Sunday, May 26, 2024

    Nov 11, ROCinU to go for another attack on Patriarch Bartholomew

    The Moscow Patriarchate continues to direct its branch in Ukraine (the so-called UOC-MP) toward setting up events aimed to criticize Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. This is not surprising, since it was the Ecumenical Patriarchate that deprived Ukrainian Orthodoxy of dependence on Moscow and recognized the Orthodox Church of Ukrainian.

    It is clear that by pursuing such actions, Constantinople became an archenemy for the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kremlin, which has been at war with Ukraine for years. As a result, the ROC and the Kremlin joined forces in their attacks on Bartholomew I, as evidenced by the participation in the campaign of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    For the next attack on the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the branch of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine plans to discuss issues that have long ceased to cause any debate in global Orthodoxy.

    In particular, the ROCinU website reports that on November 11, 2021, in pursuance of the decision of the ROCinU Synod, a conference will be held on the topic: “Church catholicity: theological, canonical, and historical dimensions.” The forum, organized by the ROCinU, is devoted to “theological and canonical understanding of the principle of Church catholicity and the issue of primacy among Local Orthodox Churches.”

    It should be noted that the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has always been recognized by all Churches, including the ROC itself. For example, the Russian Church, having been divided for 141 years, invited the Patriarch of Constantinople to give them patriarchal dignity, which in fact meant the autocephalous status.

    In 1663, the Moscow clergy appealed to other patriarchs as to the Ecumenical Patriarch’s right to make appeals and decisions on important issues. All the patriarchs unanimously replied that only the Ecumenical Patriarchate is entitled to this, exclusively. Also, no one denied that it was the Ecumenical Patriarch who presided over the All-Orthodox Councils.

    In 1923, the Church Records of the Moscow Patriarchate acknowledged that “according to the teachings of the Church of Christ expressed in the decisions of the seven ecumenical councils recognized by both Orthodox and Roman Catholics, the Constantinople throne is not just one ecclesiastical region, it is considered an integral part of the Orthodox Church, spread throughout the world…” It is especially important to note the fact that it’s only Constantinople that enjoys the right to accept requests with complaints from bishops who consider themselves offended by local councils. In the latter sense, the Patriarch of Constantinople stands before the Orthodox of all countries as supreme judge.”

    While at that time Moscow recognized the said rights of Constantinople and did not argue for supremacy, after the Bolshevik coup the Moscow Patriarchate’s ambitious plans to seize this supremacy expanded.

    After World War 2, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin even tried to convene something resembling an All-Orthodox Council, supposed to be attended by the heads of all Orthodox Churches. According to the leader’s probable plan, the Moscow patriarch was to be made a “new Ecumenical Patriarch” according to the concept of “Moscow, the Third Rome”. However, this plan failed and almost no one came to that cathedral. No serious decisions have been passed there.

    After Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Kremlin suffered a severe blow due to the loss of influence over Ukraine. Moscow has decided to strike a series of retaliatory blows and, at the same time, to seize supremacy in Orthodoxy by attacking the Ecumenical Patriarch. He was showered with senseless accusations, including of “non-canonical interference” in the church affairs of Ukraine and of “recognizing schismatics.” Now these topics still remain on the pages of ROC’s information platforms and those of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.

    Yet another “international conference” of the ROCinU, scheduled for November 11, will once again focus on questions to which a third-year seminary student can give an unequivocal answer, given the historical precedents of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly, as well as unequivocal and documented explanations of the fact that the Kyiv metropolis (the territory of Ukraine) was never handed over to be managed by a Moscow-based administration. As is well known, in 1686, the Moscow Patriarch was only given the right to ordain Kyiv metropolitans, while the latter were obliged to mention the Patriarch of Constantinople as their “head and inception.”

    In addition, the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarch is recorded in the Diptych, which is recognized even by the most ardent fanatics of the Kremlin church. Moreover, the Ecumenical Councils also enshrined the throne of Constantinople’s rights as those of the second Rome (Rule 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, and others).

    Judging by how defiantly the Moscow Patriarchate began to judge the actions of everyone around, not only the Ecumenical Patriarch, but also the second-highest Church of the Alexandria Patriarchate, the ROC is finally ready to rewrite the canons of Orthodoxy.

    That is, it is the Russian Church that intends to violate the same virgin “purity of Orthodoxy” that the Moscow Patriarchate, as they claim, so zealously guards.

    What does this testify to? This implies the great pride that has taken root in the souls of the Moscow hierarchs, and that drags down all others who agree with the ROC. First of all, this is about the Serbian and Jerusalem Churches.

    Also, the leaders of the ROC categorically forbade the clergy of the ROCinU, although it is allegedly a self-governing body, to contact the OCU or the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In this regard, the ROCinU was forced to sever its Eucharistic communication with the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, and its hierarchs did not attend the Unification Council (with the exception of two metropolitans).

    Later, during the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine, it was the ROCinU that organized rallies claiming “Our Primate is Onufriy” and saying “Bartholomew, we didn’t call you!” Others sought to meet Patriarch Bartholomew, while shouting out: “Our Patriarch is Kirill.”

    Orthodox Ukrainians, who care for the unity of Orthodoxy, can only pray for the conversion of the lost souls so that they too can fulfill the commandment of the God in whom all Christians believe – Jesus Christ: “That all may be one.” Now, unfortunately, we see constant discussions challenging the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarch and attempts by Moscow to convene a new, Amman 2.0 meeting. At the same time, the limits of Patriarch Bartholomew’s rights have long been settled and in the recent past were recognized by the Moscow Patriarchate itself. So the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to resolve the Ukrainian church issue are canonical and correct.

    Author: religious columnist Ivan Petrushchak