What is Wrong With Cyprianism?

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Cyprianism: Communion with World Orthodoxy

Post by Lounger »

16/29 December 2001

The Resolution of the Pastoral Conference of the Canadian and American Clergy
Regarding the Issue of Terminating Eucharistic Communion with Metropolitan
Cyprian of Oropos and Fili.
Having studied and discussed Metropolitan Cyprian's teaching concerning ailing
and healthy members of the Church in "the realm of a correct understanding of
the faith" by the General Committee, whose creation was approved by Archbishop
Varnava and Bishop Varfolomey and, likewise, having attended to reports and
theological analyses from several volumes of documents regarding this subject,
we have come to the following conclusion:

The Conclusion Concerning the Ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos
and Fili.

On the basis of having studied the ecclesiological teachings of Metropolitan
Cyprian, which are set forth in the book "Ecclesiological Thesis, or the
Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church for the Orthodox, Resisting the Heresy
of Ecumenism" (pub. Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, Fili, Attica,
Greece, 1993), Metropolitan Cyprian's report at the 6th Orthodox Conference
"The Heresy of Ecumenism and the Patristic Position of the Orthodox" (23
February 1998), and also a host of publications and declarations of other
hierarchs of the Synod of the Resistors, we have arrived at the following

  1. Metropolitan Cyrpian and his Synod, while recognizing ecumenist world
    Orthodoxy to be heretical, nevertheless, considers it to be a part of the
    Church of Christ, thus contradicting the teaching and tradition of the Church,
    which clearly bears witness in Conciliar decrees and the writings of the Holy
    Fathers to the effect that heretics are fallen away from the Church.

  2. Metropolitan Cyrprian replaces the concept of "heretics" with a description
    of those who are essentially in error in their judgments concerning the
    Orthodox. Thus, in regard to ecumenist-heretics, he writes: "Persons in error
    concerning the correct understanding of the faith -- and thereby sinning, but
    not yet judged by an ecclesiastical court -- are ailing members of the Church"
    ("Ecclesiological Theses," ch. 1, 4; pp. 2, 7). Calling for a walling-off from
    these ailing members, Metropolitan Cyprian, nonetheless, considers them to be
    within the Church. However, to permit membership in the Church outside an
    Orthodox confession of faith is by no means possible; hence, "those ailing in
    the faith" cannot be members of the Church, which is also confirmed by the
    teachings of the Holy Fathers. "Without a doubt," says the venerable John
    Cassian the Roman, "he who does not confess the faith of the Church is outside
    the Church." The same is confirmed also by Patriarch Jeremias II of
    Constantinople: "Members of the Church of Christ are wholly devoted to the
    truth, and those not wholly devoted to the truth are not members of the Church
    of Christ." And St. Cyprian of Carthage teaches: "Just as the devil is not
    Christ, although he deceives in His name, so also such a one cannot be
    accounted a Christian as does not abide in the truth of His Gospel and Faith."
    In agreement with all the Fathers, the Great Hierarch Gregory the Theologian,
    in his Second Epistle Against Apollinarius, also teaches: "Avoid those holding
    to another doctrine and consider them alien to God and to the Universal
    Church." The Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs Concerning the Orthodox Faith
    states: "We believe that all amongst us are members of the catholic Church,
    even the faithful themselves, i.e., those who unconditionally confess the pure
    faith of Christ the Saviour." And St. Gregory Palamas also explains: "Those who
    are of the Church of Christ, the same are of the truth; and those who are not
    of the truth, the same are also not of the Church of Christ..."

Metropolitan Cyprian declares in his thesis that "the Orthodox have become
divided into two parts: those who are ailing in the faith and those who are
healthy..." (Ch. 3, p. 4), but then he immediately goes on to speak of
"restoring to Orthodoxy" those ailing in the faith (Ch. 3, p. 5), whereby he
clearly falls into a doctrinal contradiction, for how is it possible "to
receive into Orthodoxy" those who already are Orthodox?!

  1. Metropolitan Cyrpian makes a statement concerning the division of the Church
    by reason of ecumenism, by drawing an analogy between the present state of the
    Church and Her state during the time of the iconoclastic heresy. In his
    ecclesiology, he attempts to compare the present-day new-calendarists and
    ecumenists with the iconoclasts, whom the Fathers of the VII-th Oecumenical
    Council united to the Church through repentance and the renouncing of their
    heresy. Likewise, Metropolitan Cyprian refers to the VII-th Oecumenical
    Council, the Acts of which employ the expressions "severance," "divisions,"
    etc. He reaches a totally unfounded conclusion, that the iconoclasts, prior to
    their having been judged by the Council, were not yet heretics, as such; and
    that their mysteries were therefore recognized as being valid. However,
    concerning the iconoclasts who were joined to Orthodoxy, neither did the
    Oecumenical Council consider them as having belonged previously to the Church,
    nor did they themselves make any pretences as to their comprising Her. Here are
    the testimonies of the joining iconoclasts themselves. Basil, Bp. of Ancyra:
    "To the extent of my ability, I investigated the question of icons, and with
    complete conviction turned to the Holy Catholic Church." Theodore, Bp. of Myra
    in Lycia: "...I pray God and your holiness to join me, a sinner, to the Holy
    Catholic Church, as well." John, the most-God-pleasing Locum Tenens of the
    Apostolic Throne in the East said: "Heresy separates every man from the
    Church." The Holy Council stated: "that is obvious."

But Metropolitan Cyprian, in his ecclesiology, changes the terminology: "they
were received into Orthodoxy," thereby inferring an unthinkable distinction
between the Church and Orthodoxy, which is impossible.

The Church, as the Body of Christ, cannot be divided. Such a phenomenon is
ontologically impossible, inasmuch as the Lord Jesus Christ cannot have several
bodies. Those divisions mentioned at the Council, and in the writings of the
Holy Fathers, relate exclusively to a temporary division between Christians,
like those arising during times of troubles when heresies are being spread, and
when, initially, it can be difficult to discern just who is who. St. Basil the
Great compared an occasion like this to a night-battle when, in the darkness,
it is not immediately possible to discern friend from foe.

In the Church there can be no division; there can only be a falling away from
Her. The Catechism of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitski) states the same
concerning this: "Question: Is it possible to grant that there once took place,
or that there will take place, a division within the Church, or a separation of
Churches? Answer: In no case: heretics and schismatics fell away from the one
indivisible Church at various times and thereby ceased to be members of the
Church, but the Church, as such, cannot lose her unity" (Experience of
Christian Catechism. Pub. Australo-New Zealand Ep. 1989, p. 65). In its Epistle
of 18 November/ 1 December 1962, the ROCOR Sobor of Bishops likewise confessed:
"We cannot accept their (the ecumenists') point of view, that the Church has
become divided. We believe in One, Exclusive Church, the Head of Which is
Christ. As there is one Head, so also is there one Body - the Church. If a
house is divided within itself, then it cannot stand. Thus, also, the Church,
having become divided, would cease to be the Church. There can only be a
falling-away from the Church - a departure from Her of individuals -- or of
entire groups who are not of like mind with Her." In accordance with this
confession, the 18/31 December, 1931, Declaration of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops
states: "Preserving the Faith in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the
Synod of Bishops confesses that this Church has never been divided."

  1. Contradicting the decrees of the Church, Metropolitan Cyprian declares that
    "the new-calendarists have not yet been condemned, to this day" and that he
    recognizes "their Mysteries" to be "valid" (Ch. 3, p. 5). But the Gregorian
    paschalion and the Gregorian menologian were thrice condemned by Local Councils
    of the Church of Constantinople: in 1583, in 1587 and in1593, with the Eastern
    Patriarchs taking part. For example, the 1593 conciliar definition of the
    Church states: "Whosoever does not follow the customs of the Church, but
    desires to follow the Gregorian menologion and paschalion, is subject to
    anathema, to being excommunicated from the Church and from the entire assembly
    of the faithful." Patriarch Cyril's 1756 Encyclical declares: "he who accepts
    the Gregorian menologion will be separated from God."

  2. The unification Council that Metropolitan Cyprian is hoping for can unite
    only these "separated Orthodox." But heretics do not belong to the Church and
    can return into the Bosom of the Church of Christ only through being united to
    Her. Metropolitan Cyprian sets forth a false theory of uniting those of unlike
    mind, at the same time making the very convening of said Council dependent upon
    this unnatural union.

In this fashion, Metropolitan Cyprian's doctrine, being the fundamental
position of the Synod of Resistors, contradicts the Patristic traditions of the
Church. He declares that he is not in communion with heretical ecumenist
churches. Meanwhile, however, he and his Synod fail to sever themselves from
these churches spiritually, considering themselves to be the "healthy" part of
the one Church at the same time as the heretical, ecumenist and new-calendarist
churches are the "ailing" part. Thus, Metropolitan Cyprian's Synod, despite the
absence of communion in the mysteries, finds itself, de facto, in a total
"healthy-ailing" union with heretical world "Orthodoxy." This "Orthodox"
crypto-ecumenism, so to speak, even as open ecumenism, falls under the 1983
anathema against the heresy of ecumenism, which was proclaimed by the ROCOR
Synod of Bishops under presidency of the third First Hierarch of the Church
Abroad, Metropolitan Philaret. (This anathema was subsequently confirmed by the
ROCOR Sobor of Bishops in 1998):

"and to those who have communion with these heretics, or who aid and abet them,
or who defend their new heresy of ecumenism, supposing that to be brotherly
love and the uniting of separated Christians: Anathema!"

Thus, by appending our signatures hereunto, we ratify the 2nd Point of the
Declaration of the Synod of Bishops of our Church, No. 7/01/M, on 26 October/8
November, 2001, wherein is announced:

"(In accordance with the decree of the 1974 ROCOR Sobor Of Bishops) The
termination of the 1994 ROCOR Sobor's rashly-established eucharistic communion
with the Synod of the Resistors under the Presidency of Metropolitan Cyprian of
Oropos and Fili on account of his unorthodox teaching concerning the Church
(regarding ailing and healthy members of the Church in the realm of "the
correct understanding of the faith") and the recognition of the Mysteries of
the new-calendarists as being valid" (see Met. Cyprian "Ecclesiological
Thesis," pp. 2 and 5).

  • Metropolitan Vitaly
  • Archbishop Varnava (in agreement with the resolution)
  • Bishop Sergii
  • Bishop Vladimir
  • Bishop Varfolomei (in agreement with the resolution)

Protopresbyter Victor Melehov,
Archpriest Sergii Petrov,
Archpriest Joseph Sunderland,
Archpriest Spyridon Schneider,
Priest Anatolii Trepachko,
Priest Andrew Kencis,
Priest Nikita Orlov,
Hieromonk Damian (Hansen),
Priest Mikhail Marcinowski,
Priest Yevgenii Santalov,
Abbess Eugenia (agrees with the Resolution),
Deacon Mark Smith

Holy Transfiguration skete,
Mansonville, Canada


Post by OrthodoxyOrDeath »

In his ecclesiology, he attempts to compare the present-day new-calendarists and ecumenists with the iconoclasts, whom the Fathers of the VII-th Oecumenical Council united to the Church through repentance and the renouncing of their heresy.

I would like to add that the only Iconoclasts who were not received by ordination were the ones who received their ordination when they were Orthodox. Even still this was done by economia which does not mean even their ordinations were recognized.

Justin Kissel

Post by Justin Kissel »

Wasn't ROCOR already in communion with old calendarists in other countries (Bulgaria and Romania) that had the same ecclesiology as that of Met. Cyprian in 1994? If so, why was establishing union with these other groups holding to a moderate ecclesiology ok, but it wasn't ok to establish communion with Met. Cyprian? What was different in his ecclesiological teachings? Or am I misunderstanding, and did ROCOR enter communion with the Bulgarians and Romanians after they established communion with his Grace Met. Cyprian?

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Post by Methodius »

They were about the same time. Since they shared the same ecclesiology they accepted all three. I think Cyprian may have been the first synod brought into official communion which caused a splintering of ROCA, with some leaving for this reason, including some Russian parishes, Dormition Skete and Holy Apostles Convent, among others.

Justin Kissel

Post by Justin Kissel »

If that is true (and I don't know either way, I'm just asking here), why do you think that they asked for the opinions of the Bulgarians and the Romanians? According the one document at orthodoxinfo.com, that gives the minutes from the synod, the Romanians, Bulgarians, and other private individuals gave endorsements for coming into communion with the Cyprianites. Would you say, Methodius, that they gave this "endorsement" (my word) not as someone already in communion with ROCOR, but just as a Church who ROCOR had contact with? Does anyone know of any timeline that discusses when the varying groups came into and out of communion with ROCOR over the years (from, let's say, the 1920's onwards)?

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Post by Anastasios »

Man oh man....

Met. Vitaly was the ROCOR hierarch to sign on to the union with Met. Cyprian so why on earth would ROCiE prop him up as their anti-Cyprian puppet leader?? Bizzarre.


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Mor Ephrem
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Post by Mor Ephrem »

So ROCOR is no longer in communion with the Cyprianites?

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