Source: Orthodox History
October 12, 2022
In 1924, the future Patriarch Christophoros of Alexandria, then Metropolitan of Leontopolis, published an article called “The Position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Orthodox Church.” Christophoros opens by explaining the reason for his study: “the tendency that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has had over the past two years to desire to extend its spiritual jurisdiction over every ecclesiastical territory or every community which, for one reason or another, was or appeared to be deprived of regular spiritual government and oversight, which one describes as ‘Churches of the Diaspora.’” Christophoros presents this as something novel, something that has emerged “over the past two years” – that is, since 1922.
One of the keystone prerogatives claimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate is its jurisdiction over the so-called “diaspora” – regions not included within the geographic boundaries of the other Autocephalous Churches. Many Churches don’t accept this claim, evidenced by the presence of Antiochian, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Georgian jurisdictions here in the United States and elsewhere in the diaspora. But the Ecumenical Patriarchate insists that this exclusive extraterritorial jurisdiction is in fact ancient, rooted in Canon 28 of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council, in the year 451.
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