Project Canterbury The Episcopal and Greek Churches Report of an Unofficial Conference on Unity
Between Members of the Episcopal Church in America and
His Grace, Meletios Metaxakis, Metropolitan of Athens,
And His Advisers.
October 26, 1918. New York: Department of Missions, 1920
THE desire for closer communion between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the various branches of the Anglican Church is by no means confined to the Anglican Communion. Many interesting efforts have been made during the past two centuries, a resume of which may be found in the recent publication of the Department of Missions of the Episcopal Church entitled Historical Contact Between the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The most significant approaches of recent times have been those between the Anglican and the Russian and the Greek Churches; and of late the Syrian Church of India which claims foundation by the Apostle Saint Thomas.
Evdokim, the last Archbishop sent to America by the Holy Governing Synod of Russia in the year 1915, brought with him instructions that he should work for a closer understanding with the Episcopal Church in America. As a result, a series of conferences were held in the Spring of 1916. At these conferences the question of Anglican Orders, the Apostolical Canons and the Seventh Oecumenical Council were discussed. The Russians were willing to accept the conclusions of Professor Sokoloff, as set forth in his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Divinity, approved by the Holy Governing Synod of Russia. In this thesis he proved the historical continuity of Anglican Orders, and the intention to conform to the practice of the ancient Church. He expressed some suspicion concerning the belief of part of the Anglican Church in the nature of the sacraments, but maintained that this could not be of sufficient magnitude to prevent the free operation of the Holy Spirit. The Russian members of the conference, while accepting this conclusion, pointed out that further steps toward inter-communion could only be made by an oecumenical council. The following is quoted from the above-mentioned publication:
The Apostolical Canons were considered one by one. With explanations on both sides, the two Churches were found to be in substantial agreement.
In connection with canon forty-six, the Archbishop stated that the Russian Church would accept any Anglican Baptism or any other Catholic Baptism. Difficulties concerning the frequent so-called "periods of fasting" were removed by rendering the word "fasting" as "abstinence." Both Anglicans and Russians agreed that only two fast-days were enjoined on their members--Ash-Wednesday and Good Friday.
The Seventh Oecumenical Council was fully discussed. Satisfactory explanations were given by both sides, but no final decision was reached. Before the conference could be reconvened, the Archbishop was summoned to a General Conference of the Orthodox Church at Moscow.
During the past year the Syrian Church and the Anglican Church in India have been giving very full and careful consideration to the question of Reunion and it is hoped that some working basis may be speedily established.
As a preliminary to this present conference, the writer addressed, with the approval of the members of the conference representing the Episcopal Church, a letter to the Metropolitan which became the basis of discussion. This letter has been published as one of the pamphlets of this series under the title, An Anglican Programme for Reunion. These conferences were followed by a series of other conferences in England which took up the thoughts contained in the American programme, as is shown in the following quotation from the preface to the above-mentioned letter:
At the first conference the American position was reviewed and it was mutually agreed that the present aim of such conference was not for union in the sense of "corporate solidarity" based on the restoration of intercommunion, but through clear understanding of each other's position. The general understanding was that there was no real bar to communion between the two Churches and it was desirable that it should be permitted, but that such permission could only be given through the action of a General Council.
The third of these series of conferences was held at Oxford. About forty representatives of the Anglican Church attended. The questions of Baptism and Confirmation were considered by this conference. It was shown that, until the eighteenth century, re-baptism of non-Orthodox was never practiced. It was then introduced as a protest against the custom in the Latin Church of baptizing, not only living Orthodox, but in many cases, even the dead. Under order of Patriarch Joachim III, it has become the Greek custom not to re-baptize Anglicans who have been baptized by English priests. In the matter of Confirmation it was shown that in the cases of the Orthodox, the custom of anointing with oil, called Holy Chrism, differs to some extent from our Confirmation. It is regarded as a seal of orthodoxy and should not be viewed as repetition of Confirmation. Even in the Orthodox Church lapsed communicants must receive Chrism again before restoration.
The fourth conference was held in the Jerusalem Chapel of Westminster Abbey, under the presidency of the Bishop of Winchester. This discussion was confined to the consideration of the Seventh Oecumenical Council. It is not felt by the Greeks that the number of differences on this point touch doctrinal or even disciplinary principles. The Metropolitan stated that there was no difficulty tin the subject. From what he had seen of Anglican Churches, he was assured as to our practice. He further stated that he was strongly opposed to the practice of ascribing certain virtues and power to particular icons, and that he himself had written strongly against this practice, and that the Holy Synod of Greece had issued directions against it."
Those brought in contact with the Metropolitan of Athens, and those who followed the work of the Commission on Faith and Order can testify to the evident desire of the authorities of the East for closer union with the Anglican Church as soon as conditions permit.
This report is submitted because there is much loose thinking and careless utterance on every side concerning the position of the Orthodox Church and the relation of the Episcopal Church to her sister Churches of the East. It seems not merely wise, but necessary, to place before Church people a document showing how the minds of leading thinkers of both Episcopal and Orthodox Churches are approaching this most momentous problem of Intercommunion and Church Unity.
BY common agreement, representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church and delegates from the American Branch of the Anglican and Eastern Association and of the Christian Unity Foundation of the Episcopal Church, met in the Bible Room of the Library of the General Theological Seminary, Saturday, October 26, 1918, at ten o'clock. There were present as representing the Greek Orthodox Church: His Grace, the Most Reverend Meletios Metaxakis, Metropolitan of Greece; the Very Reverend Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, D.D., Professor of the University of Athens and Director of the Theological Seminary "Rizarios"; Hamilcar Alivisatos, D.D., Director of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Ministry of Religion and Education, Athens, and Mr. Tsolainos, who acted as interpreter. The Episcopal Church was represented by the Right Reverend Frederick Courtney; the Right Reverend Frederick J. Kinsman, Bishop of Delaware; the Right Reverend James H. Darlington, D.D., Bishop of Harrisburg; the Very Reverend Hughell Fosbroke, Dean of the General Theological Seminary; the Reverend Francis J. Hall, D.D., Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the General Theological Seminary; the Reverend Rockland T. Homans, the Reverend William Chauncey Emhardt, Secretary of the American Branch of the Anglican and Eastern Association and of the Christian Unity Foundation; Robert H. Gardiner, Esquire, Secretary of the Commission for a World Conference on Faith and Order; and Seraphim G. Canoutas, Esquire. The Right Reverend Edward M. Parker, D.D.,
Bishop of New Hampshire, telegraphed his inability to be present. His Grace the Metropolitan presided over the Greek delegation and Dr. Alivisatos acted as secretary. The Right Reverend Frederick Courtney presided over the American delegation and the Reverend W. C. Emhardt acted as secretary.
Bishop Courtney opened the conference with prayer and made the following remarks: "Our brethren of the Greek Church, as well as the Anglican, have received copies of the letter to His Grace which our secretary has drawn up; and which lies before us this morning. It is clear to all those who have taken active part in efforts to draw together, that it is of no use any longer to congratulate each other upon points on which we agree, so long as we hold back those things on which we differ. The points on which we agree are not those which have caused the separation, but the things concerning which we differ. So long as we assume that the conditions which separate us now are the same as those which have held us apart, we are in line for removing those things which separate us. We are making the valleys to be filled and the mountains to be brought low and making possible a revival of the spirit of unity. It is in the hope of effecting this that we are gathered together. Doctrinal differences underlie the things that differentiate us from each other. The proper way to begin this conference would be to ask the Greeks what they think of some of the propositions laid down in the letter, beginning first with the question of the Validity of Anglican Orders, and then proceeding to the "Filioque Clause" in the Creed and other topics suggested.
"Will His Grace kindly state what is his view concerning the Validity of Anglican Orders?"
The Metropolitan: "I am greatly moved indeed, and it is with feelings of great emotion that I come to this conference around the table with such learned theologians of the Episcopal Church. Because it is the first time I have been given the opportunity to express, not only my personal desire, but the desire of my Church, that we may all be one. I understand that this conference is unofficial. Neither our Episcopal brethren, nor the Orthodox, officially represent their Churches. The fact, however, that we have come together in the spirit of prayer and love to discuss these questions, is a clear and eloquent proof that we are on the desired road to unity. I would wish, that in discussing these questions of ecclesiastical importance in the presence of such theological experts, that I were as well equipped for the undertaking as you are. Unfortunately, however, from the day that I graduated from the Theological Seminary at Jerusalem, I have been absorbed in the great question of the day, which has been the salvation of Christians from the sword of the invader of the Orient.
"Unfortunately, because we have been confronted in the Near East with this problem of paramount importance, we leaders have not had the opportunity to think of these equally important questions. The occupants of three of the ancient thrones of Christendom, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Patriarch of Antioch and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, have been constantly confronted with the question of how to save their own fold from extermination. These patriarchates represent a great number of Orthodox and their influence would be of prime importance in any deliberation. But they have not had time to send their bishops to a round-table conference to deliberate on the questions of doctrine. A general synod, such as is so profitably held in your Church when you come together every three years, would have the same result, if we could hold the same sort of synod in the Near East. A conference similar to the one held by your Church was planned by the Patriarch of Constantinople in September, 1911, but he did not take place, owing to command of the Sultan that the bishops who attended would be subject to penalty of death.
"In 1906, when the Olympic games took place in Athens, the Metropolitan of Drama, now of Smyrna, passed through Athens. That was sufficient to cause an imperative demand of the Patriarch of Constantinople that the Metropolitan be punished, and in consequence he was transferred from Drama to Smyrna. From these facts you can see under what conditions the evolution of the Greek Church has been taking place.
"As I have stated in former conversations with my brethren of the Episcopal Church, we hope that, by the Grace of God, freedom and liberty will come to our race, and our bishops will be free to attend such conferences as we desire. I assure you that a great spirit of revival will be inaugurated and give proof of the revival of Grecian life of former times.
"The question of the freedom of the territory to be occupied in the Near East is not merely a question of the liberty of the people and the individual, but also of the Church. If our countries are set free, the Church will find an opportunity to work for the general union of all Churches.
"The answer, therefore, of the letter of invitation sent to the Greek bishops from the Lambeth Conference by the bishops of the English Church, which has not yet been sent for the reasons mentioned, can only be given when the bishops of the Greek Church can give it serious attention around a conference table. If you can see with me the solution of the question of the Near East, you will see that this conference will soon take place, and that you will soon receive answers to the questions you have addressed to me. From that day our longing for union will begin to be a realization.
"I desire therefore to lay before you a few questions. I have already stated to you gentlemen that I am unable to meet you on equal ground in theological discussion.
"This confession must not be considered as an obstacle to asking any questions that you may desire; and I will reply with the measure of knowledge that I have.
"I understand that the first question that you ask is what is the Grecian view of the Validity of Anglican Orders. I am not sufficiently well equipped to answer in full so I will ask Father Chrysosomos, Professor of the University of Athens to speak for me."
Father Chrysostomos: "On the question of Validity of Anglican Orders certain books have been written by theologians of the Greek Church, of which the most important are, first, that of the Russian theologian Sokoloif, and second, of the Greek theologian Androustos. The different theological seminaries have expressed their view in reply to questions sent by the Patriarch of Constantinople. Only the Russian theologian Sokoloff has expressed finality in the view that they must receive universal acceptance. This view was not accepted by the Russian Synod."
Reverend W. C. Emhardt: "Was not the acceptance of Father Sokoloff's thesis as satisfactory for a degree of Doctor in Divinity equivalent to an endorsement by the Synod?"
Father Chrysostomos: "It is not the same."
Father Chrysostomos again: "Today the view current among Greeks everywhere is that they can be recognized without any doubt whatever as far as the historical point is concerned: namely that Bishop Parker was regularly and canonically consecrated, and had the right to ordain others.
"Regarding other phases of the question the Greek Church would like to ask the following questions: (1) If the Episcopal Church is prepared to state whether they do or do not recognize the Ordination of Clergy as one of the Seven Sacraments, because it is not quite clear in reading the Thirty-nine Articles in the Prayer Book, whether the Anglican Church recognized it as one of the sacraments or not. Several of the theologians of the English Church state that they do not recognize it; and as far as I know, no statement has come from an official source. It is for this reason the Greek Church reserves its opinion on the subject."
Metropolitan: "It is better to reserve this question until afterwards, because with Penance it would be considered under the head of Sacraments."
Father Chrysostomos: "I express it as my own personal opinion as a question which should most assuredly be asked the Anglican Church."
Father Chrysostomos again: "The second question is whether the Episcopal Church does recognize the body of bishops as representing the whole Church,--whether upon coming together in oecumenical synods they could express the authority of the whole Church. From what I understand the Thirty-nine Articles to state (mean) I infer that the infallibility of general councils is not recognized. This is important because an oecumenical synod would be composed of bishops officially recognized by all Churches."
Reverend W. C. Emhardt: "We make a distinction between general councils and oecumenical councils."
Bishop Courtney: "Does Father Chrysostomos refer to our acceptance of future councils or to the Seven Councils? In the latter case the whole question of the Seventh Council would be open to discussion."
Bishop Kinsman: "Do I understand that this doubt exists because a question is raised by one of the Articles concerning councils?"
Father Chrysostomos: "My idea is either mistranslated or misunderstood. I meant if the bishops come together in oecumenical synods, would their considerations be considered as authoritative?''
Bishop Courtney: "There is no doubt that we would accept their conclusions as those of undisputed councils."
Father Chrysostomos: "The third point His Grace rules out, but I should like to submit it as a personal question: Would the Episcopal Church in some way express its views of the Thirty-nine Articles as not being a symbolic book, but rather as a result of the action of the local synod and chiefly of historical importance?"
Metropolitan: "I consider this as of first importance. Do the canonically consecrated bishops of the Church represent an official body whose decision would be infallible if expressed in a general council? I understand that you accept this point."
Bishop Kinsman: "If a general council were called, who would be the official representatives? Would they be of the East only, without the West?"
Metropolitan: "Not without the West."
Further: "Would the members of the Episcopal Church accept the decisions of such council? They would be accepted by our Church."
Bishop Kinsman: "There is no question of our acceptance."
Metropolitan: "Would this make the people regard them as infallible? In the Greek Church the bishops coming together are infallible, provided they represent the conscience of the Church. Such question relates not merely to the will of the majority. Their decision should represent the conscience of the Church. Many synods have come together as oecumenical councils, but were not such, because they did not represent the conscience of the Church. To state an historical instance, we refer to the Council of Florence in 1439. There the bishops of the Greek Church under adverse circumstances were coerced to sign the decree. If we accepted their action we would now be part of the Roman Church. One bishop, however, Marcus of Ephesus, did not do so. He returned and told the truth concerning the coercion, and the council was rejected. Another historical instance, from more ancient history, is that of Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, who, during the Arian controversy, stated that 'while I am personally an Arian, and do not accept the Homoou-sian, my diocese is Orthodox.' He therefore voted for the Orthodox Creed, because he recognized the necessity of being in accord with the conscience of his Church and of his people.
"This phase, dear brethren, is important in view of the subject before us today, because the union which we are discussing is not merely a theological one, made between clergy, but is especially between the peoples of the two Churches. It can only be effective if the consciousness of the people accept it.
"I am not acquainted with the attitude of the Episcopalian Church concerning the authority of the bishops. In the Greek Church, if all bishops came together and established a unity it would be of no more authoritative nature than that of the Council of Florence, if the consciousness of the Church did not accept it, because the Church is the totality of clergy and people.
"I speak of this question with due weight. Before final union can be effected, it is absolutely necessary that the peoples of the two Churches express the unity of their conscience."
Bishop Courtney: "May I state the position we have reached thus far: first, His Grace would be prepared in a council to advise the official recognition of Anglican Orders, provided (a) the Anglican Communion officially expressed its Orders as a sacrament. You therefore would be expected to make some official pronouncement before the subject could be laid before a council of both Churches. That would necessitate that the matter be laid before the General Convention so that some changes or additions could be made to the Thirty-nine Articles and the Catechism. The Catechism states that there are 'two only generally necessary for salvation: that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.' The Article states, 'There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.' It is quite possible that the views of theologians may be asserted to be: that while there are two only as ordained by Christ, there are others which might be known as Minor Sacraments. I understand that you would expect some such pronouncement from us."
Metropolitan: "The question which we are now discussing is very important, because on this point we should know each others' minds. It is one of those questions that would surely come up at a council, and is closely connected with others which would naturally arise. We cannot discuss all these questions now."
Bishop Darlington: "Our chairman wisely took up two points showing that something was to be done by each side. First, on the part of the Metropolitan, that when an assembly of Orthodox bishops should be held, that he should present our claim for the recognition of the Validity of Anglican Orders, and urge reunion, if possible."
Metropolitan: "I understand; at the synod I will make the statement that we should all arrive at the desired day of final reunion; and, in order that we should facilitate this, would have for that synod a carefully prepared statement of the points in which we meet and the points in which we differ. I would advocate the formation of a committee to meet a committee from your Church that they may offer mutual explanation."
Bishop Darlington: "From our side you wish a statement that we consider Orders a sacrament."
Metropolitan: "This, of course, will be one of the points; because it would surely be asked what is our view on other points as follows: ..."
Bishop Darlington: "We had better keep to one point."
Reverend W. C. Emhardt: "We are considering an official pronouncement on the Sacrament of Orders."
Bishop Darlington: "I would first say that there is a committee of the House of Bishops appointed to confer with the Eastern Orthodox Church. Of this Committee I am chairman. The other members are: the Bishop of Delaware, who is here present; the Bishop of New Hampshire, who has just telegraphed that he is unavoidably detained. This is a very old committee and represents the 110 members of the House of Bishops. Another committee representing the whole General Convention is appointed for like purpose, and consists of bishops, priests and laymen. Referring to the subject before us. in conversation we often make a distinction not yet brought up at this conference.
"We speak in the Catechism (Thirty-nine Articles) of Sacraments of the Gospel, and among ourselves we speak of the other five as Sacraments of the Church, or Mysteries. Baptism and Mass for everybody; the others for certain people, or under certain conditions."
Bishop Courtney: "The two sacraments are matters of Faith, the others are matters of Order. Our part would be to show the sacramental side of Orders more strongly."
Bishop Darlington: "The mind of the Church has been shown by a third commission, that on Church Unity, which confers with all. These three commissions show the serious desire of the Church towards the reunion of Christendom."
Reverend W. C. Emhardt: "There is also another Commission appointed by the General Convention, that of the World Conference on Faith and Order, whose secretary, Mr. Gardiner, and several other members are seated around this table."
Metropolitan: "It is noticed that you make a distinction in the question of sacraments, recognizing two as Sacraments of the Gospel and five as Sacraments of the Church. I have noticed that you have several rituals which correspond to these sacraments. Now, if you ask this question of a theologian of the Greek Orthodox Church, 'Do you place in the same category the other sacraments as you place Baptism and the Liturgy?', we answer, 'No.' As far as one class is concerned, they are binding upon everybody."
Bishop Darlington: "In the case of Marriage?"
Metropolitan: "On the question of Marriage, if you ask a Greek, he would call it a sacrament."
Bishop Darlington: "Would he place it among the greater sacraments necessary to salvation?"
Metropolitan: "No. I am not married myself. However, in these seven there is a common point which gives them the right to be called sacraments: the grace which goes to the people who receive them."
Dr. Hall: "Our Greek friends wish to know on official authority that we believe that Orders is a sacrament. They urge that our Articles are obscure. The reason why they are obscure is because they were drawn up in the midst of a very confusing situation. They were meant for the moment to quiet controversy; and largely political.
They pre-supposed the working system of the Church in the Prayer Book; so that Prayer Book language has more fundamental authority in the Church than the Articles. The Prayer Book might answer your question in one of two ways; either by saying directly that Order is a sacrament; or by requiring that it be administered like a sacrament. To do that means that it would be administered as a form for conveying divine grace. In ordaining priests the Bishop says, 'Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of His holy Sacraments.'"
Metropolitan: "This is exactly the spirit of the Orthodox Church concerning this sacrament. If this statement expressed here is not contradicted or counter-acted by some other statement that is considered official, then the Orthodox Church would applaud it."
Dr. Hall: "In the Order of Consecration of Bishops, the following words are used, 'Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. And remember that thou stir up the grace of God which is given unto thee by this Imposition of our hands.'"
Metropolitan: "For what has been so well expressed by the Professor concerning the sacraments and the Thirty-nine Articles, which serve an historical purpose and are not foundations, we do rejoice."
Dr. Hall: "We distinguish in our own affairs between what is officially set in the Book of Common Prayer and what is said by individuals in the pulpit."
Metropolitan: "In this we too agree."
Dr. Hall: "A great deal of liberty is allowed among us in personal opinion. It is because we are in the midst of Protestantism, for whose sectarianism we are to some extent responsible, that we must be guarded in our statements. For we do not wish to root out the tares for fear of taking life away from the wheat. We rely on the strength of our own working system and the Holy Ghost behind it. Whenever there is a great revival of the spiritual life and loyalty to the Prayer Book, there is also a revival of Catholic teaching. The fact that a revival is always a Catholic revival assures us that our official position is always a Catholic position.
"Speaking of councils, you ask our attitude towards the infallibility of an oecumenical council. We distinguish between an oecumenical and general council. The Council of Arminum was a general council, but not oecumenical because it failed to represent the mind of the Universal Christendom. We accept any council that has been received by the Universal Church, and we should do so in the future. If a council met, consisting of Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans alone, we would accept it if its decisions seemed to be in accord with the mind of the Universal Church. The Metropolitan said that the people would have to be considered, and the conscience of the people reckoned with and the bishops must represent the people. That is our form, and it is because of that form our legislative body, the General Convention, consists of two groups, one of bishops and the other of priests and laity. The inherent teaching authority of the bishops is recognized, but the bishops for unity and recognition of people's conscience have agreed to exercise their prerogatives in accordance with the laws of the General Convention.
"Another question relating to the Thirty-nine Articles. The American Church soon after its organization, passed a resolution accepting the Thirty-nine Articles, but it does not require anyone to accept them. They are practically simply a document notifying the English Church that we are in unity with them. They are not taught in all our seminaries and are emphasized in only one or two. There is no course in them in the General Theological Seminary. Their difficulty lies in the fact that they read like one side of a telephone conversation. The other side was a state of confusion of many conflicting voices, following the revolt from Rome. So that very careful study of that confusing period is needed to understand them. When that study is undertaken, it is shown that they do not deny one Catholic doctrine; and the Twentieth Article states that the Church has authority in controversies of Faith."
Metropolitan: "After what Professor Hall has said, I am led to infer that if any question finally comes up, it will have to be considered that certain things officially recognized are not considered binding. This fact will not strike very well in. How can they be officially recognized and practically ignored?"
Bishop Darlington: "We adopted them, but expressly said that they are not obligatory with us. The Creeds are obligatory. We merely took the others over because they belonged to our mother, and said that they were not to be signed by our clergy. It is bound as the last thing in our Prayer Book, and in the index is separated as an appendix."
Metropolitan: "If the good Lord blesses our work, which means union, would the prelates say that they are merely historical?"
Bishop Courtney: "Yes."
Metropolitan: "This is a very joyful fact, because we have with us two very learned theologians who teach and lecture, and they will give out your ideas, and help to dispel many erroneous notions."
Bishop Kinsman: "There have been many who wished to drop the Articles altogether. The late Bishop Williams of Connecticut used to say, 'The Thirty-nine Articles are now placed just inside the binding of the Prayer Book. In the next edition they will be left outside altogether.' Many clergy and laity feel the same way about the Articles."
Mr. Gardiner: "Has not a Russian theologian published the fact that they are not obligatory upon American Churchmen?"
Father Chrysosotomos: "Several."
Metropolitan: "By way of information, may I ask the question, 'What happens in the event of a priest of the Episcopal Church going to the Church of Rome? What has been his standing?' "
Bishop Kinsman: "He has been re-ordained. Rome does not recognize our Orders, and therefore re-ordains."
Metropolitan: "Is it not true that the reasons were because the bishops who were first ordained were not recognized by the Pope and therefore excommunicated?"
Bishop Darlington: "The Catholic Encyclopedia, an authoritative voice in the Roman Church, gives up the old contentions and shows minor differences in practice, such as the omission of salt in Baptism."
Metropolitan: "I supposed that this was the case."
Bishop Kinsman: "The position of the Anglican Church, as viewed by Rome, is outlined in the Encycle of Pope Leo XIII, issued in 1895. In that letter, less stress was laid upon historical matters, more on the matter of form and intention. This letter was fully considered and answered by the English Archbishops."
Reverend W. C. Emhardt: "There was also a full answer given by the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church. It should also be pointed out that the Encycle of Leo implied a condemnation of Russian Orders (See Paragraph 20, Responsio Archiepiscoporum Angliae)."
Bishop Courtney: "We have now reached in our own minds a decision of what we should do to express our belief of the Validity of Anglican Orders, on the one hand, and on the other hand, what is needed to a satisfactory expression to our belief in the Sacrament of Orders."
The morning session then adjourned.
The afternoon session convened at two-fifteen o'clock.
Bishop Courtney: "I would ask you to turn to page nine of the letter which our secretary has prepared and placed in the hands of all of you for your consideration. We will note that the first question under the apparent doctrinal differences is the addition of the "Filioque Clause" to the Creed. The secretary has also placed in your hands a long extract from the addresses by Father Puller on the 'Continuity of the English Church.' We ask, therefore, whether the facts presented by the secretary, and the judgment of the Russian Church as shown in the quotation from Father Puller, are satisfactory to Your Grace?"
Metropolitan: (after the Greeks had carefully reviewed these documents:) "I wish once more to state that, as far as historical developments of the Church are concerned, I have not had sufficient time to go into details. This is the first time that this expression on the part of the Russian Church has come to my attention. And now that I learn that the question has been taken up between Anglican and Orthodox clergy, and that they have found that the teaching of the Anglican Church is essentially the same, great joy fills my heart.
"As far as my knowledge of history of this addition to the Creed has extended, it has led to two questions. The first relates to the teaching or implication of its meaning. The second, whether it is right or not to insert that expression in the decree. When the Church of the East learned of the decision of the Church of the West to make this addition, they resented the act for three reasons. First, the Orthodox Church supposed that by the addition a division of the Source or Cause of Deity was implied. It is because of this she rejected the clause as heretical. Secondly, the form could not be recognized as valid, since there was a decision at the Third Oecumenical Synod, where, while approving the holy Creed of Nicea, they passed a resolution that nothing should be taken away from or added to the Nicean Creed. And the decision of the Third Oecumenical Synod was regarded with such importance that at subsequent synods, whenever a doctrinal question was decided, the decision was so guarded that it could be in no way encroach on the statements of this Creed. The third reason is, that the phrase as used in the Creed of the Orthodox Church, contains the very words of Jesus as used in the Gospel--the words of Jesus Himself. Therefore the authoritative Greek Church could not even change the Scripture of Saint John and add to it 'and from the Son.' Therefore we cannot add the word."
Bishop Courtney: "Speaking from the Anglican point of view I remind you of what our Lord said, 'Whom I will send from the Father' which gives warrant to the Latin expression, Ex Patre per Filium. Would not such a reference satisfy the minds of Greek theologians as to our justification in retaining this clause?"
Metropolitan: "I am merely rehearsing the position of Greek scholars. This being the explanation of the English Church, it is still difficult to see why they express themselves by the addition made by the Roman Catholic Church.
"If at the time when the addition had been made, they had used the phrase, Ex Patre per Filium, 'Proceeding from the Father sent by the Son,' then the Eastern Church would have had no objection on dogmatic grounds. Yet they would not feel that the fact justified an addition to the Creed."
Bishop Courtney: "We understand Your Grace's position. But the question before us is: Would Your Grace in any council at which this question is proposed be willing to state our right to use the word with the interpretation placed upon by us?"
Metropolitan: "Because this question has had a long debate and different action has been taken by one side or the other; therefore, an explanation given outside the Creed in a conference would satisfy the bishops but would fail to win over the confidence of the people. Because the question that will be placed before us by many over there is: 'If the Anglican Church accepts that as we do, and puts the same interpretation on it as we do, how is it that in her spirit of protest against the Roman Church, she still keeps these words? We cannot understand why we should agree in explanation, but still retain these words, when by omitting them we should arrive at the same position as was held by the Church at the time of the First Oecumenical Synod.
"We must bear in mind that it is a question of winning over the millions to this union. If we take away these words the English and American will be scandalized: if they are retained, it means that the millions of the Greek Church will be scandalized. If either has to be converted, it would seem best to convert those who are best able to be recipients of explanation. The English people can best understand explanation, while the people of the East are not sufficiently able to grasp the idea."
Bishop Kinsman: "I desire to present to you the findings of the Bonn Conferences which were held in the years 1874-1875, between members of the Orthodox and the various Western Churches, which were gathered to consider especially the question of reunion. The Old Catholic Church was represented by such theologians as Bishop Reinkens, Von Döllinger, Dr. Herzog, Professor of Theology at Berne, and many others. The Orthodox Church was represented by Archbishop Lykurgos of Syra and Tenos; Bishop Gennadius of Argesu; Melchisedek, Bishop of Dunarei-de-Josu, in Roumania; Sabbas, Archimandrite in Belgrade; Anastasiadis and Bryenios, Archimandrites; and Dr. Philaret J. Waphidea, Deacon, from Constantinople; M. M. Damalas, Professor in the University of Athens; Zikos Rhossis, Professor in the Theological Seminary "Rhizarios," and teacher in the University of Athens; and about twenty others representing various branches of the Orthodox Church.
"There were also many noted prelates and priests from the English and American Churches. At the second of these conferences the following preliminary articles were adopted:
(1) We agree together in receiving the Oecumenical Symbols and the doctrinal decisions of the ancient undivided Church.
(2) We agree together in acknowledging that the addition of the Filioque to the Creed did not take place in an ecclesiastically regular manner.
(3) We acknowledge on all sides the representation of the Doctrine of the Holy Ghost, as it is set forth by the Fathers of the undivided Church.
(4) We reject every proposition and every method of expression in which in any way the acknowledgement of two Principles or (arcai) (aitiai) in the Trinity may be contained'."
Bishop Kinsman then read with approval the Articles of the Procession of the Holy Spirit taken from Saint John of Damascus, and approved at this conference.
Bishop Kinsman: "This largely represents the idea of American theologians and conies near expressing the consensus of opinion on the subject."
Father Chrysostomos: "I understand that the Old Catholics objected to the 'Filioque Clause'."
H. Alvisatos: "From a statement of the Bishop of the Old Catholic Church, Vallette, we know that they reject the Filioque."
Bishop Darlington: "This Bishop does not represent the Old Catholics."
Metropolitan: "A great step towards union would be taken if this were to be removed. Would it not be possible to take this up and debate it at your General Convention; because this was introduced in an uncanonical way by the Roman Church, and because there is a satisfactory explanation that can be given by your Church?"
Bishop Kinsman: "Would a council be satisfied with some such general statement as our secretary has quoted on page nine of his letter from the learned American theologian, the late Bishop Arthur Cleveland Coxe: 'The words of the Filioque are yet in the Symbol although our most learned divines agree that, however true they may be, they are not part of the Faith.' This statement was accepted as part of the report of a committee of the General Convention and inserted in its official report in 1862. Or would they want to give a more specific statement as was done by Dr. Von Döllinger?"
Metropolitan: "As long as the debate is between the theologians of the two Churches, it is not necessary to give any general statement."
Dr. Hall: "It has been said that the Orthodox reject the Filioque as a protest against Rome. Why should not the Anglicans do the same? The answer is: the Filioque is not of Roman origin. It originated in Spain in an effort to win lapsed Arians among the Visigoths. It was accepted at the Council of Hatfield, in England, in the year 680, more than a century before its acceptance by Rome. It has been urged that to omit it would leave it where we were before Constantinople. I do not believe so. We have been using the Filioque for a long time. If we abandon its use, it can only be taken as a repudiation of the things for which the clause stands. It has been shown here that the Filioque does not stand with us as indicating a division of the arcai of the Procession. It is a rough and ready assertion of the truth of both Eastern and Western Fathers. As when John of Damascus makes the Holy Ghost proceed dia (per) and Tarasius using the same expression is accepted by the Seventh Council; Saint Augustine makes Him proceed Ex Patre per Filium, but principaliter ex Patre. The reason why the Filioque is of use to us is to protect the Godhead of the Son against modern Unitarian attacks. It emphasizes the fact that in the eternal Spiration of the Father and the Son, that the ousia is no other ousia than that which the Son has as well as the Father.
"It is urged that the Third Council forbade any addition to or subtraction from the Creed. That was a positive law of discipline. Its purpose was to protect the Faith. But when the West came up against a modified Ananism, it added these words in the interest of the very faith of the Creed. So that, although it violated the letter of the Council's decision, it kept the spirit of it. It is urged that it would be easier for us to explain an omission than for the Oriental to explain an addition. It has been added with explanations which are acceptable to all, so that to take it away would remove the safeguard to that doctrine.
"Another difficulty is that the Episcopal Church would not feel free to act on so important a question independently of the Church of England. It is one of our bonds of union. Would not the true attitude be for each to keep its own views, but refer the question to a future Oecumenical conference with mutual explanations?"
Bishop Courtney: "The question then is, whether the Greeks, pending a decision, would not hold that its retention was not a bar to the union with the Greeks."
Metropolitan: "What has been expressed by Professor Hall regarding the retention of the words as a protection against the attacks of Unitarianism, thereby protecting the Deity of Jesus, would receive very serious consideration whether this would not seem advisable.
"As far as I can represent the existing spirit of the Greek Church, I can foretell this action in an Oecumenical synod regarding this question. While it would be easy to draw up a real document of explanation, the Greeks would adhere to the Creed as given in the Third Oecumenical Council."
Bishop Courtney: "Our retention of the words is necessary until some official action has been taken. Would that fact be allowed to stand in the way of our recognition at any gathering in the future?"
Metropolitan: "At the first possible opportunity an official gathering of bishops of the Orthodox Church, I will be prepared to explain that the teachings of the Anglican and Orthodox Church concerning the Procession of the Holy Ghost are in agreement. I can go no further."
Bishop Darlington: "That is not the point. It would be easier to make any adjustment after an oecumenical council than before it. We would then have the knowledge of the full programmes. We seem to be apart, but we hold the same view. We are willing to meet at a conference without changing our attitude, and without change on your part. We would then return and adjust affairs of our own Church in accordance with the agreement made."
Metropolitan: "The Lord said, 'the Spirit floweth whither it willeth.' No bishop or theologian can foretell or handicap in any way the work of a synod coming together in the spirit of truth. Therefore, when we agree to come together with one idea, seeking in love for union, then that spirit must lead us to truth. Who knows but that in such a spirit, and under such guidance, an obscure theologian may arise to present a simple creed which may be acceptable to all. Why not therefore make some provisional agreement? We hope that in such a council we shall find some common ground of agreement. If we do not find it, we shall pray God that He will bring us together again under more favorable conditions."
Reverend W. C. Emhardt: "We have had recourse in our Prayer Book to the use of optional phrases, as when in the Baptismal office we say, 'He shall dip or he may pour.' It will be necessary, most likely, in administering the sacraments after the manner which I suggested in the letter I have handed Your Grace, that some optional phrases or directions be added. In fact, the Longer Catechism and the Catechism of Peter Mogila, speak of one form of Confirmation as the Biblical form, and the other as having the warrant of Apostolic use. Would it not be possible, in the same manner, for the Creed to be authorized in either form, as may be determined at a council, permitting the optional use or disuse of the word of the 'Filioque Clause' with some qualifying note such as, on the one hand, 'Provided the use of these words does not imply a belief in two Sources in the Godhead,' or, on the other hand, 'Provided that this omission does not imply a denial of the Deity of the Son.' In such way I believe the Creed should be used satisfactorially by all."
The hour for adjournment having arrived, and it being found impossible for the Metropolitan to meet with us again before his departure for Europe, Bishop Courtney stated: "I regret that we are not able to consider the other points which are raised in the letter that has been presented to His Grace. I would ask therefore that he carefully consider these points with his theologians, and submit such answers as he may care to make to our secretary, the Reverend William Chauncey Emhardt."
After prayer and benediction by the Metropolitan, the Conference adjourned.
We have examined this report of the Conference between members of the Greek and Episcopal Churches; and according to our recollection, find it to be substantially accurate, and hereby give it our assent and approval.
For the Orthodox Delegation:
ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS, MELETIOS, Chairman
H. ALIVISATOS, Secretary
For the Delegation from the Episcopal Church:
F. COURTNEY, Chairman
WILLIAM CHAUNCEY EMHARDT, Secretary