Ecumenism Awareness: Modernism

A Conversation About Modernism, a helpful introduction to this issue, compiled from the writings of Fr. Alexander Lebedeff.

Orthodox Tradition and Modernism, a monograph by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos that introduces the concept of Orthodox Tradition and discusses the modern innovations of our day. He concludes with a short discussion of ecumenism, for which modernism is the "midwife." Note: this is copyrighted, as are all CTOS publications, and is not for redistribution or resale.

Unwavering Fidelity to the Holy Tradition: An Interview with Dr. Constantine Cavarnos on Photios Kontoglou. From the Summer 1999 issue of Divine Ascent.

Is This Orthodoxy?: Or Modernism, Subverting True Orthodoxy, and Unacceptable for the Orthodox Conscience?, by Father Michael Pomazansky.

Concerning Priests and Holy Tradition: Excerpts from Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit.

Some Remarks to a Priest Concerning Holy Tradition and Modernism, by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna.

The Second Sorrowful Epistle of Metropolitan Philaret.

Should the Church Keep in Step with the Times?, a classic article on modernism by Archbishop Averky of Blessed Memory.

Introduction to Humility, by Bishop [now Archbishop] Chrysostomos of Etna. This is included here because the cause of much innovation today is pride—a failure to humbly bow before the witness of Holy Tradition and be obedient to its spiritual guidance. See also this related excerpt from the book.

On the Keeping of Holy Tradition as "Legalism", by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna.

A Few Articles on Specific Modernistic Practices

Proper Clerical Dress: articles from Orthodox Life and Orthodox Tradition.

Uncut Hair and Beard of the Clergy: An Orthodox Tradition Q&A.

Modernistic Fasting Practices.

Kneeling on Sundays.


"If strict perseverance in Tradition does not entail the deadening of the Church, but on the contrary is absolutely necessary for the preservation and fruitfulness of the life of the Church, as much again the disregard for and even partial abandonment of Tradition entails the slackening of her life and her gradual decomposition."

—Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Orthodox Tradition and Modernism, p. 18.

"The followers of unenlightened custom are themselves innocent; they merely accept what has been 'handed down' to them. But not seeing the meaning and not knowing the sources of what has been handed down, they are easily led into error, accepting customs which the Church has allowed only out of her condescension or economy as if they were the best of Orthodoxy, and also improper customs of recent heterodox origin and inspiration, together with the pure and meaningful Orthodox customs handed down from the Holy Fathers. Under strict yet prudent pastors, such people can be guided in the true path of Orthodoxy; but in our own time of such widespread irresponsible Church leadership, these people are more often guided gradually into a path of ever greater and more senseless innovation and reform, the clearest example of which is perhaps the Greek Archdiocese of America, where pews, organs, and Uniat spirituality and theology have become the new 'customs' of an unfortunate people whose Orthodoxy has been stolen from it....

"Today the situation of Orthodoxy is rather different, and much worse, than it was in the time of the Elder Paisius. In place of the veneer of paganism and Latinism which never actually touched the heart of Orthodoxy, we have today a prevailing atmosphere of modernist heterodoxy and senseless "keeping up with the times" which has pierced the very heart of some Orthodox Churches so deeply that they will doubtless never recover, and their children are deprived of Orthodoxy without even knowing what they have lost."

—Father Seraphim Rose in his Introduction to Blessed Paisius Velichkovsky.

"The Sunday evening lecture on Victories of the Orthodox Church over Innovations and Heresies had a mixed reaction from the faithful. Many of the Greek Orthodox and Antiochean Orthodox who were in attendance thought this Homily (Lecture) was too long or too theological, and beyond their understanding. A deeper investigation revealed that those who complained about the Lecture truly did not agree with the message and were even offended that Dr. Cavarnos criticized some of the Orthodox hierarchy. Also, they had never heard of these Innovations and Heresies that they have grown to accept and love. No priest or Bishop had ever made them aware of these Innovations."

—Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Victories of Orthodoxy, p. 84. Final emphasis mine.