FIRST WITHOUT EQUALS – A Response to the Text on Primacy of the Moscow Patriarchate

Met Lambriniadis

Metropolitan Elpidorphoros Lambriniadis

Source: Ecumenical Patriarchate

Metropolitan Elpidorphoros Lambriniadis, Archbishop-Elect of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, claims that the Ecumenical Patriarch is “First Without Equals”.

Usually not stated so clearly, the following paper by Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, Metropolitan of Bursa, and Archbishop-Elect of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, states the position that the Ecumenical Patriarch is really not “first among equals” but “first without equals.” That is not a position the other hierarchs worldwide are willing to accept. The impasse resulting from the two clashing positions is surely a cause of “the anomalies in the organization and life of the Orthodox Church” in thirteen regions across the globe for which the patriarchates established “assemblies of bishops to heal, as quickly as possible, these anomalies.”  What are your thoughts?

CLICK HERE to read “FIRST WITHOUT EQUALS”. (Originally posted on November 13, 2015)



  1. Andrew Kartalis on

    “First without equals” – What an incredible statement to be making in this day and age. It is no wonder that the other Patriarchs are not supporting the the road to unity as envisioued by Patriarch Bartholomew and, therefore, the Assembly of Bishops has been going nwwhere for the past six years. The Church needs to be looking forward to today’s world and not ancient history.

    • Andrew,

      I agree with you and with Father John. This is an heterodoxical statement and essentially schismatic in nature.

  2. The “equal” patriarchs have order, there is a first – of Constantinople, a second – of Alexandria, a third – of Antioch and a forth – of Jerusalem, and there is the archbishop of Cyprus – all of them from ecumenical synods, all the rest have their title because and from the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.

  3. George D. Karcazes on

    Dr. Adamou,

    Does that “order” mean that one rules over the others? The original order of the first five, included Rome as “first”. When the Emperor Constantine moved the seat of the Roman Empire to Byzantium (re-named in his honor as “Constantinople”) it became the “New Rome”. After the schism between Rome and Constantinople Rome went its own way claiming primacy over everyone. The East refused to accept Rome’s claims, Protestants split from Rome, and the rest, as they say is history.

    The East retained its own “order” of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. This “order” was originally based on the political importance of the cities at the time. Moscow claims to be the “Third Rome” and is challenging Constantinople based on population, territory, etc. Constantinople responds by establishing Archdioceses and Metropolitanates around the world: America, Australia, Thyateira and Great Britain, Germany, France, Austria, Sweden and all Scandinavia, Belgium, New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Panama, Hong Kong (and all Asia!!) Spain and Portugal (and the Mediterranean Sea!), and Korea, claiming all of these territories to be under its control.

    These claims seem to be based on an expansive interpretation of an ancient grant of jurisdiction over nearby “barbarian lands” to now encompass all of the then unknown areas of the world including the western hemisphere and most, if not all of Asia.

    While the Patriarchs and Patriarchates argue over who is “first” and who controls which territories and who and how autocephaly can be granted or withheld — the faithful in America remain separated into multiple ethnic “jurisdictions”, attendance is down, stewardship is down, parishes are closing and our children and grandchildren are walking away.

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