Canon 28. by Fr John Ramsey, PhD in Orthodox Christian Ecclesiology. University of Durham.

Canon 28 is an important reference for the Ecumenical Patriarchate in establishing its privileges within the Orthodox Church.

The canon is as below:

Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognised Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her. And it is arranged so that only the Metropolitans of the Pontic, Asian, and Thracian dioceses shall be ordained by the most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople aforesaid, and likewise the Bishops of the aforesaid dioceses which are situated in barbarian lands; that is to say, that each Metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the Bishops of the province, shall ordain the Bishops of the province, just as is prescribed by the divine Canons. But the Metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the Archbishop of Constantinople, after the elections have first been conducted in accordance with custom, and have been reported to him.

The canon is an extension of the third canon of the Second Ecumenical Council. The Canon begins by reaffirming the canon of Constantinople and determining the same thing. What is this that is determined? That the church of Constantinople being New Rome will have equal privileges as that of Old Rome. The reason was that these priorities were granted to Old Rome on account of it being the capital city of the Empire and so Constantinople also being Rome, as defined as the city that was imperial capital in which resided the Senate, was granted equal privileges as Old Rome; it was effectively the same city in terms of these privileges, which is why the Fathers speak of it as New Rome.

The next section of the canon is about arranging the patriarchal authority of New Rome, so as to define the proper extent of it is “patriarchal” jurisdiction. A patriarchal jurisdiction was proper to its acquiring equal priorities with Old Rome. This authority was granted over three dioceses, Thrace; Pontus; and Asia. (The diocese here does not refer to a single bishop and city but to a grouping of a number of provinces each of a number of cities and so bishops. Rome had similar trans-diocesan jurisdiction, whereas Alexandria and Antioch only had jurisdiction over one Roman diocese.) Having had this multi-diocesan jurisdiction recognised, Constantinople’s jurisdiction in regards to those dioceses is limited to only ordaining the metropolitans of each province within the dioceses after each province used its normal methods of selecting a candidate. The metropolitans of each region continued to ordain the bishops for the region. Thus, while being put under New Rome, as their patriarch, the metropolitan provinces effectively continued to exercise the same self-determination as previously, apart from having the metropolitan himself ordained by the bishop of New Rome rather than by the senior locum tenens from within the metropolitan province or by the exarch, chief See of the diocese. This placed an important limit on the authority of the bishop of Constantinople and reinforces the inviolable rights of the provincial synods and their metropolitans.

The bishop of New Rome is also to take charge of missions coming from the metropolitan provinces under him, as a patriarchal right of managing matters common to all the metropolitan provinces or extending beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any of the provinces. He is this regard took this privilege form the exarch of the diocese as previously exercised. This is not a general right to ordain all missionaries in barbarian lands from any metropolis or patriarchate, else he would need to ordain missionaries from Old Rome, thereby usurping the authority of Old Rome of which New Rome has as a derivative. New Rome only has permission to ordain those of its own patriarchate, as far as canon 28 arranges. There may be a boarder question of ordaining bishops for missions beyond other patriarchal regions, but this is not established by canon 28.

So the purpose of Canon 28 was to affirm Canon 3 of the Second Ecumenical Council and then to better define the patriarchal jurisdiction inherited with the priorities of Old Rome.

Fr John Ramsey PhD in Orthodox Christian Ecclesiology. University of Durham.

Appeals to Constantinople According to the 1663/4 Tomos of the Eastern Patriarchs

Patriarch Bartholomew’s recent letter to Archbishop Anastasios of Albania has generated considerable discussion, including on these pages: previously, we examined his reference to the Council of Carthage and his mischaracterization of the Meletian Schism. More significantly, on 28 March, Archbishop Anastasios responded to Patriarch Bartholomew with a remarkable letter, in which he directly addressed the Patriarch’s purported historical precedents. We strongly recommend that all of our readers examine Archbishop Anastasios’ letter.

Today, we continue our examination of Patriarch Bartholomew’s letter, and we come to his citation of a 1663/1664 Tomos of the four “Eastern Patriarchs” — the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Here is how Patriarch Bartholomew quoted this text:

This ancient practice of the Church, which concurs with the Ecclesiastical Canons, is also explicitly confirmed by the four Patriarchs of the East, namely our own Predecessor Dionysios III, Paisios of Alexandria, Makarios of Antioch, and Nektarios of Jerusalem, in a Tomos of the year 1663, by which they settled twenty-five chapters of inquiries posed to them by clergy of the Russian Church. In the eighth question: “Whether every decision of other Churches may be appealed to the Throne of Constantinople for final determination in all Ecclesiastical matters?”, they replied that “This prerogative belonged to the Pope before he broke with the Catholic Church… Since the Schism, however, matters of all Churches are referred to the Throne of Constantinople, from which they receive determination.” The same is repeated in responses to the twenty-first and twenty-second questions.

Once again, the Patriarch has quoted a text very selectively, without context, and has avoided the parts of the text that might work against his current position — to borrow from Archbishop Anastasios’ words, “its careful study leads to different conclusions.”

In 1663, the Russian Orthodox Church was in the midst of a great crisis, and the Eastern Patriarchs had been appealed to in the matter of the deposition of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow. The Russian Church submitted a series of questions to the Eastern Patriarchs, who responded with a Tomos in a question-and-answer format, which they formally issued in 1664. Patriarch Bartholomew references Questions 8, 21, and 22, and partially quotes from number 8 (full translations and the Greek originals are provided below the present article). His presentation of its answers gives the appearance that the Eastern Patriarchs supported the unilateral resolution, by the See of Constantinople, of all appeals from the other Churches. However, this is by no means an accurate portrayal of the text.

In fact, Question 8 reads, in full, as follows:

Question, Chapter VIII

Whether every judgment of the other churches is referred to the See of Constantinople and from her each ecclesiastical case receives a conclusion.

Answer:

This privilege belonged to the Pope of Rome before splitting from the Catholic Church out of arrogance and willful wickedness, but now that he has split, the issues of all the Churches are referred to the See of Constantinople and from her receive decisions, as it has the same primacy that Old Rome held, according to the canons, for the Fourth Canon of Sardica says, “If any bishop is deposed by the judgment of bishops who happen to be neighboring, and asserts that he has fresh matter in defense, a new bishop be not settled in his see, unless the bishop of Rome judge and render a decision as to this.” That this privilege is transferred to the Ecumenical See, you may learn from many, not least from the scholia of the great Nomocanon, which say, “From this canon, the Romans raised themselves to arrogance, and of old putting it forward as as from [the Council] in  Nicaea, their leaders were proven villains, as the Synodical preamble of the Council of Carthage itself makes clear”. And further down, “the bishops of Old Rome boast that through this canon they were given all the appeals of the bishops” and further down says, “not all the appeals of the bishops are referred to him, but those of eparchies under him, those which,” he says, “later were placed under Constantinople, as their appeals henceforth also appertain to the latter.” And from Balsamon, “the special privileges defined do not belong to the Pope himself alone, but are understood also to belong to the [bishop] of Constantinople.” Since the bishop of Rome has broken off from the Catholic Church, they are only referred to the Ecumenical Throne. If the other Patriarchs also agree, if it happens to be a major issue, the resulting verdict is inalterable.

Far from authorizing a unilateral right of appeals for Constantinople, Question 8 affirms the right of Constantinople to resolve appeals, but for this resolution to be final on any major issues, it must be done with the unanimous consent of the other Patriarchs.

This is a faithful application of Apostolic Canon 34, which states, “But neither let him [who is the first] do anything without the consent of all.” It is also consistent with the words of Archbishop Job of Telmessos in 2009, applying Canon 34 to the pan-Orthodox level: “The ecumenical patriarch has a right to accept letters of appeal and care for the unity of the church by convening all-Orthodox meetings attended by heads of each patriarchate and autocephalous church (or their representatives) but he cannot decide anything himself, without them, unilaterally.” In recent months, Patriarch Bartholomew appears to have introduced an innovation into the theology of the Church, repudiating both Apostolic Canon 34 and, by extension, the 1663/4 Tomos of the Eastern Patriarchs that he paradoxically cites as authoritative.

Moreover, the bulk of the response to Question 8 does not serve to bolster the Ecumenical Patriarch’s prerogatives, but rather strictly limits them, pointing out that Constantinople only has the privilege of hearing appeals from eparchies that were under Rome prior to the schism. Even more relevant to the current situation, the response warns that an exaggerated insistence on the privilege of hearing appeals led Rome into the “arrogance” that eventually caused it to break from the Church, an arrogance foreshadowed by Rome’s willingness to misrepresent the canons of an Ecumenical Council during the Council of Carthage, where Rome’s representatives sought to bolster the authority of Canon 4 of Sardica by claiming that it was a canon of the Council of Nicaea.

Patriarch Bartholomew’s citation of Questions 21 and 22 is simply puzzling. Question 22 does not refer to the unilateral authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but rather the authority of a decision made by “the Ecumenical See, and the Patriarchs with it,” once more expressing an ecclesiology rooted in Apostolic Canon 34. Question 21 has no connection at all to the right of appeal or the privileges of the Ecumenical See, but rather addresses whether a metropolitan or patriarch can be judged by bishops that he ordained. It closes by stating that “paternity and sonship have no place in the matter of justice and certainly not in ecclesiastical issues, as spiritual danger ensues”– as concise a refutation of Constantinople’s “Mother Church” ideology as can be imagined.

Patriarch Bartholomew has exhibited a pattern of willful inaccuracy that calls into question every historical claim he makes. We simply cannot trust the Patriarch to behave in an honest manner — we cannot trust that he speaks the truth. Sadly, we are reduced to fact-checking the words of the primus inter pares of the Orthodox Church, a man who should be our leader in the faith and a model of holiness. Once again, we beg His All-Holiness to repent of his dishonesty and to return to the path of truth, even — especially — when truth seems to be against the selfish interests of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Orthodoxsynaxis.org

*** 

Question, Chapter VIII

Whether every judgment of the other churches is referred to the See of Constantinople and from her each ecclesiastical case receives a conclusion.

Answer:

This privilege belonged to the Pope of Rome before splitting from the Catholic Church out of arrogance and willful wickedness, but now that he has split, the issues of all the Churches are referred to the See of Constantinople and from her receive decisions, as it has the same primacy that Old Rome held, according to the canons, for the Fourth Canon of Sardica says, “If any bishop is deposed by the judgment of bishops who happen to be neighboring, and asserts that he has fresh matter in defense, a new bishop be not settled in his see, unless the bishop of Rome judge and render a decision as to this.” That this privilege is transferred to the Ecumenical See, you may learn from many, not least from the scholia of the great Nomocanon, which say, “From this canon, the Romans raised themselves to arrogance, and of old putting it forward as* from [the Council] in Nicaea, their leaders were proven villains, as the Synodical preamble of the Council of Carthage itself makes clear”. And further down, “the bishops of Old Rome boast that through this canon they were given all the appeals of the bishops” and further down says, “not all the appeals of the bishops are referred to him, but those of eparchies under him, those which,” he says, “later were placed under Constantinople, as their appeals henceforth also appertain to the latter.” And from Balsamon, “the special privileges defined do not belong to the Pope himself alone, but are understood also to belong to the [bishop] of Constantinople.” Since the bishop of Rome has broken off from the Catholic Church, they are only referred to the Ecumenical Throne. If the other Patriarchs also agree, if it happens to be a major issue, the resulting verdict is inalterable.

*Here we follow the 19th century translation of William Palmer in reading the nonsensical οἱ as a scribal mistake for ὡς.

 

Question, Chapter XXI

If a Metropolitan or Patriarch, being liable, is judged by the bishops around him, and by chance he grew up in that eparchy and so it happens that all the bishops around him were ordained by him, is it possible not to accept the verdict carried out against him by them, as he is truly called their father and they have had the rank of sons with him?

Answer:

Relationship has many forms, according to those experienced with them and according to being and according to how it is said. And it is received according to the varying references of the subjects. Let us say, a human is said with reference to his offspring to be a parent and acquires the relationship of paternity, while a human, according to the relationship of identity and the definition of “human”, has no difference with reference to his offspring. Thus, in the case of a Metropolitan or Patriarch, as their Elder, with reference to the matter of ordination, they are his sons and according to the identity of episcopacy and the greatness of paternal dignity, the are called fellow brothers, fellow bishops and ministers of the one God Himself. Hence the blessed Paul in his epistles sometimes says “children” as in the case of those baptized by him, “child Timothy” and “child Titus”, and sometimes “brothers” as in the case of the Apostles. The Lord is not ashamed to call Christians “brothers”. “Behold, I and the children whom God has given me”. It follows from this that according to the relationship of ordination and the relationship of rank, he is father to the bishops around him, while according to the sense of episcopacy and paternal authority, they are fellow brothers and fellow bishops and so it is inappropriate to say that the bishops ordained by him cannot judge him, if he is liable according to the divine canons, and issue a lawful verdict against him, for paternity and sonship have no place in the matter of justice and certainly not in ecclesiastical issues, as spiritual danger ensues, since the Theologian says, “when he sees God injured, a person who is, in other things, mild and gentle, truly becomes a warrior.”

 

Question, Chapter XXII

If someone rebels against their verdict and takes recourse to appeal, what happens?

Answer:

The judgment of the Ecumenical See and the Patriarchs with it against him in writing, inasmuch as it appears legitimate and according to the canons, as is said above, (as [the See] possesses by the canons this privilege), let it prevail against him, with no other plea remaining in this matter.

 Copyright the Moscow Patriarchate.

Eu investigation of Russia bears the quality of the Dupont’s in Tintin!!!!

“With the world fighting to contain the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 200,000 people around the globe and caused more than 8,000 deaths, the Russian government continues to spread disinformation to weaken Europe, going so far to use the virus itself in order to do so.

According to the Financial Times, citing an internal report from the European External Action Service (EEAS), Russian state media and pro-Kremlin media outlets are conducting “a significant disinformation campaign.”

The ultimate aim of Moscow’s disinformation campaign is to “aggravate the public health crisis in western countries, specifically by undermining public trust in national healthcare systems — thus preventing an effective response to the outbreak.”

No evidence at all .This is what they get :

“One shady news site with a Moldovan URL and Russian language posts on March 4 simply suggested that the coronavirus outbreak was a lie.

Another Russian language website suggested that the coronavirus was basically a bacteriological weapon with a “genetic code” designed to infect the Chinese. The article quoted a former Russian UN official who said that the coronavirus was “beneficial for American corporations that are developing these kinds of new diseases just for profit. Or maybe for the Americans themselves.”

The article then points to the Tbilisi-based Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, a Georgian state health facility also known as the Lugar Lab as the possible source of such a “genetically targeted weapon”. Prior to coronavirus-related fake news, the lab has been at the center of disinformation from the Russian media claiming that it is a US-supported institution conducting dangerous experiments on human beings.

On a third website, this time in Belarus, it was suggested that the Belarusian democratic opposition wants people to get infected with coronavirus to disrupt the country’s forthcoming presidential elections and the electoral chances of President Aleksander Lukashenko. “They need popular oppression, millions of people infected around the country to overthrow the one they hate so much. And if the Belarusian people are the price for it, then the opposition, without blinking an eye, will go for it.”

In Armenia, the Yerevan-based service of Russian state-run news agency Sputnik quoted an “expert” who claimed that the outbreak of the virus was not a coincidence and was created by “the notorious centres” to create a new economic crisis and control people’s minds. The article pointed towards a common narrative of conspiracy theories: secret elites such as the CIA, a global government or US-Hungarian billionaire George Soros.

Last but not least, a columnist at Sputnik Ossetia suggested that using the Covid-19 epidemic as an information tool was an element of a political struggle, with politicians in Europe and the US busy rescuing stock markets and finding culprits rather 

The same pattern as with Trump/Hillary .

Apostasy in Istanbul. Father Andrew.Orthodox England. March 8, 2020

For nearly one hundred years faithful Orthodox patiently continued to concelebrate with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, awaiting its repentance. This was despite the fact that nearly 100 years ago its leaders broke Church unity in the Diaspora, that they accepted a bribe of £100,000 from the Church of England (an agent of the imperialist British State) to abandon the Orthodox calendar for the fixed feasts, that they supported atheist-sponsored modernist sects in persecuted Russia and worldwide against the Church, and that they took part in ecumenist compromises, besmirching itself in anti-canonical activities. Since in 1948 the US State took over the worldwide meddling carried on for a century before by the British State, the once glorious Patriarchate of Constantinople is becoming an inglorious minor sub-department of the US State Department and the Vatican. And still we wait patiently for their repentance, but now our patience is coming to an end.

The meddling of racist individuals in Turkey among Ukrainian immigrants after World War II, in Estonia since 1996, in the Autocephalous Czechoslovak Orthodox Church in 1998, their recent uncanonical acts against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by sponsoring a nationalist ‘Church’ there, their threats to the Church of Serbia and their sponsoring of fanatical xenophobes in Montenegro and Macedonia, countered by two heroically faithful Orthodox hierarchs, Metropolitan Amfilochie and Metropolitan Onufry, and now new threats of blackmail against the Czechoslovak Church, are too much. They are a disgrace to the word ‘Christian’. We have tolerated them  for a  long time. We are distressed for the fate of its faithful clergy and people. But they would be welcome to join us in our battle against the common enemy of our salvation, militant atheism, and so abandon their US-appointed leaders to their apostasy. Salvation through repentance is still possible.

The isolation of the hundred or so bishops of the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople, its two agents in Athens and Alexandria and a handful of abbots on Mt Athos, who obey only the local US and Greek ambassadors in preference to the Gospel of Christ, have shocked the Orthodox world with their treachery. They proclaim that Washington, with its pagan temple White House, is the Third Rome. We disagree. It is now up to the rest of the Church to join together against the common secularist enemy apparently supported by this little band of apostates. This is in faithfulness to the Orthodoxy of the Gospel, of the Fathers and of Canon Law, in faithfulness to the Tradition, to the sum total of the inspirations of the Holy Spirit over 2,000 years. Recent events are a wake-up call to repentance to all Orthodox, to shed themselves of petty nationalism, be it Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian. Macedonian, Montenegrin or Arab. Whatever its language, petty nationalism is the same evil attachment to the prince of this world and his minions. Seven and a half billion human-beings are waiting to hear the call of the Gospel of Christ to His Church from the representatives of His Church.

The Triumph of Orthodoxy 2020

A Commentary on the Last Judgment The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 25: 41-46 From The Explanation by Blessed Theophylact

41-46. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye gave Me nothing to eat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, or in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

He sends those on the left into the fire which had been prepared for the devil. For as the demons are without compassion and are cruelly and maliciously disposed towards us, it is fitting that they who are of like mind with them, and who have been cursed by their own deeds, should merit the same punishment. See that God did not prepare the fire for men, nor did He make hell for us, but for the devil; but I make myself liable to hell. Tremble, then, O man, and understand from this that these men were not punished as fornicators, or robbers, or perpetrators of any other vice, but for not having done good. For indeed, if you consider things well, the robber is he who has much and does not give alms, even if he does no obvious injury. For whatever he has in excess of his needs, he has stolen from those who are in need and who have not received anything from him. For if he had shared these things with them, they would not be in need. Now that he has locked these things up and kept them for himself, for this very reason they are in need. So he who does not give alms is a robber, doing injustice to all those whom he could have helped but did not, and for this reason he and those like him shall go away into eternal punishment which never ends; but the righteous shall enter into eternal life. For just as the saints have unceasing joy, so too the unjust have unceasing punishment, despite the gibberish of Origen who says that there is an end to hell and that sinners will not be punished for ever, but that there will be a time when they enter the place of the righteous because* they have been purified by suffering in hell. Origen is clearly refuted here, both when the Lord speaks of “everlasting punishment”, that is, never ending, and when He likens the righteous to sheep and the sinners to goats. For just as a goat can never become a sheep, neither can a sinner ever be cleansed and become righteous after the Judgement. “Outer darkness” [mentioned in the preceding parable of the talents] is that which is furthest from the light of God and for that reason renders the punishment more harsh. There is another reason that could be mentioned, and that is that the sinner is in darkness even in this life, as he has fallen away from the Sun of Righteousness, but as there is still hope of conversion, this is not yet the “outer” darkness. But when he has died and an examination has been made of the things he has done, then the outer darkness in its turn receives him. For there is no longer any hope of conversion, but he undergoes a complete deprivation of the good things of God. While he is here in this life he enjoys to some degree the good things of God, I mean, the tangible things of creation, and he believes that he is in some manner a servant of God, living out his life in God’s house, which is this creation, being fed by Him and provided with the necessities of life. But then he will be altogether cut off from God, having no share at all in the good things of God. This is that darkness which is called “outer” by comparison to the darkness here, which is not “outer” because the sinner is not yet completely cut off from this time onward. You, then, O reader, flee from this absence of compassion, and practice almsgiving, both tangible and spiritual. Feed Christ Who hungers for our salvation. If you give food and drink to him who hungers and thirsts for teaching, you have given food and drink to Christ. For within the Christian there is Christ, and faith is nourished and increased by teaching. If you should see someone who has become a stranger to his heavenly fatherland, take him in with you. While you yourself are entering into the heavens, lead him in as well, lest while you preach to others, you yourself be rejected. If a man should cast off the garment of incorruption which he had at his baptism, so that he is naked, clothe him; and if one should be infirm in faith, as Paul says, help him; and visit him who is shut up in the dark prison of this body and give him counsel which is as a light to him. Perform, then, all of these six types of love, both bodily and also spiritually, for we consist of both soul and body, and these acts of love are to be accomplished by both.

Origen’s false teaching of apokatastasis, the restoration of all things, was condemned as a heresy at the Fifth Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople in 553 A.D.