Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he and his Father are one (John 17:21). He wished them to be one flock under one shepherd (John 17:21), guided into all the truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). By participation in the life of Jesus, Christians are reconciled to God and become one in Christ (Eph. 2:13‑18). This unity is so intense that there is in them neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor freeman, male nor female (Gal. 3:28). For St Paul, the followers of Christ constitute his body and thus cannot be divided since it is impossible for Christ to be divided (cf. I Cor. 1: 13). Faithful to biblical and patristic Tradition, Orthodoxy strongly believes that there can only be one Church of God since we know only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph. 4:5).

Church unity leaves room for diversity among local churches but excludes a plurality of rival churches and conflicting denominations.[1] Yet Christendom is divided; this calls for theological explanation. What, then, is the ecclesial reality of those Christian communions and churches, which are not in communion with each other or the Orthodox Church? If the Orthodox Church is indeed the manifestation and embodiment of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, how do the Orthodox appreciate the ecclesial nature of the other Christian churches? They also claim, after all, to be the embodiment of the same reality. One result of Orthodox ecumenical involvement and daily encounter with people of other Christian churches and denominations is that this question has become urgent.

The ecumenical theology of the last hundred years has made serious attempts to explain both the professed unity of the Church of Christ and the actual division among those communities that lay claim to the Christian name. In his articles on "The Church, the Churches and the Catholic Church", Avery Dulles discerns five types of suggested solutions to this ecumenical problem.[2]The first approach holds that the Church exists wherever the essentials of the apostolic tradition can be found in matters of doctrine, sacraments and ministry. This implies that the one Church is identical with one concrete historical community and that all other "churches" are counterfeits or pseudo‑churches. For irenic purposes, this approach also holds that, although the Church of Christ exists fully or perfectly in one communion alone, it may be found imperfectly or by participation in others ‑ inasmuch as they, too, possess certain gifts or endowments that belong by right to the one true Church.

A second attempt to resolve the ecumenical problem distinguishes between two spheres: the invisible, noumenal or spiritual one, in which unity is to be found, and a visible, phenomenal or empirical one, in which we experience divisions. This view implies that all Christians are one in Jesus Christ in that they belong to a single pneumatic koinonia (as opposed to the institutional church which is the external expression of the Church within the hearts of the believers).

A third approach suggests that the true Church is not simply identical with any existing denomination. It posits that the Church comes into existence, momentarily and transiently, when the Holy Spirit actively transforms the local, gathered community through word and sacrament. If one accepts this view, then the Church becomes a series of disconnected happenings. The biblical view, however, regards the Church as a divine human fellowship realized in a real visible community existing continuously in world history.

A fourth approach advocates that the true Church should exist in hope and in promise rather than in actual realization. Within history no existing community or combination of communities can claim to be, even momentarily, the Church of Christ, though such communities may well be places where the Church is fully actualized and revealed insofar as they are being continually converted to the gospel of Christ. In my view, premature recourse to the consolation of eschatology may have the effect of actually perpetuating present divisions among Christians; it removes the motivation to struggle against them. Additionally, the unity of the Church must not be understood only eschatologically, but as a present reality, which is to receive its consummation on the Last Day.

Finally, a fifth approach suggests that the separation of Christians in their confessional statements and sacramental worship is not ultimately decisive, that the Church is most realized when Christians act together, even across denominational lines, in service towards their fellow men. The adherents of this approach suggest that the best way to promote unity is for Christians to work in solidarity, as though they were in fact members of a single believing community. As they grow together through collaborative efforts, the barriers of suspicion and misunderstanding will melt away. This approach is often accused of emphasizing the horizontal or human dimension at the expense of the vertical or the divine, and of subordinating the truth of dogma to the practicalities of ethics and politics. In my view, however, these constitute the most significant attempts to solve the dilemma of the Church and the churches.

Each approach provides a solution connected with a definite ecelesiological stance. The first ecclesiology looks at the Church primarily in terms of its societal or institutional endowments. The second reverts rather to the interior or mystical aspects of humanity's communion with God and with one another. The third attaches chief importance to the actual experience of God's loving forgiveness in the existential life of the congregation. The fourth accentuates the provisional and promissory character of everything given in the present life. And the fifth views the Church primarily as a healing or transforming agent in the world.

That brings us to the question of how Orthodox theology understands the problem of the oneness of the Church and its apparent divisions. Despite its participation in the ecumenical movement, Orthodoxy has never surrendered its belief that it constitutes the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church".[3] Despite this claim, or even because of it, Orthodoxy has never ceased to be in a dialogue of love and faith with all those Christian communions and churches who seek to recover the visible unity of all Christians. By being involved in the ecumenical involvement, Orthodoxy is challenged to situate in God's plan of salvation those Christian communities which, in its view, are not in communion with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church because of differences of faith or practice. This task demands theological reflection: do the canonical boundaries of the Church coincide with the charismatic? Moreover, is it possible to recognize the validity of the sacraments of those Christian churches, which are not currently in communion with the Orthodox Church? If the response on this issue is affirmative, then the Orthodox Church must enumerate the criteria for such recognition.

The tradition of the Orthodox Church on the matter of recognizing the validity of the sacraments of other communities is complicated and imprecise. At times, the Church has conveyed the message that the sacraments of schismatics ‑ and even of heretics ‑ are valid and, therefore, that the sacraments can be celebrated outside the strict canonical limits of the Church. Yet there are occasions in which the Church has suggested the complete absence of grace in any "schismatic" Christian communities. These extreme and contradictory positions were formulated early in the life of the Christian Church as it confronted a variety of threats against its unity and purity of faith.

As early as the 3rd century, Cyprian of Carthage advocated that every schism was a departure from the Church, from that sanctified and holy land where it alone uses the baptismal spring, the waters of salvation.[4] To him, the Holy Spirit is not present outside the canonical community; the limits of the charismatic Church coincide with the limits of the canonical Church. Later, Augustine disagreed; he suggested that the Holy Spirit and the charismata of the Spirit can be found outside the canonical limits of the Church. Depending on the circumstances, the Church has essentially advocated either one of these two positions.

Contemporary Orthodox theology has not reflected rigorously on this issue and its implications for relations with other Christian churches. The issue has not, however, been totally neglected nor can it be ignored indefinitely. As theological dialogues progress in their task of overcoming the divisive issues of the past, and as they increase our knowledge and respect for the faith and the piety of other Christian churches and communions, the issue of recognizing the ecclesial reality of other Christian communions will be raised with an increasing degree of urgency.

Fr Georges Florovsky, in an article on "The Limits of the Church",[5] discussed the issue of the boundaries of Church and the validity of the sacramental life of those Christian communities which exist "outside" of the canonical limits of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. He stated that, although Cyprian was right to suggest that the sacraments of the Church are accomplished only in the Church, he defined this "in" hastily and too narrowly.[6] According to Florovsky, the communal consciousness of the Church never accepted the equation of its canonical limits with its charismatic boundaries. Florovsky suggested that the theology of Augustine on this matter is helpful and therefore should be taken seriously by Orthodox theologians struggling with this problem. He concluded that "the Church continues to work in the schisms in expectation of that mysterious hour when the stubborn heart will be in the warmth of God's pre‑eminent grace. When the will and thirst for commonality and unity will finally burst into flame. The 'validity' of the sacraments among schismatics is the mysterious guarantee of their return to catholic plentitude and unity."[7]

John Karmires[8] believes that, since the concept extra ecclesiam nulla salus does not originate from the scripture, it lacks a basic and central characteristic of an Orthodox doctrine (although it has been taught by many Church Fathers). He considers this concept, rather, to be an exhortation to safeguard the unity of the Church against schisms and heresies; he suggests that it should be studied in its historical context. He further explained this concept as suggesting that there is no salvation in the heretical or schismatic churches as independent and self‑sufficient entities. Thus, the members of these churches who have been baptized and who live a just life may be saved; there may even exist people of God who are or will be saved, although they are not recognized as Christians. Karmires advocates that Church members may be considered in a broader, mystical and invisible way people of other Christian churches ‑ and even other religions ‑ since God's grace is not limited to those who are members of the canonical Church; it extends to all people that God desires to save.[9]

Reflecting on the same matter, Metropolitan Damaskinos[10] of Switzerland takes the whole argument a step further. He calls on the Orthodox Church to re‑evaluate its understanding of its relationship to other Christian churches and religions by affirming all those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour as Church members.[11] Referring to those churches which claim to be present manifestations of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church - I presume he has in mind Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism - he states that they must search for and recognize as churches in the full sense of the word "church" those Christian communions which exist beyond their canonical boundaries. This should be done of course wherever possible and should lead into eucharistic communion (which presupposes unity in the faith and church structures of the apostolic tradition). His remarks, here, are particularly significant for ecumenism. He implies that those churches which claim to be in continuity with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church should recognize each other as manifestations of the one Church and that they should proceed further to recognize other Christian communions as churches ‑ provided that they adhere to the same apostolic faith and the structure of their churches are in continuity with the apostolic tradition. This presupposes, however, that all Christians ‑ including the Orthodox ‑ can transcend their fanaticism and, being filled with Christ's love, may search, find and recognize as brothers those who live beyond their canonical boundaries. Towards this goal, he thinks that it would be helpful if the bilateral dialogues develop models of unity for the greater advancement of the Christian Church unity.

Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon believes that Orthodox theology yet lacks a satisfactory solution to the problem of Church limits and of the implications for those individuals and communities who exist outside of these limits.[12] He confesses that "it is certainly not easy to exclude from the realm and the operation of the Spirit so many Christians who do not belong to the Orthodox Church. There are saints outside the Orthodox Church. How can we understand that theologically? How can we account for it without saying that the canonical limits of the Church are not important?"[13] In his view, the canonical boundaries of the Church are important but not absolute. The Church's canonical limits should not be conceived as fences or division, but as ways of relating the local community to the rest of the world. He further suggests that baptism creates a limit to the Church and that "within this baptismal limit it is conceivable that there may be divisions, but any division within those limits is not the same as the division between the Church and those outside the baptismal limit".[14] From this perspective, outside of baptism there is no church; within baptism, even if there is a division, one may still speak of the Church.[15] For the Orthodox, there is a break in communion if we are not in position to love one another and to confess the same faith. But "this break does not mean that one falls outside the realm of the Church". The Orthodox, even after the 11th‑century schism and until recently, have been reluctant to appoint bishops in regions of Western Christendom: in their understanding the schism did not imply the creation of two churches. By contrast, soon after the schism the Roman Catholics created their own churches in Orthodox areas by appointing new bishops. Orthodox and Roman Catholic ecclesiology holds that if there are two bishops of the same place only one of them can be bishop of the true Church.[16]

Professor Vlasios Pheidas warned at the third international theological conference of the Orthodox theological schools (1987) that "the relation of schismatics or heretics to the body of the Orthodox Church is strictly defined by canonical and patristic tradition; thus, there can be no deviation from this without serious dangers for its internal unity".[17] To him, the one Body of Christ cannot be manifested in other ecclesiastical bodies outside of the Orthodox Church "since the Body of Christ is only one and not many".[18] He does admit, however, that Orthodox canonical tradition and praxis classifies those outside the Orthodox Church analogous to their distance from the Church or deviation from the true faith. This implies that the Church has recognized some form of ecclesiality in those Christian communities outside of its canonical boundaries. These categories are not easily determined: as Pheidas advocates, "the Orthodox tradition, accepting the Holy Spirit as bestower of divine grace, which flows from the work of Christ, does not recognize the 'existence' of this grace outside the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church. The Holy Spirit dispenses the divine grace only within the body of the Church."[19] Pheidas recognizes that this exclusive ecclesiology may become more flexible and inclusive. A reassessment of Orthodox patristic tradition concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the boundaries of the Orthodox Church will be a "further development" of the orthodox fundamental ecclesiological teaching on this issue.[20]

It is evident that many contemporary Orthodox theologians, although they have never surrendered the claim that the Orthodox Church is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, are in no haste to call other Christian churches and communions non‑churches, void of God's salvific presence and action. They recognize that God is not limited by the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church in his work for the salvation of all. Other Christian churches, therefore, and even other religions[21] may embody his saving will to the extent that they share at least something of the nature and functions of the church of God. To qualify as a "church" in the full theological sense of the term, a community must be apostolic in its faith, sacraments and ministry. More specifically, it must subscribe to the Orthodox faith as defined in the Nicene‑Constantinopolitan Creed, it must administer the sacraments, and it must possess an apostolic ministry transmitted through uninterrupted apostolic succession. These criteria may be modified according to the attitudes and the theological sophistication that prevail at particular moments in the life of the Church. For example, on the basis of a more flexible view of apostolic succession, Orthodox and Catholic theologians have recently been taking a more positive attitude towards the ministries and the sacraments of Anglicans and Protestants.

The ecumenical movement provides the context in which baptized but separated Christians can meet to examine whether they can love one another and confess the same faith with a view to eucharistic communion. For Orthodox, the eucharist is the expression of the very nature of the Church in its fullness, and what is required for the eucharist is union in love and faith. Without this, it is not possible to speak of eucharistic communion. This process towards unity is seriously handicapped by the Christian churches' unwillingness to denounce their confessional identities in order to recover their unity in the catholicity of the Christian faith. They have become so conscious of being Orthodox, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican, or Lutheran, that they are all threatened by the ecumenical movement.

Finally, contemporary Orthodox theologians seem to agree that, while the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is the Orthodox Church, this does not mean that other Christian churches and communions are void of ecclesiological significance to the extent that in their lives church structures and aspects of the catholic faith have been preserved. The irenical interpretation of the first type of solution of the ecumenical problem that Dulles suggested has thus been currently adopted by Orthodox theologians.

Oikonomia and the churches

In 1971 the preparatory commission of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church produced a document on the issue of oikonomia in the Orthodox Church.[22] This document was a significant step towards the recognition of the ecclesial nature of other Christian communities. It affirmed that "the Holy Spirit acts upon other Christians in very many ways, depending on their degree of faith and hope."[23] It further advocated that "Christians outside the Church, even when they do not maintain their faith intact and immaculate, nonetheless keep their link with Christ... These Christians confess that, through hope, they possess Christ, the common Lord, along with all Christians, because the confession of Christ unites us all, he being our common Lord and the hope of our final salvation."[24] In the lives of those outside of the Orthodox Church "grace is not completely wanting... because they still maintain some form of relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church, and so the light of the divine grace of the Church in some ways still enlightens them."[25]

The document also considered the evaluation of the sacraments performed outside of the Orthodox Church by other ecclesial communities. It suggested that the Church may proceed to recognize their validity through economy based on a number of criteria. First, by the degree of closeness shown by them to the faith, doctrine and sacramental grace of the Orthodox Church. Second, by the evaluation of their feelings towards the Orthodox Church. Third, by the zeal, which they have displayed for their incorporation into the body of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. And finally, by whether these communities have baptized their members in the name of the Holy Trinity. At the same time, however, it emphatically emphasized that the principle of economy can only rightly be applied where dogma is not in jeopardy. The document expressed the desire that the Orthodox Church will apply with liberty and generosity the principle of economy in its relations with other Christian churches (Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholicism and churches of the Reformation) when fitting, and until the various Christian churches unite themselves into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. This suggestion presupposes that what separates Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism, the Reformed churches and non‑Chalcedonian churches are not essential differences in matters of faith and doctrine since "our holy Orthodox Church will in no way fail to apply akriveia (exactness) to those articles of faith and sources of grace which must be upheld, yet she will not neglect to employ oikonomia whenever possible in local contacts with those outside her ‑ provided always that they believe in God adored in Trinity and the basic tenets of the Orthodox faith which follow from this, remaining always within the framework of the teaching of the ancient Church, one and indivisible".[26]

If the Orthodox thus apply the principle of economy in ecumenical involvement, they must prove to those who view ecumenism as heresy and religious syncretism that what continues to separate us from other Christian communities are not substantial differences in matter of faith, but a variance in liturgical customs and ecclesiastical ordinances. Understandably the document did not state the exact nature of those ecclesial communities, which lack apostolic succession. Can the Orthodox exercise economy in regard to the recognition of the validity of the ministry of churches, which lack the fullness of apostolic succession? Does the interruption of the continuity of apostolic succession constitute a matter of doctrinal difference? Despite these, this statement is the first in its kind in the life of the Orthodox Church. From the beginning of its ecumenical involvement, and as early as the first Faith and Order conference at Lausanne in 1927, the Orthodox Church advocated that the principle of economy cannot be applied in the process of recovering the communio in sacris of divided Christendom.[27] This statement of the preparatory conference was thus destined to raise the eyebrows of many conservative theologians and the hopes of many Orthodox ecumenists.

Upon the publication of this report, five professors from the theological school of the University of Athens[28] submitted a memorandum to the holy synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece and the preparatory commission of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church. They denounced this document for the destructive and divisive consequences which it would have upon the Orthodox Church if it were adopted as official teaching. The professors were particularly concerned that the sacraments and the ministry of the non‑Orthodox Christian churches, through the use of economy, might be recognized as ecclesiologically valid. Yet despite their strong objections, it was difficult for them not to recognize the operation of God's grace and the presence of Jesus Christ in other Christians. They viewed the sacraments of Western Christians as "incomplete", "disfigured", or "deficient" in grace and truth ‑ but (significantly) not entirely void of God's presence ‑ which may become perfect and complete only when their respective churches come into communion with the inexhaustible source of sanctification, the holy Orthodox Church. In such cases, the Orthodox Church, through the exercise of economy, may recognize the Trinitarian baptism and ministries of other Christian communities, provided that the totality of these communities are in the process of becoming Orthodox in doctrine, faith and life.[29] Yet the absolute presupposition for such recognition of the ministry of other Christian communities is that these communities believe in the sacramental nature of the ordained ministry as it is understood by the Orthodox Church, and that their ministries are the outcome of a continuous, linear apostolic succession. Generally, they stated, the Orthodox Church cannot move to recognize the ministry and the sacraments of these communities without their prior commitment to the recovery of the unity of the one Church.

The document was further criticized by Vartholomaios Archondonis,[30] chief secretary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and now Metropolitan of Chalcedon:

"The use of economy by the Orthodox Church in recognizing non‑Orthodox sacraments does not imply at all that it constitutes intercommunion amongst Orthodoxy and these other churches. The matter is essentially ecclesiological and it would have been more useful for the ecumenical dialogue, if it was clearly stressed in the document, which eventually will become the synodical decision of our church. As long as the schism still exists, intercommunion between Orthodox and non‑Orthodox, which is aimed at by some, is not possible to be accepted by the Orthodox Church even by economy, except in certain cases where the absence of a priest of this denomination forces a Christian to turn to the priest of another church for the catering of his pressing religious needs.[31]"

He further emphasized:

"The Orthodox Church... does not believe in, and therefore does not aim at, intercommunion between churches except in the communion within the one Church. Such communion in the holy eucharist and the other sacraments will come naturally, when by God's will there will be full conformity and communion of faith, and a visible expression of this will be the communion of the Body and Blood of our common Lord from the same common chalice. Such sacramental communion will be the end of our divisions.[32]"

Without denying the ecclesial nature of non‑Orthodox Christian communions Metropolitan Vartholomaios suggested that the use of economy in recognizing other Christian communions is inadmissible: it ignores the ecclesiological differences of Orthodoxy with the other churches. The sacraments of other Christian churches cannot be recognized through the use of economy if the other Christian communions are not acknowledged by the Orthodox Church as expressions of the fullness of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church and as being in the process of recovering through unity the oneness of God's Church.

The document was defended by Metropolitan Methodios of Aksum.[33] He pointed out that it was only a proposal, that it could be improved through successive revisions based on the observations and theological criticism of the entire Orthodox Church until it reaches the final stage for submission to the coming pan‑Orthodox synod. He asserted that "witnessing the contemporary spirit in the Christian world, we have to acknowledge that though the Holy Ghost dwells in the Orthodox Church, he certainly operates amongst other Christians too".[34] He also believes that, through the concept of economy, it is possible to recognize the sacraments of those Christian churches, which preserved uninterrupted apostolic succession.[35] Finally, guided by the Holy Spirit in the up‑building of Christ's body, the Orthodox Church must be able to reevaluate its relations with the other Christian churches and communions which seek to recover the unity of Christ's Church through love and faithfulness to the catholicity of the Christian faith. Archbishop Methodios sincerely tried to prove the ecumenical importance of economy. It is evident in his writings, however, that the ecumenical openness of Orthodoxy is based instead on the recognition that the Holy Spirit, who leads all people into unity in Christ, operates beyond the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church.

In 1976, on the recommendation of the secretariat for the preparation of the Holy and Great Synod, the first pre-synodal pan-Orthodox conference dropped the principle of economy from the list of the subjects of the coming Council of the Orthodox Church. It gave as explanation that the debate on this principle proved that the Orthodox Church had not reached a consensus on the concept of oikonomia that could permit a discussion without dangerous divisive consequences.[36] Unfortunately what they accomplished with this action was to postpone a major debate within the Orthodox Church about the ecclesiological stature of the other Christian churches. But one might also argue that this decision was wisely taken: the whole issue of ecumenicity was situated in the wrong context, that is, of discussing the principle of economy.

The basic purpose of this paper was to survey the current reflections of Orthodox theologians on the nature of the Church boundaries in order better to understand their ecumenical involvement and their ecclesiological assessment of other Christian churches and communions. While Orthodox theologians still maintain that the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is fully revealed in the sacramental life of the Orthodox Church, they do not deny that God acts through other Christian churches for the salvation of the world. The Orthodox Church's canonical boundaries safeguards the truth of divine revelation as proclaimed and interpreted by the apostles and the Fathers of the Church. Its unique mission in the ecumenical movement is thus to be the main witness of catholicity of the Christian gospel.

First published in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, vol. 35, no. 2, 1990, pp. 113‑27.


[1] James D. Gunn, Unity, and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity, Philadelphia, Westminster, 1968; Raymond Brown, "The Unity and Diversity in the New Testament Ecclesiology", in New Testament Essays, New York, Paulist, 1969, pp.60‑ 73; Ernest Kasemann "Unity and Multiplicity in the New Testament Doctrine of the Church", in New Testament Questions of Today, London, SCM Press, 1969, pp.253‑59; Nikos Matsoukas, Orthodoxia kai airesi kata tous ekklisiastikous istorikous tou tetartou, pemptou kai ektou aiona, Thessaloniki, 1981.

[2] In Theological Studies, vol. 33, 1972, pp. 199‑234.

[3] Todor Sabev, ed., The Sofia Consultation: Orthodox Involvement in the World Council of Churches, Geneva, WCC, 1982.

[4] Epist. 71:2. Depending on the circumstances, the church has essentially advocated either one of these two positions.

[5] Church Quarterly Review, vol. 117, 1933, pp. 117‑3 1. I

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., p. 131.

[8] "'I paghkosmiotis tis en Christo sotirias", in Theologika, vol. 51, 1980, pp.645‑91; vol. 5 2, 198 1, pp. 16‑45.

[9] Ibid., p.21: "Oi ek ton pro kai meta Christon eterpothriskon kai eterodoxon pisti kai dikaioi panton ton aionon kai pason ton anthropon philon dinatai na Thearontai os anikontes mistikos kai arritos kai aoratos eis tin en euprtera ennoia Ekklisian i oposdipotes is diatelountes potho eis aoraton met' autis schesin kat sinafeian, kath' oson kai ep' auton epeksetathi kai epekteinetai i pantourgos pronoia, kai sotirios xaris tou thelontos pontas anthropous sothinai philanthropou Theou, tou gignoskontos kai dinamenou vevaios kai di'allon tropon na xorigi autoos tin xarin kai sotirian, oudamothen de periozomenou i xoliomenou pros touton" Matsoukas, Orthodoxia kai airesi, p. 176.

[10] To Thelima tou Theou simeron, Athens, 1981.

[11] Ibid., p. 17.

[12] "Orthodox Ecclesiology and the Ecumenical Movement", in Sourozh vol.21, 1985, pp. 16‑27.

[13] Ibid., p.22.

[14] Ibid., p.23.

[15] Ibid.

[16] This basic principle of Orthodox ecclesiology brings us into an encounter with an intense and tragic inner Orthodox ecclesiological problem. This is the phenomenon of multiple jurisdictions by which more than one bishop exists in the same place. This problem seriously weakens the witness and the usefulness of Orthodox ecclesiology in the ecumenical movement.

[17] "The Limits of the Church" (unpublished paper), p. 14.

[18] Ibid., p.8.

[19] Ibid., p.15.

[20] Ibid., p.14

[21] Georges Khodr, "Christianity in a Pluralistic World ‑ The Economy of the Holy Spirit", in The Ecumenical Review, vol. 23, 197 1, pp. 118‑28; Anastasios Yannoulatos, "Emerging Perspectives on the Relationships of Christians to People of Other Faiths", in International Review of Mission vol. 77, 1988, pp.332‑46. For an ecumenical perspective on this issue, see George A. Lindbeck, "Fides ex auditu and the Salvation of Non‑Christians: Contemporary Catholic and Protestant Positions", in The Gospel and the Ambiguity of the Church, Vilmos Vaijta, ed., Philadelphia, Fortress, 1974, pp.92‑123.

[22] Towards the Great Council: Introductory Reports of the Interorthodox Commission in Preparation for the Next Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, London. SPCK, 1972, pp.3954. For further discussion on the concept of economy see: Amilka Alivizatos, Oikonomia kata to kanoniko dikaio tis Orthodoxou Ekklisias, Athens, 1949: MetropolitanVartholomaios, "to provlimata tis oikonomias simeron,", in Grigorios Palamas, vol. 65, 1982, pp.20‑36; John Erickson, "Oikonomia in Byzantine Canon Law", in Law, Church and Societv: Essays in Honor of Tehran Kuttner, K. Pennington and R. Somerville, eds, Philadelphia, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1977, pp 225‑36; D. Staniloae, "The Economy of Salvation and the Ecclesiasticial Economy", in Diakonia, vol. 5, 1970, pp.267‑292.

[23] Towards the Great Council, p.45.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid., p.50

[27] Constantine Patelos, ed., The Orthodox Church in the Ecumenical Movement: Documents and Statements 1902‑1975, Geneva, WCC, 1978, p.81.

[28] P. Bratsiotis, P. Trembelas, K. Muratides, A. Theodorou, N. Bratsiois, Ypomnima eis tin ieran Synodon tis Ekklisias tis Ellados, Athens, 1972.

[29] Ibid., p.44.

[30] Episkepsis, vol. 50, 1972, pp.6‑7.

[31] Ibid., p.7.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Peri ekklisasitikis oikonomias: apantisis eis kathingitas tis Theologias, Athens, 1972.

[34] Ibid., p. 134.

[35] Ibid., p.65.

[36] Synodika, Geneva, 1978, p. 171.