a) The Union of the Church is not founded on dispensation but on theology. The Church of Christ is one because its Head is one: Christ who is both God and human. It follows that Church unity is confirmed not through derivation from some person in time and history (Peter, the Pope, or any other) but through the coming of one of the Trinity, God the Word incarnate, who continues to be its reference point.
b) The separation of the Western Christian world from the East was founded on the dogmatic principle of the filioque. The adoption of this dogma, which distorts the image of the position occupied by Christ within the Holy Triune Godhead, had and continues to have direct repercussions on the whole of theology and on the Christian understanding of the human person, which is structured upon our ‘image and likeness to God. Papal ecclesiology and the dialectically opposed concept of the Church developed by the Protestants both have the same starting point, which is associated with ancient theological and philosophical notions.
c) In theological terms, oversimplifying Christianity by numbering it with the other monotheistic religions is both unacceptable and dangerous. In the first place, because Christianity is founded on the antinomy of the Holy Trinity; and secondly, it is first and foremost revelation, and secondly a religion. Saint Sophrony the Athonite writes: ‘The Orthodox dogma concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit solely from the Father is for me of such profound truth that, if today, some (Ecumenical) synod were to formulate an agreement with the Roman Catholic theory, I would not be able to find within me the strength to accept such a synod. Personally, I am deeply convinced that the tragedy of earlier centuries as well as that of our own day is linked to that spiritual conscience from which the dogma of the filioque arose as the logical consequence’.
The non-negotiable dogmatic truths of the Orthodox Church are contained in the Creed formulated by the 2nd Ecumenical Synod and are as follows:
A) The Church of Christ is one. Orthodoxy does not accept the theory of branches; of many Churches.
B) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The Orthodox Church does not accept the filioque, nor the consequences which result from this dogmatic theory.
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