Demetrios K. Anagnostou, Theologian (12 Oct 2018)
Only a few hours ago, “the die was cast”1 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, concerning the important canonical and ecclesiological issue of the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch of Constantinople proceeded to decree the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, in complete defiance or rather provocation over the objections of the Patriarchate of Moscow to which the Ukrainian Church was reporting till now.
Many, directly or indirectly, have taken publicly a position on the subject. The arguments advanced by almost everyone revolved around whether or not the Ecumenical Patriarchate has jurisdiction over the Ukraine; if it constitutes its canonical territory.
Among the most interesting approaches, written or oral, not lacking historical documentation, were those made by the Metropolitan of Piraeus Seraphim, the Serbian Bishop of Batska Irinej (Bulovic), but also by Father Theodorou (Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and by monk Seraphim Zisis. Indeed, the latter also highlights sufficiently the major political and geostrategic dimensions of the matter.
It should also be pointed out that among the most important ecclesiastical dimensions of the topic, is the one pointed out by Metropolitan Seraphim. As he points out, in the present case, the following paradox is happening: the Church of Ukraine, which is the party directly involved, has never submitted a request for Autocephaly!
Whose request, then, did the Ecumenical Patriarchate is coming to fulfill? Are there any interested parties? Yes, there are! Only they do not legitimately have any right to request anything! This is because, as far as the request is concerned, it was submitted by the President of Ukraine, a Uniate, with the interest coming more from the schismatics living in that country – and perhaps by others afar!2
It is therefore puzzling what is it that guides as a criterion and objective in the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and, more specifically, its leader. For he knows well and is fully conscious of the chaos that he provokes with this decision of his, and of the incurable injury in his relations with the Patriarchate of Moscow, and not only. He knows and obviously does not balk at how much he is testing the unity of Orthodoxy in its plenitude, by all too eagerly satisfying his “vengeful” disposition for the abstention and negative stance shown by the Patriarchate of Moscow at the convocation of the notorious Synod in Crete two years ago (Kolymbari, June 2016).
First of all, it would be better not to talk about the Ecumenical Patriarchate at all, but about the Ecumenical Patriarch. In fact, in our humble opinion, we deem that, despite its synodal mantle, the decision on the Autocephaly of Ukraine is the personal choice of the Ecumenical Patriarch, whose personal “bet” was also the realization of the first “pan-Orthodox” ecumenist synod in Crete.
Mr. Bartholomew, almost from the first years of his patriarchate, deliberately sought to turn the Ecumenical Patriarchate into a Vatican of the East, and establish himself as a pope, to counterweight the defunct Pope of Old Rome, with whom his intense desire is to “brotherly” share the ecclesiastical authority, in the West and the East, respectively.
And precisely, because the subject is about power and sovereignty, for the Ecumenical Patriarch, the terms akriveia, canonicity, tradition, and boundaries placed by the Fathers of the Church have a singular content and significance, and concern exclusively only issues of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Tradition, akrivia, and boundaries of the delivered Faith and its defense and confession seem to be unknown to him!
Thus, on account of his ecumenicity, as successor, alas, only of the throne and not of the manner of his former holy predecessors, he brandishes to all the historical rights of the institution, which, God knows under what pretences he represents, “breathing” fear to all – the “fear of the Ecumenical” (Patriarch)! It’s incredible, yet real!
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, unbending and absolute as it pertains to his jurisdiction, and formal and majestic as concerns the rituals, is at the same time the most unscrupulous denier of the pure, spotless, and un-innovating Faith, which we have received from the holy Fathers of the Church. The evidence, about it is, undoubtedly, abundant. [Note omitted by tr.]
Although he has proven to be the most daring Ecumenical Patriarch – when it comes to innovations and blasphemies on matters of Faith, being the most unscrupulous promoter of an ecumenist and pan-religious spirit heretofore – Mr. Bartholomew was able to subdue everyone3 with the spirit of “fear of ‘the Ecumenical’” (Patriarch), as the purported head of worldwide Orthodoxy – a head, though weak and heading towards the sunset of its life – continues to defiantly betray and sacrifice the quintessence of what is indeed the holy institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, namely the holy and immaculate Faith of the pious and Orthodox Christians, for the husks of world power and the fulfillment of passions or, possibly, of some, unknown to many, secret plans.
In conclusion, it’s tragic, particularly for those who speak of love – alas to the detriment of the saving truth – to ultimately turn out that what they themselves instigate and cultivate is not love, but fear! If it were about fear of God, it would be good. Sadly, however, it’s about its antipode: fear of the people! In this case, “fear of ‘the Ecumenical’” (Patriarch)!
Therefore, whenever the “Ecumenical” would dare to provoke anyone with such decisions, for which he himself is indifferent to whatever consequences they will bring to world Orthodoxy, declaring that “the die has been cast,” all of us faithful, shepherds and shepherded, should remember that once again he is the one who “crossed Rubicon”, threatening Orthodoxy itself! But for how long?
- A decision has been taken and there is no turning back. The die is one of a pair of dice. Cast means to throw. The phrase was said by Julius Caesar when, in violation of Roman law, he crossed the Rubicon river in 49 BC, starting a civil war.
- As of this writing, the Patriarch has resolved this issue by recognizing the schismatic bishops. Soon they will submit the request and everything will be legal(?)(Note by tr.)
- Obviously, not included either the writer or the translator and the editor of this article.