Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Orthodox Participation in the WCC

Ed. You can print this article. Click the print link below.

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Orthodox Participation in the Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches

In the opinion of Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima (Patriarchate of Constantinople), the Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil, was an “Orthodox assembly”. Metropolitan Gennadios, one of the leading activists of the ecumenical movement, voiced this opinion at the inter-Orthodox meeting which took place during the course of the assembly.

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U.S. Church Leaders at WCC Assembly Beg Forgiveness for ‘Raining Down Terror’ on World

Note how an Orthodox leader presumes to speak for all Orthodox.

Institute on Religion and Democracy Alan Wisdom

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil-Delegates representing U.S. denominations at the Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches issued a letter February 18 begging God’s forgiveness for their nation’s policies relating to war, the environment, and poverty. “From a place seduced by the lure of empire we come to you in penitence,” they said, “eager for grace, grace sufficient to transform spirits grown weary from the violence, degradation, and poverty our nation has sown, grace sufficient to transform spirits grown heavy with guilt, grace sufficient to transform the world.”

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NCC Exit Poll: Why One Orthodox Church Left the National Council of Churches

My latest piece, published in Touchstone Magazine.

by Johannes L. Jacobse

Few people noticed when the 390,000-member Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (AOA) withdrew from the National Council of Churches (NCC) last summer. But the importance of the move was not lost on ecumenical observers. When a long-term member walks out of the NCC, it indicates deep problems—in this case, that an Orthodox jurisdiction felt that the politicization of the NCC was hampering it from preaching the gospel in American society. If the Antiochians acted, how many others among the 35 member churches (and not just among the Orthodox) felt the same way?

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More WCC antics

Ed. I will comment on this when I return. Look at The United Churches of Castro for a glimpse at the WCC’s track record on freedom and liberation. They fall all over themselves to apologize for everything except their own activities. Note too the religious language used. It lends an air of authority to their critique without having to defend their ideas. It is the same technique used when they crawled into bed with Marx three decades back.


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An ‘Ordinary Radical’ A “Jesus freak” becomes an “extremist for love.”

Ed. The seduction of the Progressive illusion.

Wall Street Opinion Journal PAUL BESTON Tuesday, February 7, 2006

On Christmas Eve 2001, I attended Mass in a suburban enclave in Michigan. With the memory of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 still fresh, it seemed that the traditional Christmas message would be timelier than ever. Yet the service was so barren of substance as to seem smug; in his homily, the priest focused mostly on festive platitudes and made jokes about high-tech gadgets that might be found under the tree. Nothing about the service felt necessary, except getting home.

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NCC Places Emphasis on Orthodox Church during Assembly

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005 Posted: 5:20:31PM EST

Delegates to the 55th National Council of Churches (NCC) General Assembly nominated an Orthodox bishop as president-elect and reconfirmed the need to strengthen ties with Orthodox churches within the Council.

Bishop Vicken Aykazian, a Turkish-born priest who represents the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America in Washington, was nominated on Tuesday – the first day of the Nov. 8-10 General Assembly in Hunt Valley, Md. If confirmed, he will serve for two years as president-elect and be automatically confirmed as president for the next term.

Also on Tuesday, former NCC president Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky of the Orthodox Church in America encouraged members to become “better acquainted with one another to avoid misrepresentation and miscommunication.
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NCC News

Subject: [OrthodoxNews] Kishkovsky calls upon NCC member communions to avoid misunderstandings by getting to know one another

2005.11.09 NCC:

Kishkovsky calls upon NCC member communions to avoid misunderstandings by getting to know one another

Hunt Valley, Md, Nov. 9, 2005 — The unexpected withdrawal last summer of the Antiochian Orthodox Church from National Council of Churches USA membership is a reminder to the remaining 35 communions that they must become “better acquainted” with one another, a former NCC president said.

The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky of the Orthodox Church in America, chair of the Council’s Membership and Ecclesial Relations Committee, also cited the World Council of Churches improving relations with its Orthodox members and suggested the NCC study its approaches.
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Moral Equivalence Thinly Concealed: Missourian responds to Renee

Moral Equivalence Thinly Concealed

Rene writes in part 2 of Note 1. Here is the complete text of question number 2 and Rene’s answer.

Are the US soldiers in Iraq terrorists?

When speaking about war we tend to choose and use terms in a way that helps justify our actions. Usually we don’t define or describe war as it feels, looks, or is experienced by the people that we are warring against. Military recruiters may not tell potential soldiers that they will be part of ‘?a systematic use of terror, violence and intimidation’? Nevertheless, those we use these tactics against might think of soldiers (and by association all of us in the U.S.) as terrorists whether we like it or not.

Rene’s starts with the declaration that:

“When speaking about war we tend to choose and use terms in a way that helps justify our actions. “

Missourian replies: If, after careful consideration, an individual decides to support a war effort then it is natural and perfectly acceptable if he expresses hisr support for that war effort in positive terms. Ideally an adult should be able to articulate a justification for his actions and positions taken on various issues. This certainly applies to something as important as war.

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Church Renewal Advocate: Politics May Cost NCC Its Conservative Constituents

Jim Brown August 9, 2005

(AgapePress) – A spokesman for a church reform group believes the recent decision by the Antiochian Orthodox Church to leave the National Council of Churches (NCC) may prompt the larger Russian and Greek Orthodox churches to follow suit.

Late last month, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America became the first denomination in several years to quit the NCC. Antiochian Orthodox spokespersons cited concerns over the NCC’s liberal stance on homosexuality and the group’s political outspokenness as among the church’s reasons for leaving.

Mark Tooley is with the Institute on Religion and Democracy, an ecumenical alliance of Christians working to reform their churches’ witness in society. With regard to the Antiochian Orthodox Church’s departure from the NCC, Tooley says the handwriting was on the wall.

“Eastern Orthodox churches are still very traditional theologically and on moral issues,” the IRD spokesman points out. “And, interestingly, although they tend to be fairly wealthy churches, they give no money to the National Council of Churches.”
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NCC General Secretary: God’s Commandments, Not Politics, Drive the NCC

Washington, D.C., August 9, 2005 — In remarks today at the Progressive National Baptist Convention’s (PNBC) 44th Annual Session in Detroit, theRev. Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, told the gathering of Baptist pastors, ministers and lay leaders that it is the priorities and commandments of Christ rather than partisan politics that leads the NCC to advocate for peace, ending poverty and protecting God’s creation.

“There are those who try to dilute our witness and mislead our friends by suggesting that the National Council of Churches is a partisan, left-leaning organization,” said Rev. Edgar. “But you know who it is that calls us to pursue peace, fight poverty and injustice, and care forthe earth. It is the Prince of Peace who each day of his life showed hisbias for the poor and prayed to the Creator who gave us this beautiful world,” he said.

The NCC has come under fire in recent months for advocating for good environmental stewardship, working to end poverty and for calling for a plan to reduce U.S. military presence in Iraq.
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Antioch exits the NCC

Terry Mattingly email newsletter

Summer is the season for church conventions that talk about hot issues.

Last week’s 47th convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America passed a resolution that addressed both sexuality and the Iraqi war. But this time the lofty words led to an historic change.

The assembly voted to oppose “divisive and dangerous” positions taken by “left-wing” and “right-wing” groups. To be specific, it rejected “support for same-sex marriage, support for abortion, support for ordination of women to Holy Orders, support for the concept of war that is ‘pre-emptive’ or ‘justifiable’ and the labeling of other faiths and their leaders with hateful terminology.”

The archdiocese — a blend of Arab-Americans and many converts — vowed to avoid groups that “promulgate these extreme positions” and renewed its commitment to seek Orthodox unity in North America.

Then the delegates cheered as Metropolitan Philip Saliba announced his decision to withdraw from the National Council of Churches USA.
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More on Orthodoxy and the NCC

Acton Institute on Orthodox pullout from NCC:

Antiochian Orthodox to Quit NCC
Friday, July 29. 2005

The terminal politicization of the National Council of Churches has led a major Orthodox jurisdiction to throw in the towel. The Antiochian Orthodox Church, meeting for its bi-annual convention in Dearborn, Mich., has “voted overwhelmingly” to leave the ecumenical body led by Rev. Bob Edgar, a former Democrat congressman. The news has been posted on Touchstone Magazine’s Mere Comments blog, and was phoned in by a correspondent for Ancient Faith Radio who was on the scene in Dearborn.

Metropolitan Philip Saliba, hierarch of the church, has reportedly decided that any further relationship with the U.S. ecumenical body would be “fruitless.”

The Antiochians aren’t the only Orthodox jurisdiction that has acknowledged the NCC’s increasingly leftward tilt. At their own just-concluded conference in Toronto, the Orthodox Church in America also discussed the usefulness of the NCC but has not yet cut its ties. The statement that the OCA issued concerning its discussion of ecumenical relations was a collage of bureaucratic platitudes, mostly expressed in the passive voice, and no doubt indicative that the forces of the status quo were not giving up without a fight. When you read phrases such as “concerns .. were expressed” and “it was noted” and “requires careful consideration and discernment” then you can bet that someone’s digging in the heels.

But the clear-sighted action that His Eminence Philip and the Antiochians are taking is a courageous move. Let’s hope more Orthodox follow, and separate their churches from the partisan activism and — let’s face it — Bush baiting that the NCC is known for.

For an excellent resource on the ecumenical disaster that is the National Council of Churches see’s NCC Resource Page.

Ancient Faith Radio is also planning to air an interview about the Antiochian pullout and its consequences with the Very Rev. Olof Scott, the newly-elected chairman of the Department of Interfaith Relationships, on Sunday, July 31, at 5 PM EDT.