At the end of 2019 on the Greek “Cosmos” television channel an extremely important and informative interview with Mr. Kyriakos Kyriazopoulos, professor of ecclesiastical law in the law faculty of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. This interview was dedicated to the huge problem that Orthodoxy has encountered in Ukraine, as well as in connection with the Phanar’s actions directed towards uniting with Roman Catholics.
We offer a fragment from a transcription of this program.
—The purpose of the creation of the OCU by the Constantinople Patriarchate is the furthering of the ecumenical movement. As you know, in Western Ukraine, besides the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Uniate church headed by an archbishop has been active along with two schismatic structures—the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Autocephalous church”.
—What is the goal of the Constantinople Patriarchate in founding the so-called “Autocephalous Church of Ukraine” headed by Epiphany?
—The goal is to weaken the Moscow Patriarchate, in order to enable a union between the Ukrainian Uniates and the so-called “autocephalous church of Ukraine” headed by Epiphany. The goal consists in creating a union, a “Patriarchate”, which will contain Uniates along with Epiphany’s supporters.
—And to whom will they be in subordination?
—Through Constantinople, they will be subordinate to the pope. The situation wherein papism differs from Orthodoxy is apparent, because these events are developing along the lines of inter-Christian ecumenism. (There also exists interfaith ecumenism). The unification of Christian groups into one structure. This structure will work upon the basis of a unitary and single politic—the papal one.
This union is being imposed by, besides the European Union, international political and economic entities.
—In preparation for that moment, meetings are being planned between papists and Orthodox with the aim of uniting in 2025. Therefore, in June of 2019, in honor of the Roman pope’s patronal feast—Sts. Peter and Paul—Bartholomew sent a letter to the pope of Rome with a call to “complete by November, 2020 the dialogue concerning primacy of the pope of Rome in the first millennia.
I will explain to you how this “union” will be created, because this also relates to Ukraine; because an experiment is being conducted there on the unification of papists with Orthodox. An experiment of unification of the “OCU” with Uniates is already being conducted. The Vatican, through the “Papal Council for the Cooperation of Christian Unity”, has agreed upon a meeting between the archbishop of the Ukrainian Uniates with Bartholomew.
That is precisely where it has been decided to further the ecumenical relations between Epiphany and the Uniates in Ukraine.
Besides joint prayers and the commemoration of Ukrainian Nazis (the schismatics have always sided with the Ukrainian Nazis, and Epiphany has been drawn into this commemoration), thanks to this and other actions in Ukraine, the experimental ecumenical union of papism with the Orthodox of the Autocephalous Churches is being furthered. They are preparing the ground for union.
This is in fact precisely what the Vatican’s politics consists of. The Vatican has wanted this from the moment that the Unia came into being, and it has always striven to turn the Orthodox into Uniates—so that they would keep up their own traditions, but dogmatically recognize the pope of Rome as the head of the Church with the right to establish dogmas. The pope has to be the supreme lawgiver, the supreme leader, and supreme judge. That’s what papism is.
The Uniates dogmatically accept the pope as the head of the Church. That means that they accept the changes that took place in the Western church during the second millennium, when the Western church transformed itself into papism.
The goal of the Vatican is to transform the Autocephalous Churches into Uniate churches. This is the purpose of ecumenical dialogue.
At the present time, a mixed theological commission of the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox Church is discussing the role of the pope’s primacy in the first millennium. By the end of November, 2020, they will agree upon a single text and present it to a “council” of papists and Orthodox, which will take place in 2025 with the aim of uniting, and they will say, “We have agreed and will unite on the basis of the primacy of honor of the pope of Rome in the first millennium, which we accepted then.” This agreement, of course, will only be in word.
As for the nomocanonical part, this will be an agreement with the Roman pope’s primacy of power in the second millennium. But they will not say this.
Papism wants that the “Codex of canons of the Eastern Churches” published in 1990 by the Polish pope John Paul II be applied to the Autocephalous Churches, which are so far still Orthodox. This codex also includes dogmatic rules that impose the pope as a leader possessing primacy of power.
The Constantinople Patriarch and in particular Bartholomew are making the following mistake. He wants to gain something. He want to be recognized as the head, so that he can have power over what are still the Autocephalous Churches when the union takes place. Because there will be a papal primacy of power, he also wants to have the same primacy of power that he doesn’t yet have among the Autocephalous Churches, which will then become uniate. He is trying to guarantee this primacy of power by means of the canon law [that Orthodoxy has] in common with papism.
But his mistake consists in the following: In Roman Catholic legislature, only the pope and the bishops are unchangeable institutions. The “interim” structures—the patriarchs, archbishops, and so on—are not unchangeable institutions. The pope can change them. That is, even if he gives Bartholomew what he wants in order to have power over the so far Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, in the future the pope of Rome will revoke that. Because this is an “ecclesiastical” and not a “Divine law”.
Unchangeable institutions are called “Divine law”. Patriarchs and archbishops are “ecclesiastical law”; that is, they can change. Consequently, what he [Bartholomew] is trying to achieve will be like a house built upon sand, which will collapse. The Constantinople Patriarchate is conducting incorrect politics and will lose what he does have. He will lose primacy of honor, and then also primacy of power—which he is now trying to acquire through the pope.
—And what will the Russians do?
—The Russians have already figured this out. The Russians did not sign the Ravenna Council text about papal primacy1. The Russians accepted neither the pope’s primacy of power, nor Constantinople’s primacy of power. They also made mistakes. But now they are worried about their mistakes after Bartholomew’s actions in Ukraine. Up till that time, they were walking in step with Bartholomew.
From the moment they did not go to the Crete pseudo-council and when the Ukrainian crisis arose, the Moscow Patriarchate has also become worried about its haveing politically followed the Ecumenical Patriarch in matters of ecumenism. Of course, it made mistakes: It also allowed the signing of an agreement with the pope in Cuba.
It [the Moscow Patriarchate] has its apprehensions, and it seems that it has reassessed the position it held up till now. There are questions of church diplomacy mixed in. But when diplomacy is mixed with ecumenism, you’re sunk.
There exist also other types of ecumenism: between the Orthodox and various branches of Protestantism—Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and so on. Or ecumenism with Monophysitism. This is all happening, but it depends upon the more large-scale experiment with the unification of Orthodox Autocephalous Churches with papism. All the rest will take care of itself.
This experiment with reuniatiziation, that is, with turning the Orthodox Churches into Uniate ones based on papal ecclesiology—that is, their catholicization. At the present moment, an experiment is being conducted with the catholicization of the Ukraine through the “autocephalous church” of Epiphany.
They are trying to unite intoi one “patriarchate” under the aegis of the Vatican and the Constantinople Patriarchate, as the archbishop of the Ukrainian Uniates has himself stated. This union presupposes an ecclesiology upon the basis of which it will exist. Is it Orthodox, or papist? The Orthodox [ecclesiology] is powerless institutionally and politically. The Vatican wants and is working hard to apply its own ecclesiology, because if it unites with Orthodoxy on Orthodox conditions, it will collapse as a papacy.