A Message of Repentance?

Photo: RIA-Novosti Photo: RIA-Novosti     

His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the president of the Republic of Montenegro with a letter in which he dealt with the issue of the support that the president has expressed for the establishment of an autocephalous church in this country. In this letter, His Holiness expressed the Patriarchate of Constantinople's great anxiety about this matter and its denunciation of the draft law prepared by the government that requiers the nationalization of all Orthodox churches and ecclesiastical properties that date from before 1918.

He indicated as well that the above means that the state would "expropriate the churches and property of the Holy Metropolis of Montenegro, as well as of another three Eparchies of the Orthodox Church of Serbia."

His Holiness clearly and unambiguously stressed, in the same letter:

- that the Patriarchate of Constantinople and with it all the local Orthodox churces only recognize the legitimacy of the church headed by the Serbian Metropolitan Amfilohije.

- that "Church of Montenegro has never been autocephalous."

- that "today’s co-called ‘Orthodox Church of Montenegro’ under Miraš Dedeić does not belong to the Orthodox Church. Mr Dedeić is not a Bishop of the Orthodox Church, but a person defrocked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate."

- that "the sole canonical Hierarch there is our brother Metropolitan Amfilohije, who belongs to the Patriarchate of Serbia, which is recognized on a Pan-Orthodox level."

Perhaps the most striking thing in this lettter is the patriarch's statement that "we address this message to you because we do not want our beloved people in Montenegro to reach thee point of ecclesiastical isolation and severance from the body of the entire communion the Orthodox Churches, inasmuch as no single Church among them will recognize or support tha anti-canonical fabrication of Dedeić... and we are convinced that you will realize the danger constituted by Dedeić to the spiritual harmony of the people in Montenegro."

There is no doubt that the language of this letter puts the reader in a state of confusion and bewilderment, as it raises a stream of questions, among them:

- Why is there such a difference between the approach described in this letter and that followed in the Ukrainian issue, despite the precise match between these issues with regard to schism, illegitimate ordination and the threat to the people's spiritual unity?

- Why is there such a great focus in this letter on the role of the family of local Orthodox churches, while this role is ignored and denied with regard to the Ukrainian issue?

- Why did His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew not practice self-restraint in dealing with the Ukrainian schism and warn the authorities in that country that the schism places them in "of ecclesiastical isolation and severance from the body of the entire communion the Orthodox Churches"?

- Why did he not state to the president of Ukraine, as he did with the president of Montenegro, that the sole legitimate metropolitan in the Ukrainian Church is Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev?

- Will His Holiness disavow the contents of this letter in the future, just as he disavowed what he said in front of the primates of the local churches about Ukraine, with the excuse of "a change in political circumstances"?

It is difficult to answer all these question. There is, however, no doubt that the content of this letter portends a radical paradigm shift in Constantinople's attitude and it can be interpreted as true repentance for the error that was committed in Ukraine. Will the local churches receive this message, regarding it as a turning-point in Constantinople's position, and work with it to formulate a solution to the Ukrainian issue and to Constantinople's role in the orthodox world, on the basis of the positive elements in it?

Without a doubt, "hope never fails"!

Used with permission.
See also
Constantinople says no one will recognize Montenegrin president’s church, continues to expect recognition of Poroshenko’s Ukrainian church Constantinople says no one will recognize Montenegrin president’s church, continues to expect recognition of Poroshenko’s Ukrainian church Constantinople says no one will recognize Montenegrin president’s church, continues to expect recognition of Poroshenko’s Ukrainian church Constantinople says no one will recognize Montenegrin president’s church, continues to expect recognition of Poroshenko’s Ukrainian church
Against this background, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople recently sent a letter to President Đukanović, urging him to give up his dream of achieving a recognized autocephalous for the Montenegrin church, saying, “no single Church … will recognize or support the anti-canonical fabrication of Dedeić,” referring to the current head of the schismatic structure.
"Our Paschal Joy is Grieved": The Open Letter of Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin, Bulgaria concerning Constantinople's actions
Met. Daniil of Vidin
"Our Paschal Joy is Grieved": The Open Letter of Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin, Bulgaria concerning Constantinople's actions
Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin
I believe it necessary for reasons put forth in my letter to share with Your Eminence my concerns with regard to recent developments in the Orthodox Church.
OCU: We shared Communion with Montenegrin schismatic even though we’re not in communion with them OCU: We shared Communion with Montenegrin schismatic even though we’re not in communion with them OCU: We shared Communion with Montenegrin schismatic even though we’re not in communion with them OCU: We shared Communion with Montenegrin schismatic even though we’re not in communion with them
While Constantinople was not responsible for Bojovic’s presence, it remains to be seen how the Patriarchate will deal with the fact that the OCU invited a schismatic cleric, causing the Constantinople bishops to inadvertently serve with him.
Constantinople hierarchs concelebrate with cleric from schismatic Montenegrin church Constantinople hierarchs concelebrate with cleric from schismatic Montenegrin church Constantinople hierarchs concelebrate with cleric from schismatic Montenegrin church Constantinople hierarchs concelebrate with cleric from schismatic Montenegrin church
Metropolitans Emmanuel and Amphilochios of Constantinople served with “Archimandrite” Boris Bojovic of the “Montenegrin Orthodox Church.”
Ecclesiological Principles Cannot Be Ignored. The Albanian Church’s Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Ecclesiological Principles Cannot Be Ignored. The Albanian Church’s Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Ecclesiological Principles Cannot Be Ignored. The Albanian Church’s Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Ecclesiological Principles Cannot Be Ignored
The Albanian Church’s Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew
It is universally recognized as a basic ecclesiological principle that the ordinations of heretics and schismatics, and especially of those who are deposed and excommunicated, as a “Sacrament,” celebrated by all the Churches, are invalid. This basic principle is inextricably bound with the Orthodox teaching on the Holy Spirit and constitutes an unshakeable foundation of the Apostolic succession of Orthodox bishops. It is our conviction that this principle cannot be ignored.
A Canonical Crisis in the Orthodox Church A Canonical Crisis in the Orthodox Church
Met. Jonah (Paffhausen)
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Primacy, Conciliarity and the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen)
The actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (EP) in its process of granting a Tomos of autocephaly to the schismatic groups in Ukraine have created a canonical crisis.
Comments
Alexei7/6/2019 6:35 pm
The difference is simple: the Montenegrin bishop was defrocked by the EP himself whom is the sole standard for the Church in his eyes. Whereas in Ukraine, it was under the 'mismanagement' of the MP as he sees it. So I don't see any change, but rather the same path continued of the "EP is always right and the rest are usually wrong" mentality.
Timmy7/6/2019 12:03 pm
Repentance is when one admits his wrongdoing, asks for forgiveness & then stops (or at least makes a sincere effort to stop) committing that wrong.

Repentance is not when one pretends that he committed no wrong & then perhaps adjusts his future behavior to accommodate the "weaknesses" of others or more likely, to avoid the blowback of committing similar wrongdoings...that's called arrogance not repentance.
Gary Cox7/6/2019 11:51 am
Anthony, you can be blunt to the point of being rude, but you know how to crank up a discussion. Kinda good to see you back. Gary Cox
Aleksandar7/6/2019 4:21 am
This is even more confusing:
https://www.pomisna.info/uk/vsi-novyny/mytropolyt-epifanij-peredav-mytropolytu-serbskoyi-pravoslavnoyi-tserkvy-ofitsijnogo-lysta/
Gary Cox7/5/2019 10:15 pm
Isidora, I do agree but we have to give our Bishops time to work through this. It is frustrating for us laity but it must be agonizing for our Patriarchs. I think a little more time and a formal unified statement will be forthcoming. At least I hope so. Gary Cox
Isidora7/5/2019 4:05 pm
When O when will we finally get it through our thick skulls that the See of Istanbul/Contantinople considers itself the supreme Pope of the Orthodox? Like any Pope it is able to declare whatever it wants, do whatever it wants, persecute whoever it wants, and change its mind whenever it wants. Consistency is beneath the supreme wonderfulness of a Pope.

To continue to pretend confusion and to confess "hope" or amusement is simply to embolden this fallen patriarchate. Rome #1 fell due to pride of political influence and so has Rome #2. Refusing to see this and refusing do something to isolate its contagion only weakens the Church.
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