A Church Without Schism VII- A Modern Push for Unity

Our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to his apostle Peter: And I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven to you. And And whatever you may bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven, and whatever you may loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven. Mat 16:19

Our Lord, speaking to all his apostles: Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven; and whatever you shall loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven. Mat 18:18

The apostle John, from his vision of the New Jerusalem: And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Rev 21:14

In 1995, a remarkable profession of faith was put forward by a group of mainstream hierarchs. It proclaims:

The Church of Joachim and Ann, Yabroud, Syria

The Church of Joachim and Ann, Yabroud, Syria

“I believe in everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches; I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome, in the limits recognized to the first among the bishops by the holy fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.”

This profession originated with an archbishop of an apostolic church of the East, in fact, from the largest Christian community in the Holy Land and Middle East. It was signed by all but two of the bishop members of their Holy Synod. It became the genesis of a movement by that synod to concretely rebuild a church of the First Thousand Years.

Who were these hierarchs and where were they from? The Church of Antioch, where Christians first received that name (Acts 11:26); today they are known as Melkite Greek-Catholics. The profession of faith originated with Greek-Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Zoghby.

Here were churchmen who realized that the schism of 1054 A.D. is only shadow, not form.

A Church Without Schism VI- Where Harmony Is Not Secured

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church in Corinth:

“For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If all the body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If all hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where would be the body? But now indeed many are the members, yet only one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. But much rather the members of the body seeming to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we put more abundant honor around them. And our unpresentable members have more abundant propriety. For our presentable members have no need, but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member having need; that there not be division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it. And you are the body of Christ, and members in part.        – 1 Co 12:12-27 (MKJV)

St. Basil the Great (4th century), from On the Judgment of God :

“With those among whom harmony is not secured, however, the bond of peace is not preserved, mildness of spirit is not maintained, but there is dissension, strife, and rivalry. It would be a great piece of audacity to call such persons “members of Christ” or to say that they are ruled by him. The Final JudgementIt would be the expression of an honest mind to say openly that the wisdom of the flesh is master there.”

The prayer of a servant:

My Lord God, I love the beauty of Your house. I confess the real presence of the body and blood of Your Son in the Eucharist. I insist on the oneness of Your saving message. I work to reveal Your Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. And yet I fall far short of the perfection my Jesus says I can attain.

Lord, grant me your grace and help me maintain the strength and discipline to cooperate with it. Help me root out of my flesh anything dark and not pleasing to you. Graft me to Your root, so that when I stand before the awesome judgment seat of Christ in the New Jerusalem, You will recognize me as belonging to You. May you find me worthy of Your mercy and welcome among the saints.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner. Amen.