Pan-Orthodox Alarm

Vyacheslav Nikonov

Source: CypLive

June 11, 2016


The most important event, which is being watched by the entire Orthodox world, should become a Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. It is designed to demonstrate unity in the face of the most difficult challenges of the XXI century, many of which are civilizational in nature, experience the strength of traditional spiritual and moral values. Unfortunately, as far as how close the previously announced date of its opening - June 18 2016 years - growing and anxiety both for the success of his work, and for the unity of the Orthodox world.

Difficulties in the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council historically largely reflected the rather ambiguous relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Rus was baptized after the last Ecumenical Council, when the Byzantine Empire was the most advanced civilization and the center, and the present capital of Christianity, leaving Rome behind. By receiving the baptism from Constantinople, our church has existed as a Russian Metropolia with the center in Kiev, which is the northern periphery of the canonical territory of the Ecumeical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Because of the late its inception Russian church held in the diptychs - lists for the liturgical commemoration - not the most honorable 1-place.

The first bishops and priests - in the beginning it was the Greeks - were delivered from Korsun and Byzantium, and the entire church organization the Old Russian state was in the hands of the Patriarch of Constantinople. But in the time of Mongol domination over Russia in Constantinople recognized the complete hopelessness of Russian metropolitans purpose without the consent of Moscow. Patriarchal Cathedral 1380, decided from now on "at all times the bishops of All Russia shall be placed in no other way than only at the request of Great Russia."

Serious differences between Moscow and Constantinople began after the Russian Church - like the rest of the Orthodox Church - were invited to follow the Patriarch of Constantinople and submit signed at the Council of Florence Orthodox-Catholic union concluded by the Byzantines in the vain hope of obtaining the support of Western Europe in the confrontation with the Turks. Grand Prince of Moscow Basil II to end the relationship with the union who took Constantinople, and in 1449, the cathedral of Russian bishops elected the new Metropolitan Jonah. Since then, the Russian Church became de facto autocephalous - independent and self-governing local church, canonical dependence on Constantinople was abolished and renamed Metropolia of Kiev in Moscow.

The collapse of the Byzantine Empire, four years after the Union has led to the fact that all four of the Orthodox Patriarchate - Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch - were ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and they were allowed to do what allowed the Turkish sultans. Simultaneously, the Grand Duchy of Moscow became the strongest and most populated state in the Orthodox world.

The establishment of the Moscow patriarchate was then only a matter of time, and it was a consequence of strengthening the positions of the Russian state and the result of a multi-way intrigue, which has successfully implemented virtually ruled the country while Boris Godunov. Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople, who took the throne after the overthrow of his predecessor Feolipta Turkish sultan, was in almost a hopeless situation: Turks even took a Patriarchal Cathedral Mosque. In these circumstances, the patriarch, heard about the generous gifts of the Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich eastern bishops was not difficult to lure in Moscow. There the king Godunov and pointed him to the wrong position, in which the Russian church is crowned with a metropolitan department. Jeremiah began bargaining: such a precious commodity can be sold only once. After emphasized the kind of official reception of the Patriarch was released for lunch and .... "Forgot" about it - for several months, forbidden to leave the capital. He could not stand the waiting, and agreed .... become patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Fedor Godunov and the idea seems to be approved, but .... We asked him to settle in Vladimir, since Moscow is already de Metropolitan Job. Finally, Jeremiah gave to persuade himself.

Job - January 26 1589, the first Russian patriarch was placed in the Assumption Cathedral. The Cathedral charters legitimize Patriarchate, declared that "the old Rome fell from heresy", the new Rome - Constantinople - enslaved to godless tribes agaryanskimi (ie Muslims), and therefore there is the Third Rome Moscow. Jeremiah left home with a rich alms for the construction of churches. But still it required formal conciliar consent of all the other Eastern patriarchates. Consent was obtained that require additional costs from the Russian treasury. Four major Russian department were transformed into Metropolia. The only thing that has not been achieved for the Moscow Patriarchate, - a high place in the hierarchy of the Orthodox churches, she is the youngest was five. But in fact ever since the ROC was the most numerous and influential Orthodox Church.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople after the fall of the Orthodox world belonged to a primacy of honor, but not the administrative power. He was the first among his peers Primates of other sovereign local churches. Substantive content of the championship was determined by consensus.

But 1920-ies in the circles of the Patriarchate of Constantinople spread the concept, according to which the entire Orthodox diaspora should be subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which has not only a primacy of honor, but also the primacy of power, which allows it to intervene in the internal affairs of other Churches. This concept is also called oriental Popery. Did not escape these trends and modern Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Patriarch Bartholomew I (in the world Dimitrios Arhondonis), who recently turned 76 years old, born on the Turkish island of Imvros, he studied at the Theological School of Halki Island (Heybeliada), after which he was tonsured and deacon's orders. He served in the Turkish army, in 1960-ies he studied at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, in the Swiss Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, and the University of Munich. He received his doctorate at the Gregorian University in Rome.

Bartholomew became 232-m in the ancient bishop of Constantinople. His title - Archbishop of Constantinople - New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch. In its immediate jurisdiction of only a few thousand Greek Orthodox today, living in Turkey, as well as the much more numerous Greek Orthodox diocese in the Diaspora, especially - in the United States.

In recent decades, the ROC and many other Orthodox churches were uneasy relations with Constantinople, which greatly delayed the practical work on the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council. It was still September 1961 year, when I took Rhodes Pan-Orthodox Conference, - Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council at meetings and meetings of inter-Orthodox preparatory commissions. There was a ten-year break - with 1999 2009 for the year - cause complications in the relations between Moscow and Constantinople patriarchates.

Bartholomew is not without reason, been suspected of trying to invade the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as susceptibility to ecumenism and the newfangled trends of that part of the world where practiced mainly Protestantism and Catholicism.

In 1995 was even rupture of Eucharistic communion occurred (a joint service of the Liturgy) between the two churches because of the establishment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople jurisdiction in Estonia that the Russian Orthodox Church considers part of its canonical territory. From Moscow, sounded a warning about the non-interference of Constantinople in the church situation in Ukraine, to which Bartholomew pushed a number of Ukrainian politicians.

Held in October 2008 in Istanbul meeting the Primates of the local Orthodox Churches has made possible the resumption of cooperation in the preparation of the cathedral. Relations between the two patriarchates were finally resumed in full format in July 2009, after his visit to Istanbul, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. In May 2010 years, visiting Russia, Bartholomew said that together with Patriarch Kirill, they decided to "speed up the process of convening the Holy Great Council of the Orthodox Church."

The decision to organize it - in 2016 year - was made at a meeting of the Primates of the local Orthodox Churches in early March 2014, in St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul. At the same time we agreed that "all decisions in both the Council and the preparatory stages are taken by consensus."

Initially it was planned to hold in Istanbul's Cathedral Church of St. Irene. However, after the events - a sharp aggravation of Turkish-Russian relations - at the insistence of the Russian Orthodox Church had to change place. Primates of the local Orthodox Churches, meeting in January 2016, in Chambesy (Geneva suburb) decided to gather Holy and Great Council with 18 27 on June 2016 years on the Greek island of Crete, is also located in the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople (in the Orthodox Academy of Crete). At the Cathedral due to arrive on 24 bishop from each 14-minute local Orthodox Churches. Then the Pan-Orthodox Council Secretariat and the Organizing Committee was established. According to the proposal of the Russian Orthodox Church agreed to publish the draft conciliar documents for discussion by believers.

The cathedral is not in its status Universal. In contrast to the ancient Ecumenical Councils, he will not consider dogmatic, canonical order and liturgy. The issues of discussion topics such as the relationship of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world, fasting, marriage, the church's mission in the modern world, pastoral care of the Orthodox Diaspora.

The position of the Russian Orthodox Church in connection with the Council has been extremely open. In April, the Synod has determined the composition of its delegation. Projects of all the conciliar documents have been made public in advance. 19 April Moscow Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University hosted a conference with their discussion. Based on its results have been formulated and submitted amendments to the draft two fundamental documents: "The relationship of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world" and "Mission of the Orthodox Church in the modern world." Transparent remained discussion in recent weeks.

However, the surprise of many, the tangle of problems that must be resolved before the Council began to grow rapidly, calling into question its success. Projects conciliar documents evoke comments from the episcopate, clergy and laity of the Russian Church. Council Regulation proposed in Chambésy, was not signed by the delegation of the Patriarchate of Antioch. "The sacrament of marriage and the obstacles to it," in the project caused objections delegations and the Georgian Patriarchate of Antioch. Nothing has been done to try to reconcile the differences between Antioch and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Qatar and the consequent absence of Eucharistic communion between them. But first of all criticized by the bishops of many local churches have undergone documents "Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world-sky" and "Mission of the Orthodox Church in the modern world."

Patriarch Kirill, the most interested in the success of the Council, in February proposed to proceed immediately to the coordination of these issues within the framework of the Secretariat-Orthodox, but received no support Bartholomew. ROC immediately after the meeting in Chambesy appointed their representatives and the secretariat, and the Organizing Committee, however, despite repeated reminders, they were good enough to be invited to work with only 7 June, when before the opening of the Cathedral could only 10 days. The Secretariat intended only twice to discuss mainly technical issues. Proposals to study controversial issues in the documents of the Council to open it rejected.

In late May-early June, a number of local Orthodox churches made public statements calling into question the fundamental possibility of the Council to the previously agreed terms and reaching consensus on the substantive agenda items.

25 May Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church has determined that in the documents of the Council significant amendments should be made. If they "will not be taken into account and included in the text of the document, the Georgian Church is not possible to sign it." The same day, the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church drew attention to the shortcomings of the Cathedral of the draft regulation, and raised questions about the status of the bishops at the Council of the need to consider the issue of autocephaly and ways of its proclamation (on what is constant, along with other churches, insisted and the ROC) of making corrections in the submitted documents. The Council of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church is also proposed its own amendments and additions. Holy Mount Athos Kinot Bartholomew sent a message, which says that "some place in the pre-conciliar texts need to be clarified in order to be able to more clearly express the secular tradition of the holy fathers and catholic heritage of the Church." 27 May 2016, the Synod of the Church of Antioch amended that thought it necessary to "find a final solution to the conflict with the Church Patriarchate of Jerusalem."

It would seem that the concerns expressed by the most authoritative Orthodox churches, they are recognized as valid by tens of millions of believers and in need of the most serious consideration and respect. And what do you think?
31 May the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has offered to study the problem in the relations between Antioch and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and finding a mutually acceptable solution, "immediately after the Holy and Great Council" to establish a "two-way commission of representatives of the Churches coordinated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate." In this church of Antioch said that "the call to postpone the solution to this problem before the end of the Holy and Great Council of negates the purpose of the Council, which is intended to be an expression of Orthodox unity," and "jeopardize the Holy and Great Council in the scheduled date. repeatedly warned "This Antiochian Church.

A 1 June Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, pointing to the absence on the agenda of the Council are important for Orthodoxy in opposition to the text of a number of documents, the inability to change them during the work of the Council, proposed to postpone the meeting. Otherwise, the Bulgarian Church refused to participate in it.

In this regard, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church 3 June suggested that perhaps the only way out of this situation: the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council to hold an emergency meeting "to consider the situation and examination of the local Orthodox churches of amendments to the conciliar documents in order to develop coordinated proposals." And to do so no later than 10 June that "the Orthodox Church could make a judgment on the possibility of a Pan-Orthodox Cathedral on schedule." It is clear that the harmonization of the texts - for the working groups and specially appointed representatives. Clashes position in the presence of Primate of the Church, numerous bishops, journalists, TV cameras, monitors, the invited persons - not the best way to demonstrate the Pan-Orthodox unity. Pre-Council meeting could delay the convening of the Council, but still not break it, that would be a big blow to the entire Orthodoxy.

However, the meeting in Istanbul in June 7 Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople actually rejected this proposal, preferring to continue the preparation of the plan. It was stated that "the revision already planned conciliar process goes beyond all of the institutional framework." And because Primate of the Church present their proposals to the final formulation and decision-making during the work of the Council. The essence of the decision is clear: not to conduct further consultations on the comments filed by local churches to the draft documents. Regulation of the Council can not be changed. Discuss nothing more. "Institutional framework", but in fact Bartholomew opinion, it is more important than trust and the desire to reach an agreement, without which the Council can not be successful if it can take place at all. After withdrawal from the Cathedral one of the 14 churches deprive him of the status of the Pan-Orthodox.

Alarmed voice rang out that "Constantinople Orthodox Church is trying to establish a dictatorship in relations with other 13 Local Orthodox Churches." What Constantinople not only feels entitled to collect the Pan-Orthodox Cathedral, but also tends to arrogate to itself the right of universal jurisdiction, the right to grant and take away autocephalous, manage any Orthodox Church.
At the same time, rather than to sit down at the negotiating table, the Patriarchate of Constantinople came into play ambition and uncovered an instrument of policy. In addition to its publications unprecedented tone of offensive attacks against the independent and self-governing local churches sounded painfully familiar to us the theme of "hand of Moscow". Allegedly, this is the ROC "muddying the waters" rather than believers and local churches have expressed their concerns.
It is not an expert and I can not go into the question of dogmatic and canonical tradition. But it is impossible not to see that in the desire to separate the Orthodox is big politics those who want to weaken the largest Orthodox country - and most authoritative Russian Orthodox Church - the Russian Orthodox Church.

Among the documents released by WikiLeaks in his time, was recording the conversation and Bartholomew with US Senator Durbin. The Patriarch then confided: "If the Ecumenical Patriarchate will lose its traditional location in Istanbul, the Russian Orthodox Church will be able to realize their claims on the management of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to become the leader of the entire Orthodox Church. Patriarchy in need of protection to withstand the humiliation on the part of Ankara and Russian ambitions. "

In Russia it puts pressure on all possible lines. Economic - against our country illegal discriminatory measures introduced bashfully called sanctions. Military - to our country's borders pushed the US military machine and its NATO allies. Information - against our country carried out an unprecedented attack on the global lie in the western media. The events in Ukraine demonstrated that the struggle for the hearts and minds of people of Kiev American curators took an enormous role of the so-called dissenters Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate. Intensified overt persecution of the followers of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Flattering external forces, so interested in weakening and splitting of Orthodoxy, Patriarch of Constantinople not only takes a huge sin and undermines its own credibility. He risks remain forever without the support of those living churches that still see it the first among equals. Stay general without an army. Whose rank of general is too little cost.

If there is no agreement, it is necessary to reach those in the few days that remain before the opening of the Pan-Orthodox Council. We need to hear and to negotiate, rather than trying to shout to achieve obedience of other churches.

And the Orthodox is to pray that the Lord has inspired His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew genuine consciousness of responsibility for the unity of the Orthodox Church.

Vyacheslav Nikonov is the Chairman of the Board of Fund "Russian World"

Vyacheslav Nikonov



Anthony6/19/2016 7:51 pm
This is an excellent article that perfectly sums up the problem. The Phanar is an agent of the West who are seeking to destroy Russia militarily, socially, and religiously. The failure of the Council is a blessing to us all since it shows that Orthodox are never going to accept a form of Papacy in the form of the Phanar of Constantinople issuing his diktats hither and thither, neither do we accept his attempts underhanded or otherwise to foist upon us all, ecumenism which as Dr Demetrios Tsenlengidis notes when he spoke with Elder Ephraim of Katounakia about Ecumenism, that it has an unclean spirit. The failure of the Council simply demonstrates how dangerous the Papacy could be to us. When a human being in a position of power errs as the Phanar has done, he could end up destroying the entire Church were he to be given Papal like powers.
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