Thursday, April 18, 2024

    To convince that “Russian world” is incompatible with Christianity – expert on Bartholomew’s statement

    The words spoken by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew about the Russian Orthodox Church sharing responsibility for the war in Ukraine are both breaking news and not quite. This, in a sense, continues his rhetoric, which he has been developing in recent months. This is the rhetoric condemning the war, on the one hand. On the other hand, it very clearly identifies who unleashed this war, who pursues it, and who is to blame for it.

    This is emphasized by theologian Archimandrite Kyrylo Hovorun, reports

    It is also important that he speaks precisely as a religious leader. All Orthodox churches are equal among each other. The Ecumenical Patriarch or the Patriarch of Constantinople has an honorable first place among the churches. But his position cannot be imposed on any of the churches. In the Orthodox Church, the voice of Patriarch Bartholomew has the authority only on the condition that they want to hear it.

    The accountability for the Russian Orthodox Church as an institution has long been discussed. There were repeated initiatives to convene certain judicial institutions that exist in the traditional Orthodox Church. For example, the Institute of Pentarchy. These are five ancient churches, five ancient patriarchates that existed back in the far days of Christian past. It was about possibly restoring this institute. And it is through this institution to try the perpetrators of this war.

    But it will be difficult both technically and politically to do this, because at least one important church in this Pentarchy system — the Church of Antioch — is heavily influenced by Russia through the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. And that is why it is unlikely that we can now talk about the real possibility of some church-wide condemnation of the ideology of the Russian world and those who promote this ideology.

    It is more about creating a certain point of view so that it dominates the Orthodox world, which would not tolerate this ideology, which would condemn this ideology. It can be the voice of theologians, church leaders, hierarchs, etc. That’s a number of voices that should be loud enough to make a very clear statement that this ideology is incompatible with Christianity.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch made a statement about the shocking abductions of Ukrainian children. Of course, Patriarch Bartholomew implied first of all the decision of the International Criminal Court regarding Putin and his accomplices in the abductions of Ukrainian children. Obviously, he implicitly referred to this decision. Of course, for him, this list is wider than the two persons who made it to this list. It is obvious that the list is much wider for the international community as well. And this list will expand. And it is possible that church figures with the Russian Orthodox Church, in particular, will be included.

    Unfortunately, there is a certain inconsistency in the statements of Pope Francis. They develop along a sinusoid, going up and then down. But the general vector, the general dynamics, in my opinion, is still positive. That is, he moved away from the position where practically both sides are almost to blame, to the fact that he nevertheless admitted that this is a brutal war against Ukraine, that it is being waged by Russia. But still, he fluctuates within the boundaries of even this rhetoric.

    In contrast to the fluctuations of this rhetoric of the Vatican, we see a very clear, firm and consistent position of Patriarch Bartholomew regarding the Ukrainian war. And this makes his statements very authoritative, consistent and important for Ukraine.