Rorate Caeli

The real dividing line of Christians

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, recently spoke under the auspices of Lambeth Palace's Nikæan Club, and his declarations included the following:
"All current versions of Christianity can be very conditionally divided into two major groups – traditional and liberal. The abyss that exists today divides not so much the Orthodox from the Catholics or the Catholics from the Protestants as it does the ‘traditionalists’ from the ‘liberals’. Some Christian leaders, for example, tell us that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer the only way of building a Christian family: there are other models and the Church should become appropriately ‘inclusive’ to recognize alternative behavioural standards and give them official blessing. Some try to persuade us that human life is no longer an absolute value; that it can be terminated in a mother’s womb or that one can terminate one’s life at will. Christian ‘traditionalists’ are being asked to reconsider their views under the slogan of keeping abreast with modernity." (Full text of the address.)


  1. Anonymous11:04 PM

    The differences among Catholics, Orthodox and Evangelical Protestants remain daunting, but are mere gullies compared to the yawning and widening chasm that separates all of us from the "liberalism" of the modern world. The Holy Father is right to insist that we look to our common interests, without disregarding doctrinal differences. The Liberal State won't pay much attention to those differences in its persecutions, after all.

  2. Anonymous12:38 AM

    In the same speech, Met. Hilarion clobbered the Anglican Church, right there in the presence of Rowan Williams himself. He also stated that the Russian Orthodox Church "must sever its relations with those churches and communities that trample on the principles of Christian ethics and traditional morals. Here we uphold a firm stand based on Holy Scriptures." In particular he cites the severing of ties between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Episcopal Church in the US and the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden. Although he doesn't mention it, the same thing nearly happened to the Evangelical Church in Germany when it (briefly) had a female leader.

    Full text of the speech in English:

  3. Here is the link to the entire address from the website of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is a devastating indictment of liberal religion in general and the Anglican Communion in particular.

    Many years to Met. +Hilarion!

    In ICXC

  4. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day!

  5. Fantastic speech!

  6. The Roman Catholic Faith is the necessary and divinely ordained dividing line. This is where the hermeneutic of continuity resides: not in pursuing illusory syncretic goals.

  7. Gideon Ertner12:49 PM

    What a fascinating address! The Archbishop doesn't mince his words at all: he pounds away at the Anglican Communion for giving in to the world and makes clear the consequences of the Anglican Communion continuing down its current path: The Orthodox will stop all dialogue and sever all official ties. This is not empty words: Patriarch Kirill has the guts to see it through, and most of his followers wouldn't mind anyway.

    This would be the ultimate embarrasment for the centrist establishment in the CoE for whom close relations with the Orthodox is the rubber stamp on the CoE's illusory claim to continuity with the primitive Church.

    The Holy Father ought to say the same thing at the "ecumenical evensong" later in the week, instead of continuing the pitiful spectacle of giving mouth-to-mouth to the corpse that is Anglican-Orthodox dialogue.

  8. Many years to Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion. If I may be very politically incorrect, it seems that the Orthodox leaders are speaking like men, while so many of our own are speaking like women.

  9. Gideon Ertner7:09 PM

    "Anglican-Catholic dialogue", obviously.

    And yes, our leaders are speaking, if not like women, then like whimps. Russians are no whimps. They drink their own weight in vodka for breakfast, travel across thousands of miles of frozen tundra and endure temperature swings between -50 and +40 degrees Celsius. In their view, pussy Westerners are just wasting their time.

  10. I've been following Metropolitan Hilarion's work in the Russian Orthodox Church for a while now, and I have to say, that his ballsy and straightforward, but respectful and thoroughly (lower-case "o") orthodox, approach to inter-Christian dialogue is extremely refreshing.

    I have no doubt that he'll become one of the most prominent and important figures in all of Orthodox Christianity in the next few decades (he's still pretty young), and during that time we'll see great leaps and bounds in bringing the Orthodox Churches into greater unity with the Catholic Church.

    He's clearly prepared to realize the fullest possible unity... it's a question of whether there are any bishops and theologians on our side of the aisle who are willing to embrace his approach and ditch this namby-pamby "dialogue" that goes nowhere and injures the Church.

  11. Johannes1:17 AM

    Our Eastern brothers are happy indeed to have such straight, forward, unflinching, men to deliver their (and what should be "our") terms to the Anglicans. I was very pleased to see him sharp on the women-priests. Lately I was approached by one at the presbytery concerning a dinner party for their local "bishop". I did not know what to do; between conscience and polity - I felt immensely weak.

    "We have studied the preparatory documents for the decision on female episcopate. . .The same document argued that despite a possible cooling down in relations with Catholics and Orthodox, the Church of England would strengthen and broaden its relations with the Methodist Church and the Lutheran Churches in Norway and Sweden."

    Considering well that Protestants altogether are a minority - it looks quite rather imprudent to appease a portion of them at the expense of relations with the two halves of the apostolic religion, us (the majority of any religious body period) and our separated brethren in the East. And how unspeakably grotesque it is that they decide upon (against) apostolic continuity in terms like "numbers" and "broadening relations", as against such words as "fidelity" and "reverence" and most important of all - Christian.

  12. Anonymous2:35 AM

    But the Pope is on the liberal side as long as he endorses Vatican Council II. What is liberal for Catholics is not the same as what is liberal for Orthodox. The Orthodox Church liberalizing movements was imposed from without. Catholic liberalism arose from within inspired by the doctrines enshrined in revolutionary republicanism. Pope Benedict XVI endorses those republican ideals as he he has said numerous times. He believes the Church should endorse them as well, despite the fact that neither Scripture nor tradition has ever endorsed anything but the KINGDOM OF GOD. Will the Second Coming appear as a republic with angelic parliaments? Is this the regime of heaven? Think about it! If Christ enters the soul does he reside there as KIng or President, whom the soul throws out as soon as Christ fails to follow its policies. There can be no true spirituality unless it is recognized that Christ reigns as KIng. Ideally this is reflected throughout the society. Compromise with republicanism is liberalism and nothing else. From that comes the deviant sexual morality, abortion, etc.

  13. sjgmore:

    I admire some of Met. Hilarion's statements, but I don't see where you derive your optimism from. Met. Hilarion has repeatedly made statements accusing the Catholic Church of doctrinal innovations and, only last July, declared on Ukrainian television that Catholics and Protestants must give up their "innovations" and "heresies" in order to return to unity with the "united, undivided" Orthodox Church.

    Moreover, what is not often realized in the West is that Met. Hilarion himself is already considered as one of the Russian Church's most liberal bishops (alongside Met. Filaret of Minsk), and his (relatively) pro-Catholic sentiments have earned him much condemnation from within the Russian Church. Other -- more senior -- Russian prelates have even harsher views of Anglicans (and Catholics) than Hilarion, and their views are probably more representative of what the Orthodox hierarchy really thinks.

  14. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I wish the Pope was as strong and forceful, and spoke the truth regarding these Protestants, just as this brave Orthodox Archbishop did.

    It is time for the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church to sever all ecumenical aspirations and ties with the Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and all other Protestant groups ( they are not churches).

  15. Anonymous11:27 AM

    I will do my best (I do some work part time for my Archdiocese), to expose the evils of ecumenism with Protestants, in the hopeof enlightening at least some faithful Catholics.

    Interestingly, it is the young, devout Catholics who have no interest whatsoever of ecumenical relations with much the same style and attitude as all Catholics held 50-60 years ago and for hundreds of years before that.

  16. Carlos,
    Good points and well worth noting. I support the efforts at a strategic alliance with Rome. But outside of the Phanar there is little enthusiasm for going much beyond that.

    In ICXC

  17. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Mr. Palad,
    Sounds to me that the Met. was referring to the NO mess when he spoke of innovations.

  18. Oleksander Stefanovich6:42 PM

    "Interestingly, it is the young, devout Catholics who have no interest whatsoever of ecumenical relations with Protestants"

    I'm 22 - I'm somewhat liberal by this site's standards (as in I like Vatican II and the new mass) - and I have absolutely no interest at all in ecumenism with any denomination protestant, eastern orthodox, whatever. There will never be any corporate reunion on an institution level with any of them, (save the disenfranchised anglo-papalists in England) so we must focus on conversion on individual level - as if it can happen any other way *rolls eyes in disgust*


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