Ecumenism

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'''Ecumenism''' is, principally, dialogue between Christian groups aimed at promoting the restoration of unity among all Christians through understanding, through mutual respect and toleration, and through practical cooperation in areas of common concern, such as care for the poor, sick, and needy.  
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'''Ecumenism''' is, principally, dialogue between Christian groups aimed at promoting the restoration of unity among all Christians through understanding, through mutual respect and toleration, and through practical cooperation in areas of common concern, such as care for the poor, sick, and needy.
  
Orthodox Christians take widely different attitudes toward ecumenism. A few embrace the Anglican "branch theory" which holds that the various divisions in Christianity all represent branches of the same Church just as the branches of a tree are all integrally part of the same living tree. Many Orthodox Christians object to this theory on the ground that it is inconsistent with properly Orthodox [[ecclesiology]]. It tends to minimize Orthodoxy and reduces its stature from exclusively the [[One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church|one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church]] to that of a relatively small segment of the Church: one denomination among many.
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Orthodox Christians were engaged in the foundation of the ecumenical movement from its inception.  The primary basis for the Orthodox role in the ecumenical movement was a statement issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1920 entitled "Unto All the Churches of Christ Wheresoever They Be."  A number of Orthodox churches were present at the initial founding conference of the [[World Council of Churches]], and most have continued to participate in the life of the WCC, as well as in national and regional councils of churches.
  
However, one may dispute the branch theory and still support ecumenical activity to a point. Some Orthodox Christians regard ecumenism as an opportunity to present Orthodoxy to the world as a unique witness to the ancient Christian faith and to the Church as the indivisible body of Christ. Others feel that ecumenism necessarily undermines this witness and feel that the Orthodox will be forced to alter traditional practices and even the very content of the ancient apostolic faith.
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Some Orthodox Christians have criticized participation in the ecumenical movement.  They believe that ecumenical witness represents a concession to the "Branch Theory," which suggests that the various divisions in Christianity all represent branches of the same Church just as the branches of a tree are all integrally part of the same living tree.  Under such a model, Orthodoxy would be defined not as exclusively the [[One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church|one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church]], but rather as a relatively small segment of the Church: one denomination among many.  (However, this understanding of ecumenism is not supported by the agreements which define ecumenical structure, most notably the [[Toronto Declaration]].)
  
In the Twentieth Century particularly, some ecumenical activities have drawn sharp criticism from various voices within the Orthodox Church, particularly participation in the [[World Council of Churches]] and, in the United States, the [[National Council of Churches]].  Ecumenism is often opposed by ''[[Traditionalist]]s'', particularly those in [[Old Calendarist]] jurisdictions, who regard the [[New Calendar]] as a symptom of ecumenism.
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In the Twentieth Century particularly, some ecumenical activities have drawn sharp criticism from various voices within the Orthodox Church, particularly participation in the World Council of Churches and, in the United States, the [[National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA]].
  
 
One of the more controversial documents drawn up in recent years pertaining to ecumenism is the [[Balamand Statement]], an unofficial joint document of recommendation on [[Uniates|Uniatism]] signed by representatives of the [[Orthodox Church]] and the [[Roman Catholic Church]] in 1993.
 
One of the more controversial documents drawn up in recent years pertaining to ecumenism is the [[Balamand Statement]], an unofficial joint document of recommendation on [[Uniates|Uniatism]] signed by representatives of the [[Orthodox Church]] and the [[Roman Catholic Church]] in 1993.
  
Recently, many of the Orthodox Churches in the United States, including the [[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America]], the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America]], and the [[Orthodox Church in America]] have joined a new ecumenical organization called [[Christian Churches Together]]. Many church leaders hope that this new organization will be able to avoid some of the problems the Orthodox churches had with groups like the [[National Council of Churches]] while at the same time opening up positive opportunities for dialogue and cooperation.
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Recently, many of the Orthodox Churches in the United States, including the [[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America]], the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America]], and the [[Orthodox Church in America]] have joined a new ecumenical organization called [[Christian Churches Together]]. CCT is intended to represent a broader coalition of Christian communions, including Roman Catholics and Evangelicals (who do not participate in either the WCC or NCCCUSA.)
 
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==See also==
 
==See also==
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==External links==
 
==External links==
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*[http://www.scoba.us/resources/documents/guide_for_orthodox.pdf Ecumenical Guidelines for SCOBA]
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* [http://www.scoba.us/resources/sac-economy.asp Baptism and "sacramental economy": An agreed statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation] - Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, Crestwood, New York - June 3, 1999
 
*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ Orthodox Information Center: Ecumenism Awareness]
 
*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ Orthodox Information Center: Ecumenism Awareness]
 
*[http://uncutmountain.com/index.php/uncut/pages/ecumenism_origins_expectations_disenchantment_table_of_contents/ Ecumenism: Origins - Expectations - Disenchantment], September 2004 Conference on Ecumenism, held at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
 
*[http://uncutmountain.com/index.php/uncut/pages/ecumenism_origins_expectations_disenchantment_table_of_contents/ Ecumenism: Origins - Expectations - Disenchantment], September 2004 Conference on Ecumenism, held at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece
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*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ Orthodox Information Center: Ecumenism Awareness]
 
*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ Orthodox Information Center: Ecumenism Awareness]
 
*[http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=188&SID=3 OCA Q&A: Ecumenism and Church Leaders]
 
*[http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=188&SID=3 OCA Q&A: Ecumenism and Church Leaders]
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==Ecumenical Organizations== 
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* [http://www.wcc-coe.org/ World Council of Churches] 
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* [http://www.ncccusa.org National Council of Churches] 
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* [http://www.christianchurchestogether.org Christian Churches Together]
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* [http://www.churchworldservice.org Church World Service] 
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[[Category:Church Life]] 
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[[Category:Inter-Christian]]

Revision as of 20:30, January 2, 2007

Ecumenism is, principally, dialogue between Christian groups aimed at promoting the restoration of unity among all Christians through understanding, through mutual respect and toleration, and through practical cooperation in areas of common concern, such as care for the poor, sick, and needy.

Orthodox Christians were engaged in the foundation of the ecumenical movement from its inception. The primary basis for the Orthodox role in the ecumenical movement was a statement issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1920 entitled "Unto All the Churches of Christ Wheresoever They Be." A number of Orthodox churches were present at the initial founding conference of the World Council of Churches, and most have continued to participate in the life of the WCC, as well as in national and regional councils of churches.

Some Orthodox Christians have criticized participation in the ecumenical movement. They believe that ecumenical witness represents a concession to the "Branch Theory," which suggests that the various divisions in Christianity all represent branches of the same Church just as the branches of a tree are all integrally part of the same living tree. Under such a model, Orthodoxy would be defined not as exclusively the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, but rather as a relatively small segment of the Church: one denomination among many. (However, this understanding of ecumenism is not supported by the agreements which define ecumenical structure, most notably the Toronto Declaration.)

In the Twentieth Century particularly, some ecumenical activities have drawn sharp criticism from various voices within the Orthodox Church, particularly participation in the World Council of Churches and, in the United States, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

One of the more controversial documents drawn up in recent years pertaining to ecumenism is the Balamand Statement, an unofficial joint document of recommendation on Uniatism signed by representatives of the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church in 1993.

Recently, many of the Orthodox Churches in the United States, including the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and the Orthodox Church in America have joined a new ecumenical organization called Christian Churches Together. CCT is intended to represent a broader coalition of Christian communions, including Roman Catholics and Evangelicals (who do not participate in either the WCC or NCCCUSA.)

See also

External links

Ecumenical Organizations

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