Kiev, November 12, 2021
The Patriarch of Constantinople intentionally went around all the other Orthodox primates and made the unilateral decision to invade Ukrainian Church territory, which he has no authority to do, said the Serbian hierarch who participated in the “Conciliarity of the Church: Theological, Canonical, and Historical Dimensions” conference that opened in Kiev yesterday.
Patriarch Bartholomew doesn’t have the powers of a pope, and therefore he has no right to unilaterally decide to grant autocephaly, Bishop Anthony of Moravica, the Serbian representative to the Russian Church, said in his address to the conference, reports the Information Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In fact, Pat. Bartholomew insulted the other primates of the Local Churches by not consulting with them. And after Constantinople’s plans for Ukraine became known, the Patriarch continued to refuse to hear any other voices, Bp. Anthony lamented.
He “didn’t consult with any of the Local Orthodox Churches. This offends the other primates of the Local Churches, and they believe that Bartholomew is the first among equals in honor, but not the first like the pope. He has no such authority. The Ecumenical Councils and the Fathers of the Church say the Patriarch of Constantinople can’t make decisions like granting autocephaly alone,” the Serbian hierarch said.
Hierarchs of Constantinople have claimed that Pat. Bartholomew consulted with the other Local Churches. During the Archons’ Town Hall Meeting in January 2019, Metropolitan Emmanuel (now of Chalcedon) made just such a claim, insisting that when Constantinople sent a delegation to other Local Churches in the summer of 2018, it was manifesting conciliarity. However, as Bp. Anthony attests, and according to other of OrthoChristian’s sources in various Local Churches, the delegation was dispatched simply to inform the other Churches of the decision already made, not to consult.
Bp. Anthony also emphasized that if Pat. Bartholomew tries the same thing in Montenegro or North Macedonia, where there are schismatic churches, it will most likely lead to a schism between the Serbian Orthodox Church and Constantinople.
Inspired by the success of the schismatics in Ukraine, hierarchs of the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” and secular leads in North Macedonia have repeatedly appealed for autocephaly to Constantinople, which has sent mixed signals.
In his own address to the conference, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine identified the Phanar’s mistaken self-understanding as the cause of the current Church crisis.
And in his address, Archbishop Jerzy of Wrocław and Szczecin of the Polish Orthodox Church explained that the Church is in a state of hybrid warfare thanks to Constantinople’s creation of the OCU.