Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has passed point of no return

Regularizing schismatic hierarchs and all their people is not something easily walked back from. Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος.


(EP) - Presided by His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Holy and Sacred Synod convened for its regular session from October 9 to 11, 2018, in order to examine and discuss items on its agenda.

The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length the ecclesiastical matter of Ukraine, in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed:

1) To renew the decision already made that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

2) To reestablish, at this moment, the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kyiv, one of its many Stavropegia in Ukraine that existed there always.

3) To accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko, Makariy Maletych and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above-mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.

4) To revoke the legal binding of the Synodal Letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through oikonomia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kyiv, elected by the Clergy-Laity Assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the First hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople.

5) To appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties, as well as every other act of violence and retaliation, so that the peace and love of Christ may prevail.

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 11th of October, 2018

From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod

22 comments:

  1. Indefensible. The EP has committed canonical suicide.

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  3. This breaks my heart. I am in the GOAA and my wife was baptised in a jurisdiction that strongly supports Russia. We attend church together in both jurisdictions with the GOAA church being our primary place of worship. If a formal schism occurs, will the local parishes here in the US have to enforce the broken communion by refusing to administer the Mysteries to those within jurisdictions considered in schism? Would priests communicate to their parishes what exactly this schism means in terms of our daily practice of the faith?

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  4. This is extremely sad. One of the two parishes I attend regularly here is GOAA. I am not sure if I can in good conscience commune in that parish after this. And when the EP actually does issue the tomos, I will definitely have to stop.

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    1. I disagree with the way the EP is handling this, but this is a ridiculous over-reaction. How will this action affect your parish life? Unless it's MP, whatever parish you do commune in will likely remain in communion with the EP. When the Church of Russia decided to revoke Georgia's autocephaly and absorb them, should all of the Russian parishioners have jumped ship then? Of course not. This type of protest is only possible where jurisdiction hopping is possible.

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    2. I agree with you Joseph. I understand that people are upset but we shouldn't overreact. Will other local Churches break communion with the EP? Maybe but probably not.

      Right now, the only rupture in communion is that the MP won't concelebrate with the EP. Moscow has also withdrawn from local assemblies of bishops.I'm not even sure if the MP has told its laity they can't receive the mysteries from, for example, GOA clergy in the US.

      As of the moment, thank God, there is no schism.

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    3. Archbishop Peter of ROCOR just served at St. Sergius in Cleveland on Monday for their feast day. At least one Greek Archdiocese priest concelebrated.

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    4. Well said Joseph.
      This is being way blown out of proportion.
      Another part of the Orthodox world is becoming autocephalous...so what??? There was always controversy and strife when this happened in the past. Everyone gets over it eventually and we continue on our pilgrim journey in this world to Christ.

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  5. "Regularizing schismatic hierarchs and all their people is not something easily walked back from."

    ROCOR, and the Old Calendarists, not to mention the OCA, the Antiochians, and the Bulgarians have all "regularized schismatics" and there has been no stink about its canonicity from those crowing loudest on this issue. (The wisdom of doing it and who it is done for is quite a different question, "traditionalist" and "modernist") So, let's not pretend this is about the EP's "papal pretensions" and its "innovationism".

    What's really being argued about is whether to send 15MM to hell to protect the canonical rights of 10MM with more parishes and a big brother next door, even though both sides are guilty of the sin of nationalism producing schism - it's not as if the UOC-KP and the UAOC are the only ones putting culture and politics ahead of salvation.

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    1. I think you misunderstood my intent there. I wasn't casting aspersions.

      I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that this is now a "done deal" as we say in the US. If people thought the EP was going to second guess itself and stop all this, they will not be doing so.

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    2. The EP is not "regularizing schismatics". He is relegating the canonical church in Ukraine to the status of "schismatics" by supplanting it with a non-canonical and schismatic group. It might be one thing to regularize them by integrating them into the existing canonical church that exists in that country, but he can't even do that since he's not involving the canonical church in the process. ROCOR, for instance, was integrated into the existing canonical structure (as an autonomous church) of the MP. It didn't become the new MP in the diaspora, supplanting the existing MP churches and--more importantly--simultaneously making the existing ones into schismatics.

      IF this isn't an Eastern Papacy with primacy of authority, and not just honor, then I don't know what is. Whose automony or autocephaly is safe? Will he go after the Church of Greece next or another of the churches to whom it did or didn't grant autocephaly/autonomy in the past hundreds of years?
      We're not talking slippery slope, we're already at the edge of a precipice with this. Do we really want to grant this to the EP unchallenged and without consequences? This is not about Moscow or about the bickering of Patriarchs/Patriarchates/Autocephalous Churches. This is about our Orthodox ecclesiology and the nature of our unity as local Orthodox churches within the Body of Christ.

      Also, as a side note: "in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches". But does he get to bypass the canonical churches in their respective territories to unilaterally impose his authoritative will and judgments? Is this canonical?

      I ask again: who is safe? Where does this end but with an Eastern Pope with primacy of jurisdiction and not just honor? This is a shift in ecclesiology, and not the first by the EP in recent decades.
      Is there a point when we stand up and say 'enough'?

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  6. I have yet to read any criticism for the Russian Church in this whole matter....the only arguments I hear can be summed up as: Ecumenical Patriarchate: bad Russian Patriarchate: good. I'd like to hear some comments on Putin's role in all of this. Is he opposed to an independent Ukrainian Church?

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    1. The thing is Edward, there is no criticism for the Russian church because they did nothing wrong. They stayed neutral in the Maidan Revolution. Their Ukrainian Orthodox Church remains the only true canonical church in the Ukraine. The monasteries remain in fervent prayer and fasting. Patriarch Kirill has emphatically stated that Ukraine and Russia are brothers. VV Putin has not meddled in ecclesiastical affairs. There’s a reason why every single autocephalous church including the patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem are on the side of Russia and Met Onufrey. EP is clearly and completely in the wrong here.

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    2. Alex has this exactly right Fr. Edward, only the Ecumenical Patriarch is being criticized, because only the Ecumenical Patriarch is sinning. He is treating his brothers in the canonical church like scum, while chumming around with schismatics. Meanwhile the canonical church and her flock are in genuine danger. Its generally good to be balance, but balance is a sin when one side is totally to blame.

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  7. For consideration: GOA loses millions of dollars via embezzlement. U.S State Department gets involved, investigates, makes no announcements but sends representatives to speak with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. U.S State Department officially endorses autocephaly for Ukraine, while NATO and American forces conduct war games on the border with Russia, and suddenly E.P.B is on a crusade for autocephaly for Ukraine. Politics have combined with church affairs and a local tragedy is on the verge of becoming a global tragedy.

    If autocephaly is granted to the fascist phyletists, they will use violence to seize churches and monasteries, the faithful will resist, it will be a blood bath. Putin will be pressured to intervene, but if he does NATO and America will declare it an act of war. If he doesn’t, he may well be ousted by the warhawks in Russia. Either way American warhawks are happy.

    Lord have mercy on us all.

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  8. Another point... unless I am misreading this, the EP's point 4 would seem to assert their jurisdiction over Ukraine. In effect the EP has declared that he is now running the show there. I cannot imagine that this will be tolerated by Moscow.

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  9. I was told over a year ago that the plan is to have 2 co-existing jurisdictions in Ukraine in order to weaken the sheer size of the Moscow Patriarchate. So much for canons and proper church order.

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    1. So much for canons and proper church order in the USA for decades as well.

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  10. This disruption of the semblance of canonical norms, which appears nihilistic and chaotic, is not the hallmark of ecclesiastical leadership. The Phanar’s abrogation of precedent makes all order in and among Orthodox churches vulnerable to overthrow. This cannot stand.

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