Source: The National Herald
More than a year or so ago I had written on the issue of granting Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. We are revisiting the issue today because of the unholy games that some prelates of the ancient and new Patriarchates and from the Autocephalous Churches continue to play by attacking the very heart of the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Many things have come to light, and many individuals, including patriarchs, archbishops, metropolitans, and priests, have been exposed. It is really interesting to see the masks falling, revealing the faces behind them.
The first thing that has been exposed is the extent of the Moscow Patriarchate’s secular nationalism and its mindset of ecclesiastic imperialism. The unholy games it plays target not only the First Throne, the Church of Constantinople, but the entire Orthodox Church. Let us not forget their attempt to torpedo the Great and Holy Council in Crete in June, 2016.
Moscow has set its sights on recreating a culture of pan-Slavism, and to impose its dominance on the Church, it uses every means against ancient and new patriarchates alike, the latter, unfortunately, having been established for nationalist reasons.
The methods the Russian Orthodox Church used to acquire Autocephaly are well known. It is a subject for another analysis in the future.
The methods used by the Church of Greece must also be noted, the coup mindset and treachery of Theoclitus Farmakidis, who really poisoned the ecclesiastical foundation and identity of Greece and cut it off, fortunately only partially, from its ecclesiastical heart, which is the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Let me remind here that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has the historical, canonical, and ecclesiological privilege and responsibility to grant Autocephaly, Autonomy, or Patriarchal status to a local Orthodox Church because the Patriarchate is the First Authority. It follows, therefore, that what it bestows it can revoke, from among any of those local Churches or new patriarchate – not, however, from the five ancient patriarchates.
Regarding Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate can recall the Decision (Praxis) of 1928 about the Metropolises of the New Lands of Greece, and also the Autocephaly itself. The degree of the ecclesiological confusion in Greece is manifested vocally when they commemorate the Synod the during the Holy Eucharist. If there was ecclesiastical maturity and real love about the great and essential things of the Church and Genos, the Church of Greece should have been the first Church decades ago to request the lifting of its Autocephaly.
Unfortunately, some hierarchs and priests of the Church of Greece are Mitralies (mother killers), attacking their Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, even though they received the Priesthood and the High Priesthood from there. Instead of exhibiting gratitude and love, they shoot at their Mother Church in order to be like by a cast of fundamentalists who try to turn the Church into a cult-like following and the Orthodox Faith into an ideology they defend with hate and ill will.
There is also a segment of para-ecclesiastical pseudo-pietists who appear as wise men in order to fuel the pious dedication of their followers, who hold them in mythical awe.
Today the Ecumenical Patriarchate is counting on its friends. That is why Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, who is “Pope and Patriarch” should stand by the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s side. His links with the Moscow Patriarchate are well known. The same applies to Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, whom the Ecumenical Patriarchate transformed from a Titular Metropolitan to “His Beatitude,” in other words, Prelate of an Autocephalous Church. He should stop playing the “neutral” game. Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem should stop using “wooden” language and double talk and take a firm stand at the side of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens – who a year ago played the game of the Turks and Russians with his unbecoming behavior, refusing to receive His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during his visit to Athens – should stand firmly by the Patriarch’s side. Ieronymos realized his huge mistake and attempted to repair things by visiting the Patriarch on his name day last June at the Phanar.
Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus should ignore the weak voices of a few reactionaries and continue to stand unfalteringly with the Ecumenical Patriarch.
The above-mentioned prelates, instead of playing games, should assume the responsibility of talking to Russians and other Slavs and most especially to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and his protégé Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, about ecclesiastical prudence, because it seems that Hilarion is driving the Church of Moscow to lost ways and down wrong paths.
What no one “gets” or seems to understand is that the Pat. of Constantinople (Istanbul) only had his authority because HE WAS THE EMPEROR’S BISHOP. As the Bishop of Constantinople, the Empire’s capital, he had the full backing of the Emperor & his army – in ALL things! Today, there is NO Emperor. There is NO Byzantine Empire. There is only the Bishop of Istanbul who maybe has 1,000 people under him in the city. He has created fallacies that he alone has authority over all the world and only he can grant autocephaly. These are false claims and nowhere in Orthodox Canon Law is he given such authority. Furthermore, NO FOREIGN BISHOP CAN HAVE A DIOCESE OUTSIDE THEIR OWN TERRITORY. Neither Istanbul, Moscow, Antioch, etc. READ CANON LAW. The countries around the world have no canonical responsibility to ANY foreign bishop. Especially in the U.S. WAKE UP PEOPLE!
Thank you Mr. Kalmoukos for being a much needed breath of fresh air.
To Nikolai: Stop pretending you’re a canon lawyer. And stop using capital letters. It’s impolite. Thank you.
Con, you have no idea who Kalmoukos is and what he believes.
You remind me of Rocky 2 when Apollo Creed asked Rocky, ” Is that all you got?” How do I respond to your statement? Perhaps, you could have enlightened me as to Mr. Kalmoukos’s agenda. No offense, but don’t you think, perhaps, your statement would be called a logical fallacy. Perhaps, you could try “enlightening ” me. Is that really too much to ask for? Thank you.
Having read many of your posts I can guarantee you that you and Kalmoukos are not on the same page. Besides many other things, Kalmoukos is primarily concerned with promoting Hellenism and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I totally agree with you. There is no other way to go. We are Americans period. We must be organized as Orthodox Christians Americans in America. You cannot mail a letter to “Constantinople”. You cannot do any legal business as “Constantinople”. We need to deal with the geographic legal entity we live in, work and pray. There is just no other way. Anything else becomes potentially an escape for marauders and those who are using the Orthodox Church as a front for totally unChristian agendas. We only need to look at recent history and see how both attempts and actualities of running from criminal activity by leaving the United States and going to Ukraine or Greece or elsewhere to avoid the implications of clergy sexual abuse has been an escape hatch fostered by the false fronts of an Emperor mindset for a kingdom of whoredom.
Clergy Sexual Abuse, and sexual abuse within the Orthodox Church and rooting out the factors that protect abusers, the stopping of how the process evolves from formative to the predatory act (s) can only be checked by reality and removing this power wheel of violence as a normative function within many Orthodox Christian parishes.` Constantinople is not a current reality.
Presently, in Florida and under consideration in other states after the Holocaust-style revelations of widespread clergy abuse in the Harrisburg document, whereby Catholic Church officials consistently worked to cover up abuse, Florida State Attorney Pam Bondi set up this website to report abuse, even if long ago and outside the statute of current limitations, so law enforcement will have a database, connect the dots with help from public reports, and uncover the many now covered up networks where abusers have found cover from church officials. I want to emphasize that this report and website is open to those who have been abused in churches other than the Catholic church, and this means the victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Orthodox Church. The window to report will soon close, so action and education are needed now [https://www.myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/stopabuse]
Blatant is how the Greek Orthodox Community in Maitland (Orange County where Orlando is located) hired as their “organist” a church musician removed from the St. James Catholic Cathedral in Orlando as a child sexual predator with public findings, and he himself acknowledged it; and he continued serving the Greeks and was pictured in their 50th Anniversary Book. The mindset to do these things is based on the false reality of Constantinople, keeping traditions above safety, and will only get worse, despite any background checks, etc., as long as the ruling hierarchs derive their power base from a false legal entity, and continue to put themselves outside of the law.
It is, therefore, our imperative before God and man as Orthodox Christians to legally organize ourselves in America, because it is the only way we can answer to God on Judgement Day that we have done within our abilities His will. We are so very past due in this repentance. Let us take up our Cross and get the job done for collectively organizing our charters and behaviors to be legal in the land we pray and call home before we are called to our Eternal home. Mark 12:17: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him. ” Do not confuse who is the Christ and King of Kings with giving authority and yielding up power to historic fiefdoms no longer in existence.
The hypocrisy and hate of the followers of the MP is manifested even in their rhetoric and reasoning. For example, they call the Church of Constantinople “Istanbul” and make much about numbers (which numbers have never had much to do with the preservation of truth). Yet why don’t they call Antioch “Damascus,” since Antioch does not have Orthodox Christians and the episcopal claimants to the see have lived in Damascus, Syria for ages now? At least the EP continues to reside in the same city as from the beginning, even if the Muslims renamed it “Istanbul,” (which name means “the city,” and which name up until recently was simply Turkish speech to refer to the known city), which the Patriarch refused to leave.
Also, if the Church of Constantinople gets to be dethroned because her rank is based on an empire that no longer exists, then why don’t the Muscovite side dethrone Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem too, since their ranks are not based on current numbers (their numbers are dismal in their cities as well) but on the enshrined order of the Ecumenical Councils just as Constantinople’s ranking.
It is manifest, then, that Moscow’s side uses absurd logic and false information to spread her propaganda all over the internet and everywhere she can. Such logic and hypocrisy can only originate in a desire to usurp authority they do not have, which in turn is fueled by hate and trust in worldly power.
Ozziepravo. I hold Patriarch Bartholomew in great esteem and assume no base motives in his decision on Ukraine – but he is wrong to do what he has done. Unfortunately, I am not so assured about the Moscow Patriarch and what I perceive as his imperialist politico/ecclesiastic tendencies – but when it comes to Ukraine, he is right. Unfortunately, the language, often just abuse, emanating from Moscow is difficult to equate with Christian charity while the decision to withhold the Holy Eucharist from faithful within the Ecumenical Patriarchate is unconscionable. It is Christ’s gift to His faithful, not a gift from Moscow to remove with at some sort of petulant will.
Equally, Constantinople’s action in Ukraine, whatever the motive, has divided His Church even more. Even if his authority to so do is accepted, surely further Church division is the last thing needed. How does this advance His kingdom on earth? When none of the other ancient patriarchates or local churches can agree with the decision as currently stands, does Constantinople really believe that it is the sole source of wisdom within Orthodoxy – or does he see himself as infallible and the others bereft of discernment? Like it or not – ours is a conciliar Church, something of which both Constantinople and Moscow need reminding.
What gives me hope is the never-ending font of wisdom that is the laity, from wherever they come. It is they who are the Church, not first hierarchs who should be the servants of the Church, not its overlords. The Lord gave all of us, including patriarchs, two ears but only one mouth for a reason. We must keep praying and working that His gift to us is not further damaged but brought closer together. The handiwork of evil one has never been more evident. Action by the laity, including prayer, is imperative, after all, we have each been granted the precious gift of Orthodoxy which must never be sullied. Speak up!
Well said, Dn Slaven and Mother Elizabeth!
I was shocked to read your comment, casually dispensed, that the Patriarch First Among Equals, having once recognized independence, can revoke it.
Could you please indulge me with a detailed defense of that comment, citing your authorities? Could the independence of Romania, Russia or Serbia be revoked? If so, how would the revocation be enforced?
I’ve always wondered why Romania in 1885 took the step of consecrating its own Holy Chrism — now I see why.
Ronald Andrei Muresan
I am shocked, although I should not be, with the commentary I keep reading. However, it is a sign of the times we are in. The Epoque of confusion. Confusion, the perfect game of Satan. He thrives in that environment. He spews ink like squid in the water and muddles the waters. CONSTANTINOPLE is the Lighthouse (FANARI) which keeps the calm and order. Once again, NO ONE can declare or deserves autocephalous status. The arrogance of some Americans is not enough to lead to autocephaly. And yes, none of the existing Autocephalous churches have received the seal of an Ecumenical Synod! In other words, they are all “up in the air”, BUT still exist due to the love and kindness of THE MOTHER CHURCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE. The effort to humiliate, minimize, insult and throw sycophantic rhetoric against her is the same as attacking Christ head-on. How sad. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has withstood the treacherous test of time. Crucified time after time, that is why on Holy Friday, they do not take down the body of Christ from the cross at Apokathilosi. Christ is still crucified there, but The Mother is still standing bleeding through the centuries, and ALL are drinking from the fountain. The FANARI STANDS as a testament of humility, love, and prayer. How else can it be? Paraphrasing St John Chrysostom, another Patriarch of The Mother Church, ” cut up, split up but never dissected …….”
O tempora, O mores!
We need prayer on this mess