Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky on Heterodoxy and Ecumenism

Solemn procession during the celebration of 1600th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council, headed by Ecclesial Council of Canterbury. In front is Met. Germanos of Thyateira; behind Met. Anthony is his cell-attendant Hieromonk Feodosii. (June 1925)

Met. Anthony’s ecclesiology is representative of the ecclesiology put forth in striking clarity by St. Cyprian of Carthage. However, holding this ecclesiology did not prevent Met. Anthony and ROCOR from engaging in a healthy, unambiguous and sober type of ecumenism with heterodox from eastern and western confessions. Met. Anthony proves that traditional Orthodoxy and ecumenism can be held together successfully. Additionally, this post proves that photos of Orthodox participation in ecumenical activities, or photos of Orthodox at joint events with the heterodox, are not necessarily a sign of dogmatic compromise.

Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky 1863-1936

The Church’s anathema throws disobedient persons from the salvific flock of Christ, which remains with the same fullness of grace-filled gifts… The Orthodox Church always taught through the mouth of the Holy Fathers and the canons of the Ecumenical Councils that there is no communion with grace-filled life in Christ outside Her and that one receives His gifts only in Her bosom and that outside of her there are no bishops, nor priests, nor mysteries. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 95)

Indeed, we are not going to con-celebrate there, but shall have to search together for a true teaching on the controversial points of faith. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 96)

[C]onviction in the rightness of one’s own Church and that all heretics and schismatics are void of grace does not impede an objective and patient discussion on issues of faith and absolutely cannot instill in the adherents of these views a proud and disdainful mood. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 96)

While the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church exists, at the same time Christianity — that is, individuals, religious communities, and entire communities who believe in Christ as God and recognize the Holy Scriptures — also exists. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 102)

Striving for unification [in faith] is the obligation of all those who have a zeal for the Word of God. Such unification should be expressed first of all in freeing our souls not only from all feelings of ill-will toward those not of a like mind, but also from efforts in our own minds to prove them wrong. On the contrary, he among us will be more pleasing to God who put forward an effort to clarify everything that unites us and that will strive not to reduce the number of such truths, but possibly to increase them, and especially in relation to those Christian bodies and confessions that come to meet our Church in friendship. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 104)
All heterodox confessions are deprived of hierarchical grace, and one cannot exempt the Anglican Church from other Christian confessions, including the Catholic Church. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 105)

Look with reverence on your [Anglican] pastoral service as upon the highest service of the Lord, if you will be worthy to fulfill your high responsibility… Young people, chosen by God: you are called to the highest earthly service to God — to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, pp. 105-106)

It is very clear to me that the soul and heart of a faithful Englishman is not limited by utilitarian goals and plans, whether narrowly political or national. Heaven and afterlife have not been expelled from this heart; although, the theory of moral utilitarianism has been designed in England, so what? Despite the fact that Holy Russia gave to the world not just to St. Seraphim of Sarov, but also Lenin, it is still Holy Russia.

Mutual trust of the better parts of the soul—that is the quality that draws both individuals and nations closer, freeing an intellectual exchange from suspicions and insincerity. These suspicions, which people usually have who discuss questions of confessional differences, are the main obstacles to rapprochement both in convictions and in life. Englishmen showed us the best parts of their souls, and we, in our turn, have to continue to study their theology and religious life. (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 106)

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