Archbishop of Albania: Conciliarity is principle of Orthodox unity

Tirana, December 6, 2019

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His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania has again emphasized his position that the Orthodox Church solves problems through conciliarity, which is the basic principle of its unity.

Abp. Anastasios’ new statement comes in response to a report by Antonis Triantafyllou in the Dimokratia newspaper entitled, “Anastasios’ Intervention in Favor of Moscow,” referring to his “Appeal-Supplication for the Overcoming of the Ecclesiastical Polarization.”

The Albanian primate’s response was also published in Dimokratia, in which he states that Triantafyllou’s article presents “a malicious distortion of my views, intentions and proposals with regard to a sensitive and critical issue that concerns worldwide Orthodoxy.”

A full English translation of the Archbishop’s response is available at Orthodox Synaxis.

“My intervention is not ‘in favor of Moscow’ or in favor of any Autocephalous Church and it is certainly not against the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” the Archbishop writes. “It is a cry of agony in favor of reconciliation, in favor of the unity of Orthodoxy.”

The Archbishop first highlights that his call for a pan-Orthodox council has nothing to do with the invitation to the primates of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, as his appeal was written and delivered to the primates before the Patriarch announced his initiative to hold a council in Jordan.

He also reiterates that he has “never questioned the established rights or privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” For example, in his appeal-supplication, he specifically puts forth the view that only Patriarch Bartholomew can summon a pan-Orthodox council.

Further, Abp. Anastasios writes that “In all the previous cases of granting Autocephaly– and naturally to the Church of Albania– Autocephaly was granted to the canonical Metropolises of each country and not to small sections of them composed of imperfectly restored schismatics.”

“This is why there followed peace and consensus,” he adds. On the other hand, the granting of autocephaly to the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” has only brought “turmoil and divisions,” the Albanian primate writes, “not only in that particular country, but in the entire Orthodox world.”

Further, canon law comes mainly from the Church’s councils, as “Synodality is the basic principle of the cohesion of Orthodoxy.”

The Albanian primate also calls out “irresponsible persons” who “have been mobilized to deride those who expressed different views while at the same time flattering those whom they support.”

The main mouthpiece, he writes, “is a clergyman of the Metropolis of Crete (guided and protected from above) who, with a certain ‘strike group,’ has taken on the role of maliciously mocking, intimidating and, in their imagination, punishing with insults, threats, petty sophisms and even wretched profanity those who have different proposals for overcoming the crisis.”

“Those involved in this plan, whether explicitly or implicitly, are unscrupulously attempting to affix labels of ethnophyletistic inspiration such as ‘slavophiles,’ ‘russophiles’ and the like. It presages ecclesiastical confrontation that destroys inter-Orthodox dialogue at a critical time for Orthodoxy,” Abp. Anastasios writes.

His Beatitude is referring to Archimandrite Romanos (Anastasiadis), who, as OrthoChristian has written, is a well-known Constantinople propagandist. As Abp. Anastasios writes, Fr. Romanos is known for attacking even hierarchs of the Local Churches that do not wholly follow the initiatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

He earlier accused His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine of having a “distraught and fanatical Russian mind,” and has referred to His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) as “a pernicious and satanic blasphemer and an agent of Putin’s totalitarianism and imperialism.”

Summing up his new statement, Abp. Anastasios writes:

As Christmas approaches, the great feast of the incarnation of the Son of God, of the Father’s amazing initiative for reconciliation with the human race, as we mention in the conclusion of our appeal, we are committed to “a hastening of the steps towards reconciliation. Reconciliation will bring peace to millions of faithful people. At the same time, Orthodoxy will confirm its spiritual ability to heal wounds, in the light of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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