Moscow, September 17, 2021
Yesterday began the conference, “World Orthodoxy: Primacy and Conciliarity in Light of Orthodox Doctrine,” at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The conference is being put on by the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission of the Russian Church.
The conference was attended by hierarchs and experts of the Russian Church and distinguished guests from other Local Churches, reports the Synodal Department for External Church Relations.
The gathering was opened with a welcoming speech by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, in which he noted that Constantinople has simply buried all the agreements that were reached on a pan-Orthodox level about how autocephaly is to be granted, instead taking this prerogative for itself. And despite Pat. Bartholomew’s efforts to shatter the unity of the Russian Church, his actions have actually strengthened solidarity, the Russian primate said.
His Holiness was followed by a report from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk on “Constantinople’s Claims to Power as a Threat to the Unity of the Church.”
Reports were also presented by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Bačka (Serbian Church), His Grace Bishop Sylvester of Belogorod (Ukrainian Church), and His Eminence Metropolitan Andrei of Gori and Aten (Georgian Church). The report of His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos (Cypriot Church) was read out by a Cypriot priest.
His Eminence Archbishop Theodosius of Sebaste (Jerusalem Patriarchate) and His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos (Cypriot Church) sent video messages.
Following the first part of the conference, Pat. Kirill thanked all the presenters and offered his own thoughts, emphasizing that it’s enough to read the “tomos” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” to see all the terrible innovations of Patriarch Bartholomew and his advisers.
If Constantinople’s anti-Orthodox actions don’t receive a proper assessment from the Orthodox world, they could turn into a dangerous precedent, where Constantinople continues to appropriate powers for itself outside the canonical tradition, the Russian primate emphasized.
Constantinople’s understanding of primacy is, in fact, neo-papism, His Holiness added. The Russian Council of Bishops that will meet this fall should formulate an official position towards Constantinople’s innovations, he said.
The second session of the conference included many more presentations by hierarchs, clerics, and scholars of the Russian Church. Dozens of hierarchs from around the Orthodox world also joined in the conference online.