OUTLINES OF THE TEACHING ABOUT THE CHURCH
Address given at the Orthodox & Anglo-Catholic Conference
by Father S. Boulgakoff
The Church and «non-orthodoxy»
The Church represents life full of grace in the Holy Spirit, and life abounding in grace is salvation. For this reason there cannot be and there must not be any differentiation or comparison between the Church and salvation: outside the Church there is no salvation because life within the Church is the salvation. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus. This is a self-evident truth which exhudes from the very substance of the Church. And, in the same way as there is only one and only Holy Spirit, there is only one kind of life full of grace and similarly there is only one Church, for the which reason it is, of course, misapprehension to speak of a division or union of «churches». The one and only Church cannot divide or unite, because outside herself she knows nothing. And Our Lord Himself always speaks of the creation of the Church ......... (Mth. XVI: 8). The unity of the Church is obvious from the whole teaching about her as the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, of the new life in grace, and such a conception is most clearly expressed in the tradition of the Church (St. Ignatius the God-bearer, St. Irinius, St. Cyprian, St. Augustine. St. Theodorite, Jeronimus and others)1.
As far as the Church is contratsed with the non-Church, the strange world of the Gentiles (heathen world), in a general sense «the world», - the question presents no difficulties - the boundaries are definitely marked out, there is no communion between Christ and Balial. However, already in heathenism, one must learn to differentiate between those who have abandoned themselves to unrighteousness (Rom. 1: 22-32) and those who worked good (Rom. II: 10). Compare with Acts Ap. X: 34, 35. The Church bears witness to this distinction, when she paints the images of the ancient righteous men in the porches of temples she indicates, that they were, according to the word of St.
1. Compare Macarius, «Orthodox Theology» II: 208-11.
Justine the Philosopher and St. Clement of Alexandria, «Christians before Christ». In general the fate of the entire non-Christian world remains an unrevealed mystery, which is only disclosed to some slight extent in the teaching of the Church concerning Christ's preaching in hell (1 Peter 3: 19-20). A much more difficult and involved problem is the question of the unity of the Church when this is transferred within Christianity itself. It appears to be a well-established fact, that apparently there never existed a time in the life of the Church without some sort of internal discord leading to the formation of heresies and schisms, beginning from the times of the Apostles (Simon the Magician, the Nicolaites). The Church renounced them and cast them out as (......) - an heathen man and a publican (Matt. 18: 17). But though this «as an heathen man» stands for practical relations with those who persisted in their errors, it does not identify such people with heathens from whom they, at any rate, differ in a positive sense, as those who have been enlightened by the light of Christ, and in a negative sense, as those who have fallen away from a unity of faith - this - one cannot, of course, say in relation to heathens.
False teachings in the Church, heresies and divisions are different from direct denial of Christ or from a struggle with God - in as much as these teachings are fed by zeal in seeking Church truth, but inevitably in an unnoticeable way falsehood, self-imposing and self-assertion are admixed to this zeal. There exists in Christianity a lawful, healthy, unavoidable amount of individual thought, of which speaks the Apostle: «for there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you» (1 Cor. 11: 19). This is a manifestation of Christian freedom of the sons of God, because Christians are not servants but sons (Gal. 4: 6-7). And throughout all periods in the history of the Church there existed such divisions, theological schools, divergence of opinions, which finally proved beneficial to the life of the Church, and their suppression by authority - in bygone days as well as now - would lead to unchristian bondage. Here, as always, the commandment of Christian freedom warningly calls on us, as uttered by the Apostle of the Gentiles: «Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage... for brethren, ye have been called unto liberty» (Gal. 5: 1-13). And only after a direct condemnation by competent Church authority heretics fall away from the unity of the Church between them and the Church division takes place - ............ - and then faithfulness towards our Church compells us to keep within certain boundaries and not to reconcile ourselves with
those, who, in whatever sense it may be, are cast out of the unity of the Church and are enemies of the Church. Love is likewise zeal, and it is no love if it is not fervent. For this reason dogmatic disputes have always deeply shaken the life of the Church.
In such a sense one must likewise interpret numerous canonical decrees dealing with heretics, which have kept their strength of canon-law up to our days. Hot everybody has studied these canons and is in a position to realise the degree of real Church zealousness which they exhibit. The general aim of these Church decrees is the safe-guarding of the Church flock from heretics and dissenters. Already the so-called Apostolic Rules lay down general foundations for relations with those who fell off from the fellowship of the Church. Rule 10: «if anyone prays with him who has been excommunicated by the Church, though it were in his house (that, is - not only in Church) - such a one shall also be excommunicated». Rule 11: «If one belonging to the clergy prays with another who has been cast out of the clergy: let him be cast out himself». Rule 45: «A Bishop, or priest, or deacon, who has but prayed with the heretics must be excommunicated. Anyone who allows them to administer in any way as servants of the altar - let him also be cast out». Rule 6 of the Laodecean Council: «do not allow heretics who insiston their heresies, to enter the temple of God». Rule 33: «it becomes one not to pray with a heretic or a dissenter» Rule 9 of Timothy: Bishop of Alexandria: Question: «Can an ordained man pray in the presence of Arians or other heretics, or will there be no harm for him, if he prays or administers in their presence? Answer: In the course of the Divine Liturgy the deacon, before the time of the kiss of peace, exclaims: those who are not received in fellowship, go hence! Therefore, all such should not be present, unless they promise to repent and to forsake their heresy». 72nd Rule of the VI Oecumenical Council also forbids mixed marriages with heretics: «it is not seemly for an Orthodox man to be united with a woman heretic in marriage, nor likewise for an Orthodox woman to be joined with a husband heretic. And if such will have taken place consider the marriage not valid and dissolve this unlawful cohabitation. Because one must not mix the unmixable, or pair a wolf with a sheep, or a part of Christ with the lot of sinners. And if anyone will break this our regulation let him be excommunicated» (Compare with: 13th Rule of IV Oecumenical Council 10th Rule of Laodecean Council and 2nd Rule of the Council of Carthage).
And so the Church forbids fellowship in prayer between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox, and does not leave any
outside these divisions. If, however, V. Solovieff simply fell away from Orthodoxy and embraced Roman Catholicism, as it is interpreted and understood by Catholics, then his example loses, of course its poignancy of principle and becomes ordinary.
And thus the Church altogether forbids church fellowship with heretics. The practice of Church life, however, brought forward other and more concrete questions dealing with heretical baptism and heretical hierarchy. Ought one to accept the baptism of heretics ought one to consider them as non-Christians and unite them to the Church by another baptism? Ought one to recognise heretical priesthood or ought one to consider the bishops and priests as ordinary laymen? To these questions, in dealing with different kinds of heretics, the Church replied differently. Even in dealing with the same kind of heresy different answers were given at different times and in different places. Owing to this one can say that the fact of belonging to a certain heretical teaching or schism in itself did not provide an exhaustive solution of the question. To this general distinctive feature further details had to be added, on the strength of which the different degrees of estrangement from the Church were determined.
Let us confirm the above with examples:
The general principle against the receiving of heretical Baptism and Eucharist is expressed in the 46th Rule of the Apostles: we rule that a bishop or priest, who has received Baptism or sacrifices from heretics, be rejected. For what concord is there between Christ and Balial, or what part has a faithful with an infidel? (2 Cor. 6: 15). The 47th Rule is similar: every bishop or priest who will baptise again one who has previously been baptised, or who will not baptise one who has been defiled by heretics - let such a one be cast out as one who mocks the Cross of Our Lord and cannot distinguish between the true and the false priesthood. (In Rule 49 & 50 the conditions for a true Baptism are set forth:- i.e. - Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, by three immersions - therefore, every Baptism which does not confirm to these conditions is not effective). The same is likewise confirmed by Rule 68 (which concludes): «Those who have been baptised by or have had hands laid on them by heretics cannot belong to the faithful or to the priesthood of the Church».
It is well known that the question of the validity of heretical baptism served as a point of discord between the East and the West, and the Roman Church demonstrated greater leniency by recognising such baptism, whereas the African Church and the Church in Asia Minor held an opposite view.
This discord, was intensified in connection with the question of the christening of the Donatists; and the more moderate point of view was recognised by the Council of Carthage, which later on was confirmed by the 7th Rule of the II Oecumenical Council (compare also with 7th and 8th rules of the Laodecean Council & 95th rule of the Trulle Council). As a result of this two groups of heretics were distinguished - the first - (Arians, Macedonians, Savatians and Havatians, calling themselves the better and the purer, Tetradites and Apollynarians) were accepted after Chrysmation; while the second - (Eumonians, Montanists and Savallians) were received in the same way as heathens (gentiles). One ought to note here, that a group of heretics the baptism of whom is recognised in these rules, belonged to some of the greatest heresies, which were anathematized by the 1st Rule of the same II Oecumenical Council: «let every heresy bg anathematised: viz.- the heresies of Evnomians, Anomees, Arians or Eudoxians, half-Arians, or Spirit-Fighters, Savallians, Markelians, Fotinians and Apollynairians». In other words - heresies which have been anathematised in the same way are not looked upon in the same way when dealing with their baptism. Let us take one special case: in dealing with Navatians the 8th Rule of I Oecumenical Council lays down that clergy and bishops of that sect on returning to Orthodoxy, after the renouncal of their former opinions, after the laying-on of hands can be received in the existing order - therefore in this case the validity of heretical priesthood is recognised. (In a similar way the 68th Rule of the Council of Carthage speaks of the Paulians - compare Rule 19 of Oecumenical Council). While at the same time St. Basil Great in the 47th Canonical Rule witnesses that: «We re-christen such. And though you have not this custom and are similar to the Romans in this respect, because you think it best - nevertheless let our decision be enforced». Compare also Rule I: «in dealing with the question of Cathars - you must follow the custom of each land, because different opinions have been expressed as regards to the validity of their baptism at the time when this was considered». While again the 2nd Rule of VI Oecumenical Council (of Troulle) confirms all the canonical rules, confirming among other things the strict practice of re-christening for the African Churches, but only for them, owing to the fact that in other localities quite different canons were adhered to, those, which have already been referred to: «as a rule given by Cyprian, Archbishop of the African Country and Martyr with his council, which rule was applied in his country and in it only, as a custom». It is remarkable that in this last African case a local rule, published in 256 by the African Church at the time of Cyprian dealing with the re-christening of all heretics and schismatics on their return to the Church, holds force, although it actually contradicts the 7th Rule of II Oecumenical Council.
In a similar way the 47th Canonical Rule of Basil Great differs in the above-mentioned case in a direction of greater strictness, when compared with the 8th Rule of I Oecumenical Council, dealing with «pure» Cathars (Novatians) and from the 7th Rule of II Oecumenical Council dealing with a group of other heresies. Details are not of interest to us here - it is only important for us to establish that the practice of the Church, at different times and in different localities, often underwent change and was not uniform, by all means. There are foundations, which serve as a basis for the christening of heretics, but these foundations were not laid down as strict legal forms, not as dura lex, but as general principles, as a guiding principle1.
All together, in accordance with the 95th Rule of the Troulle Council, there exist in the Church three «orders» for reunion with Orthodoxy: - through baptism, chrismation (Protestants) and a renouncing of false teachings (Roman Catholics and some others). The same differences retain their strength for priesthood - those who join Orthodoxy from a confession, which has preserved its Apostolic succession (Roman Catholics, Hestorians & others) are received in the existing order2 while others - Protestant sects - are received as laymen. Thus the practice of the Church in dealing with non-orthodox differed, and this difference depends on the extent of the falling away or estrangement of the particular confession from the Church. Therefore there can be different degrees of falling away from the Church.
1. As an example of the flexibility of Church practice, as regards to the application of canons, we read the following place from the Epistle of Theodore the Studite: «Question II: of those, who wish to be baptised, when there is no Orthodox priest or no priest without reproach (not heretic): can they receive baptism from a priest in communion with heretics, or from those whose attitude is not definitely known, if they are threatened with death (especially if there is a possibility of their dying without baptism)? Answer: the following rule in relation to this has been set forth by confessors, priests and hierarchs for guidance: priests, who have been forbidden to celebrate for communion with heretics, when a priest, who has not been in such communion cannot be found, - are allowed to baptise and administer the Holy Sacrament, which has been previously consecrated by an unguilty priest. Similarly they are allowed to confer the order of monkhood, to recite prayers at burial, read the Gospel at Compline and bless the water of baptism.
2. Bishop Nicodimus Milash considers that in dealing with R.C. clergy the Orthodox Church is guided by I Rule of the Constantinople Council of 879. Bishop Nicodimus: «The Rules of the Orthodox Church with commentaries». Russ. trans. vol.I, p.147. St.Pb.1911
In the first canonical rule of St. Basil Great this difference is outlined in the following manner: «The ancients called some things heresies and some schisms and others still self-government rabble. Those who completely broke off and were estranged in their very faith were called heretics. Those who expressed a difference in opinion on some points as regards the Church and who could be cured were called schismatics or dissenters. Whereas a self-governing rabble were assemblies made up of disobedient priests and bishops and ignorant crowds». The holy father further quotes as an example a whole group of heresies, which differ as regards their very faith in God, and which really stand outside Christianity - such as Manicheism, Valentinism, Montanism. Such a distinction, however, barely outlines the general idea, but, if applied in practice is found to be precarious and incomplete, inexact. The 6 Rule of II Oecumenical Council, for example, simply blends together all heretics and dissenters under one general name of «heresy»1, and it is quite true that a self-asserting schism already contains in its very substance heresy. As Chrysostome put it «to tear the Church in pieces is no less an evil than to fall into heresy». As for the attitude of the Church to the same false doctrine, we have seen, that it often changed owing to all sorts of general considerations. And in practice of the Church even Arianism and Macedonianism which had been anathematised before were looked upon as schisms when, as far as we can judge, Arian baptism came to be recognised. The same kind of differentiation can also be seen in the more modern times, in the practice adopted by the Orthodox Church as regards Roman Catholicism. (We are here speaking of general, fundamental principles, and not dealing with the question of whether the subject was dealt with correctly or incorrectly in each individual case). The Greek Church reunites Roman Catholics through Baptism, and therefore considers them as heretics, similar to Manicheists, Gnostics, or Montanists, whereas the Russian Orthodox Church receives them after a simple renouncal on their part of their false teaching, and with an acceptance of their priesthood in the existing order - in other words treats them as dissenters. This difference can be paralleled to the different way of treating Donatists and Novations, which existed in the practice of different local churches, and which can be accounted for by peculiarities of local conditions.
1. Compare with Rule 6 of II Oecum. Council «we call by name of heretics both those, who have for a long time remained strangers to the Church, as those who have since then been anathematized by us; likewise also those who, though they try to make out that they confess our faith rightly, have separated themselves off and have held councils against our properly appointed bishops».
All these different shades in the relationships of the Church towards Christianity outside the Church (if one may use such an expression) are of extreme importance, because they give an idea of the general outlook of the Church, and from the start do away with any kind of simplified schemes.
In our eyes such a schematised conception is expressed by an attempt, very tempting, owing to its almost geometrical simplicity, in accordance with which everything standing outside any direct communion with the one and only Church, is looked upon as totally estranged from the Church life, devoid of the grace of God, having no priesthood and no sacraments, where priests and all ordained persons are considered as ordinary laymen. If such a point of view were successively developed it would lead to the conclusion that there exists no difference between non-Christian religions and Christianity outside the Church, between those who are baptised and those who are not. But such a point of view is quite obviously contrary to the practice of the Church and canonical regulations, which have at all times noted the degree of estrangement from the Church. And the very fact of the existence of such a difference brings down this canonical geometry. The Church recognises the difference between Christianity and non-Christianity, and in some sort of sense, considers as her own everything which is included in the boundary of baptism, even in the cases when the given denomination is torn from her. The actual terms - schism and heresy are only possible in the Church, they are Church qualifications and can only be used in relation to the Church - nobody calls Mahomedanism or Buddhism by the name of schism or heresy. Therefore, there exists a certain external zone of the Church, extending beyond her enclosure, there exists a Church connection which does not coincide with the unity of Church organisation: the body of the Church does not completely coincide with its external outline but also has its periphery, the visible Church includes also the invisible Church, extending not only beyond this world but into this world, and with this hidden, potential Church the true Church is always connected in some way or other. We come to the conclusion that there exists an «ecclesia extra ecclesiam» or rather «extra Muros». One must realise dogmatically this undeniable canonical fact. But to do this, one must, first of all, become free from formalistic juridism, which is so uncustomary for Orthodoxy. One must not transform canons, which express the guiding principles of the Church, into legal boundaries, requiring a purely formal understanding and carrying out1.
1. In the opinion of Professor Berdnikoff, who refers to the 2nd Rule of the Troulle Council in the interpretation of Bishop John of Smolensk: «one must not interpret the binding power of the canons in a sense of absolute unchangeableness and non-cancelling of the rules of the ancient oecumenical Church for future times. This character of unchangeableness is only retained for those definitions of the Councils, which deal with dogmas of the faith». (The Orthodox Theology Encyclopedia vol. 8 Professor J. Berdnikoff. The Practical significance of the canons of the oecumenical Church, page 383).
While every lawyer knows that the application of even a very perfect law always requires a creative interpretation of this law. This is even more so when applied to normas, which have arisen more than 1000 years ago in circumstances very different from the present day ones. In the teaching on the unity of the Church, we enter on a road, which has been very badly investigated and is very difficult, where the greatest caution is required.
First of all - the unity of the Church and Her uniqueness are axioms. There must be no place for a conception that there exist two or three «Churches» or their «branches», also that neither of them is the true and only one. There exists Orthodoxy and live members of the Church must realise and feel all the fullness, uniqueness and absoluteness of this life in Orthodoxy, which is the Holy Spirit dwelling in the Church. Moreover, only from Orthodoxy and through Orthodoxy ought one to understand all that is non-Orthodoxy, but which, as far as it exists as a Church is also Orthodoxy, although damaged and enfeebled. What must be the Church attitude towards such non-orthodoxy? In a way it is not entirely non-Orthodoxy and to a certain extent is actually Orthodoxy. Firstly, such an attitude must be far from indifference as regards to the points in which non-Orthodoxy deviates from Orthodoxy or is at enmity with it. Love beareth everything except errors, endures all things, excepting lies. Love likewise is jealousy as regards truth, and it is zeal and not indifference that the Church calls for. But it only Church zeal that is towards salvation. Whereas zeal which is applied to error is worse than lack of such zeal: as an example of this we can mention sectarianism and even bolshevism, which certainly do not lack in zeal. And the meaning of the canons, forbidding not only fellowship in prayer but likewise in life is really closely bound up with such zeal: there can be no fellowship with a heretic or a dissenter in so far as he self-asserts himself in his opposition to the Church. If this were so it would mean an inward inconsistence, betrayal of oneself or treachery. How can an Orthodox pray with «Shtundists», the spiritual energy of whom arises as a result of their fanatical hatred of the
Church, or with «Tolstoyans» - the pathos of whom lies in the perversion of the Gospels, with the denial of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? And yet there can be such a state of things in which a direct application of these canons (forbidding communion in prayer with heretics and apostates) would represent a violation of their actual meaning: summa lex summa inuria.
This applies to cases, when heretics and dissenters turn to the Church, not with the parts of their existence in which they err against the Church unity, but with those on the strength of which, notwithstanding separation, they do remain in the fellowship of the Church. In cases when they go consciously or unconsciously, not against the Church but with the Church. When at the present time Protestants, and generally speaking non-Orthodox, come to our services, is it in accordance to the spirit of the canons to resent their presence at the service on the base of the forbidding of fellowship in prayer with heretics? Can one consider, that the fact that our hierarchs in the summer of 1925, when they were present at Anglican services in London - by this their solemn presence, by taking a part, though si ay be only a passive part in the actual service, - were breaking the canons? Further, can one consider that it is a breaking of the canons, when we solemnise matrimony, allowing mixed marriages (these in their time were absolutely forbidden by the canons), by this allowing a nonOrthodox to take part not only in Church prayer but also in Sacraments, of course, only of their own free will? Or is it a breaking of the canons when we pray - in our own personal (also Church prayer) or publicly in Church - for the non-Orthodox?
In general what does non-Orthodoxy - the non-Church represent in relation to Orthodoxy? Sometimes this is understood legally: if the law is broken in the least the offender commits a crime against the whole law. But not all the truth is not necessarily un-truth. This kind of straightforwardness has never been applied by the Church. On the contrary she always has, as ne have seen - drawn distinctions in the degree of falling away from her. And the present church practice distinguished between a canonical continuity of priesthood or its absence outside Orthodoxy. In the first case after reunion the Church accepts a priest without re-ordination, whereas in the second case this is not done. A controversy as regards to this question can exist around the questionableness or indefiniteness of the actual fact - that is the actual existence or non-existence of such a continuity. (Such a position exists in relation to the Old-Believers hierarchy - of the Austrian priesthood of the Belaya Krinitza - and with the hierarchy of the Anglican Church. The absence of such
continuity in Protestantism cannot, in any way, be reinstated on reunion. And a Protestant pastor will always be a laymen to Orthodoxy if he joins it. On the contrary if a Roman Catholic hierarch joins Orthodoxy he is received without reordination. (According to the sense of the Rules of the Apostles 47-88, made clear by comparison with I Oecum., 8th Carthage, 6th and 8th of Basil Great I, and from the other hand with I Oecum. 19th Laodecean 8th.)
This however forces to put the most disputed question: does hierarchy exist outside the Church, at any rate outside the Church organisation, that is - in dissenting and heretical communities? This question is raised by the very fact of the acceptance of the non-Orthodox in the existing order (as is done by the Orthodox Church in relation to Roman Catholics).
In the face of such a fact a direct denial of the existence of priesthood outside the Church, as a hierarchical organisation, appears incomprehensible. But, on the other hand, it would likewise be impossible to recognise it without any reserve as this would lead to the acceptance of the kind of intercommunion» - communion in prayer and Sacraments with schismatics, which is directly forbidden by the canonical rules referred to above. In accordance to the 32nd Rule of the Laodecean Council: «it is not seemly to receive blessing1 from heretics - which are more like wrong-talking than a blessing». (Compare with Rule 37). In practical dealings for people belonging to the Church, non-Orthodox clerics do not differ from laymen because such people in the Church have no relations with them through hierarchical communion. But, strictly speaking they are also not laymen - laici - in the direct sense of the word, as non-Orthodox laymen are also not laymen in the exact sense of the word, because the state of a layman is a certain defined position in the Church - in the fellowship of the Church, outside which stand all the non-Orthodox, both among and outside the clergy. Therefore a direct negation of non-Orthodox priesthood, in the sense of putting them on the same level with the laity - is an adding up of feet with ounces - an adding up of different values - and is therefore devoid of any Church sense. The Church pronounces judgement only within herself, but not outside, and the difference between clergy and laymen can only exist in the Church herself. However, the Church, as we have also said, judges those outside, as far as they come into contact with Her at reunion, and then She differentiates the «church
1. «Blessing» - εὐλογίος - blessed bread or parts of wafers are meant in this case - which were exchanged between churches in token of fellowship.
condition» before it and finds it possible on Her part to consider the priesthood as valid, without re-ordination, without a new laying-on of hands and likewise recognises the force of Sacraments celebrated by this priesthood - that is - not only baptism (which, if it is necessary can be performed by a layman), but also Chrysmation (Confirmation) - the anointing with holy oil, which cannot be done by a layman - this is the reason why Protestants, as ones who have no priesthood, after received after Chrysmation. Therefore, the Church at all times, as now, recognises at least potential priesthood in schism, which receives its full lawful strength and jurisdiction through reunion with Orthodoxy. We come across the following interpretation of St. Theodore the Studite: «all those are forbidden to celebrate who have been ordained by a Bishop, who has turned out to be a heretic, though he might even argue that the Council was wrong and that we are lost. Because, in recognising this, why does he not flee from perdition, by avoiding heresies, so as to be a Bishop of God? (Works of St. Theodore the Studite Vol, II. p. 288. Edit. of St. Petersburg Theological Academy). But ex nihilo nil fit, as it obviously follows from the relationship of the Church to denominations, which have lost their continuity of priesthood. The Church recognises that priesthood can retain its value, even though the communion between such priesthood and the Church has broken off. She, however, forbids all communion in prayer with such priesthood and in practice appears to ignore it, because all priesthood is active and true only when canonical communion exists - which is absent here; but if it is reestablished the force of the priesthood is also reinstated. One can put it thus - that the Church, without considering the Sacramental moment of the Mystery invalid, considers it as inactive as regards to jurisdiction. In accordance to the 9th Rule of IV Oecumen. Council the laying on of hands is carried out only after the one to be ordained is appointed to a certain Church - otherwise the appointment is considered as ineffective. Because of this in the eyes of the Church all appointments in schism are ineffective, but, however, not worthless, as far as they receive strength on the reestablishment of proper relations as regards jurisdiction and authority. While a second ordination of those already ordained, is strictly prohibited by canonical rules (68th Rule of the Apostles); the Apostles on the same grounds forbade a new ordination of those who have once been devested - they always remain as ones who have descended to the state of laymen (Compare with Carthage Comic. Rule 27). Such a Church interpretation of the Sacrament of Ordination - leads us to consider it as one which cannot be repeated in the same way as baptism and Chrysmation. On these foundations a priest who
has been devested can never be reordained1 into the order from which he was cast out once (compare Basil Great Rule 3), in the same way as one who has been ordained outside the Church is never reordained in Her2.
But how can one co-ordinate this conditional recognition of priesthood extra ecelesiam with the direct ruling of the I Rule of St. Basil Great? In it the following is said: First the
Holy father deals with the general question of baptism outside the Church, distinguishing in this respect between heretics, whose christening is Ineffective, and dissenters and self-asserting gatherings - saying «that one can accept the christening of dissenters, as those who are not as yet estranged from the Church. In this way, even those in Holy Orders, on repenting, are frequently received in the existing order». Thus the holy father admits the existence of priesthood in schism and rejects it only in heresy, in which even baptism is invalid, because «here there is an obvious difference in the very faith in God.»
After dealing with these general considerations he goes on to deal with special cases, and stops on the Kafars, who were really dissenters, but owing to their stubbornness and hardened persistence they were akin to heretics, that is why the «ancients found it fit» to consider them as such. «Because, explains the holy father, though the withdrawal began through dissent, those, who have broken away from the Church, have no Grace of the Holy Ghost on them. Because the stream of grace is on the decline, when the lawful continuity of priesthood is cut off. The first ones who broke off received the ordination from the fathers, and through their laying on of hands received the spiritual gifts.
1. In accordance to 21st Rule of the Troulle Council - the most that can be permitted to him - is to wear his hair as the rest of the clergy.
2. It is interesting to note the motives for receiving those returning to the Church without re-ordination, which are expressed in the 57th Rule of the Carthage Council: «Their former mistakes must not serve as an obstacle for receiving them back into the clergy, if they, on returning to the Faith look on the true Church as their own, and are in Her believe in Christ, and have received the Sacraments of the Trinity... Owing to this after having anathematised the heresy to which they belong lay your hands on them (not in the sense of a Sacrament) and receive them back into the One Church... in which all Sacraments are eternal and quickening and are received unto salvation, which, however, are towards condemnation and execution if administered to those in heresy. That, which in truth, would serve towards their greater enlightenment, that in error to them becomes darkened and towards condemnation... Such, when a witness of their good life has been given, without doubt can be truly confirmed and allowed to enter the clergy and to take part as before in the celebration of Sacraments» (Comp. Rule 68 of Council of Carthage - on the receiving of Donatist clerics back into the Orthodox Church).
But the ones, who had broken away, on becoming laymen, had no power to baptise or ordain, and could not pass on to others the Grace of the Holy Spirit, from the which they themselves had fallen away. For this reason those, who through them came to the Church, who were, so to speak christened by laymen were ordered to be purified with the true Baptism of the Church.»
Thus the idea of the holy father consists not in the assumption that every kind of condition brought about by the breaking away from the Church leads to the loss of lawful continuity, but only such a condition which leads to a complete withdrawal from the Church - that is of heresy, which has no true Christening. (As one notes from this Rule - St, Basil Great does not admit baptism by laymen, which is known by the present Church practice - at reunion, not according to the 1st but the 2nd order, that is without re-christening). But, in spite of all this the holy father does not persist on a strict application of this rule to Kafars, because in the same place he adds: «but many in Asia, decidedly wanted to accept their baptism, for the sake of an example to many - so let it be valid». (And, therefore, if we argue back from this conclusion of the holy father - their priesthood would also have to be accepted - because the one is combined with the other for him). And thus the non-recognition of priesthood outside the boundaries of the Church for St. Basil is not absolute, but conditional, it depends on one or another interpretation of a schism, in accordance to which it either approaches a heresy or a self-asserting community, while the very valuation or interpretation, owing to different local conditions and period is apt to change, as is shown by the example of the Kafars (also with Enkratites as is seen from I Rule of Basil Great).
Whereas the decision is pronounced by the Church, which decides in which way in every particular case we ought to deal with the Church community which has fallen away1. The same applies to the Kafars, The I Oecumenical Council directed by its 8th Rule in relation to Kafars: «all of them uniting themselves to the Church must remain as they were - bishops as bishops, priests - as priests». From the very expression used by St. Basil alone «that they become 'laymen', we can conclude that
1. We have already mentioned, that on this foundation we can explain the difference in principle applied by the Greek and the Russian Church in their ways of dealing with Roman Catholics. The first looks on the Roman Church as a heresy (In accordance to the decision of the Council of 1756, at the times of the Patriarch Cyril V) and considers the Latin baptism as ordinary bathing - ......................(Pidalion), while the Russian Church, in accordance to the terminology of St. Basil Great, practically looks on it as a schism, though connected with heretical teachings.
this is applied to jurisdiction, to the unreality of their ordination, but not to the ineffectiveness of their priesthood in itself, which regains its strength on reunion with the Church. The same thing was decided on In relation to Donatists and the 68th Rule of the Council of Carthage which reads that: «ordained Donatists, if they will mend and will wish to return to the Catholic faith can be accepted in their existing orders». (Of course, this rule also, could not be coordinated with the definition of the I Rule of Basil Great, if it were interpreted literally and unconditionally). Whereas such an acceptance is absolutely excluded for dealing with Pavlians and Frigs (by I Oec. Council 19th Rule, Laodec. 18th) which say - «though they belong to their unreal clergy.»
All this raises the general dogmatic question dealing with the nature of priesthood and its powers. It is obvious that from the two conditions which make priesthood active - the first - jurisdiction (lawful right) constitutes a general condition for the effectiveness of the second - the sacramental element, and when the first is removed the last also loses its effectiveness. And it is this one means when one speaks of «leading down a former cleric to the state of a layman». But this as yet does not solve the question of a special gift of grace owned by priesthood. Is the power of this gift retained, may be potentially, by those who have been divested of priesthood, in the same way as the seal of Holy Baptism and Chrysmation is inefaceable in those even, who have fallen away? The last fact arises from the unrepeatableness of both the Sacraments but it also applies, as we have seen, to priesthood1.
1. In connection with this stands the question, is it canonical to allow devestment (taking off of the order), as it is usual in the Russian Church, according to par. 86 of Rules of Spiritual Consistory. Bishop Nicodimus Milash considers this practice as decidedly uncanonical and all references for itk support to different canonical rules unconvincing (look at «Works» vol. I. 501-4). Without going in here into the consideration of this controversial question in its essence, we shall limit ourselves to making a general remark, that even the practice of the Russian Church, permitting the taking off of Holy Orders not as a punishment, but in response to application, can by no means be interpreted that Holy Orders are looked upon as something temporary. In such cases the Church authority in every particular case merely creates a special condition for the ineffectiveness of priesthood. The difficulty of the case lies in the fact that the taking off of Holy Orders leads to an automatical release from canonical prohibition of a second marriage for priests, therefore they really seem to be able to return to the original condition... Such an interpretation of the case, however, would mean a doing away with the ordination and its vows («receive this token and keep it... concerning it shalt thou be asked at the 2nd coming of Christ», says the bishop to the priest he has just ordained giving him a part of the Holy Bread). The permission of a second marriage to a man, who has left Holy Orders does not mean an annulment of the vow, but the stopping of the action of the canons dealing with the prohibition of the second marriage, owing to a case of the taking into consideration of human weakness. Here, we have an analogy to the attitude of the Church to a second and third marriage and in particular to divorce, which is allowed only from this consideration but is not approved in its essence. The Church has a live attitude, that is she deals with the canons in a spirit of liberty and creativeness. The canons in spite of all their sacredness do not represent an ius stricturm of the «law» but regulativ normas (this is indirectly confirmed also by the fact that in the history of canonical law cases have arisen, when later canons amended and even changed the ones before them). One can argue the fact whether a local Church has the right to put forward such an alteration in Church discipline or not, but in principle such a possibility can hardly be rejected.
And this is made clear by the fact that the vows of priesthood are not limited by any length of time, but, similarly to vows of monks are given for the whole of life. This is why the 7th Rule of IV Oec. Council forbids those who have once joined the priesthood or the monkhood to enter military sergice, or any worldly rank, under threat of anathematization. All this bears witness to the fact that, according to the Orthodox conception, the taking of Holy Orders is linked up with a certain inefaceableness, which allows us in fact to compare it with Christening in a certain sense.
Those who have forsaken priesthood and have become laymen, cannot be looked upon as all other laymen or as they were themselves before taking Holy Orders. The forsaking of Holy Orders is always followed by spiritual changes, a spiritual break, this can be to a certain extent replenished by Christian deeds of kindness but, nevertheless it represents a certain break down. One cannot forsake the altar without pain and impunity. It is not possible simply to forget it and turn away from it. The Roman Catholic Church with its customary dogmatic straightforwardness, since the times of the Trendent Council expresses
this as «Character indelebilis»1, and on this she founds her conception that the celebrations of interdicted priests and the laying on of hands of deposed Bishops have a power ex opere operato. Such an outlook appears mechanical, such a mechanicity is in general applicable to the teaching of ex opere operato. From the perfectly correct observation, that the conveying of Grace in the Church is linked up with the existence of definite conditions laid down by God, which have an essential and unavoidable character, the Roman Catholic draws also the reverse conclusion that the conveying of Grace cannot be separated off from those conditions in itself (this is the real meaning of ex opere operato) and that consequently grace can never, under any circumstances be separated off from these actions2. Such a conclusion truly brings in elements of magic into the interpretation of the mysteries of the Church and at the same time is quite superfluous for the solution of the question. Not every
1. At the 7th. meeting of the Trident Council the following was decided on: si quis dixerit, in tribus sacramentis, baptismo scilicet, confirmatione et ordine non imprimi characterem in anima, hoc est, signum quoddam spirituale et indelebile, unde ea iterari non pussunt: anathema sit (Sess. VII, de sacramentis in genere can 9), and further: si quis dixerit per sacram ordinationem non dari Spiritum Sanctum, aic proinde frustra episcopos dicere: Accipe spm S-m aut per eam non imprimi characterem; vel eum qui sacerdos semel fuit laisum rursus fieri posse anathema sit (Sess. XXIII de sacr. ord. can 9).
2. This is how a contemporary Roman Catholic theologican looks on this: - Que penser des sacrements administres par un eveque schisraatique ou heretique?... Aujourd'hui tout catholiques sait que pour pouvoir faire reelement des pretres chretiens, en observait le rite convenable, il suffit de posseder reelement la plenitude de sacerdoce autrement dit, d’etre eveque. L'exercise du pouvoir d’ordre dans la collection du sacerdoce comme dans tout autre act sacramental, pourra etre illicite, si l‘eveque va contre une prohibition de l’eglise: il ne sera pas pour cela invalide (?), et anisi le sacerdoce chretien pourra exister et se perpetuer, le Christ ayant voulu, hors des prises de l'eglise meme dans le schismet, meme dans l‘heresie. C’est la une verite, non precisement de foi definite, mais cependant definissable; les theoligiens disent: proxima fide (A. d'Ales. Ordination, Dict. Apolog. de la Foi cathol. fasc. XIII. Paris 1919).
priesthood which has a continuity in ordination, is active and therefore is true priesthood: otherwise the ejection from Holy Orders would be impossible and incomprehensible - we ought to note also that this ceremony in particular amongst the Roman Catholics is very expressive and is accompanied by a ritual of derobing the ejected ones of all his vestments (and even a scraping out of the holy oil from the parts of his body anointed at consecration). From this it would appear that the Church is powerless, and that the ejection is ineffective, if after it the power of priesthood remains undeminished because of its character indelebilis1.
The possibility of ejection from Holy Orders demonstrates with clearness that the Apostolic succession of ordination, in spite of all its importance, has not a decisive meaning. Otherwise one would have to admit the present ordination of the «Live Church» as valid, whereas the ineffectiveness of the «live Church» ordinations is resolutely and firmly established by the Church (it is characteristic that the members of the «live» Church in their turn look on the priesthood of the Church as unvalid - at the least - priesthood outside Russia2. And exactly in this sense militant heresy or schism, even self-governing rabble, as far as it has motives of any kind - dogmatic, hierarchical or even political goes against the Church and lawful Church authority - it tears itself away from the Church, debarrs from itself the stream of grace and so far
1. Kober. Die Deposition und Degradation. Tubingen. 1867, p. 94-95, ordains that though the deposed cleric juridicially is a layman, but that «die Befahigung die mit ihrer Wurde verbundenen Funktionen auszuuben ihnen verblieb (!?) «Therefore the deposition itself is interpreted as a losing of the rights of the order, ohne jedoch den durch die Ordination empfangenen geistlichen Character vollig zu verlieren» (110). It thus appears that the Church cannot effectively devest anyone of his rank of priest. The Roman Catholic practice of re-instatement in the Order by the authority of the Pope is linked up with such an interpretation (S. Bagandard. Deposition et degradation des clercs. Diet. de theol. cathol. t. IV, p. 472).
2. It is strange that d'herbigny (B. Orient. Christ.) sees in such an attitude towards the «Live» church hierarchy - Donatism, From the canons quoted it is clear that the Church often in many cases refused to acknowledge heretical and even schismatleal priesthood without any kind of Donatism.
becomes devoid of grace. Thus the existence of a priesthood without grace becomes possible - it therefore cannot be real priesthood. Character indelebilis is here allowed not in the sense of the effectiveness of priesthood outside but its destructive power in one thus appointed: in the same way an anathematised member of the Church is in a worse position than an ordinary heathen - just because he has been christened.
Thus there is no priesthood outside the Church in heresy, schism or self-assertion, as far as the very coming into existence of this false hierarchy was bound up with revolt against the Church, disobedience and self-assertion, non-acceptance of true priesthood and a setting up against its will and apart from it of its own false hierarchy. Here, even the reason or intent which caused the separation from the church has no essential value: these can be serious dogmatic disagreements, they also can be simply a traitor's agreement with anti-chrlstian authority - as in the case of the «live» church. Such false hierarchy is ineffective, however unquestionable its apostolic succession may be: in the same way former members of the
Orthodox hierarchy, lose their grace on leaving the Church and entering the false hierarchy. All fellowship in prayer with them, and even more so, any celebration in common, which is forbidden by the holy canons, cannot be accepted by a believing soul. Estrangement from the Church is measured by the strength of resistance offered to the Church, and the «live» church people, in spite of their apparent nearness to the Church, are further away from us than Roman Catholics, Protestants or any other different historical confess ions.
And so continuity of apostolic succession alone at ordination does not in itself suffice for canonical appointment. However, it is also obvious that it is a fact that the absence of such a succession excludes the possibility of ordination. Uncanonical appointments are not bound to be recognised by the Church, in the absence of such appointments, nevertheless, the Church can in no case, and not under any circumstances accept such priesthood, with all the consequences arising from this: neither the present-day Ukrainian «self-hallowers nor different kinds of sectarian priests, or Protestant pastors, never and not in any kind of circumstances can be recognised as priests, because even the authority of the Church has its natural boundaries and cannot make the non-existent - existent. In this lies the immense difference betwen the objective position of all sorts of «self-hallowers» and those successively ordained - that is the ineffective hierarchy, because this hierarchy, if certain conditions are present, becomes valid without reordination: such a possibility exists here. It is true that this possibility cannot be enforced: the Church likewise has the right of not recognising a false hierarchy, in spite
even, of all the incontestability of its apostolic succession - in the same way as she did not recognise the hierarchy of all sorts of heretical and schismatic communities (look above). But the Church also can, after reunion accept without reordination, which she cannot do with the unordained. Acceptance or non-acceptance in the existing order of false hierarchy at reunion is within the power of the Church, which is here guided by considerations of so-called Church «ikonomy» - that is practical wisdom and good of the Church. By accepting in the existing order the Church fills the insufficiency, gives power - to the ineffective, fills with grace that which lacked in grace. Taking a particular case - the future will show how the Church will deal with the «living» church assertions, how she will deal with the false hierarchs, who will repent and return to her (the deceased in God, Patriarch Tihon, in certain individual cases showed great forbearing), but before such repentance all the «living» church hierarchy, both ordained in the Church and outside the Church is invalid, as one which has arisen from revolt against the Church and disobedience - therefore the sacraments celebrated by them are blasphemous and ineffective acts, in so far as these Sacraments require for their celebration the grace of priesthood1.
However, all this is simple and clear when applied to cases of active schism and self-perpetration. But quite different cases can exist, viz. - when whole sections of Church communities separate off, having their own true canonical hierarchy, which was never not recognised by the Church. Such cases were not unfrequent in the history of the Church: Hestorians, Armenio-Monophysit'es, Roman Catholics, Anglicans (not mentioning other more doubtful cases) or, on the other hand - take the autonomic Bulgarian Church in relation to the Greek Church, the Georgian and Ukrainian autonomic Churches, which separated off from the Russian Patriarchate, or in our days - the Polish Church autonomy and the Finnish in relation to the legal Russian Church. Divisions have arisen and do arise, here, at any rate not on the grounds of a direct Church riot, but to some extent on the grounds of dogmatic, national-cultural or ceremonial difference partly also as the result of arguments as to jurisdiction. The division which thus took place, however, has led to the fact that Church fellowship and unity with those who have split off has become impossible and therefore the section of clergy, which has fallen off, has become non-existent for the true sons of the Church. This doing away with or rather paralysis of schismatic priesthood, by making it ineffective for the Church does not at the same time annul it.
1. We here denote only general kinds of boundaries, but in resolving particular practical questions - different ways of treating them might arise. Church «ikonomy» must be flexible and compassionate.
Firstly, most obviously it is not right and quite impossible to put this priesthood on the same level with those who have been cast out from Holy Orders legally for crime, as also with those who are under an interdict or have been uncanonically appointed. This priesthood remains at its post in its church and it shares her fate. The judgement of the Church as regards to the portion which has separated off, as we have seen, can differ. The Church is not bound by the fact of priesthood ex opere operato and she can disown not only the authenticity but also the effectiveness (sacramental power) of this priesthood, but she can likewise, act differently and with greater indulgence. The Russian Church acts thus (differing from the Greek Church in this respect) when dealing with Roman Catholic and Nestorian priesthood - she accepts them without reordination. In other words, speaking in the terms used by Basil Great, she treats Catholicism in practice not as a heresy but as a schism which, while it injures it does not enfeeble the actual continuity of priesthood.
In spite of this the Church recognises the effectiveness of priesthood outside the enclosure of the Church, apart from reunion and without making it complete in any way. This is evident from the fact that sacraments celebrated by this priesthood are looked upon as valid - from this one must conclude that the grace of this priesthood is considered as effective. It is of course understood that this can be only made evident when dealing with sacraments in which non-Orthodoxy comes into contact with Orthodoxy. One who reunites with the Church receives that which he lacks, but he must not receive that which he already possesses. Therefore, if he has not been baptised - he receives baptism. If he has been only baptised - he receives Chrysmation. If he has had both he is allowed to enter into the complete fellowship of the Church and receive all the Sacraments - Confession and Eucharist. From the fact that Roman Catholics are not confirmed by the Russian Church one must conclude that in her eyes they have all these Sacraments. But such a recognition of their priesthood and its effectiveness, because otherwise this priesthood could not confirm. It would be inconsistent to limit and exhaust the effectiveness of «schismatic» priesthood only by these two sacraments: firstly, because such an exclusion of these two sacraments is hardly possible; secondly, because the effectiveness of only these two sacraments is demonstrated, because only through them a real encounter between the Church and non-Orthodoxy takes place sacramentally through a mysterious action. It is true that the Church recognises also the validity of the Sacrament of Matrimony, which has been effected outside the Church enclosure - by the fact that such marriages are not solemnised again. However, as regards to this one can also point out the following
consideration - also not beyond reproach - that Baptism and Crysmation can validate also the Marriage, which in itself was insufficient or even simply ineffective as a Sacrament: one never resolemnises marriage - not only Roman Catholic marriages but also Protestant ones - ones concluded without a priest by a pastor. From the acceptance of the validity of these sacraments follows the acceptance of ordination or consecration, on which they themselves are based. There still remains the question of those sacraments in which the Church and non-orthodoxy cannot encounter, and come in contact with one another, because such contact would mean a complete reestablishment of church communion and a complete overcoming of division - that is the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist. The Church has had no occasion of expressing itself as regards to the very essence of these sacraments we only have theological reflections and conclusions, some of which are more and others less favourable to non-Orthodoxy. One of these most unfavourable possibilities is expressed in a very widely spread application to the above mentioned case of the words of Apostle Paul about the partaking of food, which had been offered in sacrifice to idols and of the table of devils (l Cor. 10: 20-21), and a similar expression of St. Theodore the Studite in relation to heretics of his time - fighting ikonoclasts (image breakers). Here is an example: The consecrated Patriarch is taken, exiled and confined in a secret place; on his throne is a fighter against Christ; holy bishops and priors, monks and nuns are sent into exile; the curse of the Holy Council of Nicea, renewal of the fight against Christ; blood is shed, untimely death, confinement in prisons, starving to death, pillage; and what is still more terrible to see and hear - the breaking and trampling down of venerated ikons of Christ, the Mother of God and all the saints, the pulling down of Temples and Altars, the defiling and burning of holy things. In such conditions everyone, who partakes of communion or helps with the poisoned bread, is not he a traitor to Christ? One, who is cast out and un-holy, if he does not come back through repentance?» (Works, vol. II, 532). The same sort of thing is sometimes applied with obvious and double inconsistency to Roman Catholics. From one point of view - if Roman Catholic priesthood is ineffective one also ought to conclude that its sacraments are also non-valid, and represent just a ceremony of remembrance quite similar to that which is represented by Protestant Communion. From the other point of view if it is a table of devils, one ought to look on its Baptism and Confirmation as actions of the devil. In other words disown the value of the sacraments which have never been considered as un-valid by the Church.
If they wish to be consistent the followers of the view about the «food of devils» must in a spiritual sense likewise
consider the Bible in the hands of heretics and schismatics, and generally un-Orthodox people in a similar way. It is true, and cannot be denied that the study of the Bible by fanatical sectarians does not always lead to their enlightenment, owing to their anti-churchness and prejudice: it is likewise obvious that the understanding of the Bible is given only to the Church and is established by the guidance of the holy fathers of the Church. But, nevertheless, the Bible in itself remains the Bible - a certain mystery of the transubstantiated word - it is the word of man, which is at the same time the Word of God. To partake of its full power is given only to the Church, but will anyone venture to affirm that to those outside this Word becomes spiritual poison. And in spite of this the element of magic associated with the extremes of the theory of ex opere operato is not applicable to the Sacrament. One cannot conceive that Sacraments of heretics and dissenters retain all their force and effectiveness, as they possess in the Church, if one takes into account the generally endamaged state of the spiritual life. For the Holy Sacrament of Communion can be also received not only unto salvation, but likewise unto judgement and condemnation, and the difference here entailed is of course due not to the Sacrament losing its power, but with the way in which we partake of it. We think that in this distinction we must seek to find the key towards the understanding of the mysterious way in which the grace of God acts in communities outside the Church. Whereas for the originators of the heresy, who with spite and cruelty filled their hearts with resistance to the Church, it is conceivable that the fate of Judas might befall them, in the same way as when he received the bread from the hands of the Saviour and «Satan entered him» (St. John 13: 27). This does not mean of course that Judas partook of the food of demons, as some who uphold the above theory would have to conclude to be consistent, but that Satan finally took possession of his darkened soul, after receiving the bread from the hands of our Saviour, and thereoore Judas himself made the bread to himself as a table of devils. It is not given to man to look on the mysteries of another man's heart, nor is it given to man to judge his neighbour. And it would be insanity of sin, if anyone would dare say about his brother that he has partaken of communion unto judgement or condemnation (for one cannot know this even as regards to oneself). And moreover does not this judgement appear strange when applied to whole church communities, to brothers in Christ, though torn away? To say that they partake of the table of demons is equivalent to dooming them to Judas' fate, and pronouncing the last judgement on their souls, that is on countless millions of souls - not only heretical hierarchs - the beginners - but also on those who followed them and had never seen the true Church. The question of course has nothing to do with human pity or «humaneness», which are quite
in the Church are associated with this fulness of grace in accordance to the measure of their gift and personal struggle - and the measure of such «churchness» realised in life is also different, ranging from Holy Seraphim to the ordinary layman. There are many degrees in it and the intensity of this life of grace in the Church knows no bounds and is, endless. It is owing to this that the Church so zealously and severely guards her purity and with severity teaches those who fall away from her - the foundation of truth and the straight way to Truth - and join non-Orthodoxy, falling into a region of distortion and decrease. A falling away from the Church, from light - let us assume - not into darkness but into twilight, must represent a certain spiritual catastrophe. In her anxiety for the good of the flock the Church may chastise the offenders, taking into account their age and position, sometimes going as far as excommunication as it was in the times of the Oecumenical Councils.
The relationship between the Church and non-Orthodoxy would be limited by the above, if such relationships were exhausted merely by dealing entirely with a movement away from the Church and against the Church. But in non-Orthodoxy, in its mass and depth there exists a life in the Church, a feeding on the riches taken from the Father’s House - a movement towards the Church - besides the centrifugal forces, centripetal forces are also in action. There exist: abundance and incompleteness (want), health and illness, strength and weakness, purity and impurity. In relation to Orthodoxy, to its infinite purity and truth, all non-Orthodoxy is not true, damaged, seduced, and in spite of this it is not estranged from the truth, from the love of Christ, from the love of the Mother of God and the saints, and is not, therefore, devoid of the grace of the Holy Spirit and possibilities of salvation. It is not all the Orthodox that are in truth Orthodox, are in truth saved through Orthodoxy. And, on the other hand, it is not all the non-Orthodox who are in reality totally and finally un-Orthodox. If, according to the word of our Lord there will be those, who in His name prophesied and worked miracles, but to whom He, notwithstanding this will say: I never knew you (Mtth. 7: 22-23), there also was the man who cast out devils in Christ's name, but did not go about with Him. And Our Lord forbade the disciples to hinder him in doing this, saying: «he that is not against us is for us» (Lk. 9: 49-50).
The confessing of one single, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does not exclude the possibility of her light extending further than the boundaries of her earthly organisation. Our Lord in accordance with His inscrutable ways brings many millions of Christians to participate in her, although they
stand outside these bounds. To express this in other words - Orthodoxy can exist outside the enclosure of the Orthodox Church, as an organisation - ecclesia extra ecclesiam. This does not imply that there are several churches, but merely that there is only one kind of «churchness», which acts along the vertical and along the horizontal. This, likewise, is not a confessional indifference, an «interconfessionalism», this only explains the church foundation of the irresistible yearning of all Christian world for a «union of all», which is being more and more powerfully felt in the world. Love of Christ, deeds of love, struggle for faith form a kind of living fellowship of the Church of Christ composed of all the true faithful. It centres round the Church, but externally it may not coincide with the organisation of the Church. There exists a Christian world, which forms something similar to an atmospheric enclosure, a cometic tail around the nucleus, which represents Orthodoxy. And this surrounding is inwardly at union with it, taking Orthodoxy for its centre when the power of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit are acting in this surrounding. And to announce that such non-Orthodox are deprived of Christ and the Grace of the Holy Spirit is not given to any man.
This marks out an answer to a more general kind of question - are people saved, can they be saved (or what is the same thing - is there grace and holiness) outside the Church? Or, the reverse, do people outside inevitably perish, are they destined for hell, as say fanatics from different sides? Outside the Church there is not and cannot be any salvation, because the Church is salvation in the Noah’s Ark. Therefore if we assume that people can likewise be saved in non-Orthodoxy, we mean to say that in some way or another they belong to the Church, though to all outward appearance they do not form a part of her, do not externally belong to her - the mystical body of the Church does not coincide with her canonical outlines. The Church herself bears record of this in recognising sacraments and ordination of those outside her.
There can be different degrees of fulness of grace, but a complete and pure state of grace is given only in the Orthodox Church, the one true Apostolic and Catholic Church. But while abundance surpasses incompleteness it does not destroy it, it does not do away with partial and injured conditions of grace. Can it be that those who have broken away from the Church, but who have kept the Holy Bible and in it and through it are seeking for Christ and have come to love Him, are absolutely devoid of grace, can we say that their love of the word of God is worth nothing, or worse than nothing - only deceit? Can it be that those who have split off from the Church but have retained the Apostolic succession of priesthood, the sacraments and the holy
services are also worth nothing, or again worse than nothing that all their sacraments are false black mysteries? Can it be that those who pray, as we do, to God in the Holy Trinity, to Jesus Christ, to the Mother of God and the saints, (though they are - not even owing to their own personal, but historical fault - split off from the Church) that they remain rejected from the Church, rejected in their prayers, more than rejected - call on themselves judgement for their prayers? The very questions are monstrous: one has only to put them to oneself with clearness so as to reject them at once. If it is said even of heathens that: «in every people one fearing God and acting in truth is acceptable to Him» (Acts Ap. 10: 35), can this bear no relation to Christians, who have been baptised and christened? And if there are people who are saved throughout the Christian world, even - extra ecclesiam, it means that holiness is likewise acquired here, because a Christian life is in itself an accumulation of holiness. This again does not mean, that we must take the liberty of praying to non-Orthodox saints, and thus make no distinction between saints of the Church and sainthood outside the Church enclosure. The Church herself knows not only saints venerated by everyone, but likewise local saints. But we must recognise the very possibility of finding grace before God as existent in non-Orthodoxy. This implies that to a certain extent, in its measure of Christian life, non-Orthodoxy also belongs to Orthodoxy, all that is truly valuable and holy in it is also Orthodox, in spite of its un-Orthodoxy or notwithstanding it.
At the present time the Christian world presents a sad picture of division into several confessional communities,
This division has lasted for centuries. This, of course, is not a division of «churches», because there only exists one single Church, which cannot be divided. There is only a separation from this Church, but nevertheless these divisions have split up the Church community, which had formed the one Church since the very time of its foundation right up to the greatest development of Her oecumenical consciousness, at the time of the Oecumenical Councils. Although the numerical scale is not a decisive criterion of truth, and one always must remain, perhaps with a greatly reduced minority, with the truth, according to the word of our Lord: «Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom» (Lk. 12: 32), it cannot be a point of indifference to the abundance of life in the Catholic Church to witness the splitting off of half of it, which half went on subdividing further and further. And such a breaking off of local churches remains as an open wound on the living body of the Church, such a wound always smarts, or at least ought to hurt always, and in the face of such a fact there can be no room for self-praise or conceit, for the which zeal and firmness are often taken. For these
Church communities the heresy and schism which split them off from the Church are no longer their personal sin, as it was for their apostles and originators, but their fate and their Church destiny. Their members are born, live and are saved in the existing church order, frequently not even encountering Orthodoxy in their life (as, for example Protestantism at the time of its separation from Rome did not encounter Orthodoxy). And while in the bordering regions friction occurs and the battle always rages, in the thick of the church, community traditional devotion is safeguarded. There exists but one Christian world which becomes more and more conscious of its unity through faith - in our Lord. Centripetal energy as well as centrifugal energy is accumulated. And these forces draw all Christians to a return to the Church to a new «orthodoxisation», conscious or unconscious. And the Mother Church, which has with hope and perseverance watched for this desired return - which may in time become external, but for the present is perhaps merely inward - with love sees and blesses every step towards the «union of all», and incessantly prays for it, in accordance to the commandment of Her High Priest and Archbishop, Who in His High Priest's Prayer called on all the faithful: «That they all may be one» (John 17: 21).
The attitude of the Church to non-orthodoxy, in things at which they are at unity, is defined not by a compromise or adaptation, not politics or tactics but by Church love. Yes, love, not as a «mood» but as the substance of life, not love of an emotional or psychological nature, but just church love. The Church is sorrowful about errors but, loves concord. About such love speaks the Apostle in his hymn of love: «love rejoiceth not in inquity but rejoiceth in the truth» (1 Cor. 13: 7). In this lies all the force.
«Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment and do justice: for My salvation is near to come and My righteousness to be revealed. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying: the Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say: Behold I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; Even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, everyone that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it and taketh hold of My Covenant: even them will I bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar: for My house shall be called an house of Prayer for all people.» (Isaish 56: 1-7).
It remains for me to add a few words especially about Orthodoxy and Anglicanism, at a spiritual meeting of which we now experience the joy of being present. These relationships, strictly speaking, are not expressed in the corresponding Church canons. These canons defined the attitude of the Church to heretical and schismatical communities which had split off, they were born in an atmosphere of strife and self-defence of Orthodoxy from non-Orthodoxy. In the case of Orthodoxy and Anglicanism, there never has been any strife or division, in fact there never existed any relations at all. The Anglican Church from the beginning was a part of the Western Patriarchate and shared the destiny of the West after the great Church division, and in company with Home found herself far off from the Orthodox East. Later on she herself, split off from the Roman Patriarchate and commenced her own life, being guided by the aim of re-establishing the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church. The Anglican Church never herself broke away from Orthodoxy. And, being moved by this aim Anglicanism encountered Orthodoxy. Owing to all this, especially in relation to Anglicanism (as non-Orthodoxy) the interdictory canons have the least force and reversely, the greatest force has been acquired by the covenant of Church love. Anglicanism becomes conscious of itself and wishes to become a part of the Ancient Catholic Church, and in this sense to unite with Orthodoxy. And Orthodoxy with love hears this call and prays for reunion. I call for the blessing of the Highest on this our gathering.