The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1920
A Collection of Short Critiques
At the outset, we had occasion to observe that it should not be considered fortuitous
or a mere coincidence how and why this Patriarchal
Encyclical of four pages and roughly seven hundred words not only makes no reference
whatsoever to the Orthodox Church, as it should have done throughout the text, but
completely fails to mention the word "Orthodoxy," even in a general way, using,
rather, a phrase suited to ecumenist expediency: "the Christian Churches"! This
fact is made evident if we turn to the open testimony of the same Encyclical (which, it
should be noted, deliberately avoids showing that such reference is proper to an Orthodox
understanding and purpose), by the admission of which the meaning and definition of the
"uniqueness" of the Orthodox phronema constitute the
"pretensions" "of ancient superstitions and habits," which create
"difficulties so great as formerly to thwart the work of unification"!
As it should be known, this "Encyclical," addressed to the "Churches of
Christ everywhere," intends and recognizes as such the entire "mish-mash"
of the heterodox and heretics! Consequently, it believes, confesses, and proclaims that
"rapprochement and communion" with them "is not excluded by the dogmatic
differences existing between them"! Likewise, it considers and acknowledges these
"Churches" as "sisters and worthy of reverence," and for this reason
"fellow-heirs and of the same body [sharing in] the promise of God in Christ"
(cf. Ephesians 3:6)! In other words, there is a full recognition, admission, and
acceptance by the authentic representatives of Orthodoxy, and this in a fully official
manner, that the heterodox and heretics possess: Priesthood, Mysteries, and Apostolic
Succession! For this reason, moreover, joint prayer, joint commemoration, joint observance
of Feast Days, joint blessings, and liturgical concelebration are allowed to be conducted
"The acceptance of a unified calendar for the simultaneous celebration of the
great Christian feasts by all the Churches" is considered by the Encyclical to be
indispensable for the goal of this union ecumenistically intended and pursued. About this
matter, although it may be reckoned superfluous to write so, it easily follows that, for
the sake of pushing forward this imagined union, those who accepted the "Calendar
Reform" of the Churches thought it wholly advantageous and preferable to create a
"Schism" among the Pleroma of the Orthodox Church (which schism is
preserved and continued unconsciously and irreparably even today among those who created
this New Calendarist Ecumenism), seeing that "difficulties" and the
"thwarting" of the ecumenist goals and plans would thereby be avoided!
So where, on this issue, is "the good shepherd," who "giveth his life
for the sheep" and not for "the other sheep" which "are not of this
fold" (See St. John 10:11, 16)? Indeed, those who created the "Schism" in
question should take note that "not even through a martyr's blood is it [their
betrayal] forgiven." He who "follows a schismatic shall not inherit the Kingdom
of Heaven" (St. Ignatios, Epistle to the Philadelphians 3:3)!
On the basis of the evidence set forth above, it can be easily inferred that the
Patriarchal "Encyclical" of 1920 not only completely fails to echo the
"true voice of the Church," but, on the contrary, intentionally overlooks its
own Orthodox "foundation." Judged from an Orthodox canonical standpoint, it
deserves the greatest condemnation, insofar as this "fall in the faith" on the
part of the presiding leaders of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, from whom this document
derives, reaches back to such a degree of "apostasy" that it was put forth by
"public" proclamation and by an undisguised, unfeigned unanimous written
decision by them!
The most serious form of apostasy provoked by the "Proclamation" rests on the
fact that it denies the pan-orthodox "super-dogma," as it were, by virtue of
which our Holy Mother Church, "according to the unified mind (and confession) of the
Fathers and the Synods," is considered, as we said before, "One" and
unique, just as Christ, Her Head, Who cannot have many bodies and-whose
"substance" is the "unity of faith,') is also one and unique.
Likewise, according to the saying of the Lord, the ever-living "Vine" (St.
John 15:5), that is, the Church, is never divided, but only the unfruitful branches fall
from it and become parched, that is, those who are cut off from Her, the heterodox
heretics whom the Ecumenical Patriarchate, "fallen in faith," as well as all the
"Orthodox" members of the World Council of Churches, in no way acknowledge and
treat as heretics!
Hence, because of this most fundamental "canonical rationale," the whole
"ecclesiastical leadership" of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which published the
above "Proclamation," is judged from an Orthodox point of view "to have
fallen in faith," going in this way on trial before the Synods, according to
ecclesiastical law. This is so, not only on account of the anti-Orthodox phrases and
positions of the "Proclamation" as indicated above, which are directly opposed
to the "Mind of the Church," but also on account of the anti-Orthodox direction
and the anti-ecclesiastical policy and course of the leadership, which policy and course
are based on these phrases and positions and which are clearly put forth
"publicly," as we said before, "in theory," "in practice,"
and "in actuality," in the furtherance of the leadership's ecumenist goals and
aims! Finally, consistent with this heretical proclamation, all of the local Orthodox
Churches and Patriarchates (which until now have received the "Proclamation" in
question without reservation and protest), as well as every conscientious and faithful
Christian, in order to preserve and guard their Orthodox being, must reckon it their
sacred obligation and indispensable duty to disavow this "Proclamation"
in both practice and actuality, that is, by thus "walling themselves off," as
the Canons dictate, from the presiding ecclesiastical authority of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, which is "on trial;" in particular, this holds for the Athonite
ecclesiastical Pleroma, which is directly subject to the Patriarchate, since no
"ecclesiastical communion" and "commemoration" with it must be
permitted, for the reason that if this commemoration and communion are continued, they
will bring this pleroma into "destruction by heresy."
/ Appeal: To the Abbots and Superiors of the Twenty Sacred Monasteries of the
Holy Mountain of Athos, by Hieromonk Maximos and Monk Basil (Etna, CA:
Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies,
1993), Ch IV.
+ + +
From the West, Ecumenism passed over to the East. This officially happened in the year
1920. In January of 1910, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople issued an Encyclical
on the subject, signed by twelve Metropolitans: 1) Dorotheos of Prusa, Locum Tenens
of the Patriarchal Throne; 2) Nicholas of Caesarea; 3) Constantine of Cyzicus; 4) Germanos
of Amaseia; 5) Gerasimos of Pisidia; 6) Gervasios of Ankyra; 7) Joachim of Ainos; 8)
Anthimos of Bizya; 9) Evgenios of Selyvria; 10) Agathangelos of Seranta Ekklesiai; 12)
Chrysostomos of Tyroloa and Serentios; and 13) Eirenaios of the Dardanelles and Lampsakos.
Encyclical of 1920 is marked by a great contradiction. Before the text of the letter,
we find the God-inspired words of the Apostle Peter: "Love one another with a pure
heart fervently" (I Peter 1:22). "With a pure heart" means with a
right-believing and circumspect outlook. However, the text that follows is redolent of
heresy and a passionate adherence to the panheresy of Ecumenism. For not only are the
local Orthodox Churches called Churches, but heresies are called such as well. The
heresies, it impiously claims, should not be thought foreign or alien to Orthodoxy, but
kinsmen and family in Christ, coinheritors of the promises of God and of one body in
Christ; that is, it claims that man is not saved exclusively by the Church, but also by
the heresies! This great heresy does away with the Orthodox Faith and salvation in Christ,
since God says through the Apostle Peter that the heretical "churches" are
"damnable [literally, 'destructive'Tr.] heresies" (II Peter 2:1).
The Encyclical also supports another great heresy. It states that dogmatic differences,
that is, differences in belief between the Orthodox Church and the heresies, do not
prevent the communion of Orthodox with heretics. Hence, it repeals the belief and the
confession of the Faith of the Holy Fathers. At the same time, it reproves the Saints for
their steadfastness in the Orthodox Faith to the point of Martyrdom. It irreverently
condemns them for following supposedly antiquated superstitions and habits, that is,
customs and claims that thwart the ostensible work for union. When the Ecumenists say
"union," they do not mean the union of the Church, but the evil union of their
Ecumenical heresies. They do not seek the unity of God, but the soul-destroying union of
the Enemy, namely, the Devil. Therefore, they are enraged by the Saints, who struggle
against the unity of Ecumenism, which is ruinous to the soul,
and uphold the saving unity of faith in Christ. The Apostle Paul writes that the Christian
must strive for the "unity of the Faith" (Ephesians 4:13). Saint Gregory of
Nyssa thus says that we will be united to Christ, with the Church, and to the People of
God when we cut ourselves off from heresy. And so it is that the Divine Word cries out:
"Come out from among them," from the midst of heretics, "and be ye
separate," that is, cut off from them. "For what communion hath light with
darkness," and "what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (II
Corinthians 6:1417). (The Fathers, incidentally, also call heretics
The Encyclical of 1920 is anti-ecclesiastical. It denies Orthodoxy, violates correct
belief, and insults the Holy Fathers. It supports heresies and calls the Orthodox to unite
with hereticsin short, so that they can become heretics, too!
Yet other contradictions mark the 1910 Encyclical of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
It preaches love as it abolishes love.
"We believe," the Encyclical states, "that it is essential to rekindle
and to encourage, above all, love between the Churches," that is, between the
heretics and the local Orthodox Churches. Love for heresies, however, means the love of
falsehood, since the heresies are falsehood and darkness. The Encyclical does not preach
the "love of the truth" which is taught in the Holy Gospel (II Thessalonians
2:10), but the love of falsehood and darkness. Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ says also
of the Ecumenists that "men loved darkness rather than light" (St. John 3:19).
What is the greatest manifestation of true love? The salvation of man in Christ. God
became man in order to save mankind from the eternal death of falsehood and sin. Our Lord
Jesus Christ, after the Resurrection, said to His Disciples: "Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Spirit, teaching to them observe all things whatsoever I have commanded" (St.
Matthew 28:1920). Not only the Holy Apostles, but their disciples, that is, the
Orthodox, consider proselytism the most essential work of love in Christ: indeed, the
return of heretics and the other deluded people of this world to the truth of right belief
and the Grace of Orthodoxy. Yet, the Encyclical of 1920 abolishes missionary work.
The Encyclical condemns missionary work as "provoking aversion and the bitterness
of opposition and recommends its abolition as the "first" step and a
"necessary and appropriate" move towards Ecumenism. From this it is obvious that
the examination of "dogmatic differences" between heresies and Orthodoxy must be
done with indifference, indeed, confession and true belief aside; that is, not with the
intention of combatting heresy, which is destructive to the soul, or out of commitment to
the salvific Faith of Orthodoxy, but simply by virtue of historical knowledge, as do
unbelievers. For this reason, those Orthodox who fall to Ecumenical delusion do not carry
out missions. Moreover, they will not receive heretics wishing to return to Orthodoxy, but
turn them away. They are told that, as heretics, they are members of the One Church.
Indeed, one such clergyman outside Greece recently complained that, though in eight full
years he had not Baptized a single heretic returning to Orthodoxy, the Ecumenists in the
Phanar had not promoted him! Could there be a more hardhearted act of hatred than this
act of denying salvation to other souls?
The wretched Ecumenists push aside the Orthodox Faith. They strike down the confession
of Christ. They abolish the love of truth. They abolish saving missions. They deny the
Grace of Baptism to those of other faiths. They discourage repentance and the Christian
work of salvation of the Orthodox Church. Like their counterparts, the Christ-reviling
Jews, they "shut up the kingdom of heaven against men." And neither do they
enter in, nor "them that are entering" do they let "go in," says the
Lord (St. Matthew 13:1314).
The Ecumenical Encyclical of the Oecumenical Patriarch in 1920 contains wrong teachings
which abrogate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Encyclical asserts that "contact" between Orthodox and the heretics is
"innocuous." With this wrong teaching it cancels out the words of our Savior in
this regard. For Christ declares something wholly contrary here. "Beware," He
said, "of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they
are ravening wolves" (St. Matthew 7:15). God says that the heretics are
"ravening wolves." The Ecumenists say the opposite. They write that the heretics
are their coworkers and their brothers! The Lord declares that we should
"beware" of the heretical "false prophets." The Ecumenists prescribe
"innocuous contact"; namely, the Ecumenists abolish the Gospel and teach what is
against the Gospel.
The Encyclical contends that this "innocuous contact" of the Orthodox with
heretics, in opposition to the Gospel, is indeed "useful" and
"beneficial" for the Church. However, the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ,
contradicts this lie of the Ecumenists, saying: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil
fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (St. Matthew 7:18). It is
the Orthodox Church which is the good tree, which was cast on the earth like a grain of
mustard seed and became "a great tree" (St. Luke 13:I9). The Church cannot
produce "evil fruit," which is the transgression of the of Divine law. Heresy is
a rotten tree: the very panheresy of Ecumenism, which is likened by its wretched henchmen
to a tree and its branches. It is impossible for heresy, then, to produce "good
fruit," as those who believe in it, in the spirit of Antichrist, claim. Thus
"contact" with heresy is not "useful" or "beneficial" or,
indeed, "innocuous." On the contrary, this evil is useless and destructive, such
as are evil fruit and the "rotten" tree. Rather, "every tree that bringeth
not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire," God says (St. Matthew
7:19). Heresies are cut away from the Church and totally destroyed. For this reason the
Holy Fathers, through the Divine word of Orthodoxy, combatted all of the heresies. And
through the Holy Ecumenical Synods, they cut away and anathematized "every
heresy," as it is written in the First Canon of the Second Ecumenical Synod.
It is clear, then, that the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1920 is an impious Encyclical. It
is not Orthodox, but heretical. It does not serve Orthodoxy, but the heresies. It does not
follow the Holy Fathers, but the heretics. It does not hold firm to the law of God, but to
that which is opposed to the law. It does not induce belief in our Lord Jesus Christ, but
has the spirit of Antichrist. With the Ecumenical Encyclical of 1920, the Orthodox who
promulgated and accepted it took a great fall. They fell to the panheresy of Ecumenism.
From The Panheresy of Ecumenism, by
Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili (Etna, CA: The
Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1995), 14-19.