Some insist that, no matter how bad things are, contemporary ecumenists, and they have in mind mainly the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (but not only), "are not ready to compromise the Orthodox Faith enough to achieve union with Rome."
But, is that the "red line" which marks a departure from Orthodoxy? There has already been a deep perversion and departure from orthodoxy and orthopraxis, from orthodox dogma and the orthodox ethos. Many struggle to pinpoint it or even realize it both because it has happened incrementally and because their - and everyone's - spiritual vision and sensitivities have been dulled.
Let us look at the following and have it in mind as we near the Pan Orthodox Council.
In the year is 1977, Patriarch Demetrios issued an encyclical in which he stated, among other things:
"The aim of the Council is the aim of Christmas: Humanity. The humanity of today and the humanity of all times... The first Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Conference decided unanimously that our Holy Church should face vital issues concerning the holy clergy and faithful, developing its activity for Christian unity... and that in a parallel direction the Orthodox Church cooperate with all religions so that the Christmas Gospel can become a reality of peace on earth and goodwill among all humans." (Orthodox Observer, Jan. 5, 1977, pp. 1, 3.)
Shortly after this Encyclical appeared, the secretary of Patriarch Demetrios, Metropolitan Bartholomew, gave an interview to the Roman Catholic newspaper National Catholic Reporter,* expressing the renovationist aims of the future Council yet more clearly:
| "Our aims are the same an John's (Pope John XXIII): to update the Church and promote Christian unity... The Council will also signify the opening of the Orthodox Church to non-Christian religions, to humanity as a whole. This means a new attitude toward Islam, toward Buddhism, toward contemporary culture, toward aspirations for brotherhood free from racial discrimination... in other words, it will mark the end of twelve centuries of isolation of the Orthodox Church."
*The interview was done by Desmond O'Grady and appeared in the January 21, 1977 issue of The National Catholic Reporter. The article was titled, "Council Coming for Orthodox."