Updated: Jun 24
"Recently the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America, Elpidoforos, published on Facebook a statement [*] which says:
"They are many paths which lead to the top of the mountain, and those who ignore this fact are ignorant"! His Eminence attempts to spread Ecumenism, which is the mingling and mixing of all religions into one.
With respect to His Eminence, I would like to strongly stress the Orthodox Teachings of of our Church. According to the Holy Gospel, Jesus Christ is the only Way and Truth and Life of the world. No one can reach the Father but only through the Son. If anyone does not accepts the Son, then he cannot have the Father. The Orthodox Church is the only True Christian Church, which preserved, without any changes or alterations, the Original Apostolic Teachings and Traditions. Only within the Orthodox Church man can find the Path which leads to the top of the mountain, which is God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. But to achieve this one must belong to the Original Church, which Christ established on the Cross. Only within the Orthodox Church man can achieve his sanctification and salvation in Jesus Christ. All other religions and Christian heresies do NOT lead anyone to his final goal, which is his salvation through the Son of God. I would like to remind His Eminence, the belief of the ancient Holy Fathers of our Church, stating that "outside of the Church, there is No Salvation"!
Thus, it must be made very clear that all other religions, as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taonism, Idolatry, Christian heresies and all the rest, unfortunately, do NOT lead man to salvation. They are man made institutions. As Orthodox Christians we respect the religious beliefs of all, but DO NOT agree or accept them. We do not mingle the Truth with lies, or confuse the Light with darkness, or mix the True God with false gods. There is ONLY ONE GOD and He is the FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. If anyone wishes to find the True God, then he must become a member of Christ's Body which is the Orthodox Church. Ecumenism is the darkest first-born son of Satan. [**] I will humbly ask His Eminence Elpidoforos to reconsider His statement and to declare the True Teachings of the Orthodox Church. We must never forget, that we will all stand before Christ, the Just Judge, and will give an account of our deeds, words and thoughts. Everything will be examined strictly. With these humble thoughts, I embrace His Eminence Elpidoforos with fraternal love in Jesus Christ.
+Metropolitan PANTELEIMON of Antinoes
Retired Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa
Kalymnos-Greece, 19th July, 2021"
* Archbishop Elpidophoros' statement was a shortened phrase that originates from of a much larger speech made at the 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit (see quoted picture below): “When you elevate one religion above all others, it is as if you decide there is only one path leading to the top of the mountain. But the truth is you simply cannot see the myriads of paths that lead to the same destination, because you are surrounded by boulders of prejudice that obscure your view.” See “Address for the International Religious Freedom Summit, 2021 “The Rising Tide of Religious Nationalism”,” goarch.org, Address for the International Religious Freedom Summit, 2021 “The Rising Tide of Religious Nationalism” - Messages - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (goarch.org)
** St. Gabriel the Fool for Christ of Georgia says, "Ecumenism is a super heresy." See St. Gabriel of Georgia the Fool for Christ, “Edifications,” monkgabriel.ge, Edifications - St. Gabriel Confessor and Fool for Christ's Sake (monkgabriel.ge). See also “False Ecumenism Archives,” orthodoxchurchquotes.com, False Ecumenism Archives - Orthodox Church Quotes.
Likewise, a pilgrim once asked St. Ephraim of Katounakia "what kind of thing Ecumenism is" and in reply the Elder said the following as described by the pilgrim: «This question, my child, had also been posed by someone else, some time before you. I myself have been up here on these rocks for forty years... I have even forgotten my Greek (note that he had completed Middle School) and as such, I haven’t preoccupied myself with that issue. But, because I had to reply – seeing that I had been asked about it, and since I had no knowledge of the matter - I went to my cell and prayed, asking Christ to inform me what Ecumenism is. I received His reply, which was that Ecumenism has a spirit of wickedness and is dominated by unclean spirits».
So I [the pilgrim] asked him exactly how that was verified. He replied that «after praying, my cell became filled with an unbearable stench, which caused my soul to feel asphyxiated; I couldn’t breathe spiritually». I asked him if that had been an extraordinary event for him, or if that was the way that Christ responds in analogous cases, and he assured me that «in all the cases that are involved with sorcery, with unclean spirits, that is the state in which He introduces me. Sometimes there is a spoken response, but in the present case, that was His answer and I have the absolute certainty that Ecumenism does not have the Holy Spirit, but the unclean spirit». See “Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Holy Mountain: Ecumenism is Dominated by Unclean Spirits,”
"What do we see here? We see a hierarchy. We see an order of things. The Father sent the Son, the Son sends the Apostles. They listen to the Apostles - they hear the Apostles - they hear Christ, they hear the Father. They don't listen to the Apostles they don't listen to Christ, they don't have the Father. It's very clear in Scripture that the path to God is through Christ and the path to Christ is through the Apostles. And who are the Apostles in every age?
The Apostles are disciples of the Lord, keeping His word, those who are following after the Disciples. There is such a thing that is called Apostolic Succession... Year after year, century after century, down through the ages there is a continual line of succession from Christ to the Bishops and Priests we have today... It is not enough to have the hands laid on them and made Priests. Many people think it is. If you have the hands laid on you who has had the hands laid on them etc. etc. all the way back to Christ [that] you are an Apostle. No. That is not accurate. That is a very legalistic way of thinking. You have to have the Faith of the Apostles and the Life of the Apostles, to be a descendent, a disciple, and Apostle in this age.
It presupposes all of it; both the Dogma and the Ethos, the Teaching and the Way of Life... In the Church we of course have the Bishops from age to age, but we also have the Holy Saints and Elders that are kind of Apostolic Succession, and wherever that life of Christ, that Person of Christ lives in the people in the Church, there you have the descendants of the Apostles... Remember now: God the Father sent God the Son to His Apostles and the Apostles now teach us. If we listen to them, we listen to Christ. If we reject them, we reject Christ. That's how He wanted things ordered. For us to be disciples of His disciples, in practice in the Church, and therein is our our joy which is our salvation."
- Fr. Peter Heers, Homily on Luke 10
Impantokratoros.gr, https://www.impantokratoros.gr/C54EBF09.en.aspx?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=85604d57dc8d638502fffa3f3def9e4fecd641b5-1615935784-0-AaqW_unwnDE2wx599T4ySJBPKTcxde4PHTO-pFe0eTo2eFVoXRnjso_xRUTviMN5U9wdLk4YKqjFjsVbKlxhcpnockf7oua_sVqFsmXk32Xj5iPboBkrrLWIcu3CjMw8TGHS_eOIDdK-uH0rVzTfjRs0UBm8mVYkrKRKn1kFZ8MIZV29I31OAFLARaC-6m9lSrhjk2mhKo2qUKxxoiQ9MD3AtE4z8mQ5DqSRzJoJbpLQvs6sz-5ia3sR32-2Lqo2g4pqgKP9JMd2eishHK6vXVGqAgi4GaiTGgkdrXuNKcsFG9FSJpUskE6a6GJCXtkW_-fcjy3gJK4jrgy-ml9cSR0yXh-NJWJiIrSIL-JreTcDKgNZ9A401a2rjTMT9Luaf_vbZrnEaSyqrDYqvZ6gwrA citing Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church - A Synod Lacking in Synodicity and Orthodox Self-Awareness (Trikala: Synaxis of Orthodox Romaics “Fotis Kontoglou,” 2016), https://www.impantokratoros.gr/C54EBF09.en.aspx.