Progress Towards the Re-Union of the Orthodox and Anglican Churches
By the Most Rev. Archbishop Germanos, Metropolitan of Thyatira
The Christian East, Spring, 1929, pp. 20-31 Canon Douglas responded to this essay in "Archbishop Germanos on Anglicanism."
I FEEL I must address a few words of thanks to His Lordship the Bishop of Gloucester for affording me the opportunity of putting before you the position of the relations between the Orthodox and the Anglican Communions from the Orthodox point of view. This report, while it will, I am sure, fill your hearts with hopes for the future of these relations, will, on the other hand, show how long the road still is which will have to be travelled before these relations can terminate in the desired end--that is to say, the reunion of these two Communions. What was needed in order successfully to cultivate these relations was that they should be put on a sound basis, as a starting-point from which to proceed slowly but surely to the end in view. And the honour of finding this basis is due, as all are agreed, to the venerable Primate of the Anglican Church, Dr. Randall Davidson, who, from his deep love for the much tried Churches of Eastern Christendom, has found this starting-point in a mutual rapprochement between these two Churches. This initiative, which received a grateful recognition by the Orthodox Church, rekindled in her also the desire for reunion, and has been instrumental in denoting the right spirit in which the existing differences between the two Churches must be discussed. May I be allowed therefore, as representing the Orthodox Church in this country, to express at the beginning a respectful greeting to His Grace for all his labours in the work of rapprochement and mutual understanding between both our Churches.
THE TWO CHURCHES IN THE REMOTE PAST.
What interests us principally is the aspect which the relations between the two Churches have assumed during the last years. Nevertheless, it must not be supposed that the relations between the two Churches began only yesterday. His Grace the Archbishop of Wales, in his address some time ago to the two Patriarchs of the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, reminded them of the relations already existing between the Church of Wales and the Eastern Churches. He also emphasized the point that from the East came the first missionaries, who founded the Church of Wales, and in support of this mentioned the fact that even after the establishment of the Archbishopric of Canterbury by Saint Augustine (who came from Rome in A.D. 596) the Church in Wales continued to be independent, and that many years passed before the complete assimilation between the two parts of the Anglican Church took place. And what is true of the Church of Wales is true also of the Church of Ireland, in which the first to preach the Gospel were Greeks from Asia -Minor. Although it cannot be proved whether these missionaries came from Lyons, where the two disciples of Polycarp of Smyrna, Pothinos and Irenaeus, worked, or from Marseilles, which had close commercial ties with Britain.
Moreover, however much the Greek Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus (A.D. 669), owed his missionary work in this country to the initiative of the Pope of Rome, he never ceased to belong, both by descent and culture, to the East. It is, therefore, only right that we should accept the fact that while organizing the Church of England, he followed both the principles and traditions which he had learnt in the East. "The Church of England," says the historian Green, "as we know it to-day is the work of a Greek monk"; and Trevelyan says, "The Archbishop Theodore stands out as perhaps the greatest Prince of the Church in all English history."
We must pass on a long way in the centuries in order to find a new rapprochement between the two Churches--to the time when the Church of England, after emancipation from Rome, appears as an Independent Church. It is at the time of Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Alexandria (1602-21) and later of Constantinople. Without entering here into a detailed examination of the convictions of this Patriarch, we can say the following. Although the assertion of Dositheos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, is true, that the Orthodox Church did not recognize Cyril as a heretic Patriarch, it is apparent from surviving letters of his (Cyril's) to different personalities in the West and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Abbot, but such was the case. Moreover, it is well known that Metrophanes Critopoulus, who for five years studied at Oxford as a ward of Abbot and succeeded Cyril on the throne of Alexandria, did not hesitate to sign his condemnation at the Synod of Constantinople, in 1638. The Calvinistic Confession by Cyril Lucaris which appeared in the West, and which provoked great trouble in the Church of the East during the seventeenth century, not only did not contribute to the tightening of the bonds of friendship between the two Churches, as was foreshadowed in the correspondence between Cyril and Abbot, but had a contrary effect on the Orthodox Church by arousing doubts and suspicions. And when Dr. Woodroffe, an ardent advocate of the unity of Christendom, addressed himself to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Callinicus II, asking him to send students to the Greek College at Oxford, of which he was the Principal, the Patriarch disregarded his request. The widespread idea that the Orthodox Church had become Calvinistic made the Patriarchs very reserved in their relations with the Anglicans, especially where there was a question of the education of Orthodox young men at English Universities.
Despite all this, the Eastern Patriarchs did not disregard the overtures made to them by the Non-Jurors regarding reunion. These negotiations cannot be said to have been conducted between the two Churches, since the Non-Jurors were in schism with the Church of England, and as soon as this became known, from a letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Wake, to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Chysanthos (1725), they were broken off. But the correspondence, and especially the answers given by the Patriarchs of the East to the questions put by the Non-Jurors, are of extreme interest, as having been given on the supposition that these represented the whole Church of England. Thus, the Patriarchs not only did not question the impossibility of the creation of an Independent Anglican Church, but, on the contrary, supported this idea. They agreed that the Anglicans should retain their own customs, and declared themselves ready to approve of the Anglican Liturgy, provided it was Orthodox. Likewise, they accepted the explanation given, that the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son does not mean that the Son is the active cause of the existence of the Holy Ghost, but is only of the sending forth of the Holy Ghost through the Son to the world, and praised their decision to communicate the Elements in both kinds, and their acceptance of the other Sacraments. The Orthodox Patriarchs, however, refuted the opinion that the decisions of the seven Oecumenical Councils have not the same authority as Scripture, and insisted upon the Non-Jurors giving honour to the Virgin and the Saints, paying reverence to their Eikons and believing in their intercession. But the Patriarchs were adamant on the question of Transubstantiation, because the struggle in the East against Calvinistic teaching of the Holy Eucharist was very recent. Therefore they added the Synodical decision of 1691, under the Patriarch Dionysios, and the Synodical reply which was sent through the Chaplain of the British Legation, J. Covel (1672), to the Philhellenes of Great Britain who asked what was the teaching of the Eastern Church on the Sacraments, and especially on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. In their second answer to the Non-Jurors, the Patriarchs, through the Holy Synod of Russia, sent the Confession of Dositheos to them as a basis on which reunion might be accomplished.
A century and a half later we find a fresh contact between the heads of the Anglican and Orthodox Churches. Gregory VI, Patriarch of Constantinople, on the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archibald Campbell, in a Synodical Encyclical which he sent to all the Metropolitans in 1869, ordered that all Anglicans who die in places where there do not exist Anglican cemeteries should be buried in the Orthodox cemeteries, and by. Orthodox priests, and he likewise ordered a special service to be drawn up to be used on such occasions. However insignificant this concession seems to-day, it is, nevertheless, the first step towards the rapprochement of the Churches in a purely Ecclesiastical matter. The visit of the Archbishop of Syros and Tenos, Alexander Lycourgos, to England in 1870 gave rise not only to immediate intercourse between himself and Anglican Bishops, but also to theological conversations, which enlightened him regarding the existing points of agreement and disagreement between the two Churches. Of greater importance from a dogmatic point of view was the meeting between Anglicans and Orthodox at the reunion Congresses held at Bonn in 1874-5, on the initiative of the Old Catholics. Although at these Congresses complete agreement was not reached on the debated points, the important points must not be overlooked on which agreement was reached. The outstanding point of the famous "Filioque" Clause, about which much has been written in the past, after close historical examination at these Congresses, was so elucidated as to make the agreement reached there the starting-point of agreement in later discussions. As a basis of this agreement, there was laid down the teaching of the Fathers of the Undivided Church, especially that of St. John Damascene, in which the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father through the Son. Important also is the common acceptance at these Congresses of the ancient Creeds and the Dogmatic decisions of the Undivided Church, as by this acceptance a firm basis was made for future discussions on the questions separating the Churches one from the other.
The visit of the late Right Reverend Bishop of Salisbury, John Wordsworth, and especially his meeting with the Patriarch of Constantinople, Constantine V (1897-1900), still further strengthened the bonds between the two Churches. A Committee appointed by the Oecumenical Patriarchate, consisting of the Great Vicar and the Keeper of the Archives, undertook to collaborate with the English Archdeacon Dowling in order to enlighten the Orthodox on the teaching of the Anglican Church. The result of this collaboration is to be found in the answers which were given by the Bishop of Salisbury to questions put by the Orthodox members of the Committee, referring to the points under discussion.
THE TWO CHURCHES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.
A fresh and more interesting development is presented in the relations between the two Churches, especially from the beginning of the twentieth century, and during and after the Great War. While hitherto the relations between the two Churches were confined to a more formal manner, and the discussions bore a purely academic character, the Great War brought a great change both in the relations and the discussions. The reasons which brought about these changes are the following: The sympathy shown by the venerable Anglican Church towards the much-tried Christians of the East by raising her voice for justice and liberation of the enslaved Christian people moved the leaders of the Orthodox Church profoundly and filled with gratitude the hearts of the Orthodox nations. This reason, however unrelated it may appear to be to the question of the reunion of the Churches, was the psychological reason for a closer contact, better knowledge and friendly understanding between the Churches, which constituted the sound reason for the change. Distinguished members of the Orthodox Church belonging to the different Autokephalous Churches of the East visited England and America, where they studied and obtained a deep knowledge of the life of the Anglican Communion, entered into discussions with its members, eliminated misunderstanding and dispelled doubts. The presence of the then Metropolitan of Athens and present Patriarch of Alexandria, Meletius, accompanied by distinguished Orthodox theologians such as the present Archbishop of Athens, Chrysostom, and Professor Alivisatos, and the serious discussions with Anglican theologians, first in America and then in England, as well as the agreement arrived at on many of these points, revived the hopes of reunion between the Churches. Orthodox theologians also from Serbia and Rumania, who visited England and got to know the Anglican Church, returned home carrying with them the idea that the gulf separating the two Churches must not be considered impassable.
The Encyclical published by the Oecumenical Patriarchate in 1920, by which all the Churches of Christ were summoned to form a League of Churches and collaborate on moral and social questions in which all the Churches were interested, cannot be, of course, considered as an attempt at reunion in the strict meaning of the word. No one will, however, deny that reunion was the object which was really intended by the lines of the Encyclical. The Patriarch, in acknowledging that the existing differences and prejudices could not at once be removed, proposed the brotherhood and co-operation of the Churches as being the safest means which "will prepare and facilitate the complete and blessed Union which may some day be obtained with God's help."
But what has really contributed to the strengthening of the relations between the two Churches is undoubtedly the invitation given by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Randall Davidson, to the Oecumenical Patriarchate to send a delegation of Orthodox theologians and clergy in order to discuss with the Committee appointed by the Lambeth Conference the dogmatic questions which separate the two Churches. It appears from the report submitted that the discussion was not confined only to Baptism, Chrism (Confirmation), the Holy Eucharist, the seventh Oecumenical Council, the validity of Anglican Orders, and certain questions of Canon Law on marriage, with which the Committee from Athens and the Serbian and Rumanian theologians had been occupied, but that it was widened to include other matters. Thus, the teaching on tradition, the Creeds, and especially the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, with the "Filioque" Clause, the symbolical books of the Anglican Church, that is to say, the Thirty-nine Articles and the Prayer Book, the Sacraments of Marriage, Penance and Unction, the state of the departed in Christ and their connection with the Church Militant, were also subjects of discussion. And the enumeration only of the subject shows that the importance of discussion was such as to justify us in insisting further on this discussion.
In this debate the delegation recognized the validity of Baptism as performed by Anglican priests, also of Confirmation as performed by the Bishops by the laying on of hands; but they insisted that Chrism should immediately follow Baptism, while the catechizing of the newly-baptized should be postponed until they were older. It is of special interest that the Patriarchal delegation insisted upon the Anglicans recognizing the Holy Eucharist as being of a sacrificial character, and the introduction of the Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit as necessary for the change of the Holy Elements; also that the wafer bread should be changed for leavened bread, specially prepared, and that the wine should be mixed with water. Despite these, the term Transubstantiation was happily eliminated, as the delegation confined itself to the terms, Change (metapoihsiV) and Transformation (metadoch), by which the true meaning of the term is given and misunderstandings are avoided. About the validity of Anglican orders, which constituted an important matter of discussion both in itself and in relation to the valid performance of the other Sacraments, the delegation reserved its own personal opinion, and left it to the study and decision of the official body of the Church. While the delegation remained satisfied because the Anglicans accepted the decision relating to Eikons of the seventh Oecumenical Council, and recognized the Nicene Creed as really oecumenical, it is aware of the opposition manifested by the Anglicans for the elimination of the anti-canonically added "Filioque" Clause.
The delegation took into consideration the declaration by the Anglicans that the Thirty-nine Articles are not articles of Faith, but are articles of confession connected with the established character of the Church, and expressed the opinion that, as their abolition is impossible if the Church is not to be separated from the State, only an amendment of these articles by the competent authorities would be possible. When the Anglicans declared that the Prayer Book contained the true teaching of the Anglican Church, on the basis of the principle of Lex orandi, Lex credendi, the delegation accepted this as being a more favourable starting-point of understanding, inasmuch as it was said that the imminent revision of the Prayer Book would show a more Catholic emphasis. On both sides a marriage performed in cases of necessity by a priest of either Communion is recognized; the Orthodox gave explanations as to auricular confession in the Orthodox Church, and the object of the Sacrament of Unction. The delegation mentions the impression created by the declaration made by the Anglicans, that prayers for the dead are in use now in the Anglican Church, and that their use is becoming more general by permission of the Bishops. But in exposing the above, the delegation does not pass it over without some criticism. Thus, in seeking the reason for which the Anglican insists upon having intercommunion in cases of necessity as being a preparatory step towards a fuller inter-communion, despite the existing differences in faith, it finds this reason in the following: The Anglicans have a wider conception of the Church which is to the Orthodox incomprehensible. And the delegation adds: that the hopes it has derived from the conversation with the competent Committee have been greatly reduced by the Appeal issued by the Lambeth Conference to all Christian people. According to the delegation, the terms offered by this Appeal for a re-united Church are terms which suit their own conditions more than ours. "Their own religious and ecclesiastical conditions lead them to propose to the Non-Episcopal Churches terms which are in opposition to our principles and system." Therefore the delegation says that after their sojourn in England they are persuaded that the "Communio in Sacris," without a previous agreement on dogma, is not the road which leads to the safe and saving reunion of our churches. Nevertheless, the delegation, in praise of the zeal of the "Anglicans, considers it a duty of the Orthodox to continue" contributing in every way to the success of such a work, agreeable to God, as the Union of the Churches, convinced that the all-powerful hand of God will, in time, take away all difficulties and will bring about a work which will be a blessing for Christendom and of the greatest advantage to mankind.
From what has already been said, it is evident how important was the presence of the Patriarchal delegation in London. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in answer to the locum tenens of the Patriarchate, assured him that the delegation gave "a fresh strong life to the mutual friendly relations of the two Churches," while the Lambeth Conference estimates as great the help given by the delegation to its Committee of Bishops, and finally that Committee acknowledges that "presence in London of a Patriarchal delegation was of the greatest importance, as many important questions, both doctrinal and practical, were discussed at it." And although this Committee thinks that we are advancing firmly towards the object of final reunion, still it adds: "There is still much to be accomplished, that we need to know better and understand the position of each other. That from both sides explanations are necessary in order that, when the day should come for proposing Sacramental Inter-Communion, they should rest, on both sides, on principles of broad toleration; and the readiness also of each Church to confine itself to its own practices and customs, not insisting upon the other complying with them."
The presence in London of this Patriarchal delegation had as a result the decision of the Holy Synod in Constantinople, under the Presidency of the Patriarch Meletius, to acknowledge the validity of Anglican Orders. Professor Comnennos on his return to Constantinople considered it wise to devote himself to the study of this question and published a special treatise on Anglican Orders. The conclusions arrived at in his treatise, which were taken into consideration by the permanent Committee on the relations between the two Churches, suggested to the Holy Synod the acknowledgment of the validity of Anglican Orders. The Synod, in acknowledging the validity of these Orders, communicated its decision to the other Autokephalous Churches in an Encyclical, and in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this letter the Patriarch says: "The Holy Synod has concluded that as before the Orthodox Church the ordinations of the Anglican Episcopal Confession of Bishops, priests and deacons possess the same validity as those of the Roman Old Catholic and Armenian Churches possess, inasmuch as all essentials are found in them which are held indispensable from the Orthodox point of view for the recognition of the Charisma of the priesthood derived from Apostolic succession." This decision, as the Patriarch points out in this letter, has not the significance of a decision of "the whole Orthodox Church," for which all the Autokephalous Churches must be in agreement; but "as a decision of the Primatial See of the Orthodox Churches, it is not without significance, and is a step forward in that work of general Union which is agreeable to God." The Archbishop of Canterbury, in communicating the relative documents to the Canterbury Convocation, declared that the decision in itself does not authorize Inter-Communion or mutual ministrations; but that its importance lies " in the preparation for future advances and in preparing the way for the possible regularization of Anglican ministrations to them (the Orthodox people), or of the offer of ministration on their part." The example of the Oecumenical Patriarchate was soon followed by the decisions of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Archbishopric of Cyprus relative to Anglican Orders. The Archbishop of Athens, Chrysostom, drew up a treatise in which he supported the validity of Anglican Orders. The delay on the part of the other Autokephalous Churches in following their example should be ascribed to their preoccupation with internal matters rather than to any hesitation with regard to the essence of the matter. As the decision had already been taken in Constantinople to call a Pan-Orthodox Synod, or Pro-Synod, the Autokephalous Churches which had not yet come to a decision formed the opinion that the question also of Anglican Orders and mutual ministrations in cases of necessity would be put on a proper basis when the relations of the Orthodox to the other Christian Churches had been regulated, as proposed in the Programme.
The last intercourse between Orthodox and Anglican representatives took place at Lausanne in August last year, at the Conference on Faith and Order. However much the general character of this Conference, consisting of representatives of almost seventy Christian Churches, prevented that agreement appearing which had been reached on several points between our two Churches, yet whoever reads the minutes of the Conference, or above all followed the discussions in the special Committees, knows that the Anglican view, as long as it kept to Catholic lines, found its chief supporters in the Orthodox delegation. If the Orthodox delegation arrived at its well-known declaration, in which it refused all compromise, it did this because it found, as did the Patriarchal delegation before in London, that the proposed terms of agreement were so wide as not to be consistent with principles which the Orthodox Church considers to be fundamental.
In reviewing what has been already said above, we say that the relations between the two Churches, Anglican and Orthodox, which have been put on a sound basis by the friendly intercourse of the heads of both Churches and the deeper knowledge of the nature and position of each Church by their theologians, especially since the beginning of the present century, are becoming every day closer. This is shown not only by simple acts of friendliness, but by real compliance and tolerance in what does not touch Inter-Communion, such as, for the Orthodox Church at least, would a century ago have been considered as quite inconceivable. At that time in the East the idea prevailed that the Ecclesiastical body called the Anglican Church was no other than a Protestant branch which, as a remnant of the ancient Church, preserved Episcopacy. Here perhaps, as elsewhere in the West, the Orthodox Church was considered as a dead branch of the ancient and undivided Church, which, while retaining some elements of its doctrine, was on the other hand a mass of superstitions which, owing to their greater number, prevented the distinguishing of the hidden kernel of truth within. Now, thanks to the endeavours made on both sides, the fundamental position of each Church has been examined and cleared of the former prevailing prejudices. But what are the prospects of the future of these relations? That is the point I wish to dwell upon before concluding my address.
HOPES AND FEARS.
The Orthodox Church has always discriminated between intercourse and co-operation of the Churches and the union of them in faith and order. It considers unhesitatingly that the first is possible, even if each Communion retains untouched its own confession, after certain conditions have been fulfilled. These conditions are the cessation of Proselytism among Christians and the cultivation of a brotherly spirit between the different Churches like that which, according to St. Paul, must characterize all the members of one and the same Church. It is true that the object for which the Oecumenical Patriarchate sent its Encyclical in 1920 has not yet been realized in the manner in which it was conceived from the beginning. This is due to the fact that the different Churches either did not make its contents a subject of special study, or did not communicate their opinions to the Oecumenical Patriarchate concerning the manner by which the proposal could be realized; or, finally that the Oecumenical Patriarchate, owing to its own difficulties, could not return to the subject. Nevertheless, if one considers the willing and wide co-operation shown by the Orthodox Church in the movement for reunion, it cannot be denied that the policy of the Patriarchate since this Encyclical has been inspired by sympathy towards all the Christian Churches. And that this sympathy is more emphatically shown to the venerable Church of England is explained not only by the special relations into which it entered for the reasons given above, but also because the Orthodox Church cherishes the conviction that, in spite of all existing difficulties, the reunion with the Church of England in faith lies within the boundaries of possibility in a nearer future than with any other Church, except perhaps with the Old Catholics. What is the plan of co-operation in this League of Churches proposed by the Encyclical, each can conceive for himself if he studies the contents, which would make further remarks here unnecessary.
But the Orthodox Church, although she recognizes the preparatory character of this intercourse and co-operation for the work of reunion in faith and order, has always discriminated between them. It has always conceived of the Unity of the Church as Unity in faith in the fundamental doctrines of Divine Revelation as they were laid down in Scripture and Holy Apostolic tradition and have been confirmed by the decisions of the seven Oecumenical Synods and the nine first centuries. It is therefore easy to understand why the Orthodox Church always advances the faith of the ancient and undivided Church as the model which every discussion with theologians of other Churches should take, and as the starting-point from which every discussion should proceed on the points, undefined formally, but which are accepted in the Orthodox Church on the basis of the Divine Revelation. As the whole content of Divine Revelation has not been defined authoritatively, but is taught and accepted on the authority of the Church, this fact offers great scope for theological discussion, not only among the Orthodox theologians, but between them and theologians of other Churches. Despite this, however, the Orthodox Church accepts as true members those only who declare their belief in its fundamental principles, and considers that they only have the right to partake of the treasure of its grace through its sacraments. As, therefore, the Orthodox Church holds that Unity presupposes dogmatic Unity also, for this reason, when the proposal was made that the Patriarchate should recognize the validity of mutual ministrations of Orthodox and Anglican in cases of necessity, while it recognized the validity of Anglican Orders, it reserved its opinion on this question, and postponed it to the judgment of a future Pan-Orthodox Synod. I simply mention the fact that certain isolated examples which were dictated by anomalous conditions and necessities must not be considered as precedents which abolish the rules prevailing in the Orthodox Churches.
From this it will be seen that the future direction of discussions between the two Churches must be the following: By what means will be raised the existing dogmatic differences between them, and an agreement reached on a common confession of faith? Before we reach this goal, let us not buoy ourselves up with the idea that a safe and enduring Union of the two Churches can be accomplished. To arrive at this goal, how many obstacles must be overcome! On the Orthodox side, there is not only the difficulty of convening a Pan-Orthodox Synod in order to lay down, in the name of the whole Church, the general lines of such a procedure for Union; but the need also for the preparation and enlightenment of the Orthodox people as regards what is essential or non-essential in the faith, and their instruction in the great advantages to be derived from the reunion of the Churches. For the removal of these obstacles not only requires time, but enlightened workers, full of zeal and devotion to the work of reunion. With regard to the obstacles on the Anglican side, may I, instead of mentioning these, be allowed to end my address with a short personal confession.
On my last journey to the East, when the question of the reunion of our Churches was raised, an Orthodox cleric said to me: "It is evident that Unity in Faith is not a sine qua non in the Anglican Church; for in that Church different views are held, not only in secondary matters but in fundamental matters of faith. The appeal of the last Lambeth Conference to all the Christians and the conduct of the English Church towards ecclesiastical bodies which had severed their continuity with the ancient Church, and finally the well-known discussions at the time of the revision of the Prayer Book, show clearly how wide the conception of the Church is among Anglicans. What can further discussions avail, when there exists a radical disagreement between the two Churches on this fundamental point? If, on the other hand, the object of the discussion is to define the common teaching of the Faith, as a link uniting the two Churches to each other, and one of the debating parties has made advances to others on a much wider basis, does not any further discussion seem in vain? Let us therefore be content to cultivate friendly relations and intercourse with the Anglican Church also, and stop deceiving ourselves as well as others with hopes that Unity in Faith is possible."
I answered him thus: "I recognize in one way your doubts and I share your uneasiness, but I shall never reach your despair; you despair because you ignore the nature and constitution of the Anglican Church, and you have not followed at close quarters the slow but undoubted evolution of this Church. If you knew this Church from the moment of its emancipation from Rome; if you had studied the many struggles of some of its members to save what is truly Catholic in it; if you, through close touch, became persuaded of the sincerity of their intentions and the depth of their religious convictions, then despair would not have found a place in your heart. Why should we not think that a time is coming when the Catholic nucleus which always existed in the Anglican Church should not prevail over the whole body, so that it should appear in that form which would make reunion with our Orthodox Church possible? Meanwhile, the duty of the Orthodox is not to break the definite bond which binds us to the Anglican Communion, but to help in such an evolution, through friendly intercourse and in a spirit of peaceful discussion. And finally, since the work of reunion appertains first to the glory of God and the prevalence of His Kingdom on earth, why should we not lay our hopes on Him, who is everything and in this also, as in the work of our religious edification?" So then, "neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase" (i Corinthians iii 7). Oremus et laboremus.