Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Synaxis of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne

(EP) - From August 29-September 2, 2015, at the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a Synaxis of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne gathered from all over the world at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Taksim Square. His All-Holiness delivered the Keynote Address to over 140 Hierarchs of the Throne, speaking to developments and challenges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church in general during recent years.

Introductions were presented by senior Metropolitans on ecclesiastical, pastoral and theological initiatives and ministries, including the forthcoming Holy and Great Council, the regional Assemblies of Bishops, the World Council and European Council of Churches, the Theological Dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church, the Pre-Chalcedonian Churches, the World Lutheran Federation, the Anglican Communion, the World Communion on Reformed Churches and the Old Catholic Church.

Further presentations were delivered on contemporary vital issues, such as the Orthodox response to bioethical issues, the root and impact of climate change, as well as the phenomenon of immigration and the pastoral ministry of the Church toward the humanitarian refugee crisis.

On September 1, 2015, the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, His All-Holiness presided over the Divine Liturgy, together with the Hierarchs in attendance. There followed the traditional Act of the Signing of the New Indiction.


  1. Looks like a 100 give or take. Anyone know how many of these bishops have actual flocks?

  2. I was wondering the same. St. Justin of Chilije gives us all something to ponder:

    "Whom do they in fact represent at the present moment, what Church and what people of God? The Constantinopolitan hierarchy at almost all the pan-Orthodox gatherings consists primarily of titular metropolitans and bishops, of pastors without flocks and without concrete pastoral responsibility before God and their own living flock. Whom do they represent and whom will they represent at the future council?

    ...Recently the Patriarchate of Constantinople has produced a multitude of bishops and metropolitans, almost all of them titular and fictitious. Is it possible that this is a preparatory measure to guarantee at the future 'Ecumenical Council' by their multitude of titles the majority of votes for the neo-papal ambitions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople?" (On Summoning a Great Coumcil)

  3. Although the photo is small I can still make out a good number of hierarchs who are ruling bishops of actual flocks, but your point about titular bishops, especially in the EP, is well taken. I, too, am deeply disturbed by this sad reality.

    St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote: "...the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop." In Orthodoxy it is axiomatic that there can be no church without its bishop, and it should follow that there cannot be a bishop without his church. The two are inexplicably united to the extent that we call a bishopric that has lost its bishop a "widowed church".

    Without a flock a bishop isn't a shepherd, but rather a mere ecclesiastical bureaucrat. After all, the meaning of the word bishop (i.e., ἐπίσκοπος or episkopos) means overseer or supervisor. If there is no flock to shepherd then the titular bishop is not even a pastor let alone an arch pastor.

    There is simply no need for titular bishop where a priest would suffice, and the current practice is an aberration of Orthodox ecclesiology that may very well border on or perhaps represent heresy.

    The existence of refugee bishops & metropolitans made sense when hierarchs were driven from their flock by wars, but at present that is not he case. Men are ordained to sees that haven't existed for centuries without a single living Orthodox soul living within the territory of their jurisdiciton. It's madness.

  4. This article has not appeared in English yet but the topic of the war is Ukraine was discussed.
    " In his (EP) opening remarks, and during the discussions and meetings with the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Canada, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed deep concern about the war and church divisions in Ukraine and stressed the responsibility of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Mother Church for the Ukrainian Church and spiritual care over their flock. He also emphasized the need for unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.