A REVIEW OF A REVIEW
The latest issue of the OrthodoxChristian Witness (# 1491) published a review of the book, The StruggleAgainst Ecumenism. This review, written byVladimir Moss, is favorable for the most part, calling the book“objective”, “the best on its subject to have appeared inEnglish, and quite possibly in any language”, and observing that pointsin the book are “treated with admirable fairness.”
The reviewer, at the same time,offers the opinion that the defense which the book makes for the late Archbishop Auxentius is “sketchy and biased”. He maintains that TheStruggle Against Ecumenism “slandersthose other Orthodox bishops who tried to introduce canonical order into thechurch” when they “deposed” Archbishop Auxentius.
It was good that Mr. Moss qualified these remarks with the words “in the opinion of thisreviewer.” This qualification is important, because it highlights someproblems in his observations.
The first problem is that thereviewer, as he has admitted elsewhere, has no knowledge of the Greek language.Therefore, all his information on questions pertaining to the traditional Orthodox Christians of Greece was and remains second-hand at best. He could nothave read the many pages of evidence, testimony, and signed affidavits that weredistributed widely, and which demonstrated the Archbishop’s innocence.
Also, our reviewer fails tomention a letter signed by him (dated June 20/July 3, 1994), in which he separates himself from those very bishops who supposedly “deposed” Archbishop Auxentius. The reasons given in this letter for Mr. Moss’s departure from these bishops were their canonical and dogmatic infractions.
Further, since he was not presentand does not speak the Greek language, Mr. Moss could not have known first-handthat Bishop Stephanos of Chios—one of the bishops which“deposed” the Archbishop—came to Archbishop Auxentius’funeral, tearfully begging forgiveness of the now-reposed Archbishop and sayingin the presence of all, “Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned against you. We embitteredyou, we slandered you....” The photograph that captured this particularmoment is published on page 129 of The Struggle Against Ecumenism.
Neither does our reviewer mentionthe fact that, “for the sake of the unity of the Church,” the verybishops who “deposed” Archbishop Auxentius later“lifted” his deposition on September 18, 1998.
Nor does Mr. Moss mention yet twoother bishops—Kallinikos of Lamia and Euthymios of Thessalonica, who,with the others had “deposed” the Archbishop, and later went on toform their own “Synod”. These bishops, too, admitted officially (inan Encyclical dated April 1/14, 1997, protocol number 73) that theArchbishop’s deposition “arose from the plots of thirdparties,” that it was “uncanonical, invalid and void”, andthat they recognize “the blessedly reposed hierarch” “as therightful and canonical” ruler of his throne.
These incontrovertible facts, we believe, clarify thismatter..