Δόξα τω Θεώ, πάντων ένεκεν. - Αγ. Ιωάννης Χρυσόστομος

Τρίτη, 25 Μαρτίου 2014

ΠΕΡΙ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΥΝΗΣ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ



Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος γράφει σχετικά μέ τήν δικαιοσύνη: «Ὅπου ὑπάρχει δικαιοσύνη, ἀναγκαστικά καί ζωή ἀκολουθεῖ καί τά ἄπειρα ἀγαθά, ὅπως ἀκριβῶς βέβαια ὅπου ὑπάρχει ἁμαρτία, ἀκολουθεῖ θάνατος. Γιατί ἡ δικαιοσύνη εἶναι κάτι περισσότερο ἀπό τήν ζωή, ἐπειδή εἶναι καί ρίζα τῆς ζωῆς». Καί συνεχίζει «Ἄν τό τέλος τοῦ νόμου εἶναι ὁ Χριστός, ἐκεῖνος πού δέν ἔχει τόν Χριστό, καί ἄν ἀκόμα νομίζει πώς ἔχει τήν δικαίωση τοῦ νόμου, δέν τήν ἔχει ἐνῶ ἐκεῖνος πού ἔχει τόν Χριστό, καί ἄν ἀκόμα δέν ἔχει κατορθώσει τόν νόμο, τά ἔλαβε ὅλα. Τί ἤθελε ὁ νόμος; Νά δικαιώσει τόν ἄνθρωπο. Δέν τά κατάφερε ὅμως, γιατί κανένας δέν τόν ἐκπλήρωσε. Αὐτό ἦταν τό τέλος τοῦ νόμου, καί σέ αὐτό ἀποσκοποῦσαν ὅλα, καί γι᾽ αὐτό γίνονταν ὅλα, καί οἱ γιορτές καί οἱ ἐντολές καί οἱ θυσίες καί ὅλα τά ὑπόλοιπα, γιά νά δικαιωθεῖ ὁ ἄνθρωπος. Ἀλλά στό τέλος αὐτό τό κατόρθωσε ὁ Χριστός στό μέγιστο βαθμό μέ τήν πίστη»1.  

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰουστῖνος Πόποβιτς ἑρμηνεύοντας τό «πεπληρωμένοι καρπῶν δικαιοσύνης τῶν διά Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ», σημειώνει: «Πληρούμενος μέ τήν ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πιστός πάντα ἐπιλέγει ἐκεῖνο πού εἶναι εὐαγγελικό, ἀθάνατο, θεϊκό, αἰώνιο· αὐτό σπέρνει στήν ψυχή του, στίς σκέψεις του, στά αἰσθήματά του, καί ὅλα αὐτά βαθμιαῖα φυτρώνουν, μεγαλώνουν, ὡριμάζουν μέ τούς καρπούς τῆς θεϊκῆς δικαιοσύνης καί τοῦ προσωπικοῦ δικαίου φρονήματος πού πληροῖ ὁλόκληρο τό εἶναι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Ὅλα αὐτά φυτρώνουν καί αὐξάνονται καί ὡριμάζουν καί ἀποφέρουν τούς καρπούς τῆς δικαιοσύνης “διά Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ”. Οἱ καρποί τῆς δικαιοσύνης εἶναι ἀθάνατη τροφή, μέ τήν ὁποία ἡ ἀθάνατη ψυχή τοῦ ἀνθρώπου συνέχεια τρέφεται καί σέ αὐτόν καί σέ ἐκεῖνον τόν κόσμο, στήν αἰωνιότητα. Ποιοί εἶναι οἱ καρποί δικαιοσύνης; Ἡ δικαιοσύνη εἶναι τό σύνολο ὅλων τῶν ἁγίων εὐαγγελικῶν ἀρετῶν· τό βίωμα μέσα σέ αὐτές εἶναι ἡ δικαιοσύνη»2.  

Ὁ Ἅγιος Νεκτάριος μᾶς λέγει γιά τήν δικαιοσύνη: «Δικαιοσύνη εἶναι τό νά ταυτίζει κανείς τήν δική του θέληση πρός τήν θέληση τοῦ Θεοῦ καί νά πράττει τό ἀγαθό καί εὐχάριστο καί τέλειο μπροστά στό Θεό καί νά ἐπιζητεῖ τήν δόξα τοῦ ὀνόματός Του. Ἀληθινή δικαιοσύνη εἶναι ὁ Χριστός, πού γεννήθηκε σέ μᾶς σάν σοφία ἀπό τόν Θεό, δικαιοσύνη καί ἁγιασμός. Θεία δικαιοσύνη ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος ὀνόμασε τήν κατά χάρη, διά τῆς πίστεως, γινόμενη σωτηρία. Γιατί δέν ἐξαρτᾶται ἀπό δικούς μας κόπους, ἀλλά εἶναι γενικῶς χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ. Δικαιοσύνη τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶναι ἐκείνη πού δίνεται ἀπό τόν Θεό, δηλαδή ἡ ἀπό τόν Θεό δικαίωση καί ἀθώωση κι᾽ ἀπαλλαγή ἀπό τά ἁμαρτήματα. Ἡ δικαιοσύνη δέν κρίνει χαριστικά, ἀλλά ἀπονέμει στόν καθένα σύμφωνα μέ τήν ἀξία του. Ἡ δικαιοσύνη τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶναι φιλανθρωπία, ἐπειδή στόν δίκαιο παρέχεται ἔλεος. Ἡ ἔλλειψη δικαιοσύνης μαρτυρεῖ ἔλλειψη ἀγάπης»3.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος ἑρμηνεύοντας τό «ἵνα ὥσπερ ἐβασίλευσεν ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ, οὕτω καί χάρις βασιλεύσῃ διά δικαιοσύνης εἰς ζωήν αἰώνιον διά Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ», μᾶς λέγει: «Ἡ χάρις δέ αὕτη ἔχει μέν μαζί της τήν δικαιοσύνην τήν φθαρτικήν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, διά μέσου δέ τῆς φθορᾶς τῆς ἁμαρτίας, φθείρει ὁμοῦ καί τόν θάνατον καί φέρει ζωήν αἰώνιον. Ἔγινε ὡσάν ἕνας πόλεμος ἀπό δύο ἐναντίους ἐχθρούς. Καί ἡ μέν ἁμαρτία εἶχε στρατιώτην της τόν θάνατον, ἡ δέ χάρις εἶχε στρατιώτην της τήν δικαιοσύνην. Ἐθανάτωσεν ἡ δικαιοσύνη τήν βασίλισσαν ἁμαρτίαν καί μαζί μέ τήν ἁμαρτίαν ἐθανάτωσεν ὁμοῦ καί τόν θάνατον. Καί ἐμβῆκεν εἰς τούς ἀνθρώπους ζωή αἰώνιος»4.

 Ὁ Ἅγιος Βασίλειος μᾶς διδάσκει σχετικά μέ τήν δικαιοσύνη: «Ὑπάρχει δικαιοσύνη. Ἡ μέν μία εἶναι αὐτή ἡ ὁποία ἀφορᾶ σέ μᾶς καί εἶναι ἡ ἀπονομή τοῦ ἴσου. Κι ὅταν ἀκόμη δέν τό ἐπιτυγχάνουμε αὐτό μέ ἀπόλυτη ἀκρίβεια, ἀλλά τό ἀσκοῦμε μέ πολύ δίκαιη κρίση, δέν ἀποτυγχάνουμε ἀπό τόν σκοπό μας. Αὐτή ὅμως ἡ ὁποία ἀπονέμεται στόν οὐρανό ἀπό τόν Δίκαιο Κριτή καί πού εἶναι διορθωτική καί ἀνταποδοτική, αὐτῆς ἡ θεώρηση εἶναι πολύ δύσκολη, λόγῳ τοῦ μεγέθους τῶν δογμάτων πού ὑπάρχουν σέ αὐτήν. Ἔχω τήν γνώμη ὅτι αὐτό λέγει ὁ ψαλμωδός: “Ἡ δικαιοσύνη σου εἶναι ὡς τά ὑψηλότερα ὄρη”»5.







 Σημειώσεις: 1. Ἰ. Χρυσοστόμου Ε.Π.Ε. τόμ. 17 σελ. 17, 327. 2. π. Ἰουστίνου Πόποβιτς Ἑρμηνεία τῆς πρός Φιλιππησίους Ἐκδ. Ἐν πλῷ σελ. 43. 3. Νεκταρίου Κεφαλᾶ Μητροπολίτου Πενταπόλεως Ἅπαντα τόμ. Ε΄ σελ. 255. 4. Ὁσίου Νικοδήμου Ἁγιορείτου ἑρμηνεία εἰς τάς ἐπιστολάς τοῦ Ἀποστ. Παύλου τόμ. Α´ σελ. 141. 5. Βασίλειο Ἀποθησαύρισμα Ἐκδ. Φωτοδότες σελ. 239


ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΤΥΠΟΣ, ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ ΦΥΛΛΟΥ 2015

«Ὑπερμαχεῖτε ὑπὲρ τοῦ Ἔθνους ἡμῶν» (Μακ. ΙΣΤ΄ 3)



 Τοῦ κ. Μιχαὴλ Ε. Μιχαηλίδη, Θεολόγου

Ὅταν μελετάει κανείς τά τρία θεόπνευστα βιβλία τῶνΜακκαβαίων (Ἰουδαίων) τῆς Παλαιᾶς Διαθήκης, μέ τά ὑπέροχα ἀγωνιστικά καί μαχητικά, ὑπέρ τῆς ἐλευθερίας, συνθήματά τους, ἔχει τήν αἴσθηση πώς μελετάει ἀληθινή εἰκόνα τῆς ἑλληνικῆς ἐπανάστασης τοῦ 1821. Καί παρόλο πού τούς χωρίζει περίπου δυό χιλιάδες χρόνια, τά συνθήματά τους γιά πίστη καί λευτεριά, ἦταν τά ἴδια.

«Οὐκ ἐν πλήθει δυνάμεως νίκη πολέμου ἐστίν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἡ ἰσχύς», ἔλεγαν οἱ Μακκαβαῖοι. (Α´Μακ. Γ´ 19).Ἡ νίκη δέ μετριέται μέ τήν ὑπεροπλική δύναμη, ἀλλά μέ τή δύναμη τοῦ οὐράνιου Θεοῦ. Καί τῶν πανελλήνων τό σύνθημα, παρόμοιο δέν ἦταν;: «Γιά τοῦ Χριστοῦ τήν πίστιν τήν ἁγίαν, καί τῆς Πατρίδος τήν ἐλευθερίαν». Ἤ, «μάχου ὑπέρ Πίστεως καί Πατρίδος".

 Οἱ Μακκαβαῖοι ἔλεγαν: «Κρεῖσσον ἡμᾶς ἀποθανεῖν ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ, ἤ ἐπιδεῖν ἐπί τά κακά τοῦ ἔθνους ἡμῶν» (Α´Μακ. Γ´ 59). Προτιμότερος ὁ θάνατος ὁ δικός μας, παρά ἡ ἀπώλεια τοῦ Ἔθνους μας. Οἱ Ἕλληνες τό ᾽λεγαν μέ δυό λέξεις: «Ἐλευθερία ἤ θάνατος»! Γιά τή διαφύλαξη τῶν ἱερῶν παραδόσεών τους, διεκήρυτταν οἱ Μακκαβαῖοι: «Ἕτοιμοι γάρ ἀποθνήσκειν ἐσμέν, ἤ παραβαίνειν τούς πατρίους νόμους» (Β΄Μακ. Ζ΄ 2). Εἴμαστε πρόθυμοι καί ἕτοιμοι νά πεθάνουμε, παρά νά παραβοῦμε τούς νόμους τῆς Πατρίδας καί τίς θρησκευτικές μας παραδόσεις. Ἔντονη καί θερμή ἦταν ἡ πίστη τῶν Μακκαβαίων στόν Ὕψιστο Θεό, καθώς καί τῶνἙλλήνων στόν Κύριο καί Θεό καί Σωτῆρα Χριστό. «Οἱ μέν γάρ ὅπλοις πεποίθασιν ἅμα καί τόλμαις, ἡμεῖς δέ ἐπί τῷ Παντοκράτορι Θεῷ (Β´ Μακ. Η´ 18). Οἱ ἐχθροί μας στηρίζονται στά ὅπλα καί τή δύναμή τους, ἀλλ᾽ ἐμεῖς στηριζόμαστε στόν ἴδιο τόν Παντοκράτορα Θεό. Ἀκριβῶς, ἡ ἴδια ζωντανή Χριστιανική Πίστη, χαρακτήριζε τή ζωή καί τούς ἀγῶνες τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἀγωνιστῶν καί ἡρώων τοῦ 1821.

Ὁ Καραϊσκάκης προστρέχει στήν Παναγία τήν Προυσσιώτισσα καί προσεύχεται καί ζητάει τίς πρεσβεῖες της. Ὁ Κανάρης ὑψώνει, πρίν τό θρυλικό του κατόρθωμα μέ τήν τούρκικη ναυαρχίδα, τόν Σταυρό, καί βροντοφωνάζει: «Ἡ νίκη εἶναι τοῦ Σταυροῦ»! Ὁ Κολοκοτρώνης τ᾽ ὁμολογεῖ μπροστά στούς μαθητές τοῦ πρώτου Γυμνασίου τῆς Ἀθήνας: «...Ὅταν πιάσαμε τά ὅπλα, εἴπαμε πρῶτα: «Γιά τοῦ Χριστοῦ τήν πίστιν τήν ἁγίαν», καί ὕστερα: «καί τῆς Πατρίδος τήν ἐλευθερίαν». Στά μαῦρα χρὀνια τῆς σκλαβιᾶς, καί στά χρόνια τοῦ ξεσηκωμοῦ, οἱ Ἕλληνες ὑπομένουν, ἀναμένουν καί προσεύχονται γιά τήν Πατρίδα καί τή λευτεριά. Μήπως θά πρέπει καί σήμερα, πολύ νά προσευχηθοῦμε γιά τήν Πατρίδα; «Μή πεποίθατε ἐπ᾽ ἄρχοντας! Τοῦ Κυρίου ἡ σωτηρία».

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΤΥΠΟΣ, ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ ΦΥΛΛΟΥ 2015

Ἑβραῖοι Ραββῖνοι: «Σίγουρη ἐπιτυχία» ἡ συνάντησις Πάπα καὶ Πατριάρχου εἰς τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ!



Η ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΗ τοῦ Πάπα τὸν ἐρχόμενο Μάϊο στὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ τὴν προγραμματισμένη συνάντησή του μὲ τὸν Οἰκουμενικὸ Πατριάρχη, χαροποίησε ὑπερβαλλόντως καὶ τοὺς ἑβραίους, οἱ ὁποῖοι μιλοῦν «γιὰ σίγουρη ἐπιτυχία»!

Δεῖτε τὴν εἴδηση: Μετὰ ἀπὸ συνεδρίαση Ἑβραίων ἡγετῶν μὲ τὸν πάπα τὸν περασμένο μήνα «ἕνας ραββῖνος ποὺ ἐμπλέκεται στὸν διαθρησκευτικὸ διάλογο, δήλωσε ὅτι τὸ ἐπικείμενο ταξίδι τοῦ Πάπα στοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους θὰ εἶναι σίγουρα μία ἐπιτυχία. “Όλοι - εἴτε εἶναι Ἰορδανοί, Παλαιστίνιοι εἴτε Ἰσραηλίτες - εἶναι τόσο ἐνθουσιασμένοι καὶ ἕτοιμοι νὰ τὸν καλωσορίσουν ἀνεξάρτητα ἀπὸ τὸ πόσο σύντομη θὰ εἶναι ἡ ἐπίσκεψή του, εἶναι μία σίγουρη ἐπιτυχία,” δήλωσε ὁ Δαβὶδ Ρόσεν, διευθυντὴς στὴν Ἀμερικανοεβραϊκὴ Ἐπιτροπὴ διαθρησκειακῶν ὑποθέσεων, σὲ μία συνέντευξη Τύπου στὴ Ρώμη στὶς 13 Φεβρουαρίου». « “Ἂς ἐλπίσουμε ὅτι θὰ ἀφήσει πίσω του μία αἴσθηση μεγαλύτερης ἐλπίδας γιὰ τὸ μέλλον. Αὐτὸ εἶναι ποὺ χρειάζεται ἡ Μέση Ἀνατολή”.

Ὁ Ρόσεν μίλησε στὸ καθολικὸ πρακτορεῖο εἰδήσεων, καὶ εἶπε, ὅτι “ὁ Πάπας Francis ξέρει πραγματικὰ τὸν ἑβραϊκὸ κόσμο: πηγαίνει σὲ συναγωγές, ἔχει φίλους Ἑβραίους καὶ μεταξύ μας, αἰσθανόμαστε κατανοητοί”». Τόνισε ἐπίσης, ὅτι « “οἱ Χριστιανοὶ πρέπει νὰ κατανοήσουν τὸν Ἰουδαϊσμὸ περισσότερο, ἀφοῦ οἱ ρίζες τους εἶναι στὸν Ἰουδαϊσμό”».

Ὁ Fr. Norbert Hofmann, γραμματέας τῆς Ἐπιτροπῆς τοῦ Βατικανοῦ γιὰ τὶς Θρησκευτικὲς σχέσεις μὲ τοὺς Ἑβραίους, δήλωσε ὅτι «ἡ ὕπαρξη φιλίας εἶναι ὁ καλύτερος τρόπος γιὰ νὰ συνεχίσουμε τὸν διάλογο. Μία πορεία γιὰ νὰ ἀναπτυχθεῖ “θεολογικὴ διάσταση διαλόγου”, εἶναι ἐπειδὴ “οἱ χριστιανικὲς ρίζες εἶναι Ἑβραϊκές, καὶ ἐπειδὴ ὁ Χριστὸς ἦταν Ἑβραῖος”» (Ἱστολ. Κατοχικὰ Νέα).

 Καταλαβαίνει ὁ καθένας πὼς ἂν πανηγυρίζουν οἱ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ γιὰ τὴν ἐπίσκεψη Πάπα καὶ Πατριάρχη στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, πόσο «σίγουρη θὰ εἶναι ἡ ἐπιτυχία» γιὰ τὴν Ἐκκλησία Του!

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΤΥΠΟΣ, ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ ΦΥΛΛΟΥ 2015

Τρίτη, 18 Μαρτίου 2014

π. Γ. Μεταλληνός: “Ἑτοιμάζεται αὐτὴ ἡ Σύνοδος νὰ μᾶς ὁδηγήσει στὴν ἀποδοχὴ τοῦ Παπισμοῦ καὶ τοῦ Προτεσταντισμοῦ ὡς αὐθεντικῶν χριστιανισμῶν.”

Γράφει ὁ π. Γεώργιος Μεταλληνός

Ἡ μέλλουσα Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Πανορθόδοξος Σύνοδος

Οἱ Σύνοδοι τοῦ 14ου αἰῶνος διατυπώνουν τὴν θεολογία περὶ τῆς Θείας Χάριτος. Ἡ Ὀρθόδοξη Παράδοση δέχεται αὐτὲς τὶς Συνόδους ὡς 9η Οἰκουμενικὴ καὶ πανορθόδοξα γίνεται αὐτὸ ἀποδεκτὸ ἀπὸ γνωστοὺς Θεολόγους. Διότι καὶ ἡ Σύνοδος αὐτή, ὅπως καὶ ἡ 8η τὸ 879, διαφοροποιοῦν ριζικὰ τὴν ὀρθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, στὴν πατερικὴ συνέχειά της, ἀπὸ τὸν χριστιανισμὸ τῆς Δύσεως. Ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος Παλαμᾶς, λοιπόν, μὲ τὴν θεολογία του, καρπὸ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος μέσα στὴν φωτισμένη ἀπὸ τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα καρδιά του, εἶναι ὁ Πατέρας τῆς 9ης Οἰκουμενικῆς Συνόδου.Ἕνα ἐπίκαιρο ἐρώτημα εἶναι: Ἡ μέλλουσα νὰ συνέλθει πανορθόδοξος Σύνοδος τί θὰ κάνει; Ἑτοιμάζεται αὐτὴ ἡ Σύνοδος, γιὰ νὰ μᾶς ὁδηγήσει, ὅπως διαβάζουμε καὶ ὅπως βλέπουμε, στὴν ἀποδοχὴ τοῦ παπισμοῦ καὶ τοῦ Προτεσταντισμοῦ ὡς αὐθεντικῶν χριστιανισμῶν. Αὐτὸ εἶναι τὸ τραγικό. Εὔχομαι νὰ μὴ γίνει ποτέ. Ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ ὁδηγοῦνται τὰ πράγματα. Ἐάν, λοιπόν, συνέλθει ἡ Πανορθόδοξος Σύνοδος, ποὺ θὰ ἔχει τὸν χαρακτήρα γιὰ μᾶς Οἰκουμενικῆς Συνόδου, ἐὰν συνέλθει καὶ δὲν δεχθεῖ μεταξὺ τῶν Οἰκουμενικῶν Συνόδων τὴν 8η καὶ τὴν 9η, θὰ εἶναι ψευδοσύνοδος.
Ὅπως ἡ Σύνοδος Φερράρας – Φλωρεντίας. Καὶ τότε ἀπὸ κάποιους δεσποτάδες Ἀνατολικοὺς καὶ Δυτικούς, ἐπεβλήθη ἡ Σύνοδος Φερράρας-Φλωρεντίας, ἀλλὰ ἦταν ἀρκετὴ ἡ ἀντίσταση ἐν Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι κάποιων κορυφῶν τῆς παραδόσεώς μας, ὅπως ὁ Ἅγιος Μᾶρκος ὁ Εὐγενικός, ὥστε τελικὰ νὰ… χαρακτηριστεῖ ψευδοσύνοδος, αἱρετικὴ Σύνοδος, ἀποτυχημένη Σύνοδος, ἡ Σύνοδος Φερράρας – Φλωρεντίας. Ἡ μέλλουσα νὰ συνέλθει, λοιπόν, Πανορθόδοξος Σύνοδος θὰ κριθεῖ σ᾽ αὐτὸ τὸ σημεῖο. Ἐὰν παρακάμψει αὐτὲς τὶς δύο Συνόδους ποὺ τοποθετοῦν τὴν ὀρθοδοξία ἀπέναντι στὸν Δυτικὸ χριστιανισμό. Ἐκεῖ εἶναι τὸ κρίσιμο ἐρώτημα. Αὐτοὶ θέλουν νὰ παρουσιάσουν τὴν ἑνότητα, ὅτι ὁ Δυτικὸς Χριστιανισμὸς εἶναι παράλληλη μορφὴ τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας τῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων. Ἐκεῖ κάποιοι ἐργάζονται, πρὸς τὰ ἐκεῖ κάποιοι θέλουν νὰ μᾶς ὁδηγήσουν. Ὁ Θεὸς ὅμως εἶναι πάνω ἀπὸ ὅλους μας.
Ἕνα ψευδοεπιχείρημα, λοιπόν, ποὺ κυκλοφορεῖται στὸ χῶρο τῆς δικῆς μας Θεολογίας, τῆς Ἀκαδημαϊκῆς Θεολογίας, εἶναι ὅτι οὐδεμία Οἰκουμενικὴ Σύνοδος κατεδίκασε τὸν Δυτικὸ Χριστιανισμό. Καὶ ὅμως ἔχουμε δύο Οἰκουμενικὲς Συνόδους, τοῦ 879 καὶ ἐκείνης τοῦ 14ου αἰῶνος, ποὺ διαφοροποιοῦν τὴν Ὀρθοδοξία ἀπὸ τὸν Δυτικὸ Χριστιανισμό.

Εἶναι τραγικό! Δὲν ἐπιχαίρω, οὔτε θριαμβολογῶ. Ἡ ἐπιθυμία ὅλων μα πρέπει νὰ εἶναι νὰ συναντηθοῦμε στὴν ἑνότητα τῶν Προφητῶν, τῶν Ἀποστόλων καὶ τῶν Πατέρων ὅλων τῶν αἰώνων. Διαφορετικά, κάθε ἕνωση θὰ εἶναι ψευδένωσις• καὶ ὄχι μόνον αὐτό, ἀλλὰ θὰ καταστρέφει καὶ θὰ διαστρέφει κάθε προσπάθεια, εἰλικρινῆ προσπάθεια, ποὺ θέλει νὰ ὁδηγηθεῖ στὸ θέμα τῆς σωτηρίας. Ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Παλαμᾶς ἐλέγχει τὴν σημερινὴ κατάσταση τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας. Ὑπάρχει σύγχυση, σχετικοποίηση τῆς πίστεως, πολιτικοὶ συμβιβασμοί. Οἱ διάλογοι οἱ ἐκκλησιαστικοὶ εἶναι ἀπομίμηση τῶν πολιτικῶν συζητήσεων. Ἔτσι, ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Παλαμᾶς -γι’ αὐτὸ δὲν γίνεται εὐχάριστα δεκτὸς- ἐμπνέει διάθεση ὁμολογίας καὶ μαρτυρίου ἀκόμη, ἂν ὁ Θεὸς τὸ ἐπιτρέψει, στὴν ἐποχή μας. Βοηθεῖ, ἐπίσης, στὴ συνέχεια τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Παραδόσεως. Ἡ ἐπανέκφραση τῆς Πίστεως μὲ τὰ μέσα κάθε ἐποχῆς δὲν ἔχει τίποτε τὸ κοινὸ μὲ τὴν ἀναζητούμενη ἀπὸ δικούς μας θεολόγους Οἰκουμενιστὲς «ἐπανερμηνεία» τῆς πίστεως. Δὲν εἶναι θέμα ἐπανερμηνείας, πῶς θὰ κατανοήσουμε λ.χ. τὸ παπικὸ πρωτεῖο. Συγγνώμη γιὰ τὴν φράση, καὶ ὁ σκύλος χορτάτος καὶ ἡ πίττα ἀφάγωτη! Μὰ εἶναι αὐτὰ σοβαρὰ πράγματα, ὅταν παίζουμε «ἐν οὐ παικτοῖς»; ὅταν παίζουμε μὲ τὴ σωτηρία; ὅταν παίζουμε μὲ τὴν αἰωνιότητα; Διαγράφουμε ὅλους τοὺς Ἁγίους ἐν ὀνόματι τῶν Ἁγίων. Διότι τὸ πνεῦμα, τὸ ὅποιον κυριαρχεῖ, εἶναι νὰ ἐκθειάζουμε τοὺς Ἁγίους. Κι ὅπως, μακαρίτης τώρα, Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος ἔλεγε: Δεχόμεθα τὸν Μάρκο τὸν Εὐγενικὸ καὶ τὸν τιμᾶμε ἐκεῖνος ἔτσι ἔπρεπε νὰ μιλήσει στὴν ἐποχή του, ἐμεῖς μιλοῦμε μὲ τὸν δικό μας τρόπο στὴν δική μας ἐποχή…. Κάτι παρόμοιο ἐλέχθη. Ὁ Χριστὸς ὅμως εἶναι πάντα ὁ αὐτὸς «παρατεινόμενος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας». Καὶ ἡ πίστη ποὺ σώζει εἶναι μία συνταγή, ἕνα φάρμακο ποὺ δὲν ἀλλοιώνεται, δὲν δέχεται ἀλλαγές. Εἶναι μία καὶ ἑνιαία ἡ πίστις. Ἡ ἀποδοχὴ τοῦ Λόγου τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀπὸ τὴν ἐμπειρία τῶν Ἁγίων, γιὰ νὰ γίνει καὶ δική μας ἐμπειρία.Ἡ κατανόηση, λοιπόν, τῶν Ἁγίων, ὅπως ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Παλαμᾶς, θέτει τὸ πρόβλημα τῆς ἀποδοχῆς τῆς γλώσσας τῶν Ἁγίων.

Ἡ γλώσσα τῶν Ἁγίων εἶναι ἡ ἔκφραση τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Παραδόσεως. Μὲ αὐτὴ τὴ σκέψη καταλήγω κι εὔχομαι ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Παλαμᾶς νὰ συνοδεύει τὴ ζωή μας. Καλὸν τὸ ὑπόλοιπον Στάδιον τῆς Μεγάλης Τεσσαρακοστῆς καὶ Καλὴ Ἀνάσταση!

(ἀπόσπασμα, ἀπὸ ὁμιλία στὴν Λάρισα κατὰ τὴν Β´ Κυριακὴ τῶν Νηστειῶν 2009, ποὺ ἐξεδόθη μὲ τὸν τίτλο ΑΓΙΟΣ ΓΡΗΓΟΡΙΟΣ ΠΑΛΑΜΑΣ ΠΑΤΕΡΑΣ ΤΗΣ Θ´ ΟΙΚΟΥ- ΜΕΝΙΚΗΣ ΣΥΝΟΔΟΥ, ἔκδ. Ἱ. Μονῆς Μεγ. Μετεώρρου, Ἅγ. Μετέωρα 2009, σσ. 28-31).
ΠΗΓΗ: ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΤΥΠΟΣ

Δευτέρα, 3 Μαρτίου 2014

Basic Points of Difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism


By the Reverend Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, His Eminence IEROTHEOS Vlachos
 

Translated from Greek by Fr. Patrick B. O’Grady

The bishops of Old Rome, beside small and non-essential differences, always held communion with the bishops of New Rome(Constantinople) and the bishops of the East until the years 1009-1014, when, for the first time, the Frankish bishops seized the throne of Old Rome.  Until the year 1009 the Popes of Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople were unified in a common struggle against the Frankish princes and bishops, already even at that time heretics.

The Franks at the Synod of Frankfurt in 794 condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and the honorable veneration of the holy icons.  Likewise in 809 the Franks introduced into the Symbol of the Faith the “Filioque” (Latin: “and the Son”); namely, the doctrine concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit both from the Father and from the Son.  Now at that time the Orthodox Pope of Rome condemned this imposition.  At the Synod of Constantinople presided over by Photios the Great, at which also representatives of the Orthodox Pope of Rome participated, they condemned as many as had condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and as many as had added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith.  However, the Frankish Pope Sergius IV, in the year 1009, in his enthronement encyclical for the first time added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith.  Then Pope Benedict VIII introduced the Creed with the Filioque into the worship service of the Church, at which time the Pope was stricken out from the diptychs of the Orthodox Church.

The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God.  Whereas we Orthodox believe that God possesses an uncreated nature and uncreated energy and that God comes into communion with the creation and with man by means of His uncreated energy, the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies.  So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy.  But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

From this basic doctrine proceeds the teaching concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son, the cleansing fire, the primacy of the Pope, etc.

Beside the fundamental difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism, in the theme of the nature and energy of God, there are other great differences which have given rise to topics of theological dispute, namely:
--the Filioque, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son with the result that the monarchy of the Father is diminished, the final equality of the Persons of the Holy Trinity is compromised, the Son is diminished in His own character in having been born, if there exists a oneness between Father and Son then the Holy Spirit is subordinated as not equal in power and of the same glory with the other Persons of the Holy Trinity, with the result that He is shown as the “unproductive (steiro) Person,”
--the utilization of unleavened bread in the Divine Eucharist which transgresses the manner with which Christ accomplished the Mystical Supper,
--the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”
--the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,
--the view about the “merits” of Christ which the Pope dispenses, along with the “superabundant” grace of the saints,
--the alienation and segmentation placed between the mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Divine Eucharist,
--the doctrine concerning the inheritance of guilt from the ancestral sin,
--the liturgical innovations in all of the mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Confession, Marriage, Anointing),
--the practice of not communing the laity in the “Blood” of Christ,
--the primacy of the Pope, according to which the Pope is “episcopus episcoporum (Latin: the bishop of bishops) and the origin of the priesthood and of ecclesiastical authority, that he is the infallible head and the principle leader of the Church, governing it in monarchical fashion as the vicar of Christ on the earth” (I. Karmires).  With this concept the Pope views himself as the successor of the Apostle Peter, to whom the other Apostles submit themselves, even the Apostle Paul,
--the non-existence of concelebration in the praxis of worship services,
--the infallibility of the Pope,
--the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Theotokos and the development of the worship of Mary (mariolatria), according to which the All-Holy Virgin is elevated to Triune Deity and even becomes a concept leading to a Holy Quaternity (!),
--the views of analogia entis (analogy of being) and analogia fidei (analogy of faith) which hold sway in the West,
--the unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth,
--the concept concerning the single methodology for the knowledge of God and of creatures, which leads to a blending of theology and epistemology.
Moreover, the great difference in practice, which points out the manner of theology, is found also in the difference between Scholasticism and Hesychastic theology.  In the West Scholasticism was expounded as an endeavor to search out the meaning of all the mysteries of the faith by means of logic (Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas).  However, in the Orthodox Church hesychasm prevails; namely, the purification of the heart and the illumination of the mind (nous), towards the acquisition of the knowledge of God.  The dialogue between St. Gregory Palamas and Barlaam the scholastic and uniate is characteristic and shows the difference.

A consequence of all the foregoing is that we have in Papism a decline from Orthodox ecclesiology.  Whereas in the Orthodox Church great significance is given to theosis which consists in communion with God, through the vision of the Uncreated Light, then those who behold the Light gather in an Ecumenical Synod and accurately define revelatory truth under conditions of confusion.  But in Papism great significance is given to the edict of the Pope; indeed, the Pope even stands over these Ecumenical Synods.  Consistent with Latin theology, “the authority of the Church exists only when it is established and put in good order by the will of the Pope.  Under a contrary condition it is annihilated.”  The Ecumenical Synods are seen as “councils of Christianity that are summoned under the authenticity, the authority, and the presidency of the Pope.”  Whenever the Pope leaves the meeting hall of the Ecumenical Synod, it ceases to have power.  Bishop Mare has written, “There would be no Roman Catholics more accurate as those exclaiming, “I believe also in one Pope” than who say “I believe also in one . . . Church.”
Furthermore, “the significance and role of the bishops within the Roman church is no more than a simple personification of the papal authority, to which also the bishops themselves submit just as also do the simple faithful.”  Towards this papal ecclesiology it is essentially maintained that “the apostolic authority left off with the apostles and was not passed on to their successors, the bishops.  Only the papal authority of Peter, under which all of the others are found, was passed on to the successors of Peter; namely, the popes.”  Along with the foregoing it is maintained by the papal “church” that all the churches of the East are secessionist and have deficiencies.  It receives us as sister churches into communion by dispensation (kat’ oikonomian), since she sees herself as the mother church and sees ourselves as daughter churches.

The Vatican is an earthly power (kratos) and each pope is the wielder of the power of the Vatican.  It is a matter of a man-centered organization, a worldly, indeed an especially legalistic and worldly organization.  The earthly power of the Vatican was instituted in the year 755 by Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne –even in our own time he was recognized by Mussolini, in 1929.  The source of the proclamation of papal worldly power is significant, as Pope Pius XI maintained, “the one who stands in God’s stead on earth cannot be obedient to earthly power.”  Christ was obedient to earthly power, the pope cannot be!  The papal authority establishes a theocracy, since theocracy is defined as subsuming both worldly and ecclesiastical authority into one concept.  Today we can see theocratic-worldly power in the Vatican and in Iran.

Pope Innocent IV (1198-1216) maintained the characteristic nature of these things in his enthronement speech, “He who has the bride has the bridegroom.  However the bride herself (the church) has not been coupled with empty hands, but brings therein an incomparably rich dowry, the fullness of spiritual goods and the expanses of the world’s things, the largesse and abundance of both. . . . Your contributions of the worldly things has given me the diadem, the mitre over the priesthood, the diadem for kingdom and it has established me as His representative (antiprosopo), in the garment and on the knee of which it is written: the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Consequently great theological differences exist, which have been condemned by the Synod of Photios the Great and at the Synod of Gregory Palamas, just as it appears in the “Synodikon of Orthodoxy.”  In addition also the Fathers of the Church and the local synods down to the 19th century condemn all the deceits of papism.  The issue is not mollified or improved by a certain typical excuse which the pope would give for an historical error, whenever his theological views were outside of the revelation and the eccesiology is moved into an enclosed course, since of course the pope presents himself as leader of the Christian world, as successor of the Apostle Peter and the Vicar-representative of Christ over the earth, as if Christ would give His authority to the pope and He cease ruling in blessing in the heavens.

The Ecumenical Synods

When is a Synod of the Church considered Ecumenical?

An Ecumenical Synod is one :
1. Which has been convened by an Emperor of the Roman Empire, extending over an Ecumenical (pan-Roman) range, and of course a pan-Christian range.
2. Whose rulings have been accepted by the entire, worldwide, Orthodox Church, throughout History.
3. Whose rulings have been formulated by a Divinely-inspired Father.
4. Whose rulings bear the acceptance of the Roman Patriarchates.
5. Which has dealt with crucial Theological issues.
We shall now set out only a brief overview of the Ecumenical Synods of the Church, leaving the more detailed descriptions for other, more specialized articles.

1st Ecumenical Synod:
325 A.D., in Nicea of Bithynia.
Convened by the Emperor Constantine the Great. 318 bishops participated. The issue dealt with was Arius’ blasphemous assertion that the Son and Logos of God is a creation and not of the same essence (Homousios) as the Father.  The same Synod ruled on the dates of celebration of Easter.   The Symbol of Faith (the Nicene Creed) also began to be drafted.

2nd Ecumenical Synod:
381 A.D., in Constantinople.
Convened by Theodosius the Great.  150 Orthodox and 36 Macedonian bishops participated. The Synod was presided over by Saint Gregory the Theologian, bishop of Constantinople.  Areios was once again condemned, as was the heresy of the Macedonios, who taught that the Holy Spirit is a creation of God, hence his being nicknamed Pneumatomachos  (the Spirit-battler). Also condemned Apollinarianism, Eunomians, Eudoxians, Sabellians, Marcellians, and Photinians (who taught that Jesus was a mere man upon whom the Logos rested).

3rd Ecumenical Synod:
431 A.D., in Ephesus.
Convened by Theodosius II.  This Synod dogmatized against Nestorianism, in the Temple of the basilica of the Holy Mother, with 200 bishops participating. It condemned Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, and dogmatized that the Holy Mother can also be addressed as “Theotokos” (=who gave birth to God, ). Changes to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed were forbidden with punishment of deposition for clerics and excommunication for laity prescribed.

4th Ecumenical Synod:
451 A.D., in Chalcedon of Asia Minor.
Convened by the Emperor Marcian and the Empress Pulcheria. 630 bishops participated. It annulled the  (Robber) Council of 449 which took place in Ephesus. The Eutychian doctrine of Monophysitism was condemned in this Synod.  The ‘Tome of Leo’ was affirmed. Simony was condemned. Condemned Nestorianism.

5th Ecumenical Synod:
5th May to 21st June of 553 A.D., in Constantinople.
Convened by the Emperor Justinian and the Empress Theodora.  165 Fathers participated. Condemned Evagrius , Didymus , Origen, and Theodore of Mopsuestia (Nestorius’ teacher).

6th Ecumenical Synod:
680 A.D., in Constantinople.
Convened by the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus. 150 – 289 bishops participated.  This Synod condemned the heresy of Monothelitism.   This Synod formulated that Christ has a Divine will, as well as a human will that is obeisant to the Divine will. Affirmed the teachings of Saint Maximus the Confessor. The following were condemned, amongst others: s Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter (Patriarchs of Constantinople); Pope Honorius; Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria.

Quinisext Ecumenical Synod:
691 A.D., in Constantinople.
Convened by Justinian II; took place in “the Trullo of the Palace”, hence its being named “The Synod of Trullo”.  This was not an independent Synod; it merely systematized and fulfilled the task of the preceding two Synods (the 5th and the 6th), hence, albeit Ecumenical, was also referred to as “Quinisext”, given that it was a segment of those two Synods and was not numbered as a separate Ecumenical Synod.

7th Ecumenical Synod:
787 A.D., in Nicea of Bithynia, in the temple of Hagia Sophia.
Convened by the Emperor Constantine and his mother Irene the Athenian.   367 fathers participated This Synod reinstated and protected the holy icons, by anathematizing iconoclasm (the opposition to the veneration of icons ), also condemning the idea of depicting the invisible and incorporeal Holy Trinity. It annulled the false council of 754 Adoration of icons, was not accepted because it is for God alone. In this Synod, the theology pertaining to the depiction of Christ and the Saints as a depiction of visible personages, was set out.

8th Ecumenical Synod:
879-880 A.D., in Constantinople.
Convened by the Emperor Basil the Macedon.  Headed by the (Orthodox at the time) Pope of Rome, John VIII (872-882) and the Patriarch of Constantinople-New Rome, Fotios the Great (858-867, 877-886).  This Synod validated the rulings of the 7th Ecumenical Synod by expelling those who did not recognise Nicæa II as Seventh Ecumenical Synod. It anathematized the “Filioque” addition to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which had just begun to be imposed, abrogating the decrees of the Robber Council of 869-870. It also condemned the heretic synods of Charlemagne in Frankfurt (794 A.D.) and in Aachen (809 A.D.). This council was later repudiated by the West in favor the robber council which had deposed Photius.

9th Ecumenical Synod:
1341-1351 A.D.
Three separate synods (1341, 1349 ,1351) are regarded as a whole because they dealt with the same issue. This Synod dogmatized on the uncreated Essence and the uncreated Energy of God, as well as on Hesychasm, by condemning Varlaam the Calabrian.  Rejected teaching that the attributes of God are identical with the essence. Condemned those who think the light of Christ’s Transfiguration was a created apparition. Condemned those who deny the energy of God is uncreated.

This Synod therefore preoccupied itself with theological issues, it was convened by an emperor (Synodic Volume of 1341 A.D.) and a Divinely-inspired father participated therein (Saint Gregory Palamas), and its rulings were accepted by the entire Church.  Consequently, this Synod is of equal stature to an Ecumenical Synod.  The 9th Ecumenical Synod of 1341 condemned the Platonic mysticism of Varlaam the Calabrian, who had arrived from the West as a proselyte to Orthodoxy. Rejection of this Platonic type of mysticism was of course the traditional Patristic response.

General information on the Ecumenical Synods

The above nine Ecumenical Synods were published as roman laws validated by the Emperor, after having been previously signed by the respective five roman Patriarchs, Metropolitans and Bishops.  The Emperor would convene these Ecumenical Synods in collaboration with the Five Roman Patriarchates, of (a) Old Rome, (b) Constantinople-New Rome, (c) Alexandria, (d) Antioch, which was included in 451 A.D. and (e) Jerusalem.  The 9th Ecumenical Synod of 1341 A.D. was an exception, as its Minutes were validated by only four roman Patriarchs and signed by the roman Emperor.

The Patriarchate of Old Rome was now absent, as it had been violently seized by the Franks, the Longobards and the Germans, with the help of the Normans.  This onslaught began in 983 A.D. and was completed by 1009-1046 A.D..   After the year 1045 A.D., the Popes of Rome -with the exception of Pope Benedict X (1058-9 A.D.) - were no longer romans, but members of the Frankish-Latin aristocracy which had subjugated the roman populations.  After the fall of the Roman Empire and its Emperor, in 1453 A.D. the four roman Patriarchates of Constantinople-New Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem continued to convene Synods, with which they continued the tradition of the Ecumenical Synods. The only reason that these Synods were not named “Ecumenical” is simply because this title signified “Imperial” and the rulings of such Synods became components of Roman Law.  In other words, after the year 1453 A.D., the rulings of the roman Synods were considered components of Ecclesiastic Law, and no longer of Imperial Law.  The Roman Empire no longer existed, nor a roman emperor who would issue roman Laws.  Thus, these nine Ecumenical Synods were understood to be both ecclesiastic Laws and roman Laws.  The Synods that were convened after 1453 A.D. comprise a part of Ecclesiastic Law, and have the same authority as the previous Ecumenical Synods (except in the imagination of some contemporary Orthodox, who have been misled by the Russian Orthodoxy of Peter the Great, and the so-called “neo-Greek” theology of certain Western-educated theologians.)

This is why nowadays we find Orthodox who call themselves The Church of the Seven Ecumenical Synods.  Many (uninformed) Orthodox are totally oblivious to the existence of the 8th and the 9th Ecumenical Synods.  The 8th Ecumenical Synod in 879 A.D. simply condemned those who “add” or “remove” anything from the Symbol of Faith (Creed), as well as those who do not accept the rulings pertaining to the worship of Icons, per the 7th Ecumenical Synod.

The reason that the Franks –who are being condemned- are not for the time being clearly denoted, is that they might hopefully revise their stance.

Evidence of the Ecumenical status of the 8th and 9th Ecumenical Synods

In a previous chapter, we outlined the required characteristics of a Synod acceptable by the Church, in order for it to be confirmed as an Ecumenical Synod.  These characteristics are found in all nine (plus the Quinisext) Synods that we mentioned above.  These characteristics, which are set out in this article, have been taken from the book of the Rev. Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, Hierotheos Vlachos, titled “Ecclesiastic Conviction”, (published by Genethlion of Theotokos). The Ecumenical status of the 9th Ecumenical Synod is also analyzed therein, extensively.
Naturally, the 8th Ecumenical Synod itself not only repeated that the 7th was Ecumenical (which, until that time, had not been acknowledged by some as the 7th Ecumenical Synod), but it also frequently refers to itself as “Ecumenical” in its Minutes, and in fact in its very canons -which have been fully accepted by the worldwide Ecclesiastic body of Orthodoxy!  (Rallis and Potlis, Constitution, 2, 705, etc.; Ecclesiastic History by Stephanides, pages 363-364.). So, how is it possible for a Synod (the 8th) which , for some , is allegedly not Ecumenical, to validate another Synod (the 7th) which is Ecumenical?   Based on this logic, we are indirectly doubting the Ecumenicity of the 7th, unbeknownst to us!

During his interpretation of these canons, Theodore of Balsamon (end 12th century) acknowledges it as being the 8th Ecumenical Synod, while Neilos of Rhodos (†1379) calls it the “Eighth Ecumenical”, as do others (J.Hergenrother, Photius II, page 539 onwards).

Of course, the most important Orthodox Theologian of the 20th century – father John Romanides – (Graduate of the Greek College of Brookline Massachusetts, the Yale University’s School of Theology, Doctor of the School of Theology of the Capodistrian University of Athens, the Philosophical School of Harvard University (School of Arts and Sciences. Professor Emeritus of the School of Theology of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and Visiting Professor of the Theological School of Saint John the Damasceneof the Balamand University of Lebanon since 1970. He has also studied with the Russian Seminar of Saint Vladimir of New York, and the also Russian Institute of Saint Serge in Paris and Munich, Germany) is in full agreement with the aforementioned positions.

Fr. John Romanides expounds on these two last Ecumenical Synods in extensive memoranda of his.  The title of one of his writings is characteristic: “The cure for the sickness of Religion: the Nine Ecumenical Synods and the other Ecclesiastic Synods until 1453”.  You can locate this article, in the related link below, among the other links pertaining to this article.

It is however imperative that we do not confine ourselves to the names of theologians, or even of bishops, but to seek an OFFICIAL acknowledgement of our positions, from the Universal Orthodox Church. A document such as this, which dispels every doubt that the Ecumenical Synods are NOT ONLY SEVEN, is a letter which had been sent to the Pope by ALL OF THE ROMAN PATRIARCHATES, in 1848.  This letter was signed, not only by the Patriarchs, but also by the (named) Bishops of their respective Holy Synods. 

Very clearly mentioned in this letter is the wording EIGHTH ECUMENICAL SYNOD”, where the all-familiar “Filioque” was condemned, and furthermore, the Pope himself had also participated (who at the time was still Orthodox).  This was not a just a private letter to Pius IX. It was addressed to "All the Bishops Everywhere, Beloved in the Holy Ghost, Our Venerable, Most Dear Brethren; and to their Most Pious Clergy; and to All the Genuine Orthodox Sons of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." 
 
Should we therefore assume here that neither the Patriarchs nor the members of their Holy Synods knew that the Ecumenical Synods were supposedly only seven?  If this were the case, it is highly improbable, that not a single one of them, who signed at the bottom of this document, would have questioned: “If the Synods are 7 in all, how can we be speaking of the 8th?”   Quite obviously, they were all fully aware that the Ecumenical Synods were more than 7!

This document can be found (in its English translation), by visiting the related links mentioned at the end of this article. Also in Greek (prototype) you can find it mentioned in Volume 2, pages 902-925 of the book by J. Karmiris, titled “THE DOGMATIC AND SYMBOLIC MONUMENTS OF THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH”.

Another interesting detail is also the following:  The Papist “Church”, published the so-called “Catholic Encyclopedia” in 1907, in which it mentions the Ecumenical Synod of 879-880, saying that:  “This is the "Psuedosynodus Photiana" (: the pseudo-synod of Photios),  which the Orthodox count as the Eighth General Council”  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04312b.htm.

From this, it becomes obvious that even the Papists knew full well which the Orthodox Synods were, even at that time.  And while the Papists had every reason to withhold the info about Ecumenical status of that Synod (in which the Filioque was condemned), by saying that not even we Orthodox considered it Ecumenical, they did not do this; instead, they merely slandered it.  They obviously refrained from this action, because it was something quite familiar to everyone at the time, and any concealment would have had no real repercussions.

Questions for those who believe there are only 7 Ecumenical Synods

Pursuant to the above, all those who believe that the Ecumenical Synods of the Orthodox Church are only 7, must necessarily give their comprehensive and documented replies to the following questions:
1. What is incorrect about the criteria of Ecumenicity stated above, and why?
2. With what other criteria should they be replaced, and on what Ecclesiological, Historical and Theological basis?
3. Based on what logic is it possible for a non-ecumenical (as the 8th is referred to by many) Synod to presume to validate an Ecumenical Synod (the 7th)?  Is it possible for the 8th NOT to be Ecumenical, and yet, we resort to it, for its ruling on the Ecumenicity of the 7th?  If therefore the 8th was non-existent, would the 7th then in turn not be acknowledged as Ecumenical?  Wouldn’t we be going headlong into an absurd logic here?
4. Why should we reject the positions of major theologians of the Church –like the ones we mentioned above- and in their place, accept the positions of others, who do not accept the two last Ecumenical Synods?
5. What more important evidence is there, that could justify the rejection of the signing of the Holy Synods of the Patriarchates in the letter of 1848 mentioned above, and furthermore, where does one find a ruling of all these Patriarchates, which condemns this admission of more than 7 Ecumenical Synods?
If all the above questions are provided with documented replies and arguments possessing an authority equivalent to that which is analyzed in this article, we can further discuss the matter of how many the Ecumenical Synods are.

Bibliography Links Sources
The Ecumenicity of the 8th and 9th Ecumenical Synods is testified by the following, leading Theologians of our time:

Fr. JOHN ROMANIDES
REV. METROPOLITAN OF NAFPAKTOS HIEROTHEOS VLACHOS:
PROTOPRESBYTER GEORGE D. METALLINOS, DEAN OF THE ATHENS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY:
PROTOPRESBYTER GEORGE DRAGAS, PROFESSOR OF THE BOSTON SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY “THE HOLY CROSS”:
Document:  The Encyclical  Letter of 1848, in which the holy synods of the patriarchates refer to the 8th ecumenical synod very clearly, by its name:
About Synods and Councils: