Anglican-Orthodox Relations Near Death

Moscow warns:

Women bishops, gay marriage, and other innovations of doctrine and discipline will end meaningful Anglican-Orthodox relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) has warned.

At a 26 Nov 2012 meeting in Moscow, Ambassador Tim Barrow and second secretary James Ford met with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the official press statement “Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the Ambassador and shared his reminiscences of his student years in Oxford and his impressions of the recent visit to London where he attended celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sourozh diocese.”

They also discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, the role the Russian Orthodox and Polish Catholic Churches had played in reconciling the “peoples of Russia and Poland” and the state of “Orthodox-Anglican relations at present” – which the Moscow Patriarchate said were at a nadir.

On 13 Nov, Hilarion wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate, Bishop Justin Welby, offering his greetings upon the Bishop of Durham’s appointment as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.  However, Hilarion said meaningful Orthodox-Anglican ecumenical dialogue had all but died, and it was the Anglicans who have killed it.

In a carefully worded letter, Hilarion stated Moscow expected Bishop Welby to discipline the liberal wing of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Welby had been “entrusted with the spiritual guidance of the entire Anglican Communion, a unique union of like-minded people, which, however diverse the forms of its existence in the world may be, needs one ‘steward of God’ the guardian of the faith and witness to the Truth.”

“Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion,” Hilarion said.

“The introduction female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole,” he wrote.


8 thoughts on “Anglican-Orthodox Relations Near Death

  1. Sadly, no new real news here. Something both sides have realized since at least the late 1980s, if not really well before that. But Orthodoxy being Orthodoxy, we move slowly and are ever hopeful the Anglicans will someohow (miraculously–Come Holy Ghost!) pull themselves back from the precipice of (potentially likely permanent) heterodoxy.

    I suspect our desire to preserve at least the outward appearance of friendship and reciprocity limits our willingness and ability, at this time, to try to “steal” or “entice” many Anglicans (a bit like what Rome is doing with its Ordinariates?)? But whether the day is tomorrow or next decade, it appears ever more unlikely that Canterbury will stay a course for “orthodoxy” and ever more likely Constantinople (like Rome) will work to formally recover those jumping ship in the various Anglican jurisdictions as they (continue to) cross over into formal heterodoxy.

    1. Unless there are Anglicans demanding the orthodox pope/patriarch/chief bishop/whoever’s in charge to make some “Anglicanorum Coetibus” type of business, it can hardly be compared to the Ordinariates.

      I don’t know, maybe those “Western Rite” people? I never understood that entire business, based on that last heated discussion you had with some guy. (I remember an orthodox clergyman comment on this blog about it.)

      Other than that, I will say what has been said before: the CofE or the Anglican Church is a zombie. It may look hopeful for the Orthodox, (What with the “The Pope of Rome has no jurisdiction” and so forth) but it’s going to be harmful, I bet.

      Weren’t there female deacons in the Orthodox Church? I could have sworn that “Deaconess” is the wife of the Deacon, rather than an ordained female cleric.

      1. Hi Ioannis, I am that “guy” who had a conversation about the western rite, and posted some very negative comments by an English “abouna” concerning allowing a western rite in England (never will happen). The western rite is really only a canard that exists only in America for Anglican communities who then get to turn all their property over to the Arabs!

        At least the Greek bishop in London has been more honest: Anglican converts regardless of rite are not welcome to the Orthodox Church, period.

        The only real offer to Anglicans has been from Rome, to come home and to preserve some type of Anglican use identity.

      2. Ioannes, And I’m the EO who spent 15 years in a wonderful Antiochian Orthodox Western Rite (USA) parish, St. Vincent of Lerins (Omaha, Nebraska), which is still going strong with its 25th anniversary approaching. We haven’t turned our property over to anyone and there aren’t really that many Arabs at either our parish or the Byzantine Antiochian parish in Omaha. Lots of converts in both!

      3. Michael, I think you need to visit Holy Redeemer, Los Altos, California.

        Also, and how many western rite Antiochian communities are there in Britain?

  2. Sad, but again nothing new, however there have been some great conservative Anglicans, who were very friendly with the Orthodox! Btw, Michael if you can find a used copy? See one time Anglican Bishop of Lincoln, F.C. N. “Nugent” Hicks book: The Fullness Of Sacrifice, An Essay In Reconciliation. My copy is the Third Edition, 1946, 1953, (London S.P.C.K.). As the Third Edition Foreward says, “That Orthodox theologians should say that this book might have been written by one of themselves is not surprising: for, as it were congenitally, Nugent Hicks shared their mystical categories.”

    1. Fr. Robert, Don’t have that particular one, though I have my fair share of Anglican works prior to Vatican II. Don’t forget, I find great solace in Archbishop Laud (did you ever read H.T. Roper’s biography?); Archbishop Sancroft, the Non-Jurors & Law; and the Wesley Brothers. If only we Orthodox and the Non-jurors could’ve communicated in the 20th Century! (I also find Archbishop Cranmer and Bishop Gardiner fascinating to study and reflect upon.) Wishing you a quiet, reflecting, rewarding Advent!

      1. @Michael: Oh yes, I like old Hugh Trevor-Roper (Englishman). Sadly he got sucked into the whole Hitler Diaries hoax in early 1980’s as I remember. Died in 2003 at 89 as I also remember? But indeed he wrote many historical books and a few bio’s. See the book: Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans: Seventeenth-Century. If you care too, check out Adam Sisman’s Bio of Hugh Trevor-Roper. Also his book: The Crisis Of The Seventeenth Century – Religion, The Reformation & Social Change. He also has a book: The Rise of Christian Europe. And so many more, now of course mostly OP.

        I also read The Wartime Journals, Hugh Trevor-Roper. He worked in British Intelligence in WW II. But indeed what a historical writer!

        And yes, I had and read some of that Roper book on Laud at one time, it is perhaps in my home library in greater London somewhere? I have some thousands of books there! (Hopefully my oldest son has not sold them to Blackwells? lol) And now a few thousand here. Aye I’m old book guy! I don’t have one e-book! 😉

        Note this link for Roper’s, Catholic, Anglicans, and Puritan book…

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