"The Greatest Snare of the Enemy" - The World Council of Churches: The World Hodgepodge of Heresies
Updated: Jul 13
Fifty-years since the ever-memorable Saint Justin (Popović) of Čelije (†1979), an outstanding dogmatic theologian, composed the superb text, reprinted below, in which he sets forth a correct confession of the Orthodox Faith. Unfortunately, the Orthodox ecumenists have ignored and disregarded it; not only have they not terminated their participation in the so-called World Council of Churches, except for the Bulgarian and Georgian Churches, but they have even strengthened it and doubled-down on their participation in the pan-heresy of ecumenism to the extent that they are abandoning the Orthodox faith entirely and are on the path to becoming Uniates. In its “Proclamation” on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the W.C.C., on August 16th, 1973, the Œcumenical Patriarchate [Demetrios I] stated at the time of his writing that, “the long-lasting ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches, which has existed in the context of this movement for twenty-five years as an institutional expression and organized form thereof, constitute one of the ways which the Lord has chosen, in order to make better known among men the ‘new commandment’ of love and to make the injunction to promote reconciliation, peace, and concord more honored among His Churches.”
Saint Justin (Popović)
However, the participation of the Orthodox Church in the W.C.C. has been aptly characterized as “grotesque, preposterous, and destructive of Orthodox canonical order and Holy Tradition,” as “an admixture of things that cannot be mixed and a grotesque monstrosity,” which “constitutes the greatest snare of the Enemy in the history of the Church Militant of Christ for the erosion and disintegration of the redemptive work of the Orthodox Catholic Church.” Likewise, the W.C.C. has been dubbed the “World Hodgepodge of Heresies,” an organization within which Orthodoxy and falsehood co-exist and collaborate, and in this way “the mystery of iniquity is being realized under the corrosive influence of global religious syncretism.” And even today, Œcumenical Patriarch Demetrios, speaking indeed, as he himself states, on behalf of the entire Orthodox Church, “whose Catholic expression and witness we serve in love from the Divine watchtower of the Œcumenical Throne,” regards the pan-heretical ecumenical movement as blessed by God, since he perceives dialogue between Christian Churches, and ecumenism in general, “as a God-pleasing movement inspired by the Holy Spirit for the union of all who have been Baptized in the Name of the Triune God and who accept in its totality the Catholic and saving truth of the undivided Church.”
In this period, therefore, in which “the œcumenical and worldwide ship of Orthodoxy is being tossed about in the midst of a tempest provoked by the heresy of ecumenism,” and in which “the most dangerous” profane hand (and dark power), i.e., the “so-called ecumenical movement of the W.C.C., that world hodgepodge of the heresies and heretics,” is endeavoring to divert the Holy Ark of the Orthodox Church from her redemptive mission, it is a great blessing for us to have before our eyes apposite and instructive texts, which are veritable tablets of the Holy Spirit.
Orthodoxy and Ecumenism An Orthodox Appraisal and Testimony
Saint Justin (Popović).
Most Reverend Fathers,
The Church of Christ has defined her stand towards heretics— and all non-Orthodox are heretics—once and for all through the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, namely, through the Holy Theanthropic Tradition, which is unique and immutable. In keeping with this stand, Orthodox are forbidden to engage in joint prayer or liturgical communion with heretics. For, “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (II Corinthians 6:14-15). The Forty-fifth Canon of the Holy Apostles decrees: “Let a Bishop, Presbyter, or Deacon, who has merely prayed with heretics be excommunicated; but if he has permitted them to perform any clerical function, let him be deposed.” This sacred Canon of the Holy Apostles does not specify precisely what kind of prayer or service is prohibited, but it does prohibit any common prayer with heretics, even in private (“has prayed with...”). In the case of ecumenical joint prayers, do things not occur that are both more explicit and on a broader scale than these? The Thirty-second Canon of the Synod of Laodicæa decrees: “It is unlawful to receive the blessings of heretics, for they are absurdities rather than blessings.” Now, does it not happen that heretics give blessings at ecumenical meetings and joint prayers: Roman Catholic bishops and priests, Protestant pastors, and even women? [!]
These and all of the other pertinent Canons of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers were not valid only in the ancient period, but continue to be completely valid today, as well, for all of us contemporary Orthodox Christians. They are unquestionably valid also for our stance towards Roman Catholics and Protestants. For, Roman Catholicism is a manifold heresy, and about Protestantism, what are we to say? It is better not to say anything. Already in his time, seven and half centuries ago, did St. Sava not call Roman Catholicism “the Latin heresy”? And how many new dogmas has the Pope not devised and “infallibly” proclaimed since then?! There is no room for doubt that, through the dogma of Papal infallibility, Roman Catholicism has become a pan-heresy. Even the much lauded Second Vatican Council did not change anything concerning this outrageous heresy, but, on the contrary, upheld it.
For this reason, if we are Orthodox and wish to remain Orthodox, then we, too, ought to maintain the attitude of St. Sava, St. Mark of Ephesus, St. Cosmas Aitolos, St. John of Kronstadt, and the other Holy Confessors, Martyrs, and New Martyrs of the Orthodox Church towards Roman Catholics and Protestants, absolutely none of whom believe correctly and in an Orthodox manner in the two basic dogmas of Christianity: in the Holy Trinity and in the Church.
Your Beatitude and Holy Fathers of the Synod:
How long will we slavishly degrade our Holy Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers and St. Sava through our pitifully and dreadfully anti-traditional stance towards ecumenism and the so-called Ecumenical [i.e., World] Council of Churches?
Any sincere Orthodox Christian reared under the guidance of the Holy Fathers is overcome by embarrassment when he reads that the Orthodox members of the Fifth Pan-Orthodox Consultation in Geneva (8-16 July 1968), with regard to the participation of Orthodox in the work of the “World Council of Churches,” decided, at that time, “to express the common recognition of the Orthodox Church that she is an organic member of the World Council of Churches” (see Glasnik S.D. Crkve [a periodical published by the Serbian Orthodox Church—Trans.] [Belgrade], No. 8 , p. 168). This decision is apocalyptically horrendous in its unorthodoxy and anti-Orthodoxy. Was it really necessary for the Orthodox Church, the all-immaculate Theanthropic Body and organism of the God-Man Christ, to be so monstrously humiliated that Her theological representatives, including even Hierarchs (among whom were also Serbs), should seek after “organic” participation and inclusion in the World Council of Churches, which thus becomes a new ecclesiastical “organism,” a “new Church” above the churches, of which the Orthodox Church and non-Orthodox churches are merely “members,” “organically” joined to each other? Alas, an unprecedented betrayal!
We reject thereby the Orthodox Theanthropic Faith, this organic bond with the Lord Jesus, the God-man, and His all-immaculate Body—the Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles, Fathers, and Œcumenical Synods—and wish to become “organic members” of a heretical, humanistic, man-made and man-worshipping assembly, which is composed of 263 heresies, each one of them spiritual death! As Orthodox, we are “members of Christ.” “Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid!” (I Corinthians 6:15). And this we do through our “organic” connection with the World Council of Churches, which is nothing other than a revival of the atheistic worship of man and idols. Most Reverend Fathers, our Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers and St. Sava, the Church of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, of the Holy Confessors, Martyrs, and New Martyrs, must now, at the eleventh hour, cease ecclesiastical, Hierarchical, and liturgical involvement with the so-called World Council of Churches and renounce for good any participation whatsoever in joint prayers and worship (for worship, in the Orthodox Church, is organically linked together in a totality and is consummated in the Divine Eucharist) and, in general, participation in any ecclesiastical endeavor [with the heterodox] which, as such, bears within itself and expresses the unique and incomparable character of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which is ever One and unique.
If the Orthodox Church, faithful as she is in every respect to the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, were to avoid ecclesiastical involvement with heretics, be they those of Geneva or those of Rome, she would not thereby be renouncing her Christian mission or her evangelical obligation: that she should humbly, but boldly, bear witness before the contemporary world, both non-Orthodox and non-Christian, to the Truth, to the All-Truth, to the living and true God-Man, and to the all-saving and all-transfiguring power of Orthodoxy. Guided by Christ, our Church, through the Patristic spirit and character of her theologians, will always be ready “to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us” (cf. I St. Peter 3:15). And our Hope, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, and unto all eternity, is single and unique: the God-Man Jesus Christ in His Theanthropic Body, the Church of the Holy Apostles and the Fathers.
Orthodox theologians should participate not in “ecumenical joint prayers,” but in theological dialogues in the Truth and about the Truth, as the Holy and God-bearing Fathers have done throughout the ages. The Truth of Orthodoxy and the right Faith is the “portion” only “of those who are being saved” (cf. the Seventh Canon of the Second Œcumenical Synod). Wholly-true is the proclamation of the Holy Apostle: “salvation through sanctification...and belief of the Truth” (II Thessalonians 2:13). Belief in the God-Man is “belief of the Truth.” The essence of this belief is the Truth, the only Whole-Truth, that is, the God-Man Christ. Love for the God-Man is “love of the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10). The essence of this love is the Whole-Truth, that is, the God-Man Christ. And this belief and this love are the heart and conscience of the Orthodox Church. All of these things have been preserved intact and undistorted only in martyric, Patristic Orthodoxy, to which Orthodox Christians are called to witness fearlessly before the West and its false faith and false love.
Commemoration of St. John Chrysostomos
13/26 November 1974
Holy Convent of Čelije
The unworthy Archimandrite Justin
commends himself to the holy Apostolic prayers of Your Beatitude
and the holy Fathers and Hierarchs of the Holy Synod
. ᾿Ορθόδοξος ῎Ενστασις και Μαρτυρία, Nos. 18-21 (January-December 1990), pp. 166-173.