Constantinople threatens Abp. of Prague who resists its attempts to establish a monastery without Czech-Slovak Synod’s blessing

Prague, February 28, 2020

Archbishop Michael of Prague. Photo: wikipedia Archbishop Michael of Prague. Photo: wikipedia     

If the Archbishop of Prague does not reject the decision of the Synod of his own Church in favor of the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to act on the territory of the Church of the Czech Lands, he could face “severe interference,” according to a letter he received from one Constantinople hierarch.

On January 20, Metropolitan Apostolos of Derki of the Patriarchate of Constantinople wrote a letter on behalf of Patriarch Bartholomew to His Eminence Metropolitan Michael of Prague and the Czech Lands, informing him that he is engaged in “inappropriate and non-canonical activities,” as he “encourages and incites Metropolitan [Archbishop—Ed.] Simeon of Olomouc-Brno to oppose and resist the canonical decision to grant a complex of buildings in the city of Vilemov in his diocese for the opening and functioning of a Patriarchal and Stavropegial monastery there,” reports the Czech outlet parlamentnilisty.cz.

On October 1, the Patriarchate of Constantinople legally registered the “Association: Holy Patriarchal Stavropegial Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos” in Vilemoz, Czech Republic, with Metropolitan Arsenios (Kardamakis) of Austria of the Patriarchate of Constantinople legally recognized as Chairman and Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) of Šumperk of the Czech-Slovak Church (who was consecrated as a bishop for the Czech-Slovak Church by hierarchs of Constantinople without the Holy Synod’s blessing and who recently concelebrated with the Ukrainian schismatics) as Deputy Chairman. The association also plans to send priests throughout the country and to establish more locations.

In November, Met. Arsenios told Romfea that this action was taken at the initiative of Abp. Simeon of Olomuc-Brno and with the knowledge of the bishops of the Church and the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

However, in an interview with OrthoChristian, His Eminence Archbishop Juraj of Michalovce and Košice, a member of the Holy Synod of the Czech-Slovak Church, diplomatically characterized Met. Arsenios’ statement as “full of inaccuracies” and insisted that the bishops were never informed of Constantinople’s actions and the matter was never discussed by the Holy Synod.

Meeting on October 17, the Czech-Slovak Holy Synod categorically forbade members of other Local Orthodox Churches from creating their own stavropegial institutions on the canonical territory of the Czech-Slovak Church. Thus, any efforts from Abp. Michael to dissuade Abp. Simeon from assisting Constantinople in setting up a stavropegion are in accordance with the decision of the Czech-Slovak Synod.

However, Constantinople is certain, the letter reads, that Abp. Michael’s purpose is “to disrupt the implementation of the blessed decision of your Mother the Church of Constantinople, from which you received Orthodox Baptism and a tomos of autocephaly.”

Recall that the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia first received a tomos of autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate in 1951—its Mother Church at the time—that granted full and complete independence. However, Constantinople never recognized this autocephaly, and in an effort to regularize its relations with Constantinople, the Czech-Slovak Church was obliged to accept a new tomos from Constantinople in 1998 that significantly curtailed its freedoms and independence.

Met. Apostolos then hints that Constantinople could disgrace the Czech hierarch with details of his personal life:

We have previously received news of your life, which is not at all befitting a hierarch of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church, in which the leader as First, as determined by the sacred canons and martyric consecrated practice and Tradition of the Church, is the Archbishop of Constantinople—New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, who for centuries took not only those living in the Thracian, Pontic, and Asian dioceses, but also those outside the borders of Orthodox Church, “among the barbarian peoples,” into the one united and indivisible Church reality under the protection of the wings of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, thus becoming a faithful guardian of unity and faith.

“Such an institution, or better to say, the holy custom of the Patriarchal stavropegia, attested to in the consciousness and actions of the Church ‘from time immemorial even to this day,’ is included within the framework of this unifying grace-filled and institutional function of the Great Church of Constantinople,” the Constantinople hierarch writes.

Met. Apostolos continues that Constantinople has stavropegial institutions throughout nearly the entire world and that the Epanagogue code of laws states that: “The primate of Constantinople is also allowed to grant stavropegia in the dioceses of other sees where there was no consecration of a church before.”

However, a monastery of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia already exists at the exact same address that Constantinople used to legally register its own monastery-association.

Met. Apostolos also characterizes Abp. Michael’s actions, which are in accord with the decision of the Holy Synod of the Czech-Slovak Church, as a “rebellion.”

“So, we are deeply saddened by this behavior, which does not correspond to your sacred order and is aimed at opposition and rebellion, and by the ruin caused by it and the irreparable harm to the souls and minds of pious Orthodox believers living in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who are subject to the influence of slanderous rumors from the evil one and his actions, as his Eminence Metropolitan Arseny of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe informed us in writing and in personal communication,” the letter reads.

Thus, the hierarch of Constantinople calls on Abp. Michael to “take control of your way of life and activities and the spread of false information and groundless accusations against the Mother Church and the local bishop of Olomouc-Brno, Vladyka Simeon which discredit the daughter Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia in one way or another.”

However, “we declare that if your pernicious tactics continue, the Mother Church will strictly intervene.”

“Having the firm hope that Your Eminence will stop violating the established Church order and respect the hierarchy that exists in it, we give You our Patriarchal blessing,” the letter concludes.

Constantinople has threatened to interfere in the life of the Czech-Slovak Church before. Despite the 1998 tomos from Constantinople, the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia continued to celebrate its independence beginning with the 1951 tomos from Moscow. Thus, 50th anniversary celebrations were held in 2001, 55th in 2006, and 60th in 2011.

However, following the 60th anniversary celebrations, Pat. Bartholomew wrote to His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher, the primate of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia at that time, and threatened to revoke the Church’s autocephaly if it ever celebrated the anniversary of the 1951 tomos again.

Constantinople again interfered in the life of the Czech-Slovak Church after Met. Christopher stepped down in 2013, which can be read about in the article “The Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Role in the Crisis Period of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia.”

Abp. Michael of Prague previously defied the Patriarchate of Constantinople when on February 20 he issued a decree categorically forbidding his clergy from concelebrating with “clergy” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

Metropolitan Arsenios' letter. Photo: parlamentnilisty.cz Metropolitan Arsenios' letter. Photo: parlamentnilisty.cz     

Metropolitan Arsenios' letter. Photo: parlamentnilisty.cz Metropolitan Arsenios' letter. Photo: parlamentnilisty.cz     

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2/28/2020

See also
Constantinople bishop’s statement about establishment of monastery in Czech Republic is full of inaccuracies, says hierarch of Czech-Slovak Church Constantinople bishop’s statement about establishment of monastery in Czech Republic is full of inaccuracies, says hierarch of Czech-Slovak Church Constantinople bishop’s statement about establishment of monastery in Czech Republic is full of inaccuracies, says hierarch of Czech-Slovak Church Constantinople bishop’s statement about establishment of monastery in Czech Republic is full of inaccuracies, says hierarch of Czech-Slovak Church
In his comments to OrthoChristian, Abp. Juraj noted that he has been at every Synod meeting, and he “insists that it has never been discussed” and thus no Synodal decision has ever been made on the matter of Constantinople establishing a stavropegial monastery on the territory of the Czech-Slovak Church.
Constantinople-installed bishop in Czech-Slovak Church ignores his primate’s warnings, serves with Ukrainian schismatics Constantinople-installed bishop in Czech-Slovak Church ignores his primate’s warnings, serves with Ukrainian schismatics Constantinople-installed bishop in Czech-Slovak Church ignores his primate’s warnings, serves with Ukrainian schismatics Constantinople-installed bishop in Czech-Slovak Church ignores his primate’s warnings, serves with Ukrainian schismatics
As Fr. Nikolai was informed by the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Bp. Isaiah acted arbitrarily, without the blessing of his primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav, and contrary to the stance his Church has taken regarding the OCU.
Constantinople registers monastery, laying groundwork for parallel jurisdiction in Czech Republic Constantinople registers monastery, laying groundwork for parallel jurisdiction in Czech Republic Constantinople registers monastery, laying groundwork for parallel jurisdiction in Czech Republic Constantinople registers monastery, laying groundwork for parallel jurisdiction in Czech Republic
The Patriarchate of Constantinople has legally registered a monastery in the Czech Republic without the blessing of the ruling primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of Prešov and All the Czech Lands and Slovakia, thus setting up a parallel jurisdiction on the territory of another Local Church.
Comments
MC3/3/2020 1:38 pm
Confused: Thank you for admitting you are confused. The Czech-Slovak Church is not under the Constantinople Patriarchate. They were granted autocephaly by their Mother Church, the Moscow Patriarchate in 1951. No, the CP is not the only Church that can grant autocephaly, although that is what it falsely claims. Therefore, it doesn't recognize any of the autocephalies granted by the Russian Church. So, rather than recognizing the autocephaly of the Czech-Slovak Church, it sent its own tomos of autocephaly. That should imply that the Czech-Slovak Church is autocephalous, but because Constantinople only pretends to grant autocephaly, you have the confused opinion that that Church is under Constantinople. And the Moscow Patriarchate never considered ROCOR schismatic. In fact, ROCOR never considered itself completely separate from the Moscow Patriarchate, and only waited until it was possible to reunite--and they did reunite. Haven't you heard? And by the way, the Moscow Patriarchate, although persecuted by the Communist yoke, was still a canonical Patriarchate. Otherwise, we would have to view the Constantinople Church as not canonical just because it is under the Turks, who are Moslem.
Confused3/3/2020 5:49 am
Please enlighten me, I am a bit confused.. Is not the Czech-Slovak Church under the Patriarch of Constantinople or I have been misinformed all my life? Does not Constantinople alone have the right to give autocephaly and not a Soviet occupied church like Moscow was in 1951? The same church that considered the ROCOR as schismatic? How can one claim Moscow was "occupied" and "anticanonical"in regards to the decisions on the ROCOR being labeled as schismatic at the time and then accept a "gramota" issued by that very same church they condemned as Soviet infiltrated and anticanonical when it comes to the case of the Czech-Slovak Church?
Paul pavlovich2/29/2020 4:32 pm
The Moscow Patriarchate is the most living and vibrant root of our church today and the historic Constantinople mother church is a skeleton, unfortunately in the throws of its decline vulnerable to secular manipulation threatening the church as a whole. Tradition calls for consisted effort to go forward wisely!
Timmy2/29/2020 7:18 am
Amazing...in a bad way. Truly amazing.
Gary Cox2/29/2020 6:54 am
I am thoroughly depressed. Bartholomew wreaks havoc in the Church and our Patriarchs agree to talk at a later date.
Alexander Leitner2/28/2020 10:25 pm
Stopp constantinople and depose Bartholomew!
Mikhail2/28/2020 7:15 pm
If all the local Churches don't begin to stand up against the "bully from Constantinople"...things will only continue to deteriorate.
Antiochene Son2/28/2020 6:39 pm
The hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate seems rife with prelest. I see no Christ, no Gospel, in this man's words. I only see a petty politician.
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