Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Orthodox in the Ecumenical Dialogue

Many criticise the Orthodox Church for being in the Ecumenical Dialogue or even a member of the World Council of Churches. This criticism comes mainly from within the Orthodox Church, which wishes to stay away from the non-Orthodox, which many call heretics. Interestingly enough, the Orthodox Church has never officially named the non-Orthodox as heretics. Nonetheless, we observe that there are two trends within Orthodoxy, i.e. the pro-ecumenists and the enemies of ecumenism. However, how do the Orthodox act within the dialogue? Are they truly Orthodox or not? Are they ‘selling’ their faith for a more Protestant understanding, or even a creation of a new church? John Meyendorff, in his book Living Tradition, explains that:

‘If one reads objectively the contributions made by individual Orthodox participants in the various assemblies, conferences and consultations during that period, one will find – in spite of differences of emphasis, which always have existed between the more “liberal” and the more “conservative” traditions in Orthodox theology – the same basic faithfulness to the Orthodox idea of “communion in Christ,” of deification, of the sacraments understood in their ecclesiological context, etc. The unenlightened and fanatical criticism in some ultra–conservative Orthodox circles of the contemporary Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement, as being a sell-out of Protestantism, has no real foundation.’ (p. 119)

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