“If any ecclesiastic or layman shall go into the synagogue of the Jews or the meeting-houses of the heretics to join in prayer with them, let them be deposed and deprived of communion. If any bishop or priest or deacon shall join in prayer with heretics, let him be suspended from communion.” (III Council of Constantinople)“One must neither pray nor sing psalms with heretics, and whosoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, whether clergy or layman, let him be excommunicated.” (Council of Carthage)
“No one shall pray in common with heretics and schismatics.” (Council of Laodicea)
Dec 7, 1965 – The Apostasy of World Orthodoxy Completed. Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras (of Constantinople) & Pope Paul VI simultaneously “lift the Anathema of 1054.” The Anathema was placed on the papal heresy to protect the Orthodox from blasphemous doctrines which lead to perdition. By “lifting” the Anathema, Athenagoras officially proclaimed that the Pope and his followers were unjustly excommunicated, that the Church wrongly held the doctrines of papism to be false, and that in truth the Latin Papacy is part of Orthodoxy! An official statement from the clergy of the Patriarchate said the following, “The removal of the mutual excommunications between the two Churches restores canonical relations between Rome and New Rome. This restoration is a canonical necessity…” From this time several monasteries and sketes on Mt. Athos cease to commemorate the Patriarch. The Florinites use the action to again reaffirm their confession of true Orthodoxy, and to condemn the ecumenism of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They again affirm the graceless state of those in the ecumenical heresy, which now is undeniably true. (Timeline of the Church … and the Great Apostasy …)
“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
“Briefly, modern ecumenism is both a movement and an ecclesiological heresy. … On March 16, 1997, the world-renowned Orthodox scholar and layman, Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, made the following statements during a lecture at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta, GA: ‘We must all … speak out that we do not accept the Decree of the recent Synod of Balamand, and we will not accept the Decrees of any other Pseudo Synod that might be convoked in the years ahead….The time has come for all faithful Orthodox Christians to speak out and promptly put to an end this spurious form of Orthodoxy known as “ecumenistic Orthodoxy”. It is a betrayal of the Holy Orthodox Church, a negation of its essence.’ (Victories of Orthodoxy, pp. 80-81, emphasis his)” (Ecumenism Awareness: Introduction)
Like Arianism in the fourth century A.D., the whole Church is running after the heresy of ecumenism today. Whole church, that is, if you are counting heads. The modernist churches are the ecumenists and they do have the heads. In America, among the East Orthodox churches, this would be the Standing Conference of Canonical Bishops in America (SCOBA), which was formed in 1960 at the initiative of the Greek Orthodox Church, and headed by it. (re-invented in 2010 as the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. And, “the primary purpose of the Assembly is to prepare the Orthodox of the region for an upcoming “Great and Holy Council” which will include all Orthodox bishops throughout the world.”)
SCOBA claims to be the only true and authentic Orthodox Christian church in America. They use the term “canonical” for that and say that all other christian church groups are “heterodox”. The Eastern Orthodox Catholic Archdiocese (Syriac/Greek succession) has this to say about canonicity and who can claim it:
This term can be rightly used if applied to the heterordox, i.e., those following a different doctrine or opinion, or to those who have broken with canons and apostolic traditions of the Apostolic Church of our Lord. However, (SCOBA tries) to achieve self-acclaim and power by directing this word at those with the same faith and traditions but who may not be part of the organization. In a recent public statement published on the web, Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church has criticized their existence and stated that SCOBA has no real jurisdiction or canonical purpose at all.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America “The Episcopal Assemblies derive their authority” from SCOBA, which in May of 2010 “voted to dissolve the organization and permit the Assembly to supersede it and assume all its functions.” (Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America)
Any other claimants?
So what is the World Council of Churches (WCC)? And what is the nature of Orthodox Church participation in it? In the The First Sorrowful Epistle of Metropolitan St. Philaret we learn that Orthodoxy has,
inherited a legacy from the Holy Fathers that everything in the Church should be done in a legal way, unanimously, and conforming to ancient Traditions. If any of the bishops and even primates of one of the autocephalous churches does something which is not in agreement with the teaching of the whole Church, every member of the Church may protest against it. …
If in the beginning our separation from Rome was declared in Constantinople, then later on it became a matter of concern to the whole Orthodox world. None of the autocephalous churches, and specifically not the highly esteemed Church of Constantinople from which our Russian Church has received the treasure of Orthodoxy, may change anything in this matter without the foregoing consent of everybody. Moreover we, the bishops ruling at present, may not make decisions with reference to the West which would disagree with the teaching of the Holy Fathers who lived before us, specifically the Saints Photios of Constantinople and Mark of Ephesus.
In the light of these principles, although being the youngest of the primates, as the head of the free autonomous part of the Church of Russia, we regard it our duty to state our categorical protest against the action of Your Holiness with reference to your simultaneous solemn declaration with the Pope of Rome in regard to the removal of the sentence of excommunication made by Patriarch Michael Cerularius in 1054.
We heard many expressions of perplexity when Your Holiness in the face of the whole world performed something quite new and uncommon to your predecessors as well as inconsistent with the 10th Canon of the Holy Apostles at your meeting with the Pope of Rome, Paul VI, in Jerusalem. … But now Your Holiness is going even further when, only by your own decision with the bishops of your Synod, you cancel the decision of Patriarch Michael Cerularius accepted by the whole Orthodox East. In that way Your Holiness is acting contrary to the attitude accepted by the whole of our Church in regard to Roman Catholicism …
The essence of the problem is in the deviation from Orthodoxy which took root in the Roman Church during the centuries, beginning with the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope which was definitively formulated at the First Vatican Council. … For centuries (since then) the Church of Rome has introduced a number of innovations in its dogmatic teaching. The more such innovations were introduced, the deeper was to become the separation between the East and the West. The doctrinal deviations of Rome in the eleventh century did not yet contain the errors that were added later. Therefore, the cancellation of the mutual excommunication of 1054 could have been of meaning at that time; but now it is only an evidence of indifference in regard to the most important errors, namely new doctrines foreign to the ancient Church, of which some, having been exposed by St. Mark of Ephesus, were the reason why the Church rejected the Union of Florence.
We declare firmly and categorically:
The Pan-Orthodox Conference in Geneva in June 1968 … expressed “the general desire of the Orthodox Church to be an organic member of the World Council of Churches and its decision to contribute in all ways to its progress, theological and otherwise, to the promotion and good development of the whole of the work of the World Council of Churches.” …
There were no reservations; no mention was made of any missionary aims … . … If (in earlier years) the Orthodox participated in ecumenical meetings only to (perform) a missionary service among confessions foreign to Orthodoxy, then now they have combined with them, and anyone can say that what was said at Uppsala was also said by the member Orthodox Churches in the person of their delegates. Alas that it should be said in the name of the whole Orthodox Church! …
Since the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi, the Orthodox delegates no longer make separate statements, but have merged into one mass with the Protestant confessions. Thus all the decisions of the Uppsala Assembly are made in the name of “the Church,” which is always spoken of in the singular.
Who is speaking? Who gave these people the right to make ecclesiological statements not merely on their own behalf, but also on behalf of the Orthodox Church? … Check the list … . You will find the following names: Evangelical Church of the River Plata, Methodist Church of Australia, Churches of Christ in Australia, The Church of England of Australia, Congregational Union of Australia, Presbyterian Church of Australia ….
Is it necessary to continue the list? Is it not clear that beginning with the very first lines, confessions are included which differ greatly from Orthodoxy … ? Yet in the name of this union of the various representatives of all possible heresies, the Uppsala Assembly constantly states: “The Church professes,” “The Church teaches,” “The Church does this and that ….”
If these doctrinal decisions were preceded by words indicating that one part of the Churches observes one doctrine, and the other a different doctrine, and the teaching of the Orthodox Church were stated separately, that would be consistent with reality. But such is not the case, and in the name of various confessions they say: “The Church teaches…. ” …
This in itself is a proclamation of the Protestant doctrine of the Church as comprising all those who call themselves Christians, even if they have no intercommunion. But without accepting that doctrine, it is impossible to be an organic member of the World Council of Churches, because that doctrine is the basis of the whole ideology on which this organization rests.” (The First Sorrowful Epistle of Metropolitan St. Philaret)
… On the other hand, in 2006 the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC declared the following pursuant to a Special Commission that was set up by the eighth Harare Assembly in December 1998 to address Orthodox concerns about WCC membership and the Council’s decision-making style, public statements, worship practices, and other issues.
It issued its final report in 2006. Specific issues that it clarified were that the WCC does not formulate doctrine, does not have authority to rule on moral issues, nor does it have any ecclesiastical authority. Such authority is entirely internal to each individual member church. It proposed that the WCC adopt a consensus method of decision making. It proposed that Orthodox members be brought in parity with non-Orthodox members. It further proposed clarification that inter-confessional prayer at WCC events is not worship, particularly “it should avoid giving the impression of being the worship of a church”, and confessional and inter-confessional prayer each be specifically identified as such at WCC events. It also clarified that the so-called “Lima Liturgy” is not an interfaith eucharistic service: ‘the WCC is not ‘hosting’ a eucharist’. (Wikipedia)