By Elder Philotheos Zervakos

But the whole subject has been made marvelously and superbly clear, leaving no doubt whatever, by St. Nektarios of Pentapolis in his God-enlightened book, "A Historical Study Concerning the Causes of the Schism... Concerning the Impossibility or Possibility of Union." It would be most beneficial and to the enlightenment of the faithful if we quote the text verbatim. The Saint says on page 9: "The terms of union are such that they render the sought-for union impossible, because they have no point of contact.

Each seeks from the other nothing more nor less than the denial of itself and the basic principles upon which the whole structure of the church is founded. For on the one hand, the Papal church is based on the primacy of the Pope according to their understanding of this point; and on the other, the Eastern Church is founded upon the Ecumenical Councils. Because of this, the terms of union brought forward by either side are impossible of acceptance since they overturn the churches from their very foundations.

Hence the ineffectiveness of any concessions either side can make. The primacy of honor which is given by the Eastern Church to the Pope is a useless concession because it lacks the power to hold the fabric of the Western Church together. The concessions given by the Pope to the Eastern Church that is, her remaining in her own dogmas, customs and disciplines are not in the least considered as 'concessions' by her but as legitimate in themselves, since they are founded on the Canons of the Church, for which reason alone she abides in them. But she demands also that the Pope himself with all the Western Church return to her bosom, renouncing their former life, and come in repentance to her. Therefore the apparent concessions have no meaning whatever, since they are not actually concessions.

For union to come about, it is necessary that the concessions remove the main causes of separation. The concessions will truly be such when the Pope gives up his own ways, and not when he simply tolerates those things that have been well-established in the Church. Since the main causes of the separation remain as such, die churches persist in their own ways, and union is impossible. For union to be established, it must be made secure upon the same principle. Otherwise every labor is vain."