DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Allen Vigneron is telling Greek Orthodox Christians to live their Orthodox faith, seeming to imply that they need not convert to the Catholic faith. Vigneron made his remarks during a Wednesday Vespers service with Detroit Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Nicholas for the vigil of the feast of St. Nicholas.
The archbishop of Detroit, Michigan said to those Orthodox Christians present at the service, "This is your personal vocation … your vocation to live this Orthodox faith here in our community. I need you to do this. My Catholic people need you to live this Orthodox life by all you say and do. I need you to be myrrh."
The remarks by Vigneron came less than a week after the archdiocese released a video titled "Part of the Family," encouraging Catholics to invite others to Mass for Christmas. The video says in part, "This Christmas, we're thankful you're one of us, a Catholic, part of the family." The video concludes with a rendition of "Go Tell It On the Mountain."
Michael Hichborn of The Lepanto Institute reacted to Vigneron's comments, saying:
By telling Catholics that he is thankful they are a part of the Catholic family, and then telling the Orthodox that he needs them to remain Orthodox, Abp. Vigneron is explicitly excluding the Orthodox from "the family." Since several of his parishes don the moniker "all are welcome," why did he not take the opportunity to welcome the Orthodox? Sadly, this speaks to a lack of concern for souls.
Meanwhile, the Orthodox churches have experienced the latest break in communion with one another, following the announcement in October by the Russian Orthodox Church that it was splitting ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate. Constantinople granted independence, or what is called "autocephalous" status, to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church has called the move "unlawful" and said that Constantinople "finds itself in the midst of a schism."
Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia said to EWTN's Lauren Ashburn in an interview regarding the split between Moscow and Constantinople, "In Russia it means that Russians on vacation in Turkey can't go to Church and receive Communion. In the United States, it means that members of the Russian Orthodox Church and members of the Greek Orthodox Church aren't supposed to go to church together."
Orthodoxy is fraught with differences of opinion on contraception, divorce and the recognition of ecumenical councils, among other things. While some Orthodox recognize the first seven councils prior to the 1054 A.D. schism, others recognize two additional Orthodox councils — the Fourth and Fifth Councils of Constantinople.
The true Fourth Council of Constantinople of the Catholic Church was held in 869 A.D., 10 years before the Orthodox Fourth Council in 879 A.D. Orthodox churches that are known as Oriental Orthodox and which include Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Syriac churches, only recognize the First Council of Nicea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus.
Regarding the question of birth control, the Orthodox Church of America says Orthodoxy declares that "those means of controlling conception within marriage are acceptable which do not harm a fetus already conceived."
Church Militant has produced an episode of the program Remaining in the Truth dealing with the Eastern Orthodox and their beliefs about divorce and remarriage.