2005-06-21 09:52:23

7. Internal tasks in relation to dialogue with non-Orthodox confessions

7.1. While rejecting views which are erroneous from the point of view of the Orthodox doctrine, the Orthodox are called to treat with Christian love those who confess these views. In their relations with the non-Orthodox, the Orthodox should bear witness to the holiness of Orthodoxy and to the oneness of the Church. In bearing witness to the Truth, however, the Orthodox should be worthy of their witness: causing offence to non-Orthodox Christians is inadmissible.

7.2. It is essential to give the members of the Church competent and trustworthy information about the progress, tasks and prospects of the contacts and dialogue of the Russian Orthodox Church with non-Orthodox confessions.

7.3. The Church condemns those who, by using inauthentic information, deliberately distort the task of the Orthodox Church in her witness before the non-Orthodox world and consciously slander the Church authorities, accusing them of the "betrayal" of Orthodoxy. These people, who sow seeds of temptation among ordinary believers, should be subject to canonical sanctions. In this regard, guidance is given by the decisions of the pan-Orthodox meeting in Thessaloniki in 1998: "The delegates unanimously denounced those groups of schismatics, as well as certain extremist groups within the local Orthodox Churches themselves, that are using the theme of ecumenism in order to criticise the Church leadership and undermine its authority, thus attempting to create divisions and schisms within the Church. They also use non-factual material and misinformation in order to support their unjust criticism. The delegates also emphasised that the Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement has always been based on Orthodox tradition, on the decisions of the Holy Synods of the local Orthodox Churches, and on Pan-Orthodox meetings... The participants are unanimous in their understanding of the necessity for continuing their participation in various forms of inter-Christian activity. We have no right to withdraw from the mission laid upon us by our Lord Jesus Christ, the mission of witnessing the Truth before the non-Orthodox world. We must not interrupt relations with Christians of other confessions who are prepared to work together with us: Durine Orthodox participation of many decades in the ecumenical movement, Orthodoxy has never been betrayed by any representative of a Local Orthodox Church. On the contrary, these representatives have always been completely faithful and obedient to their respective Church authorities, and acted in complete agreement with the canonical rules, the Teaching of the Ecumenical Councils, the Church Fathers and the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church". A threat to the Church is also presented by those who participate in inter-Christian contacts, speaking on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church without the blessing of the Church authorities, as well as by those who bring temptation into the midst of Orthodoxy by entering into canonically inadmissible sacramental communion with non-Orthodox communities.