Paris, March 19, 2019
Celebrating the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Paris, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul, the hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who chaired the so-called “unification council” that created a new schismatic Ukrainian church in Kiev on December 15, used the occasion to lament the alleged ingratitude of the Local Orthodox Churches that have rejected the schismatic church.
Speaking about the current problems facing world Orthodoxy, Met. Emmanuel criticized both the way the Moscow Patriarchate reacted to the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s actions there, and the other autocephalous Local Churches that “forget how they benefited from the Mother Church of Constantinople,” as reports the Orthodoxia News Agency.
Most of the newer Local Churches received their autocephalies from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, given that they were within the Patriarchate’s jurisdiction, unlike Ukraine, which was universally recognized as being a canonical part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
To date, not a single Local Church has fulfilled Patriarch Bartholomew’s request to recognize the Ukrainian schismatic church, and several have explicitly rejected the new structure.
In his article, “The Heartbreak of the Feast,” Jad Ganem notes that traditionally, the Greek cathedral hosted all Orthodox bishops in France to celebrate the feast together. However, this year, Met. Emmanuel was joined only by his own auxiliary bishops.
Met. Emmanuel’s sentiment echoes that of his patriarch, Bartholomew who stated in January: “We pray that the sister Churches which unjustly oppose the decisions and initiatives of the first throne of the Constantinople Church would finally begin to think logically and fairly, with great respect and gratitude to the Church of our Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
In his letter to His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, Pat. Bartholomew expresses his understanding of respect for the “Mother Church” as simply assimilating the version of ecclesiology put forth by Constantinople: “Consequently, it is the responsibility of all others to assimilate these disclosed truths – not, of course, in order to validate them, inasmuch as they are already authentically validated by ecclesiastical practice, but rather to restore the precious and authentic experience of the Fathers, who hoped in God alone, to the proper and sanctified way.”
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