equality are preserved when each rules his own portion without interference and submits to common judgement the portions that belong commonly. This proportionality, which both preserves each member inviolably and binds all indivisibly is the true unanimity enjoined by the Sacred and Divine Canon.
Primacy is the Sum of the Plenitude 
 For there is no dualism or opposition between Primacy and the Plenitude. Primacy is the sum and representation of the Plenitude, and he who is First in Honor serves in speaking and acting on behalf of all. The Primate is the Leader of the Chorus, the Standard-Bearer of the Host, and the Speaker and Legate of the Universal Church. Primatial and Ecumenical Honor is therefore the Honor of the Plenitude, Primatial and Ecumenical Prerogatives and Jurisdiction those of the Whole Church exercised on behalf of all. It is not the Primate in himself, but the Whole Universal Church is exalted upon the Primatial and Ecumenical Throne. This Kenotic Honor sets the Coryphaeus to lead and to draw the Church towards her own fulfillment and end in an embracing and giving way motion. It is a Preeminence of Love, Preeminence of Confession of Faith, and Preeminence of Martyrdom.
God has Set Apart a Holy People unto Himself 
 Holy Baptism, by which we are united into the Church, sets us apart unto God by participation in the Death and the Life and Resurrection of Christ. The Church, therefore, is Holiness made concrete and it is Holiness made flesh and blood. The Church is the very concretization and Incarnation of Holiness. There is therefore no Holiness outside of the Church, nor Holy People and no Holy Things. Neither is there Saving and Deifying Participation in Uncreated Grace except only in the Church, whereas outside of the Church, the same All-Present and All-Pervading Grace ever works the calling of all to repentance and Regeneration into the Church. As the Church is the True Reality of Holiness, outside of her are only shadows and types of Holiness in varying degrees of closeness, or perversion and deviation thereof in varying degrees of distance from the Church. And the Church is endowed with Love and Wisdom in relating to non-Orthodox bodies.
Catholicity is Wholeness in Communion 
Because the Eucharist makes each Synaxis a Whole Church, the Catholic Church is a Communion and a Whole of Wholes. Catholicity is Wholeness according to the Whole concretely instantiated in spacetime. Each Church is a Hypostasis of Catholicity, in which are implied Unity, Equality and Apostolicity. Therefore Catholicity is Wholeness in Communion and in Wholeness. The Churches of God are Catholic in each other and the Bishops of God are Catholic in one another, for outside of Him we are nothing. And this is evident because the Church is the Body of Christ, and to abide in one another is to abide in Christ. Therefore the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, because we are hidden as a prized possession in each other by inhering and abiding in one another. Christ abides in us and we abide in Him by abiding in one another in Eucharistic Communion. He who walks not together transgresses against Catholicity and becomes the cause of his own fall. And the name Catholic signifies that each Church is self-governed and each Bishop the Catholicos or self-sufficient Head of his Church. Each Catholic Bishop is the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ of his own Church regardless of the Honor held or not held. The Bishop is the Father and Apostle and Angel and Priest of the Synaxis that he presides over.
The Apostolic Synod of the Twelve Tribes
 That the Church is Apostolic means more than just the fact that the Bishops succeed the Holy Apostles. This Wondrous Church is the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Apostolic Synod of the Twelve Tribes of the Israel of God, the very same recorded in the Book of Acts existing uninterrupted to the present day. For Christ appointed twelve men as His Disciples and made them Apostles in the Pentecost. Among them one, preeminent in Confession of Faith, He honored as First to preside in Love and to strengthen his Brethren. He gave them all the Holy Spirit and the Power to bind and to loose and made them all equally and wholly Apostles. He divided the whole earth among them for a possession and sent them to beget Churches, for they were the Patriarchs and Royal High-Priests of His Israel. These men suffered many things unto Martyrdom for His Sake, were made the twelve foundation stones of the Heavenly Jerusalem, and are succeeded by the Bishops ordained and appointed by Cheirotonia. This is that same Church, the Pearl of Great Prize, wherein the Apostles continue unto this day in the Catholicoi, our Autocephalous Patriarchs as well as our every Bishop. One among them presides in Love, just as the Holy Apostle Peter did, as the Ecumenicos and Coryphaeus, the Universal Patriarch of the Orthodox Catholic Church. This is the Commonwealth and Communion of the Autocephalous Tribes abiding in Christ in the Eucharist and in one another.
Reaffirmation and Emphasis of Equality 
 Lest agitation be added to turmoil, it is necessary to emphasize that a Primate only holds Jurisdiction contextually on behalf of his Synod. This arises out of the Catholicity of the Church itself. Therefore the Universal Patriarch only holds Jurisdiction in matters that strictly belong to the Universal Synod on behalf of the same. An Autocephalous Patriarch holds sole Jurisdiction in matters that strictly belong to his Autocephalous Synod on behalf of the same. A Diocesan Bishop holds sole Jurisdiction in matters that strictly belong to his own Diocese. The Universal Patriarch has no authority whatsoever in matters that strictly belong to any Autocephalous Synod, or to a regional Synod, or to a Diocese. An Autocephalous Patriarch has no authority whatsoever in matters that strictly belong to the Universal Synod, or to a regional Synod, or a Diocese. A Diocesan Bishop has no authority whatsoever in matters that strictly belong to the Universal Synod, or to an Autocephalous Synod, or to a regional Synod.
Let Peace and Concord Reign 
 Therefore let all confusion and turmoil cease and let Peace and Concord reign. The Holy Apostles are more than a model, they are the reality of the Ecumenical Communion of Orthodox Catholic Churches. Are the Holy Apostles in enmity, are they in factions against each other? To God each will give answer for his charge, and the People of God pray fervently for the Bishops. Besides praying, what else may the Clergy and Laity do? Each must not overstep his boundaries and proper place. The Orthodox Faith must be confessed and affirmed by all, but Pastoral matters belong to the Bishops and Ecclesiastical matters belong to the Synods, either regional or Universal. I shall express also my expectations for future Pan-Orthodox Synods, and I hope that this may find favor with the Bishops of God.
Several Expectations 
 I pray that the Church will enshrine the regular convocation of Pan-Orthodox Synods in a Pan-Orthodox Canon. The Church is One and Multiple, not two or fourteen. I pray that the Whole Church will resume the annual Recitation of the Synodikon in full. If we neglect the Synodikon, it won't be long and it has indeed happened that we would be neglecting the Ecumenical Synods. I pray that the Bishops of God will clearly and unambiguously confirm the Orthodox Faith and condemn the heresy of Severianism, and consequently that all inter-communion with the Severians must cease. For not only is this a blasphemy against the Immaculate Mysteries, it is also spiritual malpractice against the Severians themselves. I pray that the Church will return to the Nicene Calendar, because God Himself gives us the Holy Light only on Orthodox Holy and Great Saturday. I pray that the so-called Western Rite be abolished. It has done no good but has only introduced a division in the Church. I pray that a future Pan-Orthodox Synod will reconfirm and enshrine the condemnation of Ethnophyletism in an Anathema. For it is nothing else but adulteration and adultery. Invoking the intercession of the Most-Holy Mother of God and of all the Saints, may the Lord save His People and bless His Inheritance. Amen.