Do We Have a Pope?

Thousands gather expectantly in Kiev’s Independence Square as the rising smoke from burning churches heralds what could be the dawning of a new era. Hearts beat fast and heat rises from the multitude despite the cold. Hundreds of clergy and religious, many of them under house arrest or watching from prisons or hospitals, join the rest of the Orthodox world in anticipation of the answer to the question on everyone’s mind…

DO WE HAVE A POPE?

A portion of the 814 death shroud of Charlemagne. It represents a quadriga and was manufactured in Constantinople. Photo: Wikipedia. A portion of the 814 death shroud of Charlemagne. It represents a quadriga and was manufactured in Constantinople. Photo: Wikipedia.
    

“Anticipation” might be better called “trepidation.” It’s a shaking the Church has not faced for almost a thousand years: a renegade patriarch, attempting to parlay his honorific primacy into absolute ecclesial power.

From 800 AD on, the Roman Pope was the undisputed primate of the West and protector of the Holy Roman Empire. His power was guaranteed by the Caesaropapist innovator Charlemagne and his Frankish Army. In the West, it was absolute.

This is what Bartholomew seeks to accomplish in the East. His Charlemagne is Petro Poroshenko, the virulently anti-Russian Ukrainian President. Poroshenko’s entire force structure now marches behind Bartholomew’s invasion, including his Volunteer Militia commander, who blithely proclaims that, “hunting UOC priests is pleasing to God.” Yes, you read that right: hunting.

Russia’s suspension of communion has not deterred Bartholomew. For that matter, neither have Constantinople’s three-hundred-year-old Compact of 1686, which affirmed Ukraine as the Russian Patriarchate’s canonical territory, or his Church’s own liturgical calendar and diptychs, or his own statements on the matter. Sadly, he is equally undeterred by the chaos, the bloodshed, and the desecration of churches his actions have caused.

Bartholomew’s invasion has occurred over the objections of every other Local Church. He has ignored them, in apparent confidence that “objection” is the only action they will take. He has clearly staked a claim to absolute authority over all of Orthodoxy, including a “right” to set up shop wherever he pleases, and even to create new Churches, by fiat and force of arms.

This leaves the question: “Do we have a pope?” squarely in the hands of the Local Churches, themselves. How will they respond?

Since Constantinople is ignoring them, not to mention the canons, should the Churches suspend communion with her and convene a clarifying Council, say, under Alexandria? Many seem to think so. The alternative is to continue to verbally (and ineffectually) object, thus conceding to Bartholomew his desired pontificate. And effectively ending Orthodoxy’s 2000-year pilgrimage. A new Church, embracing the papalist heresy, would rise from the ashes.

God’s Will, perhaps? Or would we have simply saved the gates of hell the trouble, and prevailed against ourselves?

Fr. James Rosselli is Rector of Saint Joseph of Arimathea Orthodox Church and House of Prayer, a Western Rite ministry of ROCOR. He is author of The Transformed Life: Living and Growing in Christ, an e-book published by the American Orthodox Institute and available on Kindle, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble Nook.

See also
“It is Not Too Late to Stop” “It is Not Too Late to Stop”
A Sorrowful Reply to Patriarch Bartholomew Concerning His Anti-Canonical Actions in Ukraine
“It is Not Too Late to Stop” “It is Not Too Late to Stop”
A Sorrowful Reply to Patriarch Bartholomew Concerning His Anti-Canonical Actions in Ukraine
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
In reply to a letter of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, in which he informed of all his decisions and actions regarding the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia expressed his deep pain, astonishment and indignation over the anti-canonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Greek Metropolitan: What is happening in Ukraine is regrettable, threatens to cause further schism Greek Metropolitan: What is happening in Ukraine is regrettable, threatens to cause further schism Greek Metropolitan: What is happening in Ukraine is regrettable, threatens to cause further schism Greek Metropolitan: What is happening in Ukraine is regrettable, threatens to cause further schism
What is happening in Ukraine is regrettable and threatens to trigger greater divisions in the Orthodox world, believes His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu, Paxoi, and the Diapontian Islands.
In True Borgia Style In True Borgia Style
Taras Melnick
In True Borgia Style In True Borgia Style
The “unification council” in Kiev: how it went, conclusions and prospects
Taras Melnick
Only a few days had passed after the council when the information space began shocking everyone with scandalous and absolutely unexpected announcements and publications made by participants of the above event.
Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism
Alexander Shchipkov
Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism "Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism"
Alexander Shchipkov
The 7th of September will go down in history as a lamentable date. On this day, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew proclaimed and signaled a schism in Universal Orthodoxy, along the liberal and conservative lines. And he is officially headed in a liberal direction.
The Apotheosis of Eastern Papism The Apotheosis of Eastern Papism
Archpriest Andrei Novikov
The Apotheosis of Eastern Papism The Apotheosis of Eastern Papism
Archpriest Andrei Novikov
This article was put forth to analyze the speech of the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, at the Synaxis (Council) of the Archbishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which was held in Istanbul on September 1-4, 2018.
Comments
Gary cox1/12/2019 4:50 pm
A good article. From the calendar change to the robber council of 2016 to stomping all over the other patriarchs and more, the time has come to put the brakes on Constantinople. If this is not stopped then welcome the new pope.
Bob1/4/2019 7:46 pm
The sorrowful tragedy in all of this is that the world of Orthodoxy is being served by the best of God's servants as priests regardless of patriarchal affiliation, including no doubt the schismatics. The parishioner/priest relationship will determine how the majority of people will decide on what is happening. The tragedy is that disregard for the scripture based canons will begin the slow rot from the top that eventually finds it's way into individual homes and hearts. It will take so much time to grow that people will never understand the root cause until the roots are too deep to destroy. That is why it is so important this apostasy be aggressively dealt with now.
Mikail1/3/2019 10:36 pm
The Local Churches must stand up to the tyranny of Bartholomew. We have come to a point in history where our Hierarchs can take a stand for the Holy Orthodox faith. Let us see not one St. Mark of Ephesus....but many!!! It is time. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Take the path of the Holy God-bearing fathers and seize the opportunity to defend the Holy Orthodox faith. The EP has been falling deeper and deeper into chaos for over 100 years. Enough is enough!
JohnP1/3/2019 9:28 pm
Unfortunately, for most people, the name of the game is "Glory".
The more Glory, the better.
The Archimandrite wants the Glory of the Bishop.
The Bishop ...of the Archbishop.
The Archbishop ...of the Patriarch.
The Patriarch ...of the Pope!

Saint John Crysostom said before dying:
"Bow your head to the one who is ordained contrary to his will, like you do to (me) John..."


Bob1/3/2019 9:18 pm
FINALLY!!! An article that hits the nail directly on the head. If there is no escalation of action by the local church leaders, then they are all conceding to the new "pope." The time to convene the pan orthodox council - with or without Bart - is the moment after the tomos is issued. Otherwise, everyone is signed on to the new order. I believe the time of the "third Rome" of Moscow has come.
anthony1/3/2019 8:09 pm
Well. If you want a pope. Here's what you have to look forward to! Behold! "the man"!

https://youtu.be/I6HQCr59OS0
photios1/3/2019 7:10 pm
What does the Patriarch say?
"Our Slav brothers can’t stand the precedence that our Ecumenical Patriarchate has, nor, consequently, our people in worldwide Orthodoxy.”
What does the Apostle say?
"There is neither Jew nor Greek [nor, presumably, Slav or Frank or any other], there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Spot the difference. One is Christian and Orthodox.
The other is...heterodox?
PYCb1/3/2019 4:13 pm
"His Charlemagne is Petro Poroshenko..."

I disagree with this. Poroshenko is no Charlemagne, but just a local hack used by the puppeteers. The Charlemagne of the metaphor is the US, UK, NATO, and the Vatican, i.e. the sons of Charlemagne, who're merely growing the business. They've been running the Patriarchate of Constantinople for a hundred years. See Meletios Metaxakis, the Calendar Schism, Athenagoras, and now Bartholomaios with his Vatican-educated retinue etc..
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