Constantinople expects Churches to serve with schismatics in Holy Week Chrism service

Istanbul, January 20, 2022

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Holy Chrism will be made and consecrated at the Phanar later this year, and the Patriarchate of Constantinople aims to use the sacred rite as an occasion to draw the Local Churches into concelebrating with the Ukrainian schismatics.

This is discussed on pro-Phanariot outlets, and the same has been reported to OrthoChristian by its own sources.

In his Nativity Encyclical issued last month, Patriarch Bartholomew announced: “With God’s will, during the upcoming Holy and Great Week, we shall hold the service of the Blessing of the Holy Chrism in our venerable Center.”

Although holding autocephalous status, the majority of Local Churches, in fact, do not make their own Chrism, but receive it from Constantinople, either by tradition or as dictated by their tomoses issued by Constantinople.

Among these Churches is the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” And not only will the Churches receive their Chrism from Constantinople, but Pat. Bartholomew is expecting them to participate in their service.

The pro-Constantinople outlet World Ecclesiastical News reports that the consecration of Holy Chrism will take place in Istanbul “with the participation of representatives of the autocephalous Churches that receive Holy Chrism from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

These Churches are: Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, Czech-Slovak, and the OCU. Of these only the primates and certain bishops of Alexandria, Cyprus, and Greece have recognized the OCU.

Thus, the service will be used to try to draw representatives of other Local Churches into concelebration with the schismatics.

This thesis was stated already last May by canon lawyer Nicolas Gurgenidze on a Facebook page dedicated to “Ukrainian Autocephaly, and then picked up by the schismatic outlet “Spiritual Front of Ukraine.”

Gurgenidze writes: “What makes the issue even more interesting is that as a rule none of the above-mentioned Churches will refuse to participate, because then how would they get Chrism?!”

Arkady Mahler, a member of the Russian Church’s Synodal Biblical-Theological Commission and the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Church, notes that the hierarchs of other Local Churches will be drawn into a “danger zone,” as it is a serious violation of the canons to serve with unordained schismatics, while the Churches also don’t want to draw the anger of Constantinople.

“Many Churches, their primates and bishops, have taken the position that they don’t want to fight with or break off relations with anyone—neither with the Moscow Patriarchate nor with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. But this situation can’t last indefinitely,” Mahler said.

The majority of Local Churches have thus far resisted pressure from Constantinople and its political allies to recognize the schismatics. His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem was under great pressure to serve with them on the feast of Theophany in 2019, though he managed to maintain his canonical stance.

Depending on the stance the Local Churches take, they could refuse to participate in the service, or even refuse to accept Chrism from a service in which an OCU representative participates.

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Steve1/24/2022 2:42 pm
Hal, this is an important point. There is a strong possibility that someone may develop hypochondriasis from this.
Isa Almisry1/24/2022 1:50 pm
"But never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds"
Hal1/22/2022 10:04 pm
How does the status of the CP’s new OCU Chrism affect the CP and recipients of this chrism from the perspective of those of us (most EO Churches worldwide) who consider the OCU schismatic but who haven’t suspended communion with the CP? Normally this issue would not come up if we were not talking about the CP’s chrism, because AFAIK, other churches don’t use each other to make chrism and distribute it to each other. Serbia didn’t use ROCOR to help make Serbia’s chrism in the 1950’s, for instance, I would guess. Or is that not correct? So if an Antiochian in the US gets chrismated into the AOC with the CP’s OCU consecrated chrism, what is the effect?
Steve1/21/2022 4:32 am
Jesse, according to Pavlos Menesoglou's book, "The Holy Chrism in the Eastern Orthodox Church", it is only the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Romania, Serbia, and Russia (with the added exception of the OCA), that consecrate Holy Chrism. Do you have any evidence that contradicts this?
Rdr Daniel1/21/2022 1:35 am
@Mariko Hishamunda The Holy Synod of ROCOR ceased communion with their Patriarch due it being under control of the Communist state. They did not set up a rival Patriarch. They maintained Apostolic succession and had canonical ordinations, and even produced saints. When the possibility of again entering communion with their own Patriarch arose they took it and were again joined to their own patriarchate from which they had never truly left. The two groups in Ukraine did not do any of this, whereas the Autonomous "church" of Ukraine was setup in opposition to the Communists they did so as Ukrainian Nazi's. They have never had Apostolic Succession and entirely lack valid ordination, their "priests" and "bishops" are merely layman and all who celebrate with them are con-celebrating with not only schismatics but layman. The so called Kiev Patriarchate was headed by a former bishop whose iniquities are rather evident to all and who acted only out of jealously having had his ambitions to be Patriarch of Moscow crushed. His case was tried by the Holy Synod of Moscow where he was anathematized with the decision confirmed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Both of these 'churches' were set up in direct opposition to their canonical patriarchate and neither sought to re-establish communion with their patriarchate from which they had severed themselves. Instead they sought autocephaly from another see via a politician. Constantinople then proceeded to uncanonically overturn its own anathemas without any valid reason. Then to directly try the case without even having an appeal by the so called bishops; where as it has authority only to arrange a local council upon receiving appeal from the bishops and may not do so for a case it has already decided against. It then unanimously and without any canonical basis granted autocephaly to them in a territory that was not its own on the pretext that it was the 'first without equals', every church's 'Mother church', 'the beginning of the churches', 'the incarnation of the love of God' even contriving a heretical notion of Trinity and then likening itself to God the Father. It then failed to even ordain the non-valid Ukrainian 'clergy' but started concelebrating with them, pressured other churches to recognize the so called church they had set up using a mix of geo-politics and blatant nationalism, and refused any call to dialogue or council from any other patriarchates.
Claes1/21/2022 12:03 am
Making chrism is not rocket science. These autocephalies only receive theirs from the Phanar to make Phanariots feel useful, which is a fiction. Everything the Phanar does is useless, obstructive, self-serving, vainglorious and shallow. If it ceased to exist tomorrow, it would change nothing in the church that doesn’t need changing already. The churches will all be better off when the continual effort to prop up this obsolete relic ceases. They just make trouble and accomplish nothing for hundreds of years now.
Jesse Dominick1/20/2022 10:56 pm
Mariko, in the wise words of Patriarch Theodoros in 2018: "If the schismatic Denisenko wants to return to the bosom of the Church, then he must turn to where he left from. That which has fallen away must return to where it fell from. God is merciful to those who repent, and the Church forgives and receives in its motherly embrace all who repent.” Or in the wise words of Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul in 2012: "The only way to restore Church unity is for the schismatics to return to the Orthodox Church headed by Metropolitan Vladimir [Sabodan]. We believe that the very image, personality and activity of Metropolitan Volodymyr as the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church over the past 20 years have been and remain the main factors of stability of church life in Ukraine… The Patriarchate of Constantinople has no ties with schismatics. It doesn’t recognize them and won’t recognize them. And the Church of Constantinople has no other line except that which is inherent for all Orthodox. There can be no question of the unilateral recognition of schismatics.” Now you understand the difference between ROCOR reunting with the MP and the Ukrainian schismatics refusing to do so :)
Mariko Hishamunda1/20/2022 8:35 pm
In any post-2007 Russian Orthodox service involving hierarchs or clergy from the ROCOR any other Orthodox synod could have similarly cried, "Moscow Expects Churches To Serve With Schismatics!" Schismatics that up until their reception back into the fullness of the Church had loudly condemned all other Orthodox as Sergianists, ecumenists, heretics, et cetera. Instead the sister Orthodox Churches rejoiced in the healing of a sad and unnecessary schism in the Church. It is telling that this is Moscow's reaction to an attempt at healing the even sadder and more unnecessary schism in Ukrainian Orthodoxy...
Jesse Dominick1/20/2022 7:22 pm
Steve, these Churches are autocephalous. There's no reason they shouldn't be making Chrism for themselves. When the MP gives autocepahly, it gives full independence and allows the Churches to make their own.
Antiochene Son1/20/2022 6:23 pm
It is regrettable to consider dispensing with ancient and venerable customs, but there is nothing stopping these autocephalous churches -- especially the ancient patriarchates -- from consecrating their own holy chrism.
Steve1/20/2022 6:00 pm
This probably just means that some churches will start asking Russia for chrism instead.
Alexander Leitner1/20/2022 5:24 pm
I hope the Churches will refuse to celebrate with apostates. Again: Bartholomew will not repent, also not cadt them out. Thete must be a clear state. Otherwise we all will be schismatics.
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