True Orthodox Christians are often criticized for our separation from the “official” Orthodox Churches. Yet it is this justified separation from the so-called “official” Orthodox Churches, who participate in ecumenical activities with those outside of the Church, that has allowed us to preserve the faith unadulterated, as it was given to us by Christ Himself and passed down through the ages by the Fathers of the Orthodox Church. This essay was written by Fr Maximus (Marretta) as a response to criticism that our separation from “official” Orthodoxy is not justified and has placed us in schism. Fr Maximus shows the necessity of severing communion with those bishops who compromise the Orthodox faith.
Despite the spread of Ecumenism, in most local Churches a remnant of the faithful has remained steadfast in Orthodoxy. These faithful Christians are known as the “True Orthodox,” the “Traditionalist Orthodox,” or sometimes as the “Old Calendarists.” The latter name is used because one of the first manifestations of Ecumenism was the change of the Church’s liturgical calendar to correspond to that of the Papists and Protestants. Since the Papal calendar had long been condemned by the Church, the Orthodox rejected it when the New Calendarists adopted it, and they severed communion with the bishops who promoted it.
Now, the 15th Canon of the First-Second Council praises those who break communion with heretics. From this it is evident that such people act rightly, not wrongly; and that it is a grievous sin to denounce them for following the explicit injunctions of the canons and holy Fathers. Two of the Church’s primary modes of explication are encomium and vituperation. The Church praises those who lead her children towards God; she reviles those who turn her children away from God. Her approval of those who wall themselves off from heretical bishops is powerful testimony to the fact that the stand of the Old Calendarists is encouraged by holy Tradition.