THE TIME FOR ORTHODOX UNITY IS NOW!

Metropolitan Seraphim (Kykkotis) of Zimbabwe: Where the Absence of Dialogue on the Ukrainian Issue Could Lead

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Source: Orthodox Synaxis

Greek original here.

If the decisions regarding Autocephaly of the Inter-Orthodox Meetings that began in the 1960s with the Pan-Orthodox Conferences are not respected, indeed at the initiative of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and the participation of all the Local Orthodox Churches until January 2016, positions that are the result of over fifty years on the part of all the Local Orthodox Churches, things will develop very badly for the preservation of the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

We must not allow political factors to affect the strengthening of the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Historically, it already seems that those who justify the claims of some that the Russians will seek in various ways to have bishops around the world without, unfortunately, paying any mind to our Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In the absence of dialogue with the Sister Orthodox Churches to discuss the issue of canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Ukraine, the result is that today the Russians will send their clergy into all areas of the canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, even within Turkey and, indeed, Constantinople.
This means that if any Local Orthodox Church that favors the position of our Ecumenical Patriarchate on the issue of Ukraine’s autocephaly, the Russians will immediately send their clergy into the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of that Local Church.

We will all be turned upside down and we do not know what will become of us in difficult times when Orthodoxy everywhere should be united and strengthened so that we may be able to respond to the contemporary challenges of our troubled times.

A Joint Ecclesiastical Committee must act immediately with the participation of representatives of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and of the Moscow Patriarchate to jointly examine the issue and prepare a meeting of the two Primates of their two Churches so that we may prevent the worst.

The initiatives of His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus were made on behalf of all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, particularly those of the Ancient Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of Cyprus and Albania, in order that we may prioritize the dialogue of Love so that we may prevent the worst.

Without dialogue, the problems will not be solved and, on the contrary, they will grow and suffocate us.

We must not be sidetracked by the current confrontation of hatred and evil that is being cultivated by some fanatics without thought to the rifts that are threatening the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

We all pray that God will enlighten those who are responsible for this situation and that they will help to start a dialogue so that we may prevent the worst.

When the war started in Iraq, then-US president Bush, who in one way or another bloodied our entire Planet, soon went to speak at the General Convention of the UN about the problem of AIDS, which was then one of the greatest threats for massive premature deaths of millions of people, including children.

Although the President was saying serious and correct things about tackling AIDS, everyone was laughing and not taking him seriously.

Although I personally disagree with what I will recount, unfortunately some people at the United Nations and the World Council of Churches made the same comments about the Patriarchal Address by our Ecumenical Patriarch to the Secretary-General of the UN on the subject of the special session of the General Assembly of the UN on the problems of Climate Change.

Among other things, the Patriarchal address emphasized the importance of dialogue and the cooperation of all for the effort of us all to save our Planet through our peaceful coexistence, while on the subject of Ukraine, the Metropolitan of France still insists that the stage of dialogue has been completed while, in one way or another, all the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches are insisting on dialogue so that the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches may be preserved.

The institution of the ecumenicity of our Ecumenical Patriarchate must be preserved in every way with wisdom and prudence, as it has survived for all these past centuries and especially with the strengthening of its institution over the past sixty years with the work of the Pan-Orthodox Conferences and the proceedings of the Great and Holy Synod of Crete.

I do not think that we can protect the ecumenical institution of our Ecumenical Patriarchate with decisions that are contrary to the canons of the Orthodox Church.
All we will do is run the risk of making our Ecumenical Patriarch into a pastor of an isolated parish.

We must, through dialogue, find a solution where our Ecumenical Patriarch always as Protos, with his coordinating role of love and unity, will lead all the Local Orthodox Churches and even the Russians to be the visible symbol of our unity and not the threat of the greatest schism that the Orthodox Church will know in the course of her history.

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9 Comments

  1. Michal Dvoracek on

    Truly, one of the best articles regarding the Ukrainian Church crisis artificially aroused by someone…
    May Our Lord be merciful to all of us who don´t repent properly.
    M.D.

  2. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is on record for its efforts to convene meetings on solving the Ukrainian issue way before it came to this. Furthermore, the EP made an unprecedented and really inexplicable move before the Synod in Crete to address the process of issuing autocephaly by opening it to be inclusive of all the Orthodox Churches in the Dyptucha, only to be rejected by “good” old Russia Patriarchate. There is a deception here that many have fallen into, that the issue is the Ukrainian autocephaly. False. The issue is the ecclesiastical imperialism of Russia and its mirage goal of “the third Rome ” – Russia does not care about Ukraine and the 16 million people who were in limbo ecclesiastically. They have abused those people for hundreds of years and treated them as subhumans. They refused to solve the issue with the 3 churches. They only want to reduce the status of the EP in Constantinople as the Proto and Mother Church and maneuver their status from 5th in order to 1st! Totally unorthodox, unethical and of course not canonical. Thus, they have no regard and respect for the Mother who gave them their status, but they also have no respect for Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch either. Even till today, they use propaganda, blackmail, and intimidation (see Hilarion’s remarks on the upcoming meeting of the Greek Synod in Athens). KGB tactics of the Kremlin are in use by the MP., Of course, those of us who know some details of the inner workings of the MP, know the metropolitans who have KBG connections and their “agent ” names.

    • I think now the Patriarchate of Moscow is following the proposal of all the Local Orthodox Churches for a solution through dialogue. Let’s pray to God for unity. If you are right that they rejected dialogue in the past, since now they are positive, why not start now. After all, one day all of us are going to have dialogue to solve problems about canonical jurisdictions; why suffer a lot and then to do so; it’s not better now. I like to underline some of my points of my poor article: “A Joint Ecclesiastical Committee must act immediately” with the participation of representatives of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and of the Moscow Patriarchate to jointly examine the issue and prepare a meeting of the two Primates of their two Churches, so that we may prevent the worst.

      The initiatives of His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus were made on behalf of all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, particularly those of the Ancient Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of Cyprus and Albania, in order that we may prioritize the dialogue of Love, so that we may prevent the worst.

      Without dialogue, the problems will not be solved and, on the contrary, they will grow and suffocate us.

      We must not be sidetracked by the current confrontation of hatred and evil that is being cultivated by some fanatics without thought to the rifts that are threatening the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

      We all pray that God will enlighten those who are responsible for this situation, and that they will help to start a dialogue so that we may prevent the worst. Let’s pray for unity. This is the will of God. We cannot claim dialogue for peace and security to protect humanity with the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and so on and without Orthodox Christians, and not to have dialogue with the Orthodox.

  3. Ted, you must get off this kick of the “proto, mother church.” This means nothing and is baloney. Constantinople, after Rome, became the “First Among Equals” because Rome fell into heresy. So what does this “First Among Equals mean?” The Bishop of Constantinople was the bishop of the Emperor. What he did was backed up by the Emperor & his army. ALL the Ecumenical Councils were called for by the Emperor, not his bishop. Canonically, all the “First Among Equals” did was RUN THE MEETINGS AND KEEP THE RECORDS. He also had authority to intermediate squabbles between the other Patriarchs. He wasn’t given sole authority over who could be autocephalous and who could not. He sat in conciliarity with the other bishops and had no special authority. So Ted, the Phanar continues to try and usurp authority that isn’t his and you’ve jumped on that bandwagon. This is EXACTLY how the Bishop of Rome fell into heresy. Stop being a Phanar sycophant.

    • In very strong political centers like in Rome (Roman Empire), Constantinople (Byzantine empire) and Moscow (Tsaric empire), following the first century of administration of the Church in the Mother City (Metropolis), in these important political centers, they organized also most of the church centers (the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and Cyprus were before them). When there are individual members of the Church of these three important political centers influenced in a negative way by their Church leaders, then they introduce secular elements of political power of their political background. This is happening more in Rome (infallibility – State of Vatican) and sometimes in Constantinople and Moscow, when there are problems between them. Anyway, after this confusion, all the Local Orthodox Churches should agree that Ukraine has the right to have Autocephalous status like the USA for a better future of the witness of the Orthodox Church to protect the whole humanity. Also Australia, Canada, and the Europian Countries. In every country, all the bishops should come together and to elect their first who is going to be their servant. This is the future of the Orthodox Church Maybe we need more time to do so. Let’s pray to see the will of God to protect the unity of the Orthodox people.

  4. Ecclesiastical history is a brutal teacher. Ecumenical Councils are documented. Holy Fathers and prominent academians have opined. Individual opinions with authoritarian and hegemonic tone posted here and elsewhere, as the MP usually does, are irrelevant and empty as a garbage barrel. There is a Proto in Orthodoxy, and that is the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the City of Cities called Constantinople. Even the Metropolitan of Pireas, who is very vocal against the EP’s actions, agrees that THE EP IS THE EP.

  5. Ted, again, you have to stop trying to create something that isn’t! There is NO ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH! At one time, when there was a Byzantine Empire and it encompassed the known civilized world, then the Bishop or Patriarch of the Emperor could be referred to as the “Ecumenical” or “WORLD” Bishop of the Byzantine Emperor, but not today! This title is a misnomer and just wrong. + Bart is the Bishop of Istanbul and has no EXTRA ADDED AUTHORITY than any other Bishop of an autocephalous church of a TERRITORY or LOCAL CHURCH. Neither + Bart nor any other foreign bishop has any authority outside their own territory. AND, Istanbul is NOT the “City of Cities,” but a corrupt Muslim city ruled by a corrupt Muslim authoritarian ruler. + Bart should have left here years ago. Furthermore, + Bart loves to use the title “His All-Holiness.” THIS IS BLASPHEMY! Only God is “ALL-HOLY.” No REAL Christian leader can use this title! So get off it, Ted. The Bishop of Istanbul is just that and nothing more! Again, this puffery you proclaim for + Bart is EXACTLY how the Bishop of Rome fell into heresy!

    • If the Orthodox want to protect their unity, they should be very humble : “the one who likes to be first among you, to be the servant of all of you”. In order to protect the unity of the Orthodox, in any meeting of Orthodox, we will ask who was ordained first (if there are bishops, priests, deacons), and if there are not in any meeting clergy but lay theologians, to take into account the date of their first degree in Theology, and these people to preside and to coordinate any inter-Orthodox meetings

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