Metropolitan Onuphry: Phanar’s self-understanding is cause of Church crisis

Kiev, November 11, 2021

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The Patriarchate of Constantinople’s self-understanding of its special status within the Church is the root cause of the severe crisis in which the Orthodox world finds itself today, the primate of the Ukrainian Church said today.

Offering a welcoming speech to the “Conciliarity of the Church: Theological, Canonical, and Historical Dimensions” conference that opened in Kiev today, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine emphasized that the conciliar structure of the Church is one of the foundations of Orthodox ecclesiology.

The conference includes representatives of seven Local Churches: Antiochian, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Polish, Czech-Slovak, and the Orthodox Church in America. In their welcoming speeches, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia and His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Poland reaffirmed that their Churches recognize only the canonical Church under Met. Onuphry and that a council is needed to solve the issue.

Since Apostolic times, all disputes in the Church have been solved in a conciliar manner, and when the “conciliar spirit freezes in the Church, it leads to a decline in other spheres of Church life,” the beloved Ukrainian primate noted.

It is quite significant that those who have fought against the Church “first of all tried to restrict its freedom in convening and holding councils… This is no surprise, because councils are a special manifestation of the inner strength of the Church, its freedom in the Holy Spirit.”

As is well known, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is the only one who refuses to dialogue with his episcopal brothers and is personally preventing the current crisis from being overcome.

Individual hierarchs’ lust for special authority is not a new problem in the Church, Met. Onuphry recalled. Of course, the Patriarch of Rome fell away from the Church due to such lust, and now Pat. Bartholomew is following the same pattern.

“It’s the idea of the Church of Constantinople about its special status that is the root cause of the grave crisis in which the entire world Orthodoxy finds itself today,” His Beatitude said. And despite Constantinople’s stubbornness, “it’s obvious” that the only solution is to convene a pan-Orthodox council, or at least a Synaxis of the Primates.

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