Журнал: Научный журнал «Студенческий форум» выпуск №10(189)

Рубрика: История и археология

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Chernyaeva I., Knaikina Y. THE ORIGINS OF ECUMENISM // Студенческий форум: электрон. научн. журн. 2022. № 10(189). URL: https://nauchforum.ru/journal/stud/189/107200 (дата обращения: 31.03.2023).
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Chernyaeva Irina
Student, Belgorod State National Research University. Russia, Belgorod
Knaikina Yulia
Student, Belgorod State National Research University. Russia, Belgorod


Abstract. The article deals with such a controversial phenomenon as ecumenism, the reasons for its emergence, the basic principles and contradictions with the Orthodox Church.


Keywords: ecumenism, ecumenical, ecumenical church, ecclesiology, Freemasonry.


The movement of ecumenism originated in Protestant circles in the mid-nineteenth century. Its initiators were the leaders of the Anglican Church in England and America. They affirmed that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has ceased to exist, "corroded by the infirmities of division and mutual misunderstanding". In their statements, they spoke of their intention to unite all Christians into one "universal Church". Initially, among Anglicans and Old Catholics there was an idea of a possible rapprochement with Orthodoxy and even the possibility of unification. Negotiations on this subject began. For a while it seemed to the Orthodox that such unification was possible, and the very idea of Christian reunion found ardent supporters in the Orthodox milieu. Many Orthodox hierarchs and theologians believed in the sincerity of the Protestants' intentions to renounce their errors, and so began to take part in the various disputes, conferences, and unions they organized. It seemed to them that they were witnessing to the truth of Orthodoxy to misguided children who wished to return to the Church of Christ.

Speaking of the initial reasons for the emergence of this new movement, Archpriest Gregory Razumovsky said in his report: "It is the sects, as well as all Protestantism in general, that have already felt the hunger for the grace of God, which is given only in the sacraments of the Church. These branches of the One Church, which had broken away from its trunk, wanted to take root independently and form independent churches... Whatever combination of these branches may come into contact with one another, they can only form a broom of fruitful branches, inevitably subject to withering...  This movement, called by the new term 'ecumenical', i.e. ecumenical in the sense of horizontally embracing the universe, is not faced with the question of accepting the branches of the Church that have fallen away to the main trunk of the Church, but of uniting all Christian confessions into a completely new, ecumenical Church.

 The Masonic Roots of the Movement - It should be said at once that it was not only the "hunger for grace" that led Protestants to the idea of a "universal church. The idea itself was developed in the early 18th century in the depths of the English Masonic lodges. At the 1948 Meeting, the Masonic origin of ecumenism was discussed openly, with specific facts and statements by Freemasons themselves on the subject. "In the bosom of our Ateliers," as they themselves say, there was always talk of "the unification of mankind" and "the establishment of a new world order," for the needs of which a new "universal church" was also required. In "Le Tample" magazine (the official organ of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, named in memory of the Templars) in No. 3 for September-October 1946 in the article "The Unification of Churches" there is the following recognition by Freemasonry of its merits in this field: "The problem raised by the project of the unification of the churches ... is of close interest to Freemasonry and is close to Freemasonry... If this unification... is on the right track, it owes a little to our Order. In any case, at the origin of the first ecumenical congresses, the intervention of our Anglo-Saxon Scandinavian brethren was decisive and their activity was tirelessly directed toward the organization of Christian unity."

It is not surprising, therefore, that the ecumenical movement, organizationally, financially, and most importantly, ideologically, was neither new nor independent, but only part of the Masonic project to create a new world order. In our time, when the World Community has become a reality, to understand the true state of affairs with ecumenism as one of the Masonic structures is extremely useful. To fail to recognize this, to pretend that it is only a purely religious movement, isolated from other international structures like the UN, IMF and NATO, is to deliberately turn a blind eye to the real state of affairs.

In 1910, one of the movement's most influential activists, its so-called "apostle," Freemason John Mott, invented a name for it. He used the Greek word "oikoumene" - the universe, and derived "ecumenism" from it - a word that was little understood by anyone and cleverly concealed the meaning and purpose of the movement. The ambiguity of the term allowed it to be used in the usual Orthodox combination "Ecumenical Church. At the same time, Orthodox continued to understand the Universal Church as the One Orthodox Church, and ecumenists as the new, ecumenical Church. Thus, "the date of October 19, 1910 is generally considered the beginning of the ecumenical movement in the modern sense of the word.

At the very beginning of the ecumenical movement there seemed to be beautiful goals that could inspire every Christian. If all Christians aspire to one heavenly kingdom, then what could prevent them from working together on earth? Nothing, it would seem, and the work together began. But after a short time, "it became clear that it could only be continued if the members of the movement did not talk too much about the Bible and did not confront each other with their church doctrines." The slogan was adopted: "Doctrine divides - service and prayer unite. To give this slogan a spiritual appearance, it was embellished with the words of Jesus Christ on the unity of Christians in abbreviated form: "Let all be one, that the world may believe that you sent me." The important words, "As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21), which explain what unity among Christians should be, have been lost in the abridged version. The true spiritual unity of the Heavenly Father, His Son, and sincere believers became an obstacle to the ecumenical movement and was simply bypassed.

The ideology of ecumenism was formalized in 1938, when the text of the Charter of the World Council of Churches was formulated in Utrecht, but because of World War II the first assembly of the WCC was not held until 1948 in Amsterdam. "The doctrinal basis, the general dogmatic minimum of ecumenism, is the belief in the Triune God and in the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. In 1961 the Russian Orthodox Church became a member of the World Council of Churches, and the Roman Catholic Church was first sent an observer to its meeting. Even today it is not a member of the WCC, but its representatives participate in the work of its Commission. The last VIII Assembly of the WCC was held in 1999 in Harare. The initiative to create the WCC was put forward by Western Protestant circles. Thus, practically from the moment the ecumenical movement arose, its initiators had the desire to create a united body of the ecumenical movement, which later took shape in the "World Council of Churches".


List of references:
1. Alphabet of faith [Electronic resource]//website https://azbyka.ru/ekumenizm
2. Michael Krieger, "The 1948 All-Orthodox Meeting in Moscow." article/ https://ruskline.ru/analitika/2010/04/17/vsepravoslavnoe_sovewanie_1948_goda_v_moskve
3. Livtsov V. A. Religious dissidents and ecumenical movement // Actual problems of national and universal history. Collection of articles and theses. Vol. 3. М., 2000. - С. 13
4. George Florovsky. The Orthodox Churches and the Ecumenical Movement before 1910. [Electronic resource]/Florovsky G. - http://fizmat5.ru/history.php (accessed 05.01.14)