On July 11, 1998, St. Michael Academy of Eschatology held a seminar entitled, "Orthodox Hierarchical Controversy." The speaker was Greek Bishop Haralambos of the Ukrainian National Orthodox Church with the Blessings of Kiev. He had just returned from the Clergy Laity Congress of the Orthodox Church held in Orlando, Florida.
He also wrote, "Truth or Tradition," a prophetic announcement in which he had circulated throughout the Orthodox Church. In "Truth or Tradition" he highlights resolutions that were brought to the Clergy Laity Congress back in 1980, which did not receive a majority vote. One resolution was that the youth needed attention in spiritual training. The other resolution was pointed at the clergy. It encouraged the clergy to appoint laity for church administration and money matters. It also stated that the clergy should stay in spiritual matters only. Once again both resolutions were declined by vote.
Bishop Haralambos believes that the above two resolutions which were voted down back in 1980 led to the crisis experienced at the Clergy Laity Congress in July of 1998. He went on to discuss how Christ set up the Church in which He alone is the head as a Mystical Body. Therefore, the True Church of Christ is not an organization. That the Whole Body of Christ is needed for a person to be saved. Individually a person cannot be saved.
True love for Christ is knowing and following His commandments. Any deviations and/or replacements of Christ as the head of the Church which Greek Bishop Haralambos described as ' ruling vertically,' is not of Christ. Splitting and divisions are of the enemy, he said. " All churches are in trouble and in crisis now because of division which brings confusion which is from the enemy."
Bishop Haralambos stated that believers must all do a material act to gain spiritual life. We, as The Body of Christ, take Holy Communion -- the Body and Blood of Christ -- a material act to gain spiritual life. That is because Christ stated that whoever drinks of His blood and eats of His flesh will have eternal life. Christ asked us to do this act often.
Do you follow the Holy Sacraments? Do you have the Holy Priesthood to dispense these Life Giving Mysteries to you? Do you have a Holy Altar? Are your Clergy able to take care of the sheep or are they so busy in the administration and money matters that they don't see that one sheep out of 99, that they need to spiritually return to the Holy Sacraments and Holy Tradition of the Body of Christ?
The Orthodox Church, must remain the ANCHOR. It has had no division and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It must never, under any circumstance, compromise, but always bring reconciliation. There is no Church without the people. The head of the Church is Christ.
Bishop Haralambos warned the laity to beware of false brethren. The Big Schism of 1054 AD, where the Western Church split from the true doctrine of Christ into the Catholic Church, caused a major deviation to the Holy Tradition that Christ taught. The Petrine Promise, in which the Catholic Church claimed the infallibility or universal authority of the Pope of Rome, is based on the belief that Jesus spoke personally to St. Peter. This reference is in St. Matthew 16:16-19:
And Simon Peter answered and said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus answered unto him: "Blessed are thou, Simon Bar jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Most interpret this to mean that Peter was the Rock upon which the church would be built. That's false. Jesus was telling Peter that the Father revealed to Peter that Rock was Christ. This revelation was not Peter's alone.
The three theological causes leading up to the misinterpretation were:
1. Donation of Constantine
2. False Isidorian Decretals
3. and the Filioque Clause.
The Orthodox Church believes that Jesus was not only addressing Peter, but all of his apostles and that He (Jesus) was the Rock not Peter.
That is reinforced later in the same chapter (St. Matthew 16:23) when Jesus rebukes Peter by saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Is St. Peter the rock that is infallible? The only infallible Rock is Christ, anything man-made is heretical. Beware of false doctrine. One drop of poison in a glass of refreshing cool water contaminates it all.
Written by the Vesey Family