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IS ORTHODOX [ 1 ] AND PROTESTANT DIALOGUE WITHIN THE WCC REAL?
THE CHURCH OF PRE-INCARNATE AND INCARNATE YAHWEH AND "TOWARD A COMMON UNDERSTANDING AND VISION OF THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHRCHES. [ 2 ]"
A CHURCH WAITING FOR AN ANSWER FROM THE WCC SINCE 1990.
Â© John S. Romanides[ 3 ]
1. Before and after His Incarnation the Lord of Glory cured His faithful by "purifying" and "illuminating" their hearts and "glorifying" them making them partakers in His uncreated "rule," i.e. "basileia." [ 4 ] Those who reach "glorification" are the prophets of the Old and New Testaments and the Fathers of the Church. Those whose hearts are being "purified" are called "private individuals (idiotes) [ 5 ]" because they are being prepared to become members of the society of "illumined" and "glorified" who since Pentecost are becoming members of the Body of Christ. For this reason Pentecost is regarded as the Birthday of the Church as the Body of Christ. The CUV document quoted in the title above may be completed by being placed within such a context and thus liberated from the Franco-Latin quest for Augustinian happiness.
2. This biblical framework is based on the cure of the human personality by YAHWEH Himself both before and after His Incarnation. It is He Who guides His faithful by means of the "purification" and "illumination" of their hearts and finally to their ordination to prophethood by their "glorification." Paul’s statement "when one is "glorified" the rest rejoice [ 6 ]" means that the man or woman in question has become a prophet. The difference between a "private person" and a member of the Body of Christ is that the latter has the gift of "unceasing" prayer in the heart, [ 7 ] called "illumination," and prays at the same time with his brain. The "private person (idiotes)" has been praying only with his brain and his physical tongue and is being guided through the "purification" of the heart toward its "illumination" and full membership in the Body of Christ. When one arrives at "glorification" the state of childhood is abolished since one has become a "grownup (ANER)," a "prophet." However, this is not a permanent state in this life since one goes back to "illumination" a grownup until one will again see "face to face" and "when I will be fully known, as I was fully known. [ 8 ] " Those Protestants and Orthodox who are not interested in this struggle for the "purification" of the heart which leads to its "illumination" and "glorification," are wasting their and our time and money leading us to the opposite of "illumination" and full membership in the Body of Christ.
3. One knows that one is becoming a member of the Body of Christ when one has unceasing prayer in the heart. In contrast to this reality this CUV document lacks a description of who are the members of the Body of Christ and how one becomes a member. Instead, the document assumes that the member churches of the WCC are already members of the Body of Christ and so they will "help each other in order that the Body of Christ may be built up and that the life of the churches may be renewed. (1.2)" Within proper context this could be true. Within the current context CUV seems to be telling us that sick people are healing each other without much help from the Real Doctor of our souls and bodies Who happens to be and has always been YAHWEH Himself both before and after His Incarnation and Pentecost working via his prophets. The prophets of both Testaments are the same except for the addition of the Incarnation and Pentecost.
4. As written, this document ignores the fact that Christ Himself rules His Own Body, the Church, and that it is He Himself Who adds new members to His own Body. The Lord of Glory does not need the WCC to help Him do His own work. He has been doing this before and after His incarnation by means of His Own prophets whom He chooses by His glorifying them. This He does when He "purifies" and "illumines" their hearts and "glorifies" them. It is these prophets, ordained by their "glorification" by the Lord of Glory Himself, who guide the faithful through these stages of cure which they pass on through the ages till now.
5. Because most, if not all, who produced this CUV document were not familiar with the tradition we are here dealing with, we ended up with a poor associate to the Bible in the cure of those who should be real catechumens on their way to full membership in the Body of Christ since Pentecost. Had the WCC paid some attention to the use of the Bible in the preparation of catechumens in the Ancient Church we would have been much more advanced on our way to reunion. The key to the real work of the WCC should have been found in the use of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in preparing candidates for baptism in the Ancient Church. One of the common keys of these gospels is the Transfiguration. The Lord makes known that there are some present who shall not taste of death until they see the "rule of God come in power. [ 9 ] " The first of the apostles to experience this were Peter, James and John [ 10 ] at the Transfiguration of Christ who revealed Himself to be the source of uncreated glory with His Father and therefore of their purification and illumination of their hearts and their glorification.
6. Instead we have an incomplete production which leads to the belief that all are already full members of the Body of Christ, whereas in reality they maybe simply "idiotes," i.e. private individual candidates for full membership in the Body of Christ. When St. Paul, for example, tells his readers "you are the Body of Christ," he means primarily those who are between illumination and glorification. Paul’s "idiotes" in Corinth did not know when to say their amen because they did not hear what the illumined and glorified were praying because of their innovated practice of praying only in their hearts in the presence of the "idiotes," who not hearing anything did not know when to say their ‘amen.’
7. In original Orthodox practice (now replaced mostly by infant baptism) inherited from the Ancient Church, the three synoptic gospels are still being used for what was the period of the "purification" of the hearts of the catechumens during their preparation for baptism. The baptisms were held on Holy Saturday. They were followed by the feast of the resurrection of Christ which in turn was followed by the commencement of the reading and interpretation of the Gospel of John which was completed on Pentecost. It was during this period that the neophytes were expected to go from the stage of the "purification" to the "illumination" of their hearts. This prepared them for their "glorification" with the apostles at the last Supper which culminates with John 17 which is not a prayer for the union of churches, but for the "glorification" by the Father of the apostles in Christ and each other and future generations of "illumined." Then we have the celebration of the resurrection and ascension of Christ Who returns to the "illumined" and "glorified" who have now become His Body, the Church, on Pentecost.
8. What "illumination" of the heart cures is an electrical short circuit between the spinal fluid and the blood system. It is this short circuit which produces the fantasies by which the devil rules humans. Many such fantasies about the world and human ideas about reality have been put straight by modern science. However, many fantasies which dominate human relations are still uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, especially in the field of religion, international relations, economics and politics. In any case the backbone of the Church’s mission has been the cure of "glorification" which ordains prophets. Ordination by the laying on of hands presupposes this gift of prophesy. Paul writes to Timothy, "Do not neglect the gift within you which was given to you by means of prophecy and the laying on of hands of the council of elders. [ 11 ] "
9. The above had become part of the preparation for the General Assembly at Canberra 1990, but was cowered into disappearance. "Who ever heard that happiness is not the destiny of man?" The Church of Greece protested and has been waiting almost ten years for an answer.
10. THE LETTER OF PROTEST WHICH IS STILL WAITING FOR AN ANSWER. [ 12 ]
We move to 1990. The following is a letter of protest sent to the General Secretary of the WCC by the Metropolitan of Corinth who in the mean time had become the Chairman of the committee of the Church of Greece on external relations which oversees dialogues and cooperations with Orthodox and other Churches. Explanations follow the text of the letter.
"Dr. Emilio Castro
World Council of Churches
150 Route de Ferney
1211 Geneva 2
15 November 1990
Dear Dr. Castro,
The delegates of the Church of Greece are in receipt of the publications you sent in regard to the Assembly Theme "Come Holy Spirit - Renew the Whole Creation." Thank you kindly.
Please allow me to bring to your attention the following:
A) Ref.: the texts "Let The Spirit Speak To The Churches" and "Energy for Life:"
1) The first text speaks about the whole Church making "its own the Orthodox understanding of the Spirit as the uncreated energy of God" (p. 2) and the second seems to be promoting the same by equating "Come Holy Spirit" with "Come Holy Energy" (p. viii).
2)That the Holy Spirit is the uncreated energy of God is a heresy which was condemned by the Second Ecumenical Council and constitutes the basis of the Latin Filioque. The Holy Spirit acts with an identical energy with the Father and the Son but is not an energy of them.
3) The biblical terms for the uncreated energy of the Holy Trinity are primarily DOXA and VASILEIA, but also called by other such names as AGAPI, DIKAIOSINI, CHARIS, ZOI, FOS, GNOFOS, NEFELI and even PYR AIONION and SKOTOS EXOTERON. These are what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have by nature in common and are identically one in Them, but not identical with One of Them. VASILEIA is an uncreated energy erroneously called kingdom instead of rule or reign by those who have not tasted of glorification which is to see Christ in his uncreated VASILEIA/DOXA (Lk. 9:27-32).
B) Ref.: the text "RESOURCES FOR SECTIONS, the theme, sub-themes and issues:"
1) Except for a few vague phrases Prof. John Romanides’ contribution at Baar 2-6 October 1989 on the sub-theme "Spirit of Truth - Set us Free," which had been incorporated into the text approved by Central Committee, has been removed. Also we find no sign of his text for which approval had been asked for and given by the Central Committee among other materials requested in Doc. No. 15B APP, Geneva 25-30 March 1990, p. 2.
2) The text in question on illumination and glorification is a concise summary of a collection of Patristic writings on how one becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit and member of the Body of Christ by the gift of unceasing prayer in the heart as distinct from prayers of the intellect. I edited this Patristic collection in five volumes called PhilokALIA, Athens 1957-1963. This prayer of one’s spirit in the heart which is transferred there from the intellect by the Holy Spirit is the Orthodox Church’s "only" spirituality. Spirituality which does not lead to the cure of illumination and glorification leaves one captive to the malady of satisfaction-seeking selfish love and leads to moralism and the pride of works and therefore to captivity to the devil.
3) Prof. Romanides’ contribution to this tradition has been his demonstration that the Fathers are correct when they find it in the Bible itself as clearly explained by St. Paul. Therefore it does not make its appearance in later centuries as claimed by some. This also explains why authority belongs only to those who have reached glorification whereas teaching and interpretation of scripture may be engaged in by those who have at least reached illumination but under the guidance of the glorified, i.e. apostles and prophets and those Fathers who have also reached glorification.
4) This tradition is not the result of meditation or pious speculation but a reality based both on the biological structure of humans and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The prayer in the heart is real and produces the biological phenomenon of Holy Relics. One cannot say and hear the words Lord Jesus in the heart except in the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1ff). Anyone can say this with his brain and his own tongue.
5) The disappearance of the Romanides text leaves us at a disadvantage since we were counting on basing our contribution at Canberra on it.
C) The materials we have received begin and end on the circle of meditation about God and the transformation of plans into action without a clear intermediary stage of the cure of the center of the human personality. There is much talk about inner transformation but nothing about what the Bible and the Fathers teach about how it is accomplished. The Patristic focus on the diagnosis that the happiness-seeking sickness of humanity is the source of social and personal ills and that its cure is "purification, illumination and glorification" is not developed.
D) Many of our leaders who do not take the WCC seriously were impressed at the fact that Protestants had accepted Prof. Romanides’ contribution at Baar and so began re-evaluating their positions. The disappearance of the text is producing a "what did you expect" attitude.
E) The Orthodox are presented as having a spirituality worthy of admiration and praise. Yet the heart and core of this spirituality’s cure of the sickness of happiness seeking love by its transformation into selfless love is not clear. The key Pauline passages are neither explained nor mentioned. In the light of the fact that the world is being torn apart by the sickness of happiness-seeking selfishness it would seem that the Biblical therapy which produces prophets is that which is vital for survival.
I am enclosing Prof. Romanides’ study on Church Synods which had been presented to the Lutheran/Orthodox Sub Commission meeting in Paris 27/6 - 1/7 1990 and which will be discussed in plenary May 1991. All the elements of his Baar text are contained therein within their wider historical context of spirituality as cure and perfection, unity, doctrine, apostolic succession, Church State relations and social impact of illumination and glorification. This is an official position paper of the Church of Greece which we would also like to submit as such for the Canberra Assembly as having an immediate bearing on the Assembly Theme in general and specifically on Sub-themes 2, 3 and 4. Having our text before the assembly would greatly facilitate our active participation in a way consistent with our glorified specialists in Biblical spirituality.
We would appreciate it if you could make the proper arrangements for its distribution and inclusion among study and discussion materials. Since the core of the text is that of Baar which was accepted by Central Committee as part of Doc. No. 15B APP, Geneva 25-30 March 1990, p.2 this should present no problem.
Thanking you in advance for your favorable action on our request I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
P A N T E L E I M O N,
Metropolitan of Corinth,
11. We repeat: THIS LETTER WAS NEVER ANSWERED. Now the background of this letter:
a. I had been invited at the last minute by Dr. Castro to the meeting of some 30 specialists who were to meet in Baar, Switzerland 2-6 October 1989 to prepare study papers for the forthcoming General Assembly of the WCC at Canberra, Australia. By telex I had sent a Patristic interpretation of 1 Cor. 12-15:11 which demonstrates the relationship between this Biblical cure of the human personality and its social implications. (The reader can study this Pauline text in my study "Church Synods and Civilization" at (http://www.romanity.org) I worked together with Julio Santa Anna and N. Barney Pityana, Director of the Program to Combat Racism, and with Emilio Castro himself attending from time to time. After general discussion in plenary the text was accepted together with other texts prepared by other groups. Then this text, together with all other texts prepared at Baar, was presented for acceptance to the Central Committee meeting in Moscow as contained in Doc. No. 12B APP, Geneva 25-30 1990.
b. Before these texts were approved by Central Committee they were discussed by the Unit Committees. The text in question belonged to Unit I item 2. We had finished item 1 and just as we were getting ready to discuss our item 2 the Moderator of Unit I, His Lordship the Archbishop of York Sir John Hapegood exclaimed, "WHO EVER HEARD THAT HAPPINESS IS NOT THE DESTINY OF MAN?" At that moment the bell rang for coffee. During the coffee break some of us prepared ourselves to answer his Lordship’s question. But being the Moderator of Unit I Archbishop Hapegood went to the next item without raising the subject of happiness again. So the text remained as is and went to the Central Committee for its final discussion by the Central Committee plenary and was voted upon and approved.
c. In spite of this procedure the text in question was not printed with all the other texts approved by Central Committee. But what happened between the approval of this text by Central Committee and its disappearance from among the texts voted on and approved? The answer seems to be quite simple. Certain leaders of the WCC thought it better not to abandon Augustine’s Dialogue "Beata Vita-The Happy Life" in favor of "Biblical purification and illumination of the heart and glorification." So the "vote" of the Central Committee was simply ignored.
d. In order to cover themselves the directors of the WCC appointed Father, now Metropolitan, Gennadios Limouris, then a staff member of Unit I, to edit a volume entitled "Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, Insights from Orthodoxy" (1990 WCC publications). The articles therein published are on the whole well done. But they do not deal with "Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation" in terms of the sickness and cure of humans and their society by means of the "purification and illumination of the heart and glorification" as had been done in the Baar document which had been approved by Central Committee for the Cambera General Assembly and caused to disappear.
e. The fact that I was not aware that this volume was being prepared and that I was not asked to make a contribution, seems to indicate that the Patristic Biblical-Patristic approach in question was deliberately avoided, even as ONE of the Orthodox approaches. And this was done with the cooperation of "Orthodox." The real problem is that religion itself is a neurological sickness which must be cured.
f. The interpretation of St. Paul in question is not only that of the Fathers, but also of the OT Hasidim Tradition, as pointed out to us Orthodox during a dialogue we had with Jewish Theologians in Bucharest in October 1979. Religion, together with all fantasies, stems from a neurological sickness caused by a short circuit between the nervous system centered in the brain, on the one hand, and the blood system centered in the heart, on the other hand. This short circuit is repaired by the unceasing prayer in the heart distinct from prayer by means of the brain from time to time. "What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also. 1 Cor. 14: 15." It is this unceasing prayer of the spirit in the heart which keeps the short circuit in question repaired. The loss of this unceasing payer in the heart allows the short circuit to reestablish itself opening one up to the possibility of becoming more enslaved to the devil than before by falling into the temptation of believing in predestination. What is of interest is the fact that this prayer is a neurobiological cure of a concrete neurobiological sickness and has nothing to do with either contemplation or any kind of mysticism, Platonic or otherwise, nor with magical understandings of sacraments.
g. Within the above context one can see why upon passing away the illumined and glorified are understood to be sleeping in death and why many of the bodies of the glorified do not dissolve while waiting for the general resurrection. It is usual for local Orthodox Churches, and especially monasteries, to have hundreds of such relics which are signs that they have been adding illumined and glorified to the Body of Christ. It is also just as usual for some Orthodox Churches not to have such relics which are signs that they are not really within the tradition of the cure by means of the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification. Likewise Protestants and Catholics may also be using such criteria to asses the quality of their traditions.
h. To take communion of the body and blood of Christ during the Eucharist is indeed a reality. But it is the communicant who is either being benefited or not. If one hears the prayer in one’s heart that’s fine. If not, then what?
12. a .This cure of the heart by means of its purification, illumination and glorification is the very backbone of the Nine Imperial Ecumenical Councils convoked by the Roman Emperor up until the capture of Constantinople New Rome by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. These Ecumenical Councils were then replaced by General Councils usually convoked by the Patriarchs of Constantinople New Rome in conjunction with all the Patriarchs and heads of the Orthodox Churches. The foundation of these Ecumenical and General Councils has remained the cure of the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification.
b. In sharp contrast to this tradition of cure is Augustine’s "Beata Vita-The Happy Life" which he wrote shortly before his baptism while recuperating from an illness at Cassiciacum in the company of his mother, friends and students. He also wrote at the same time his "Contra Academicos" where he states that "…I am resolved never to deviate in the least from the authority of Christ, for I find none more powerful. But, as to what is attainable by acute and accurate reasoning, such is my state of mind that I am impatient to grasp what truth is – to grasp it not only by belief, but also by comprehension. Meanwhile, I am confident that I shall find among the Platonist what is not in opposition to our Sacred Scriptures. [ 13 ]" Later Augustine did find some very important differences which he points out in his Confessions. [ 14 ] However, he continued to accept the quest for happiness as normal. [ 15 ] He never saw the Biblical reality that the prophets of both Testaments and of the Church of Pentecost were composed of those who had been and are being cured by the purification and illumination of their hearts and glorification. That a leader of the World Council of Churches would react by saying, "Who ever heard that happiness is not the destiny of man?" means that there has been no dialogue yet between the Patristic Orthodox tradition and the Protestants within the WCC. One reason for this is that the leaders of the WCC have been searching out those Orthodox who belong to the result of the Westernization of Russian Orthodoxy imposed on the Orthodox nations liberated from the Ottoman Empire.
c. Some axioms which result from the experience of glorification are that "there is no similarity whatsoever between the created and the uncreated" and that "it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him." In other words there is no metaphysics. Also this glorification and not happiness is the destiny of man.
d. Since the underlying sickness of humans is cured by the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification, and since this cure is medical, it should be at the core of the WCC.
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