…Orthodox participation in the Ecumenical Movement has degenerated more and more into an anarchical, truth-despising and canon-despising activity. As such, it cannot but have the strong condemnation of it by enlightened, pious Orthodox Christians. For they take their Faith with the greatest seriousness, regarding it as the only Truth —the Truth that leads to salvation.
—Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, “Fr. Georges Florovsky on Ecumenism,” p. 15
“The Orthodox do not expect the other Christians to be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and the present and to become members of the Orthodox Church.”
—Statement of the Orthodox delegates at the WCC General Assembly in Nairobi in 1975
Often when the Ecumenistic activities of certain Orthodox hierarchs or jurisdictions have been openly criticized on this [email] list, the charge has been made that this is “bad-mouthing,” “gossip,” “whispering,” etc. But let me make clear why these activities are not things that Orthodox Christians can ignore. Twice in as many days I have had private e-mail from non-Orthodox people (one a Protestant, and one a Roman Catholic) who in response to my claims that the Orthodox Faith is the True Faith, and that the Orthodox Church is not a church, but the Church, pointed to Orthodox involvement in Ecumenism to refute these claims.
I will not go into the examples they gave (which were specific) because I do not want the point I am making to be side tracked by a “did not/did so” debate. Let it suffice to say that these non-Orthodox people interpreted these actions as contradictory to any suggestion that the Orthodox Church is what it has always claimed to be. Ecumenism is not a question we can avoid. It is a deadly serious pastoral and evangelistic problem that all Orthodox Christians are forced to deal with. I wish we could just go about the work of Christ and say our prayers, and simply ignore the betrayal of Orthodoxy that we see around us—but the Ecumenists do not afford us this luxury. Their activities are an affront to our Faith and to our ministry, and are a stumbling block that hinders those who we seek to bring into the Faith.
I should start a file, and save every post I get from the heterodox in which similar objections are thrown in my face on the basis of Orthodox involvement in Ecumenism. It really is something I often encounter—and it really does make me angry.
—Fr. John Whiteford, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad