The Ecclesiology of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2018: Speech by Patriarch Bartholomew

The following remarks were made on 1 September 2018 by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, to the synaxis of hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which took place at the Phanar in Constantinople. We have highlighted portions which are especially relevant to the ecclesiological questions of our time.

It is not clear from the source text whether these are excerpts or the patriarch’s full speech. We have retained all ellipses and punctuation as included in the original.

…All of the eparchial Hierarchs of the Mother Church, who represent the pious clergy and Christ-loving people of their eparchies, eagerly hastened to respond to our personal invitation and the fervent invitation of the Mother Church to participate in the deliberations of this Synaxis in order to fulfill their ecclesial and hierarchal duty, while at the same time demonstrating their sentiments of love and devotion to the Ecumenical and First Throne of the Orthodox Church, to which they belong canonically and ecclesiastically.

Permit us to take the opportunity of conveying our righteous pride as well as our great satisfaction and delight, along with our patriarchal commendation and wholehearted congratulations, to all of you as our most reverend brothers and concelebrants for the work that you conduct – each of you in the place that you were assigned – for the glory of God, the proclamation of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Inasmuch as, by God’s mercy, we hold the primacy of honor in the Orthodox Church, we also have the capacity to be personally acquainted with many of the Hierarchs in the local Autocephalous Churches. This familiarity renders our inner conviction still more adamant that the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate maintains a high standard, being qualified to respond to the expectations of the Church and confront the challenges of our time, because it includes in its ranks worthy Hierarchs, virtuous theologians, educated scholars, passionate missionaries, renowned authors, erudite professors and excellent preachers. This is why we are deeply honored and proud of you, brothers, for comprising this dignified chorus of Hierarchs of the Throne of the Mother Church.

From the depth of our heart, we thank each and every one of you for your past and present labors, your known and unknown struggles, which you offer at the sacred altar of our humble Phanar as a pleasing sacrifice. We welcome you with great joy and pleasure to the courtyard of the venerable Center. And we wish you a pleasant and in every way enjoyable stay in the Queen of Cities, as well as a productive and beneficial participation in the sessions of this Holy Synaxis. As you know, for the Orthodox Church, intimate and personal communion constitutes an event and expression of faith – literally, a way of life – enabling us to move outside of ourselves in order to acquire an understanding in Christ of the meaning of life, to listen to the opinion of others, to further cultivate our perception, and to approach our fellow human beings with love. After all, for the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, where all of us are humble servants, the perfect way of life is for us to be in communion with God and other human beings…

… The Ecumenical Patriarchate is, for Orthodoxy, a leaven “which leavens the whole lump” (cf. Gal. 5.9) of the Church and of history. Here, at the Great Church, we are not merely educated but become experienced in matters holy. We did not come to know the Sacred Canons by reading them in books, but by humbly serving the Mother Church, which disposes and defends the canons of Orthodoxy. We do not study theology only in theory, but live it out in practice, becoming initiated – peacefully and mystically – in how to know the unknown, see the unseen, and hear in silence the word of God that speaks in our hearts. As time unfolds, we become conscious of the fact that something magnificent is taking place, something that can only be reckoned a divine gift since our very existence is grafted onto the culture of the Mother Church, while all things are transformed and conceived as strange; the heavens are opened, new life emerges, and our existence welcomes the good change of the right hand of the Almighty.

This is why the Mother Church assumes a leadership role in disseminating sacred scholarship and theological learning, not shying away from secular knowledge in its experience and practice….

… Thus, with the grace of God, we journey through time and history with an awareness that the Orthodox Church is not the Church of triumphs but of trials; nor does it comprise an earthly theocracy, but the Church of Christ, namely the Church of the Last Times and His Kingdom, “which has no end.” As the guardian of the holy and sacred traditions of Orthodoxy, as well as of the dogmas alike of the Holy Seven Ecumenical Councils and other local councils, but also of the teachings of the Holy Fathers, the Ecumenical Patriarchate exists as “the small flock” (Luke 12.32), which seeks neither worldly renown or secular power, passionately loves “the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1.2), enjoys canonical jurisdiction and all apostolic privileges in its responsibility for safeguarding the unity and communion of the local Churches but also for the overall journey of Orthodoxy in the contemporary world and history.

In this spirit, as President of the body of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarch convened the Holy and Great Council in Crete in June 2016, the greatest ecclesiastical event in recent years. The souls of the late Patriarchs, Hierarchs, clergy, monastics and laity, who worked for the realization of this hallowed event rejoice. Such a Council constitutes a “great sign” of the love of the Supreme God, a true Theophany and Pentecost.

We offer glory to the Trinitarian God that he deemed us worthy of experiencing this vocation during our lifetime in order that, along with future generations, we might savor the work and labor of our fathers as well as the invaluable gifts of the All-Holy Spirit. It required almost a century for the Holy and Great Council to be conceived as an aspiration and finally convene. Had the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we personally surrendered to the various voices of fundamentalism and ethnophyletism, to the panic of introversion and isolation, ultimately denying this divine vocation, then this event would be recorded as one of the most painful defeats in the long and difficult history of our Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, glory be to God that the Council took place and the necessary decisions were taken on the six items of the agenda: 1) The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World, 2) The Orthodox Diaspora, 3) Autonomy and the Means by which it is Proclaimed, 4) The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments, 5) The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today, and 6) Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World. The Council further approved the Encyclical and Message to the faithful, two significant documents that reveal the sensitivity and concern of the Orthodox Church for the contemporary world in light of the great challenges of our time…

… No matter how much some wish to embellish the situation in Ukraine, history proves them wrong and presents indisputable arguments demonstrating that the origin of difficulties and reactions in Ukraine are neither a recent phenomenon nor something created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Already from the early 14th century, when the see of the Kievan Metropolis was moved without the canonical permission of the Mother Church to Moscow, there have been tireless efforts on the part of our Kievan brothers for independence from ecclesiastical control by the Moscow center. Indeed, the obstinacy of the Patriarchate of Moscow was instrumental in occasionally creating repeated mergers and restorations of ecclesiastical eparchies, uncanonical elections of Bishops as well as schisms, which still afflict the pious Ukrainian people.

However, beyond all this, a study of the matter in the light of the sacred canons does not justify any intervention whatsoever by the Church of Russia. The Tome proclaiming Moscow as a Patriarchate does not include the region of today’s Metropolis of Kiev in the jurisdiction of Moscow. Moreover, after the well-known manner of proclamation of Moscow as a Patriarchate by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II (Tranos), the canonical dependence of Kiev to the Mother Church of Constantinople remained constant and uninterrupted. In the year 1686, our predecessor, the late Patriarch Dionysios IV, following great political pressure from the harrowing circumstances and for peace in the local Church, was obliged to issue a letter granting Moscow the license to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev on the inviolable condition that every Metropolitan of Kiev would commemorate the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch as his ecclesiastical superior and authority, but also to demonstrate the canonical jurisdiction of Constantinople over this Metropolis.

As far as we know, no other act changing the canonical state of Kiev or revision of the condition to commemorate Constantinople has ever occurred; nor of course has there been any such change on the part of the Mother Church ceding Kiev completely to Russia. The uncanonical interventions of Moscow from time to time in the affairs of Kiev and the toleration on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in previous years do not validate any ecclesiastical violation. Instead, the terms of the 6thCanon of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea are precisely valid in this case, as the commentator Aristinos observes: “Each patriarch should be satisfied with his own privileges and not snatch the privileges of another eparchy, which does not lie within or under the authority of his jurisdiction. For this is the conceit of worldly power.” (Rallis-Potlis, Constitution of the Holy and Sacred Canons, Volume 2, p. 131) In this spirit, the Mother Church did not concede its canonical rights over Ukraine, but incorporated a special reference in the Patriarchal and Synodal Tome “about the granting of the status of autocephaly to the Church of Poland” (1924), noting that “the original detachment from our Throne of the Metropolis of Kiev and its dependent Orthodox Churches of Lithuania and Poland, along with their attachment to the Holy Church of Moscow did not at all occur in accordance with the conventional canonical regulations; nor were the agreed statements about complete ecclesiastical self-sufficiency of the Metropolitan of Kiev, bearing the title of Exarch of the Ecumenical Throne, respected . . .”

In any case, it is true that the occasional deliberate efforts of the Church of Russia to resolve this matter failed. Thus, since Russia, as the one responsible for the current painful situation in Ukraine, is unable to solve the problem, the Ecumenical Patriarchate assumed the initiative of resolving the problem in accordance with the authority afforded to it by the Sacred Canons and the jurisdictional responsibility over the eparchy of Kiev, receiving a request to this end by the honorable Ukrainian Government, as well as recurring requests by “Patriarch” Philaret of Kiev appealing for our adjudication of his case.

At our instruction, the right reverend Bishop and professor Makarios of Christoupolis studied the question of Ukraine for many days, and the fruit of his extensive research into this complicated matter was a document of over ninety pages, which His Grace offered to the Mother Church. We thank and congratulate him. And since he already has a firm grasp of the issue, we have asked him to address this Venerable Body on the ecclesiastical perspective of the timely issue of Ukraine, and we are certain that all of us will have much to benefit from listening to him…

…We imagine that all of the Hierarchs serving within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Throne know very well that the 4th Ecumenical Council, among other decisions, honored the exceptional privilege of “the right to appeal” (ekkliton) of the Throne of Constantinople with the decrees of its 9th and 17th Canons. Numerous instances of the exercise of this right to appeal by Hierarchs and clergy of other jurisdictions have been recorded through the centuries in the historical journey of the Mother Church. Worthy of mention here is the determination of the canonist Miodrag Petrovic, that “the Archbishop of Constantinople alone has the privilege to judge and adjudicate conflicts of bishops, clergy and metropolitans of other patriarchs.” (Nomocanon on the 14 Titles and the Byzantine Commentators, p. 206)

The right reverend Bishop Kyrillos of Abydos, Professor at the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, a devout scholar of the written and spoken word, will address the unique privilege of the Church of Constantinople to receive the appeal of Hierarchs and clergy seeking refuge from all local Orthodox Churches in his presentation, entitled “The Privilege of Eccliton (Right to Appeal): Historical, Canonical and Theological Perspectives.” We gladly await his analysis of this subject…

… Most reverend and dearly beloved brothers and concelebrants,

In times of greater or lesser historical challenge, our Patriarchate – faithful to its vocation and ministry – neither says nor does anything unrelated to the incarnate Word. Its mission is not comprised of imposing some new ecclesiological principles but preserving truths of faith, precious traditions and inspired patristic teachings established many centuries ago. The Mother Church does not create or shape its own church management; nor does it complete the Gospel, like the Grand Inquisitor of the renowned Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. As the First Throne of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate exercises a prophetic ministry, extending the mystery of the Catholic Church in Christ Jesus throughout the world in each era.

At times, we confront trials and temptations precisely because some people falsely believe that they can love the Orthodox Church, but not the Ecumenical Patriarchate, forgetting that it incarnates the authentic ecclesiastical ethos of Orthodoxy. “In the beginning was the Word . . . in him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1.1,4) The beginning of the Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarchate; “in this is life, and the life is the light of the Churches.” The late Metropolitan Kyrillos of Gortyna and Arcadia, a beloved Hierarch of the Mother Church and personal friend, was right to underline that “Orthodoxy cannot exist without the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

During the first millennium, our blessed forefathers confronted the temptation of heresy. The great temptation of the second millennium, which was also bequeathed to the millennium we have now entered, is the status of jurisdictions. The source of this problem is ethnophyletism, the propensity to expansionism and the disregard of the boundaries defined by the Patriarchal and Synodal Tomes. The Ecumenical Patriarchate bears the responsibility of setting matters in ecclesiastical and canonical order because it alone has the canonical privilege as well as the prayer and blessing of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils to carry out this supreme and exceptional duty as a nurturing Mother and birth-giver of Churches. If the Ecumenical Patriarchate denies its responsibility and removes itself from the inter-Orthodox scene, then the local Churches will proceed “as sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9.36), expending their energy in ecclesiastical initiatives that conflate the humility of faith and the arrogance of power.

All the grandeur of our Patriarchate is exhausted in the service to the mystery of the Church. Its uniqueness does not lie in the possession of some superhuman secular power, but in the humble and selfless desire to subject the temptation of power to grace, while transforming the insecurity and fear of possessing and dominating to freedom and grace. It is here that we experience the final glory of the spirit identified with the ultimate humility, the power “fulfilled in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12.9)

In this sacramental task, brother Hierarchs, you too contribute to an enormous degree and level so that, at this sacred moment, we feel an ardent need to address you with the words of Christ: “You are my friends.” (John 15.14) “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15.4) The Ecumenical Patriarchate is an eruption “like the rush of a mighty wind” (Acts 2.2), which dissolved and disperses all that is false and fabricated, distorted and perverted. Consequently, all of us should be more closely connected to the First among us in order to drink from the fountain that springs abundantly from the sacred source of our pious Nation and blameless Faith.

In concluding our address, let us offer glory and gratitude to God who is worshipped in Trinity for deeming us worthy of this immense joy to assemble again in the same place after three years, in accordance with our personal promise, so that we might deliberate together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is in our midst. We thank all of you once more and many times over, joyfully greeting and embracing each one of you, while proclaiming with one voice and one heart: May the name of the Lord be blessed, from now and to the ages…

(Source) Copyright Orthodox Synxis.org

St John Chrysostom on dogmas and ethos.

Let us not pay heed to these people, let up stop up our hearing against them, and let us believe the Divine Scripture, and following what is said in it, let us strive to preserve in our souls sound dogmas, and at the same time to lead also a right life, so that our life would both testify of the dogmas, and the dogmas would give firmness to our life… If we live well but will be negligent over right dogmas, we can acquire nothing for our salvation.  If we wish to be delivered from Gehenna and receive the Kingdom, we must be adorned both with the one and with the other – both with rightness of dogmas, and strictness of life.”  (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 13:4, p. 107.)

Who was St Gregory the Theoologian?

Our father among the saints Gregory the Theologian, also known as Gregory of Nazianzus (though that name more appropriately refers to his father) and Gregory the Younger, was a great father and teacher of the Church. His feast day is celebrated on January 25 and that of the translation of his relics on January 19. With Sts. Basil the Greatand John Chrysostom, he is numbered among the Three Holy Hierarchs, whose feast day is celebrated on January 30. St. Gregory is also known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers.


Contents

Life

He was born in 329 in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who later became Bishopof Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated Jan. 1), and his mother was named Nonna (Aug. 5); both are among the saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (Mar. 9) and his sister Gorgonia (Feb. 23).

At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine, then in Alexandria, and finally in Athens. As he was sailing from Alexandria to Athens, a violent sea storm put in peril not only his life but also his salvation, since he had not yet been baptized. With tears and fervor he besought God to spare him, vowing to dedicate his whole self to Him, and the tempest gave way to calm. At Athens St. Gregory was later joined by St. Basil the Great, whom he already knew, but now their acquaintanceship grew into a lifelong brotherly love. Another fellow student of theirs in Athens was the young Prince Julian, who later as emperor was called the Apostate because he denied Christ and did all in his power to restore paganism. Even in Athens, before Julian had thrown off the mask of piety, St. Gregory saw what an unsettled mind he had, and said, “What an evil the Roman State is nourishing” (Orat. V, 24, PG 35:693).

After their studies at Athens, Gregory became Basil’s fellow ascetic, living the monastic life together with him for a time in the hermitagesof Pontus. His father ordained him presbyter of the Church of Nazianzus, and St. Basil consecrated him Bishop of Sasima (or Zansima), which was in the archdiocese of Caesarea. This consecration was a source of great sorrow to Gregory and a cause of misunderstanding between him and Basil, but his love for Basil remained unchanged, as can be plainly seen from his Funeral Oration on Saint Basil (Orat. XLIII).

About the year 379, St. Gregory came to the assistance of the Church of Constantinople, which had already been troubled for forty years by the Arians; by his supremely wise words and many labors he freed it from the corruption of heresy. He was elected archbishop of that city by the Second Ecumenical Council, which assembled there in 381, and condemned Macedonius, Archbishop of Constantinople, as an enemy of the Holy Spirit. When St. Gregory came to Constantinople, the Arians had taken all the churches, and he was forced to serve in a house chapel dedicated to St. Anastasia the Martyr. From there he began to preach his famous five sermons on the Trinity, called the Triadica. When he left Constantinople two years later, the Arians did not have one church left to them in the city. St. Meletius of Antioch (see Feb. 12), who was presiding over the Second Ecumenical Council, died in the course of it, and St. Gregory was chosen in his stead; there he distinguished himself in his expositions of dogmatic theology.

Having governed the Church until 382, he delivered his farewell speech-the Syntacterion, in which he demonstrated the Divinity of the Son—before 150 bishops and the Emperor Theodosius the Great. Also in this speech he requested, and received from all, permission to retire from the See of Constantinople. He returned to Nazianzus, where he lived to the end of his life. He reposed in the Lord in 391, having lived some sixty-two years.

He was born in 329 in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who later became Bishopof Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated Jan. 1), and his mother was named Nonna (Aug. 5); both are among the saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (Mar. 9) and his sister Gorgonia (Feb. 23).

At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine, then in Alexandria, and finally in Athens. As he was sailing from Alexandria to Athens, a violent sea storm put in peril not only his life but also his salvation, since he had not yet been baptized. With tears and fervor he besought God to spare him, vowing to dedicate his whole self to Him, and the tempest gave way to calm. At Athens St. Gregory was later joined by St. Basil the Great, whom he already knew, but now their acquaintanceship grew into a lifelong brotherly love. Another fellow student of theirs in Athens was the young Prince Julian, who later as emperor was called the Apostate because he denied Christ and did all in his power to restore paganism. Even in Athens, before Julian had thrown off the mask of piety, St. Gregory saw what an unsettled mind he had, and said, “What an evil the Roman State is nourishing” (Orat. V, 24, PG 35:693).

After their studies at Athens, Gregory became Basil’s fellow ascetic, living the monastic life together with him for a time in the hermitagesof Pontus. His father ordained him presbyter of the Church of Nazianzus, and St. Basil consecrated him Bishop of Sasima (or Zansima), which was in the archdiocese of Caesarea. This consecration was a source of great sorrow to Gregory and a cause of misunderstanding between him and Basil, but his love for Basil remained unchanged, as can be plainly seen from his Funeral Oration on Saint Basil (Orat. XLIII).

About the year 379, St. Gregory came to the assistance of the Church of Constantinople, which had already been troubled for forty years by the Arians; by his supremely wise words and many labors he freed it from the corruption of heresy. He was elected archbishop of that city by the Second Ecumenical Council, which assembled there in 381, and condemned Macedonius, Archbishop of Constantinople, as an enemy of the Holy Spirit. When St. Gregory came to Constantinople, the Arians had taken all the churches, and he was forced to serve in a house chapel dedicated to St. Anastasia the Martyr. From there he began to preach his famous five sermons on the Trinity, called the Triadica. When he left Constantinople two years later, the Arians did not have one church left to them in the city. St. Meletius of Antioch (see Feb. 12), who was presiding over the Second Ecumenical Council, died in the course of it, and St. Gregory was chosen in his stead; there he distinguished himself in his expositions of dogmatic theology.

Having governed the Church until 382, he delivered his farewell speech-the Syntacterion, in which he demonstrated the Divinity of the Son—before 150 bishops and the Emperor Theodosius the Great. Also in this speech he requested, and received from all, permission to retire from the See of Constantinople. He returned to Nazianzus, where he lived to the end of his life. He reposed in the Lord in 391, having lived some sixty-two years.

His extant writings, both prose and poems in every type of meter, demonstrate his lofty eloquence and his wondrous breadth of learning. In the beauty of his writings, he is considered to have surpassed the Greek writers of antiquity, and because of his God-inspired theological thought, he received the surname “Theologian.” Although he is sometimes called Gregory of Nazianzus, this title belongs properly to his father; he himself is known by the Church only as Gregory the Theologian. He is especially called “Trinitarian Theologian,” since in virtually every homily he refers to the Trinity and the one essence and nature of the Godhead. Hence, Alexius Anthorus dedicated the following verses to him:Like an unwandering star beaming with splendour,Thou bringest us by mystic teachings, O Father,To the Trinity’s sunlike illumination,O mouth breathing with fire, Gregory most mighty.

Hymns.

Apolytikion: (First Tone)The pastoral flute of your theology conquered the trumpets of orators. For it called upon the depths of the Spirit and you were enriched with the beauty of words. Intercede to Christ our God, O Father Gregory, that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion: (Third Tone)O Glorious One, you dispelled the complexities of orators with the words of your theology. You have adorned the Church with the vesture of Orthodoxy woven from on high. Clothed in this, the Church now cries out to your children, with us, “Hail Father, the consummate theological mind.”

From Orthowikki

Patriarch Bartholomew closes his eyes to schism he created, accuses Patriarch Kirill of papal pretensionsIstanbul, January 5, 2021

According to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, there is no schism within the Orthodox Church today. And although he is often accused of neopapism, it is in fact the Patriarch of Moscow who harbors papal pretensions, the primate of Constantinople said in an interview with  To Vima published yesterday. 

On October 15, 2018, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church took the painful but necessary step of breaking Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the latter unilaterally invaded Ukrainian Church territory, received defrocked and anathematized schismatics back into communion without any due process or justifiable reason, and announced its intentions to create a Local Church on Ukrainian Church territory, which it did two months later. 

However, Pat. Bartholomew simply closes his eyes to this reality, pretending it does not exist. 

“There is no schism in Orthodoxy,” he told To Vimas. 

And turning to self-justification, he continued: “I can’t let Orthodox ecclesiology be altered on the altar of lesser interests. I have no right to take a step back. The word of truth is ‘sharper than any knife.’ It is testified by history, the sources, the documents, the facts.” 

Recall that Pat. Kirill personally proposed to Pat. Bartholomew that a deep study of the relevant documents surrounding the transfer of the Kiev Metropolis from Constantinople to the Russian Church in 1686 be undertaken, but Pat. Bartholomew refused. Studies of the history and documents can be read here and  here

Countless hierarchs have also proposed that the whole Ukrainian matter be taken up by a pan-Orthodox council, but again, Pat. Bartholomew has continually refused, though it is not clear what he stands to lose if his position is so solid. 

Further, the word of truth is “altered by money, intimidation, propaganda and pipe dreams,” the Patriarch continued in his interview. 

Just two days ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledgedthat the U.S. is involved in pressuring Churches to accept Constantinople’s actions and recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” 

Although Constantinople claimsfor itself the right to act unilaterally within the Church, when asked about the papal tendencies attributed to him, Pat. Bartholomew simply said they do not exist. “Is it papism to shoulder the responsibilities of my ministry?” he asked. 

He also argued that the real motivation behind the Russian Church’s stance that anathematized and unordained schismatics cannot be amalgamated into a new Church where a canonical, universally-recognized Church already exists is the desire to “remove these unique responsibilities from the throne of Constantinople and transfer them to other hands.” 

However, Pat. Bartholomew cannot deny those responsibilities that he believes he inherited from his predecessors, as he told To Vimas. 

And while Synods, primates, and hierarchs from every Local Church have spoken of Constantinople’s lamentable neopapism, Pat. Bartholomew reveals a tragic lack in self-awareness and throws the same accusation at Pat. Kirill. Referring to the Russian primate, he asks: “Who, then, behaves like the ‘Pope of Orthodoxy?’ The one who remains faithful to its tradition or the one who claims for himself a position that he never had and is never going to acquire?” 

In a recent interview, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, clearly explained that the Russian Church has no desire to hold the title of primacy in the Orthodox Church. 

In fact, the Russian Church is the only Local Church that officially recognizes on a Synodal level the primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople within the Orthodox Church.

Copyright Orthochristian.com