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Russian Orthodox Church issues warning to Orthodoxy’s leader

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow leaves after his meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, at the Patriarchate in Istanbul on Aug. 31, 2018. Bartholomew I is debating whether to accept a Ukrainian bid to tear that country's church from its association with Russia, a potential split fueled by the armed conflict between Ukrainian military forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Orthodox Church warned Friday (Sept. 28) that it would sever ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community if he grants autonomy to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.

The stern warning follows Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I’s promise to allow the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to be autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent. The Russian church, the world’s largest Orthodox communion, fiercely opposes the decision by Bartholomew, who is considered the “first among equals” of Orthodox leaders.

Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Vladimir Legoyda warned Friday it will “break the Eucharistic communion” with the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate if it makes the Ukrainian church autocephalous.

The church in Ukraine has been tied to the Moscow Patriarchate for hundreds of years, although many parishes have split off over the past two decades to form a schismatic church. Calls for independence have increased since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Legoyda said the plans for autocephaly “threaten a fragile religious peace in Ukraine,” and he charged that they have been driven by “political ambitions of the Ukrainian leaders.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is running for re-election next March, has pushed Bartholomew to grant independence to the Ukrainian church. Those efforts received a fillip earlier this month when the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced it was sending two bishops to Ukraine as a step toward declaring ecclesiastical independence for the church there.

The Russian Church responded by declaring that it would not participate in events headed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and would not even remember Bartholomew in its prayers.

Father Nikolai Balashov, a deputy head of the Russian church’s foreign relations department, pointed at Friday’s seizure of a church in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of western Ukraine by supporters of the Ukrainian church’s autonomy as a sign of what might happen if Bartholomew grants it ecclesiastical independence.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is part of the Moscow Patriarchate said right-wing radicals broke into the Trinity Church in the Ukrainian village of Bogorodchany, beat up a priest and several others and then drove believers away and locked up the building.

Regional police confirmed that two people were injured in a scuffle but denied any religious undertones, saying the clash was triggered by local authorities’ decision to hand over a church building to a music school.

The Moscow Patriarchate said about 50 churches in western Ukraine have been seized by the schismatic church in similar attacks in recent years.

“It’s a sad harbinger of possible tragic developments in Ukraine if government organs continue meddling in the church affairs in Ukraine,” Balashov said. “If politics continue to intervene in the religious life it could lead to tragic consequences across Ukraine.”

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Vladimir Isachenov

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  • Yet more proof that the Russian Orthodox Church has sold out Jesus in exchange for Putin’s thirty pieces of silver.

  • Why does this remind me of every single church schism, or threatened church schism, for the last 20 years? Power, money, and dominion and the body of Christ. The holy trinity, All righty.

    The real question is, How can people who don’t wear pointy penis hats have religious authority?

    And this one is just for laffs: ““It’s a sad harbinger of possible tragic developments in Ukraine if government organs continue meddling in the church affairs in Ukraine,” Balashov said. “If politics continue to intervene in the religious life it could lead to tragic consequences across Ukraine.” The mixing of organs, otherwise known as the fornication of Church and state, reminds me so very much of the fornication between church and rock and roll, also known as Christian Rock. It didn’t make Christianity better, it made rock and roll worse. Or maybe it was the other way around.

    I would love to insert an appropriate comment about traitors, faith, and 30 pieces of silver, but someone else already did. Our own travails in this matter are simply the msg added to the pot.

  • BS. The Ecumenical Patriarch is attempting to uncanonically interfere in the internal governance of another autocephalous Church. He is not a Pope, and has no authority to do so. This is a serious violation of the norms of Orthodox Church polity, a topic of which you seem to know about as much as a turnip.

  • Re: “The Russian Orthodox Church warned Friday that it would sever ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community if he grants autonomy to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.” 

    As always: Politics and international relations come before belief. Well done, guys … well done! I’m sure you must be so proud! And I’ll bet your Jesus is, too. 

    Or maybe not … ? 

  • The real question is why would someone who hates religion show up at a website for religious news and ask “How can people who don’t wear pointy hats have religious authority?” except to troll?

  • The Russians do well to object to the Ecumenical Patriarch acting like a Pope. The Orthodox have always rejected papism

  • For non-Orthodox, the Russian Church sees itself as the successor to Constantinople just as Constantinople replaced Rome.

  • This issue pertains to ecclesiology, which is the theological belief about the nature of the Church. So yes, it is about belief.

  • It is about ecclesiology, beliefs about the nature of the Church. That you are unable to appreciate the faith-based nature of the issue does not make it any less so.

  • What does your question have to do with the subject of this article?

    It’s about the growing rupture between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, to the conflict vis a vis Ukraine and Russia.

  • My question is entirely relevant. See if you can follow this. 

    We all know Vlad “the Poisoner” Putin wants to build his Новоро́ссия (aka “New Russia,” or a latter-day Soviet Union). He’s chosen to start getting there, by dismantling and then absorbing, piece by piece, Ukraine. 

    We all know little Vladdie is besties with Patriarch Kirill and that the two of them are working together to dominate the region. 

    It stands to reason that Kirill would want to interfere with Ukraine’s Church and try to hamstring it. I mean, it’s pretty hard not to view this as part of little Vladdie & Kirill’s infantile vendetta, is it not? I mean … I can see it, why can’t you? Is it because you don’t want to admit it? 

    Oh wait, let me guess, you work at Агентство интернет-исследований. Right? I mean, I gotta figure when I see pro-Russian propaganda somewhere on the Internet, that’s where it comes from … 

  • No, we do not “… all know little Vladdie is besties with Patriarch Kirill and that the two of them are working together to dominate the region.”

    Your track record on Catholicism, which you might tend to know something about living in the USA, is less than sterling.

    The odds you know the score on the Orthodox canons, the issues surrounding autocephaly, and the history of the hierarchies involved therefore seems less than probable.

    The “Агентство интернет-исследований” slur makes that nearly certain.

  • Well, yeah. I know that. So do a lot of folks. 

    But some are in denial. I guess they like ignorance … or they’re in little Vladdie’s pocket. 

  • This is an example of why a lot of people are wasting their time and their spirits in organized churches. When push comes to shove, you find out that the whole things run on push and shove—–most everywhere and most all the time.

  • “It stands to reason that Krill would want to interfere with Ukraine’s Church…”

    What babbling idiocy. The ONLY canonical Orthodox Church there is, and has been, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church -Kyiv Patriarchate is a schismatic body which broke away from the canonical Church by Metropolitan Philaret Denysenko In a snit when he wasn’t elected Patriarch of Moscow. (He also has a wife and family on the side.) He was deposed (defrocked) by the Church, and no Orthodox Church in the world is in communion with him or his schismatic group. A third group, the small self-created Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, has even less credibility.

    It is Black Bart of Constantinople (really Istanbul) who is interfering with Ukraine’s Church by attempting to grant autocephaly to a schismatic group which no other Orthodox Church recognizes, and ignoring the Church which until the day before yesterday he himself recognized as THE Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This is causing a great outcry in the Orthodox world, but no doubt he has little choice but to follow his State Department handlers.

  • As this discussion is degenerating into babble as people who have no clue at all what autocephaly is, how it is determined, and what issues may be relevant, here are a few urls to steer folks into thinking with the Orthodox:

    https://www.patriarchate.org/-/territorial-jurisdiction-according-to-orthodox-canon-law-the-phenomenon-of-ethnophyletism-in-recent-yea-1

    Extensive history, references to the Councils, and modern developments.

    https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prerogatives_of_the_Ecumenical_Patriarchate

    A short modern recap of some of the most pressing issues, including consideration of the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s prerogatives.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocephaly

    An accessible discussion of autocephaly, including a somewhat useful organization chart.

    https://www.goarch.org/-/the-canonical-tradition-of-the-orthodox-church

    An explanation of the theological basis for Orthodox Canon Law.

    https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/55856-o-kanonah-i-ukrainskoj-avtokefalii

    A walk through by an Orthodox journalist of the 28th rule of the 4th Ecumenical Council, the conflicting views of its impact and application, the difference between the Western view of primacy and the Eastern view, and its practical consequences relevant to the article being discussed.

  • You bet.

    My relevant family members are Russian Orthodox.

    I do hear about these things and did growing up.

    Btw, don’t let the resident Luddites bug you.

  • It’s relevant, if Kirill is using this as an opportunity to open an ecclesiastical fork from little Vladdie’s conniption over Ukraine. 

  • Yes, the religious garments of various faiths are very different at times. I know a faith where everyone wears what look like shower caps, bathrobes & aprons at certain times in their religious services.

  • This is the great tragedy of Orthodoxy, having lost its moorings from Peter. It began with a gigantic shameful schism and continues to this day splitting and splitting. For all its talk about the importance of ecclesiology, it set the stage for splitters, which continued into the Protestant Reformation and has continued to this day. Without Peter, there is only further splitting and division of the body of Christ.

  • How is Kirill opening “an ecclesiastical fork” in the Ukraine? He (and the previous Patriarchs} have been the legitimate Patriarchal primates since long, long before Denysenko and his followers broke away from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/MP to form the schismatic “Kyiv Patriarchate”. The UOC/MP is the original player on the ground there, so Kirill is not butting in, it’s his ballpark, his canonical territory. Black Bart is the one butting in by interfering with the internal affairs of another autocephalous Church.

  • The Orthodox Church has remained remarkably unified over the centuries in faith and doctrine, despite being organized in local Churches on a regional basis (which you seem to confuse with splitting into different denominations, Western style). The decentralization of Orthodoxy is actually a feature, not a bug.

    It is the Christian West which has been continually “splitting and splitting”, since the time it broke with the East. It continues to be the great heartland of schisms and heresies. Its “See of Peter” hasn’t helped it very much.

  • Re: “How is Kirill opening “an ecclesiastical fork” in the Ukraine?” 

    I’m not sure why I have to spell this out for you, but here goes: Just as his BFF, little Vladdie, wants to re-integrate Ukraine into his precious Новоро́ссия, Kirill likewise wants to retain control of Ukraine’s church. Even if it’s an independent country, and has been since the fall of the Soviet Union (a regime whose demise little Vladdie still hasn’t gotten over). 

    Re: “… long before Denysenko and his followers broke away from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/MP to form the schismatic ‘Kyiv Patriarchate’.” 

    You’re aware, I presume, that what is now the Moscow Patriarchate used to be the Kiev Patriarchate? A few centuries ago, Moscow’s metropolitan absorbed it and moved its center to his own city. And you’re also aware that, prior to that, this Kiev Patriarchate used to be a component of the larger Constantinopolitan patriarchate, but became independent? 

    Orthodox churches can, and have, emerged out from under their “parent” churches. It’s happened. It’s how things work. Railing against it would be like railing against the sky being blue or water being wet — it’s irrational, infantile, and self-defeating. 

    Re: “The UOC/MP is the original player on the ground there, so Kirill is not butting in …” 

    Of course he’s “butting in”! He’s running a parallel game with his bestie, little Vladdie the poison-lover. 

  • The Protestant Reformation is completely unrelated to the division between East and West.

    The West’s tendency to legalize and rationalize is precisely what led to splintering over the nature of the Eucharist, authority in the Church, and so on.

    As a good Ukrainian Catholic friend commented to me “Westerners walk through the doorway backwards.”

  • Clearly you know zero about Orthodoxy, the issues underlying the article, the history, or anything else beyond who you like and who you do not.

    If you had bothered to read the urls for background material, for example, you’d already know that “And you’re also aware that, prior to that, this Kiev Patriarchate used to be a component of the larger Constantinopolitan patriarchate, but became independent?” is absurd.

  • All vitiated by the fact that there was no physical resurrection of Jesus et al.

    “Stories circulated to the effect that Alexander of Macedonia was not only the son of Philip II, but also of the god Zeus-Ammon (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, “Alexander” 2.1-3.2); Plato was the son of Ariston and the god Apollo (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 3.1-2), and Augustus was the son of Octavius as well as the god Apollo (Suetonius, Lives o f the Caesars 2.4.1-7). The extraordinary character of these elites reputedly stemmed from both their divine origins and their kingroups. Their kin-groups provided one form of legitimation-political right to the throne and/or social status (thus the importance of Joseph in Matthew’s genealogy). Their divine procreation provided another: their honor was divinely ascribed, and their greatness as leaders derived from divine paternity.”

    From: K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998. p.55

  • In a de facto way, the Russian claim is quite true. The Constantinople Patriarchate is said to be about 2% the size of the Russian Church. Perhaps some day the Orthodox will revise their canons to reflect the reality on the ground.

  • I appreciate that there is a division here that goes back over 1000 years. We won’t be solving it here 🙂 I respect your view. My view remains, however, that it’s not an East/West thing so much as it’s a failure within Christianity to recognize that Christ appointed Peter as chair and head of the church. There are plenty of Eastern Christians, like your Ukrainian Catholic friend, who may differ on approaches to spirituality, liturgy, canon law, etc., but who are united in standing with Peter despite all the external strife and splitting.

  • I completely understand your position.

    If you will read the urls I provided, you will be closer to understanding the Eastern position, in particular the division of authority between East and West prior to 1054, which is never discussed in the West.

  • Who knows? In the meantime, the Russian Patriarchate should remember the importance of history and tradition in the Orthodox world. Before the Russian church was (988 CE), the Church of Constantinople had already long been (330 CE), per Wikipedia. In the meantime, I seriously doubt most Orthodox churches will recognize the Russian Patriarch as “first among equals”, much less superior to them.

  • Yes, I would not expect the Orthodox to do that anytime soon. A few centuries would be “lightning speed” in the Orthodox world.

  • It most certainly is relevant.

    Per the news report, “Father Nikolai Balashov, a deputy head of the Russian church’s foreign relations department,” is quoted as saying, “It’s a sad harbinger of possible tragic developments in Ukraine if government organs continue meddling in the church affairs in Ukraine. If politics continue to intervene in the religious life it could lead to tragic consequences across Ukraine.” Orthodox churches are quite national in their historical identities so political and ecclesial life in their countries of origin are closely intertwined.

    A “Russian” stamp on the Orthodox Church in Ukraine helps preserve Russian political influence in that former Soviet-bloc country.

  • I think that’s an odd double-standard. One should compare (if comparisons are even apposite) “the Christian West” to “the Christian East,” rather than to “the Orthodox Church,” if, by definition, anything outside the church is heretical and schismatic. Then, by this standard, splitters can never affect the church because they are out of it the instant they split, while the main ecclesial body continues unimpaired. So if you can claim that Orthodoxy has remained unified, then the same must be true of Catholicism. The See of Peter has allowed a billion Catholics worldwide to remain united in one faith and one doctrine. If heresies and schisms arise, as they have also in the East, these have not impaired the Catholic church’s ability to remain united even as these splitters leave the unity of the church. But from a Catholic standpoint, the Orthodox are splitters, because they have failed to maintain unity with Peter, no less than the other heretics and schismatics. The only difference (fortunately for them) is that they have maintained the priesthood and the sacraments, and they share much more doctrine with Catholics than they do with Anglicans or Baptists. I don’t say this disrespectfully, not at all. I think if Orthodox and Catholics can continue to have dialogue and sharing, with each side giving up the idea that they alone have all the answers, there is no reason they cannot overcome their differences and reunite.

  • There is nothing in the East to compare with the Protestant Reformation.

    If heresies and schisms arise in the East, those who hold the Faith treat them as non-entities and they fade away over time. There was in the East no Inquisition.

    As the ‘Notificationes’ attached to Lumen Gentium stated “Communion is a notion which is held in high honor in the ancient Church (and also today, especially in the East). However, it is not understood as some kind of vague disposition, but as an organic reality which requires a juridical form and is animated by charity.”

    The approach in the East is substantially different.

    The institution of Patriarchates, for example, is given an importance in the West it does not have in the East. In the West it is defined as a personal jurisdiction of the Patriarch over other bishops. That is alien to the Eastern canonical tradition, where the Patriarch or any other Primate is always a primus inter pares.

    So, in the East the Church is much more organic, less juridicial.

    This is reflected in the terminology used.

    In the West the Eucharist is a sacrament, which is carefully defined and over which there have been a whole series of theological and philosophical battles leading to burning people at the stake and wars.

    In the East the Eucharist is a mystery, about which we can only speak analogically.

    The West has inherited the Roman secular legal tradition, but at times it mistakes that tradition for the Faith itself.

    There are downsides to the Eastern approach, which the article illustrates, but tolerating heresy is not one of them.

  • It’s precious that you somehow believe Kirill could be “butting in” on the affairs of his own ecclesiastical territory. Zero understanding of basic Orthodox polity.

  • Re: “It’s precious that you somehow believe Kirill could be ‘butting in’ …” 

    It’s also precious that you can’t see what Kirill is doing on behalf of his BFF, Little Vladdie Poisoner. 

    Re: “Zero understanding of basic Orthodox polity.” 

    Yes, from you, who refuses to acknowledge that, sometimes, Orthodox churches become independent from their “parents” churches. 

  • You have Fr. Balashov’s quote completely backwards.

    He is referring to the UKRAINIAN government’s “meddling in the church affairs in Ukraine” – by attempting to gain autocephaly for an uncanonical schismatic group, by seizing churches of the canonical church, threatening and intimidating its members, etc. It is the Poroshenko government which has been very forward in fomenting this autocephaly crisis, for purely political reasons of its own.

  • Of course they sometimes become “independent” (by which I take it you mean autocephalous).

    The issue in the Ukraine is one autocephalous Church (Constantinople) unilaterally interfering with the internal affairs of another autocephalous Church (Moscow). This is a big no-no in Orthodox ecclesiology, and is causing considerable consternation and dismay in Orthodox circles.

  • And why is the “deputy head of the Russian church’s foreign relations department” accusing the UKRANIAN government of “meddling in the church affairs of Ukraine”? And, now that you’ve mentioned it, why has the Poroshenko government been fomenting this Ukranian autocephaly movement?

    See my earlier response, in particular, “Orthodox churches are quite national in their historical identities so political and ecclesial life in their countries of origin are closely intertwined. A ‘Russian’ stamp on the Orthodox Church in Ukraine helps preserve Russian political influence in that former Soviet-bloc country.”

    While Orthodox Christians share religious doctrine in their world communion, state political considerations — especially under Putin — will continue to dominate Orthodox life in Russia. The Russian Patriarch knows this fact of life, and he may, in fact, endorse maintaining *Russian* ecclesial dominance and state influence in other Eastern European countries formerly part of the Soviet Union for whatever reason — Russian state dominance, his own ecclesial influence, etc. One cannot ignore the very close identity ties between nation and church in the Orthodox Christian world — at least in those countries bordering or near Russia.

  • “And why is the “deputy head of the Russian church’s foreign relations department” accusing the Ukrainian government of “meddling in the church affairs of Ukraine”?

    Um, maybe because it is, and has no right to meddle in what is an internal Church affair, for its own gain.

  • Re: “The issue in the Ukraine is one autocephalous Church (Constantinople) unilaterally interfering …” 

    How does recognizing a newly-independent Orthodox Church as independent, constitute “interference”? Just wondering. 

  • Legitimate, in the eyes of the Russians. And since Russia holds much power in the worldwide Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian church was not accepted as canonical.

  • It is interfering when one autocephalous Orthodox Church (C-ple) presumes to invade the territory of another autocephalous Orthodox Church (Moscow), and seeks to legitimize a schismatic sect that has broken away from the canonical autocephalous Church in that region – and whose leaders have been defrocked – without any reference to the said canonical Church , as if that Church did not exist.

  • Legitimate in the eyes of all Orthodox. And it is not “the Ukrainian Church”. The “Kyiv Patriarchate” is a schismatic group -with defrocked clergy – that broke away from the canonical Ukrainian Church, which has been and remains a part of the Moscow Patriarchate. None of the Orthodox Churches throughout the world recognize or are in communion with the KP; all consider it to be illegitimate. And they do so because of basic Orthodox ecclesiology. which is more important to them than any matter of the strength or weakness of the neocon-dreaded Russian bear.

  • Everything about the opposition to the Kyiv Patriarchate is political.

    I am not a neocon. I simply know history.

  • Re: “It is interfering when one autocephalous Orthodox Church (C-ple) presumes to invade the territory …” 

    You make it sound as though we’re talking about countries, not churches. If that’s the case, then maybe you understand why I’ve been saying Kirill is carrying out the wishes of his BFF, Little Vladdie the Poisoner, who wants to rebuild his precious Новоро́ссия because he won’t grow up and get over the demise of his Soviet Union. 

  • Like Ben, you also seem incapable of grasping that eccesiology concerns a matter of faith, namely the nature and proper ordering of the Church. That it is not important to you -who, like many moderns, would reduce everything to politics as the only “real” issue – makes no difference to the millions of believers for whom it IS a faith issue.

  • The Orthodox argue they started in 33 CE or AD or 29 AD if the current calendar is off by four years. It is Rome that assumed to take a higher rank that was not recognized by the other patriarchs.

    In any event, it should be a decision of Ukrainians to decide if they should have their own church in communion with the Church of Constantinople.

  • Scares me how much “New Russia” sounds like “Greater German Reich.” I look at Putin and see: someone who had to sit on the sidelines as his nation lost a major conflict, then spent the next 20 years increasing his resentment and power, until he was in a position to attempt to regain his country’s lost glory. Just sounds familiar ..

  • The LDS endowment service? My understanding is that it is supposed to be evocative of the Jewish Temple priests’ garb.

  • In Putin’s “defense,” the ROC has been connected to Moscow since the USSR existed. Some priests were KGB agents. Of course, so was Putin, so I guess he still has connections.

  • That is not all clear.

    The division between the Patriarch of Rome and the Patriarch of what was Constantinople dates back a millennium and a half.

    It followed the division of the then extant Roman Empire.

    The canons have not been updated since, and clearly conditions have changed.

    However, he does appear to be asserting a position which may or may not be acceded to by the rest of the Orthodox.

  • When you say “really Istanbul,” are you merely noting that it’s been “Istanbul not Constantinople” for some time, or do you believe this is about Turkey-Russia relations? The ties between the two have actually been warming as of late as a result of the US’s crumbling relations with both.

  • So, because I disagree with you, you have concluded that I am “incapable of grasping that eccesiology concerns a matter of faith, namely the nature and proper ordering of the Church,” and that “it is not important to me….”

    Good to know. I am moving on….

  • The issues are canonical issues among the Orthodox, and can and should be analyzed that way without reference to Turkey, Russia, and the USA.

  • As the fall of the Iron Curtain demonstrated when records were examined, every single denomination had been infiltrated by the Communists without exceptions.

  • The discussion is about canonical issues within Orthodoxy, as much as others would like to make it about Putin.

  • That probably extended to the West as well, at least for some liberal “pro-peace” Protestant denominations.

  • Re: “Scares me how much ‘New Russia’ sounds like ‘Greater German Reich.'” 

    Well, yeah. Isn’t that why Little Vladdie is such a fan of poison? He bumps off everyone he thinks might get in the way of his authoritarian/fascist program. 

    Re: “I look at Putin and see: someone who had to sit on the sidelines as his nation lost a major conflict …” 

    I see a sniveling little man-boy who never got over it and is still throwing conniptions all over the place because his Soviet Union collapsed. No wonder Little Vladdie and our own Groper-in-Chief get along so well — neither has ever grown up. 

  • Christian communities may have begun in Rome as early as the 40s, according to the late Raymond Brown. In any event, each community would have had its own group-like leadership; there was no “bishop of Rome” (Clement of Rome, for example, would have been a prominent Christian leader but not the single leader as we see popes today). Your information reminds us that Christianity began in the Near East, not in Italy, and that there were various ecclesiae/assemblies/”churches” throughout that part of the world. I don’t recall reading of “Eastern” and “Western” Christians during this very early period. Believers were simply “Christians”. Each community had its own leadership. Liturgical presidership apparently was based first and foremost on the individual’s community leadership. The earliest so-called “popes” did not have the kind of influence and power that is associated with the papacy today. I’ve read that if one of these Roman bishops were to attempt to interfere in the affairs of a church not part of his province, a foreign bishop would have been ready to tell the Roman bishop to MYOB. As you’ve indicated, it was only later that bishops of Rome would gradually come to hold the most prominent episcopal seat in the Christian world before 1054 CE.

    I agree: Let the Ukranians decide on the issue, Poroshenko notwithstanding.

    Thank you.

  • No, I am intimating that the claim of the Ecumenical Patriarch to be “primus inter pares” among Orthodox bishops is based on being the bishop of the imperial capitol of an empire that has not existed for half a millennium, and hence rather devoid of any reality.

  • Sorry, but you admitted as much when you said that “This issue has nothing to do with faith”. You prefer to stick with your secular narrative that “It has everything to do with” the politics of Russian hegemony, because you do not take matters such a ecclesiology to be “real” issues of faith.

  • Yes, for now it is. But it is also increasingly recognized that his status derived from practical political realities which no longer obtain, and perhaps should be adjusted to reflect today’s realities. Papal primacy in the RCC is based on their concept of Petrine succession (and hence is set in stone), but primacy among the Orthodox is based on practical considerations (and is therefore – at least potentially – more fluid.

  • Actually it is based on canons adopted when the Empire was divided administratively between Rome in the West and Constantinople in the East.

    Once again:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/russian_orthodox_church_issues_warning_to_orthodoxys_leader/#comment-4119702725

    where you will find:

    https://www.patriarchate.org/-/territorial-jurisdiction-according-to-orthodox-canon-law-the-phenomenon-of-ethnophyletism-in-recent-yea-1

    “Canon 6 of the 1st Ecumenical Synod says ‘Let the old customs prevail as well as the later canons’, and goes on to confirm the geographical boundaries of the jurisdiction of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. ‘Let the ancient custom prevail which obtained in Egypt, Lybia and Pentapolis, to allow the bishop of Alexandria to have authority over all these parts, since this is also usually accorded to the bishop in Rome. Likewise with reference to Antioch and the other provinces, let seniority be preserved in the churches’. Thus ‘the bishop of Alexandria precedes those in Egypt, Lybia and the.province of Pentapolis, Africa; Antioch similarly heads Syria, Coele or Hollow Syria, Mesopotamia and both Cilicias…’ i. e. the diocese of the East; ‘and the bishop of Rome is senior in the western provinces’.”

    “The bishop of Jerusalem, because of the sacred nature of the city ‘through the redemptive passion of Christ’, was declared patriarch by the 4th Ecumenical Synod, with his jurisdiction extended to include the three provinces of Palestine, known as the ‘Three Palestines’. So Jerusalem was senior to ‘the provinces in Palestine, in Arabia and in Phoenicia.. .’.”

    “As Patriarchate, Jerusalem occupied the fifth place, after Antioch, while since the schism between East and West it has taken the fourth place in the Orthodox Church. In the case of Jerusalem, too, the criteria applied by the 4th Ecumenical Synod for canonical jurisdiction- ‘ground’ — were geographical and no more.”

    “The Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, occupies the first place, the primacy of honour in the canonical structure of the Orthodox Church. This position, as well as his canonical jurisdiction — the ‘ground’” — have been defined by the sacred canons of the Ecumenical Synods, in other words by irreversible ecumenical decisions, and their application is binding for all Orthodox.”

    and

    https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/55856-o-kanonah-i-ukrainskoj-avtokefalii

    “However, there are a few very significant ‘buts’.”

    “First. The special significance of the Constantinople See was due only to the fact that it was located in the reigning city of the Byzantine Empire. The same can be said about Rome (we recall the division of the Byzantine Empire into the Eastern and the Western), with the only but significant addition – the thesis of the primacy of the Apostle Peter. Therefore, even when the political situation of Rome changed, the primacy of St Peter remained. And it is this thesis that is focused on by the successors of the Roman bishop.”

    “But with the fall of Constantinople, its role in the Orthodox world was levelled, which is quite natural. In turn, the Russian Church became more and more influential. Hence, the desire of the ROC to take a more appropriate position is quite understandable, because in Russia (in Moscow) there was an Orthodox king, while Constantinople became an Islamic Istanbul. Constantinople Patriarchs go to Moscow to beg (two of them, as we remember, died on the way to the capital of the Russian state). Therefore, the “autocephalous” arguments of Constantinople are based on realities of a completely different time and they “work” only in the system of the Imperial Church. All other options were merely not supposed by the canons.”

    “Second (continuation of the first). In addition to the 28th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, there are other canons that speak of the role of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the life of the Church, beginning with the canons of the 34th, 35th, 37th Apostolic Council, the 4th and 5th canons of the First Ecumenical Council, and especially the 2nd and 3d canons of the Second Ecumenical Council. They argue why the Ecumenical Patriarch has all these preferences. And it turns out that all the arguments are reduced to one thing – the advantage of the Patriarchate of Constantinople as the Church, which is in the capital of the empire, the Reigning City! However, in our XXI century, there is neither the empire, no the Reigning City. Accordingly, all these canonical rules in this reality are groundless.”

    None of the canons foresaw the New World, or provided for the Asian missions and churches, or the collapse of the Roman Empire.

    This has left a canonical vacuum, one consequence of which is described in the article.

  • You seem to be unaware that Dioceses and Patriarchates are territorial units, and hence such language is appropriate, as well as commonly used.

  • I’m aware of it, all right. I’m also aware that the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, who’s a close personal friend of Russia’s president, Little Vladdie the Poisoner, wants to maintain control over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church, in the same way his bestie wants to retake control over Ukraine, so he can have his Новоро́ссия. Kirill would like the ecclesiastical equivalent of a Новоро́ссия. 

    Really, that’s what I said when I first commented on this story. 

    And not only am I aware of it, I consider it so brazenly obvious that I shouldn’t have to spell it out. I mean, you have to be truly, amazingly, catastrophically stupid not to know it, too. I mean, for me to have to explain it this way must mean you’re virtually the definition of an ignorant dolt. 

    So if the shoe fits, Vladdie-lover, wear it. I’m sure you enjoy working for LIttle Vladdie, at Агентство интернет-исследований. 

  • Your complete ignorance in matters pertaining to the entire Orthodox world is truly abysmal. “Invincible ignorance”, as they say. I’ve tried to bring a little illumination to your breathtakingly tiny understanding, but I guess the adage “You can’t fix stupid” was coined with you in mind. Adieu, PsiCo.

  • It does the bidding of the US State Department/CIA which brought it to power in the first place.

  • Kirill is acting according to the canonical norms of Orthodoxy, which Black Bart is violating. Sorry if you are unable to grasp the concept. (And yes, I would call that a sign of “stupidity”. Sorry I can’t fix that for you.)

  • Why do you think? They were installed, and continue to be propped up, by US money and supplies, without which they would be in even sadder shape.

    The autocephaly crisis is a small part of the US/EU/NATO anti-Russia neocon inspired strategy.
    Their cultivating the Ecumenical Patriarchate over the years neatly plays into this strategy.

  • Re: “Kirill is acting according to the canonical norms of Orthodoxy, which Black Bart is violating.” 

    The historical “norm” of Orthodox churches is that they become independent, from time to time. 

  • Of course they do. It is another historical norm that a bishop cannot unilaterally interfere in another bishop’s diocese -which is precisely what Bart is doing. The objection is not to the eventual working out of autocephaly, but to C-ple’s interference in another church’s affairs -as if he were some kind of Eastern Pope.

  • Re: “The objection is not to the eventual working out of autocephaly, but to C-ple’s interference in another church’s affairs …” 

    If the Ukraine church is going independent, then Bartholomew acknowledging that is NOT, in any way, “interference.” It is, instead, an acknowledgement

  • Re: “It is another historical norm that a bishop cannot unilaterally interfere in another bishop’s diocese -which is precisely what Bart is doing.” 

    What part of “recognizing does not equal interfering” do you not comprehend? 

  • Whether the current regime was “installed”, etc. by the U.S. or not, the fact is Ukraine does not want to be absorbed by Russia.

  • That may be true of the western part of the country, but much of the eastern part feels very differently.

  • No, only the noncanonical schism lead by defrocked clergy that not even C-pie recognizes is interested in autocephaly, not “the Ukraine church”. The region is still under the canonical jurisdiction of Moscow, not C-ple, who has no business there. The so-called “Kyiv Patriarch” is considered a fraud and a layman by all the other Orthodox Churches throughout the world.

  • Re: “The region is still under the canonical jurisdiction of Moscow, not C-ple, who has no business there.” 

    Again: Recognition is not interference. 

  • The whole concept does not make any sense in terms of Orthodox ecessiology. There can only be one bishop in a diocese. If C-ple recognized KP (bogus) bishops that would mean either that each diocese would have two ruling bishops, or, since that cannot be, then the current MP bishops would no longer be recognized as bishops. It would be a serious matter.

    Of course, should C-ple recognize the KP’s layman-bishops, I doubt other Orthodox would recognize them as anything other than what they are now: pariahs.

  • If some judge “recognizes” your house as belonging to somebody else, I’m darn tootin’ sure you would consider that interfering with your life.

    Again: Canonical recognition is most certainly interference.

    Only a person who is ignorant of Orthodoxy would think otherwise.

  • To repeat: Canonical recognition is most certainly interference.

    Only a person who is ignorant of Orthodoxy would think otherwise.

  • Re: “Only a person who is ignorant of Orthodoxy would think otherwise.” 

    Only a person ignorant of ecclesiastical history would think so. 

  • …says the guy who couldn’t tell one the difference between the Three Chapters and the Three Stooges.

  • The Three Chapters? What does one of Justinian’s attempts to meddle in theology have to do with what we’re discussing? Talk about being ignorant…. 

  • …says the guy who just looked up “The Three Chapters” on google.

    (He also thinks “Mia Physis” is an Italian actress.)

  • No need for me to look it up. I already knew about it, long ago. As in, way back when I studied medieval history in college. So yeah, go ahead and accuse me of having done something I hadn’t needed to do. Feel free to accuse me of just about anything you want to accuse me of, just so you can feel better about being as catastrophically wrong as you are. After all, nothing in the universe is more important than your subjective feelings. Right? 

  • Gee, I thought you were the party of subjective feelings uber alles. As in, “Some guy feels like he is a woman, so he is a woman – and is thus entitled to use women’s bathrooms, showers, join women’s sports competitions. etc.

  • Re: “Gee, I thought you were the party of subjective feelings uber alles.” 

    Not me. You’re the one who’s got his panties in a wad. 

    Re: “As in, ‘Some guy feels like he is a woman, so he is a woman – and is thus entitled to use women’s bathrooms, showers, join women’s sports competitions. etc.” 

    What are you sniveling about, now? Wait, don’t tell me. It’s not relevant. Just something else that’s got your knickers in knots. Grow up and stop being a precious snowflake already. 

  • Then let the people on this forum know that you reject transgenderism, based as it is on their “feelings”.

  • I really don’t care if someone is transgender or not. It’s not up to me either to “accept” it or “reject” it. It is, instead, none of my business. They’re human beings — and that’s all that matters. 

    And why are you so vehemently worked up about transgenders? Has one of them done something to you? 

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