Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"Who will follow Greece?"

(Orthodox Times) - Athens decided to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine while Archbishop Ieronymos decided to send a response letter to the Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev and to begin to commemorate him. Those two decisions were considered as the key actions that will relaunch the inter-orthodox dialogue.

There is another crucial factor, which is an obstacle for all Churches that intend to recognise Ukraine; the threats and blackmail by officials of the Patriarchate of Moscow. A better description might be: The Russian Church considers this act to be uncanonical and has acted to protect itself (and also following its logic, world Orthodoxy) by putting Constantinople at a distance from itself. If other Churches choose to act similarly, there is no reason to think Moscow would act in any different manner. There are only so many levers sister churches have to pull on one another - the time tested "time out" method is millennia old.

The “Russian threats and blackmail” factor was also an issue that drew the attention of the Metropolitans of the Church of Greece last Saturday. A wide range of opinions has been expressed during the extraordinary meeting of the Hierarchy. The Metropolitans who expressed their opinion and argued in favour of the recognition of the Church of Ukraine did not mince their words.

The pressure, to which several Metropolitans referred during the meeting, is not exclusively put on Greece. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has travelled a lot in the recent months, in particular to Greece, Cyprus, Georgia, Serbia, Lebanon and Jerusalem and from there to Moscow and vice versa. It is a common finding that every statement and/or visit of Metropolitan of Volokolamsk to Greece or to other Orthodox Churches was accompanied, as many church officials have denounced, by unrelenting pressure, even threats, with a view to non-recognising the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Who will follow Greece?

The Ancient Patriarchates, that of Alexandria and that of Jerusalem, have received unprecedented threats from Moscow that exploits the weaknesses and difficulties of the two ancient Churches. The Patriarchates of Alexandria and of Jerusalem are in a particularly difficult position; each one for different reasons. That is why they still prefer to remain silent on that issue.

Moscow’s pressures on the Patriarchate of Alexandria have begun to provoke the intense discomfort to certain Metropolitans, who fully support Patriarch Theodore, but urge him to totally ignore the threats and blackmail and to take the necessary steps by recognising Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev.

The Patriarchate of Antioch has proven to be a satellite of Russia. The Patriarchate of Antioch undermined the Council of Crete through its non-attendance in order that Moscow can contest the validity of the Council. The Patriarchate of Antioch now gives “land and water” by permitting the building of Russian temples on its territory, despite hundreds of churches ravaged and destroyed in Syria due to the Civil War that need to be reconstructed. The Patriarchate of Antioch, therefore, will take no different stance from the position taken by the Patriarchate of Moscow regarding the Ukrainian autocephaly issue.

The Church of Jerusalem has to face an unprecedented Russian penetration operation. Patriarch Theophilos has to tie up loose ends. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has to deal with the State of Israel for the management of the Patriarchate’s assets and with specific groups of Arabic-speaking believers who are mobilised behind the scenes by the church and secular officials against the leadership of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Patriarch Theophilos and the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre must also confront the provocative actions by Russia.

Metropolitans Dionysios of Corinth and Panteleimon of Maroneia in the Extraordinary Hierarchy described in the blackest terms the way in which Russian bishops, clergy and monks visit the Holy Land, on a pretext of pilgrimage visit, but in practice they are playing a provocative role. “The Patriarch of Jerusalem never said that he recognised Onufriy,” Metropolitan Dionysios of Corinth told the Hierarchy to show how great the pressure was, while painting a distressing picture of the provocative attitude of Russians to the Holy Land. “There are many Russian bishops and clergy who travel to Jerusalem and perform the Divine Liturgy without the permission of the Patriarch of Jerusalem,” said Metropolitan Dionysios. The situation created by the provocative actions by Russia in Jerusalem has forced the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to remain silent on the Ukrainian autocephaly issue.

Archbishop Anastasios of Albania was one of the Greek-speaking primates who gave rise to some strong — perhaps even negative — feelings with his article that criticised the granting of Tomos of Autocephaly to Metropolitan of Kiev. Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, who has to face a powerful pro-Russian movement within his Hierarchy, chooses to remain neutral.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, Metropolitan Sawa of Poland and Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov are fully allied to Patriarch John of Antioch in favour of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Certain bishops in Bulgaria have also supported the Russian side. This event has forced Patriarch Neophytus to remain silent in order to avoid internal problems.

The Patriarchate of Romania maintains a position which is equidistant. Patriarch Daniel is very cautious with his public speeches and so far has not made any comment on the Ukrainian autocephaly issue. However, he always reminds his interlocutors that the observance of the Sacred Canons and the respect of the ecclesiastical order guarantee the harmony within Orthodoxy.

The Patriarchate of Georgia has a very special relationship with Russia for many years. The Patriarchate of Moscow, following the situation in Ukraine, has stepped up pressure on the ageing Patriarch Ilia in order to win his support.

However, territorial disputes over the Georgia–Russia border and the claims of Moscow have created a climate of intense discomfort within the Patriarchate of Georgia.

So, as one can see, regardless of the canonical, theological and ecclesiastical strands, the geopolitical balance of inter-orthodox relations can lean on one side or the other.

121 comments:

  1. No Church should recognize the schismatic fascist creation in Ukraine (OCU). They are not canonical and consist of unrepentant schismatics. Constantinople invaded the territory of another autocephalous Church, and then proceeded to create a tragic situation. The so-called OCU has been seizing Churches from the canonical Church in Ukraine as they beat the clergy and parishioners (including women and elderly). Any Church recognizing this abomination will contribute to the expansion of a worldwide schism....and an internal schism within their own Church. I pray that the Church of Greece can reverse their apparent decision before they tear themselves to pieces.

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  2. "...So, as one can see, regardless of the canonical, theological and ecclesiastical strands, the geopolitical balance of inter-orthodox relations can lean on one side or the other..."

    Um,NO. Fact of the matter is that the OCU are unordained schematics. If +Bartholemew had appointed new bishops and then issued a tomos we would be in a completely different situation. MP is right on this one whether people like it or not.

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  3. Well this is a garbage article...anyone who doesn't bow down to the unprecedented power play made by EPB is a Russian spy and or completely incapable of independent action? Really? Thats incredibly insulting to the ancient churches. I'm so tired of Russia getting blamed for the fact that EPB was too egotistical to wait for serious concerns to be addressed before he had his "great and holy" Greek council. Russia specifically asked for an emergency meeting to solve the problems, and EPB declined.

    Meanwhile we're just going to conveniently ignore the political, financial, and militarily motivated pressure of the West (specifically the U.S State Department) to cause this schism in order to hurt and further isolate Russia?

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    1. I have it on good authority that the Ecumenical Patriarchate simply does not negotiate any more. The EP thinks of himself as Papal and acts like it which, I suppose, is what you do if you're trying to establish that kind of imprimatur.

      The right Faith to the wrong People, indeed. I could track down actual Klansmen less ethnically supremacist than Greeks.

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  4. There is definitely some dissent in the Greek Church over this business.

    https://orthochristian.com/124714.html

    And there continues to be disturbing reports of "ecumenical" activities by the OCU.

    http://orthochristian.com/124654.html

    I don't know what to think since it is not altogether clear what has actually happened. But the Holy Synod is meeting in Moscow on Thursday and I would expect that if we don't have clarity by then, that they will be asking some very pointed questions of the Greek Church. If the Greeks have entered communion with the OCU Moscow will likely break communion, and rightly so.

    The real question to my mind is, what will the Serbs do? They have been pretty clear that their continued communion with the EP was very tenuous. This might push them over the edge.

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    1. You know, if this we're all about EP vs MP then our jurisdictional problem would be solved in North America. It's not because the EP has insisted on primacy instead of dealing honestly and taking the last place especially in the Episcopal Assemblies. Dare I bring up Ligonier? Now we have novel claims of "...first without equals..." "...to be incommunion with the EP is to be Orthodox..." "...submit to the EP..." and other neo papal behaviors and claims. The latest is the EP THREATENING to revoke Autocephaly and granting a Tom is to unordained schismatics who concellebrate with heretics who follow a reported synchrotistic Arian Pope, never mind +Batholemew's claim of reuniting with said person. So yeah, the MP may behave badly but that does not put them outside the Chruch. The question is can you hold your nose and stay with the Church or allow personal feelings to get in the way and cleave to the EP which for al appearances seems to be hurtling into schism.

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    3. David, you are skirting the issue. Please address the central problem of unordained schismatics.

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  6. I don't know whether to laugh or weep. I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Circus.

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  7. Hey David,

    The only pressure and threats being exerted here...emanates from the EP. Not only has he declared himself "first without equal," he is claiming that he alone can grant and revoke autocephaly of other Churches. The Russian Church was left with no other choice but to break communion with C'pole after they invaded their canonical territory and created a schismatic anti-church. There are Russian Orthodox people who have been attending Churches in the jurisdiction of the EP. Now they must find a Church in which to commune. Hence, Russia will have to accommodate them with Churches in places such as Turkey and Greece.

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  9. Wrong David. The EP chose the nuclear option and stabbed the ROC in the back. They must care for the faithful by establishing canonical parishes...and I do not blame them. The schism will worsen. Don't expect communion to be restored any time soon. You are only parroting the usual propaganda of "the big bad Russians."

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  10. And you have just confirmed what I have long suspected. The EP has created a schismatic fascist "church" of unrepentant non-ordained rebels...and called it autocephalous. These schismatics are seizing Churches from the canonical Church as they beat clergy and elderly and women. The jurisdiction of the Russian Church was invaded and the EP continues to claim that it always belonged to C'pole and that it is first without equal and can grant and revoke autocephaly at will! There is only one Church causing division here, my friend. There is only one Church doling out threats. There is only one Church who demands all others recognize it's uncanonical power grab. And yet, somehow, you find a way to turn it all around, and place blame on the MP. Unbelievable! The EP has been causing division for 100 years. Go back and read about Metaxakis. Your false accusations and fake news are not convincing. Sheesh!

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    3. I am sorry but the MP (which has their own problems) is right on this one. When the EP entered communion with a schismatic sect, devoid even of holy orders and sacraments, it committed an act of flagrant schism. How could Moscow remain in communion with a church that recognizes such an entity and invades its canonical territory? I'm not blind to the MP's shortcomings. But on this score; they were and are right.

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  11. I do not agree, David. There is one to blame...the EP. He is the one who caused the schism. He divided the Holy Mountain, and he is about to divide the Church of Greece. No other autocephalous Church has recognized his schismatic OCU. He has ignited a ripple of division that is being felt throughout the Orthodox world. The ROC has not yet set up your so-called "parallel structures" in places like Turkey or Greece. But I pray that they establish Churches there. They must care for their flock. What is P. Bartholomew's motivation? It's hard to say. But in my opinion, I feel he wants to be the one who brings the Orthodox Church into union with Jorge Bergoglio. If that happens, all gray areas will be eliminated. We will have black and white...no more lukewarm. I am still praying for another St. Mark of Ephesus.

    May God have mercy on us all.

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  12. David,

    I appreciate your efforts in this thread. I think it may have been the earlier thread where you said that "ecclesiology is not theology" (paraphrasing), but this is not quite right and your dialogue with the amateur (canon) lawyers here ironically reflects this. In a legalistic and dialectical ecclesiology/theology, the bishops and faithful in the Ukraine who are in conflict with the MP (going back centuries) cannot be Orthodox because they (and Orthodoxy itself) are *categorically* defined. Examples:

    "schismatic fascist creation"
    "the OCU are unordained schematics."
    "schismatic anti-church."
    "a schismatic sect, devoid even of holy orders and sacraments"

    All this is utter nonsense. This dialectical/categorical thinking and 'theology' comes before any properly Orthodox judgement on the EP's & MP's actions around this issue. This thinking has everything to do with Kant, and nothing to do with the Holy Fathers and the Gospel.

    Unfortunately the MP's response to the Ukraine (again, going back centuries) has encouraged this kind of thinking, and it here that I find the MP's response the most disappointing, even though overall I could never agree with the EP's ecclesiology, interpretation of its place/role/function in the Church, in the modern world, etc.

    I would also note that this Imperial Church of the East has in fact simply been a collection of ethno-national churches since the fall of the Empire, as it was the Empire (most of the time functionally through the person of the Emperor), that was the "glue" of the East's Unam Sanctam. This was true even before the 19th century, even though the Ottoman oppression and Slavic isolation did a good job of covering this fact up. Modern travel, immigration, communication, history (e.g. the population exchange, political change in Slavic/middle eastern countries, etc.) has revealed how as the Anti-Gnostic likes to say, "ecclesia is downstream from culture". So, MP parishes in Greece is simply the future, short of a REAL ecumenical council...



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    2. You're getting into Formham-like territory Jake.
      "unordained schismatics."
      "schismatic anti-church."
      "a schismatic sect, devoid of holy orders and sacraments"
      Are all terms used repeatedly and thoroughly by many church fathers and saints,dating back to at least to the 4th century. Terms like this were repeatedly used by bishops of the Church of Alexandria at the time of the Meletian schism in the 4th century to define the schismatic Meletian group as schismatic and to distinguish it from the canonical Alexandrian church. Archbishop Anastasios discusses this in his letters to Patriarch Bartholomew. One can also draw a strong parallel between terms used towards uniates by Orthodox hierarchs over the centuries and modern polemical language against the Ukranian schismatic groups. Half of the history of the church is part of the church condemning the other part as schismatic and without valid holy orders. To claim that these terms were never used in the historical Christian church is incorrect. Otherwise I agree with you though Jake. But I dont feel like an imperium is necessarily needed for a properly functioning Orthodox church. Just look at the pre-Constantinian church, Jerusalem functioned as mother church, which I would not mind a return to.

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    3. That's the thing about the Fordhamites (!) is it not, the truth in their error is still the truth.

      Thing is, you and your fellow amateur lawyers are not the Holy Fathers. Your just modern dialectical thinkers who scratch the surface of what you read. For example, if you apply a literalist, legalistic, "originalist" emphasis/reading to the Holy Canon's, you end up...about where the EP is in his interpretation(s) and application(s). Another irony of this conflict...

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    4. I'm not claiming to be a canon lawyer nor do I think anyone else is Jake. I think you're projecting a bit. Everything I reference and claim is not my own musings and/or opinions, but just me rehashing what many bishops have said again and again about this issue. Ultimately, I have no right to discuss these things, and neither do you, as we are both laymen. But our bishops do, and they have spoken out specifically against this issue using terms like: "unordained schismatics."
      "schismatic anti-church."
      "a schismatic sect, devoid of holy orders and sacraments". I would also say that at times the MP takes an even more thorough look at the canons than the EP does, just look at the regular publications of the Moscow Theological Academy, and arrives at the opposite conclusion than the EP does.

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    5. "I would also say that at times the MP takes an even more thorough look at the canons than the EP does"

      Actually it is the EP taking a closer look because the letter of the law is on his side. The MP, (wisely) is taking a closer look at post-empire precedent...

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    6. I would disagree on the first point Jake. God Bless!

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  13. It is not nonsense Jake. It is all accurate...whether you choose to see it or not. By the way...they are schismatics...not schematics.

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    1. Is Jake channeling Solovyev (from 1895)?:

      "It is obvious that there are questions on which the Russian Church could and ought to negotiate with the Mother See, and if these questions are carefully avoided it is because it is a foregone conclusion that a clear formulation of them would only end in a formal schism. The jealous hatred of the Greeks for the Russians, to which the latter reply with a hostility mingled with contempt — that is the fact which governs the real relations of these two national Churches, in spite of their being officially in communion with one another. But even this official unity hangs upon a single hair, and all the diplomacy of the clergy of St. Petersburg and Constantinople is needed to prevent the snapping of this slender thread. The will to maintain this counterfeit unity is decidedly not inspired by Christian charity, but by the dread of a fatal disclosure; for on the day on which the Russian and Greek Churches formally break with one another the whole world will see that the Ecumenical Eastern Church is a mere fiction and that there exists in the East nothing but isolated national Churches. That is the real motive which impels our hierarchy to (p. 69) adopt an attitude of caution and moderation towards the Greeks, in other words, to avoid any kind of dealings with them. As for the Church of Constantinople, which in its arrogant provincialism assumes the title of “the Great Church” and 'the Œcumenical Church,' it would probably be glad to be rid of these Northern barbarians who are only a hindrance to its Pan-Hellenic aims. In recent times, the patriarchate of Constantinople has been twice on the point of anathematizing the Russian Church; only purely material considerations have prevented a split." (p. 70)

      Vladimir Solovyev, *Russia and the Universal Church,* trans. Herbert Rees (London, 1948: Geoffrey Bles), pp. 69-70.

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  14. “The Russian Church was left with no other choice but to break communion with C'pole after they invaded their canonical territory and created a schismatic anti-church. There are Russian Orthodox people who have been attending Churches in the jurisdiction of the EP.”

    Future extremists and sectarians take note of the logic: If your territory is violated by another local church due to a canonical dispute, then by necessity you *must* excommunicate all of its members. Subsequently, you *must* proceed to retaliate by doing the same thing that you complained about. Also, you *must* now look after your ethnically defined “people” even though they have been members of the other local church for years and so are no longer under your authority or care. Because after all, the legalistic understanding of the sacred canons leave you with no other choice..

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  15. Let me attempt to correct this for you Peter:

    Orthodox Christians take note: If you live in a country populated by Churches under the EP, and you are canonically attached to the ROC. You must find another Church because communion has been interrupted. Communion has been interrupted because the EP invaded the territory of the ROC and created a schismatic formation in Ukraine called the OCU. The OCU is made up of two groups that wandered in schism for 30 years but which were anti-canonically combined into one new group and granted a tomos of autocephaly by Constantinople. The schismatics are known for seizing Churches of the Canonical Church of Ukraine and beating their clergy and parishioners. May God be with you.

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    1. Peter,

      Mikail just summarized this mess quite accurately, and I would say that he did so in a diplomatic manner that was rather charitable to Constantinople.

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    2. Mikail just made Peter's point, with no sense of irony at all 😱

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    1. This question has alot to do with the importance of apostolic succession. For many years the Russian church considered the Uniates to be in schism in heresy, but still possessed apostolic succession, which is why, as Metropolitan Hierotheos Valachos pointed out, the Belarusian Uniates were recieved without vesting, and were only admitted after all the clergy, bishops, and paymen of the Uniate church signed documents of heartfelt repentance. The difference between the "OCU" and the unia is that the "OCU" possesses no apostolic succession whatsoever. Especially, I would say in the UOC-KP, as all the ordinations were performed by a former bishop who was anathemized and specifically recognized by the fullness of the church to have lost apostolic succession. So yes David, there are different "degrees" of schismatic, which is the whole point of discernment when it comes to economia. There are those who have apostolic succession and are temporarily separated from the church by force (like the uniates) and there are those who wholly lack apostolic succession and pridefully continue in their schism because of their own pride (like the UAOC and UOC KP). Plus, the OCU was not even recieved by vesting, so I'm not sure why you are making this point exactly. The OCU was recieved without any form of repentance whatsoever, and was only "received" through the signatures of the synod of the EP.

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    2. There is no precedent whatsoever for schismatics and/or heretics being recieved into the church without repentance. That is the core of all the arguments of the MP. All the other questions are secondary and do have historical precedent for economia. Recieving without repentance has no precedent whatsoever at any time in Orthodox history, as Archbishop Anastasios has pointed out. Plus, even if this "had precedent", would it matter? Just because something was done in the past in the church does it make it right? No. We are concerned with Christ, not historical precedent. Recieving schismatics without repentance flys in the face of very basic Orthodox teachings about confession and repentance.

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    3. The MP's forensic reasoning (which you are parroting) set's up its own conclusion...it's really just a species of "the Law" which Christ Himself continually "broke", and continues to break by his very Incarnation. St. Basil himself would establish communion on the thinnest of pretext's with those who were schismatic & heretical. Your regurgitating propaganda of the MP. The EP has his propaganda as well...

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    4. Would Christ say there is no need for repentance? Would Christ leave the prodigal son in the pig sty to wallow in his own filth? Would Christ deny the canons of the holy ecumenical councils? Would Christ deny the words of St. John? "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Or St. Paul? "Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned."

      Also, I really dont like the implication that I am a pharisee.

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    5. "Would Christ deny the canons of the holy ecumenical councils?"

      Absolutely, even to save just a single soul. Christ did this repeatedly and continues to do so in his Incarnation. After all, the canonical Sabbath is made for man, NOT.....

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    6. "Would Christ deny the canons of the holy ecumenical councils?"

      "Absolutely"

      Ok Jake imma head out this conversation is getting into a bad place.

      God Bless!

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    1. Submitting to the "tomos" is in no way a form of repentance David. I dont know how you do all this mental gymnastics in your head. For one thing, one main prerequisite for repentance from schism is repentance to the church you schismed from, interestingly enough. And for another, there was no stipulation whatsoever in the "tomos" that the schismatics are, or even need to repent from the schism they had already perpetrated. Repentance cannot be "de facto" or implicit david. That's like saying any unrepentant sinner has implicitly repented simply by virtue of attending church regularly. If what you were saying were true there would be no need for confession, as actual spoken repentance would not be needed for admission of the holy mysteries.

      And, may I remind you, in the case of Estonia it was not a group of unrepentant self-ordained schismatics who left the MP and joined the EP, but a group of canonical priests and hierarchs who wanted to transfer Jurisdiction from the MP to the EP.

      Our goal is not to get as many people into the church as possible by any means necessary David, but to save souls. To say they implicitly repented is undermining the very definition of repentance itself. In fact, the submission to the "tomos" was not the time when the EP considers the schismatics to have become canonical again. The EP has the view they because canonical again when they were recieved "in their hierarchical and priestly ranks" by the EP synod last October, months before the so-called "unity council".

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    2. "Submitting to the "tomos" is in no way a form of repentance David. I dont know how you do all this mental gymnastics in your head."

      He is not a legalistic simpleton. In other words, he can hold more than one aspect of reality in his head at the same time, even if they are contradictory, paradoxical, or even mysterious.

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    3. Are you insulting me, or David? I can't tell at this point anymore :P

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    4. I would posit that a requirement for repentance is not "legalistic" Jake. I would think it's a pretty baseline thing we would all agree on. One can follow this argument to its conclusion and say that all forms of admonishment and/or rules in the church are "legalistic", and everything is a free for all given the right circumstances. Relativism is not a very solid ground to argue on.

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    5. That's your problem Randy, your a dialectical thinker - you take a term, apply a dialectic, linearly, and come to a "conclusion". Christianity is not like this at all - in fact it is very anti-dialectic. The Gospel is everywhere paradoxical, mysterious, even contridictory. Why would death, even a suffering death (i.e. the Cross), be in any way way to Life and Salvation? How, in your limited and legalistic version of "repentance" would your enemy's be forgiven? Your enemies are your enemies - they (categorically - by definition) never ever "repent", on the contrary they kill you instead. Yet, strangely (and very non-dialectically - you don't get to convince your enemies of anything) Christ commands you to forgive your enemies.

      You would have the Church and Christianity made into the image of a little logic exercise, or perhaps a petty courtroom. It may be convenient and easy to "A + B = C" the Church, but this is not Christianity...

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    6. Forgiving an enemy and allowing him to persecute you (like the martyric UOC-MP is doing right now) is alot different then instating that enemy into a hierarchical and/or priestly rank. Christ's commandment to forgive our enemies does not mean forgetting about the doctrinal, ecclesiastical and dogmatic differences, plugging our ears and saying "everything is fine".

      And Jake, in order to have a conversation about how we should deal with certain problems in the church, we have to use some sort of logic and/or evidence to support our arguments. Such is the very foundation of any discussion on any topic. Paradox is an essential part of Orthodox theology yes, but just straight up rejecting church ecclesiology is not a "mystical paradox" as you put it, but simply the relativistic denial of the teaching of the church, and the fact that it has dogmas and doctrines that cannot be denied or changed.

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  18. "Nobody has said what exactly this repentance would look like beyond returning to the MP. THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE. What does the MP not understand about this?"

    He understands this perfectly well. So on the surface it appears he is breaking the de facto ethno-national ontology of the post-Empire Church of the East. Why? The *internal* ethno-national pressure/self-understanding/mythology is real (i.e. "Kievan-Rus Motherland"), but then the MP/Russian Church could not really be this shallow could they? No, and Met.Hilarion himself through his whole career has spoken against just this sort of shallowness.

    On the other hand, the MP is expressing the ethno-national ecclisology in opposing the EP's (re)assertion of his Imperial role while at the same time laying the groundwork for a worldwide multi-ethnic multi-jurisdictionalism everywhere, particularly in secular "democracies" where states will not interfere. Why would the MP go with an Estonia solution when the EP does not elsewhere (such as in western Europe/NA)?

    It looks like the gentleman's agreement to play nice in the ethno-nationalistic "multi-jurisdictionalism" game is rapidly falling apart...

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    1. " If the European political powers could do that in 1881 in Berlin, than the Church can do it too..."

      Not to disagree with preponderance of your post, but what you said reminds me of the how the EP cited the (very Wilsonian) "League of Nations" in the 1920 encyclical that is considered a (if not "the") founding document of the WCC. Whatever you think of that effort, you have to agree that it has petered out and is probably a dead end.

      I rather think that the mark of a real ecumenical council will not be a new version of the old "dividing up", but rather some new and unforeseen way of hierarchical oversight, one that "outruns" the power of the ethno impulse - as legitimate and organic as that impulse is...I could perhaps just be indulging in wistfulness ;)

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  20. Repentance is never impossible. Prideful refusal to repent due to your own nationalist sentiments is no excuse for not repenting. Just because you really hate Russia is no justification for schisming from the canonical church and setting up your own uncanonical church structure. The MP repeatedly voiced that they would receive the Ukrainian schismatics with open arms if they simply repented from their schism. Pride is no justification for not repenting and returning to the church. There is absolutely no conceivable justification for schism from the church, to say otherwise is to legitimize apostasy. "Not even the blood of martyrdom can wash away the sin on schism" -St. John Chrysostom. Why would Ukraine be any different?

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    1. Have you seen that old James Bond movie titled: "The Law is not Enough". Written by this obscure Paul figure, the protagonist is continually ^breaking^ the Law in order to ^fulfill^ it... ;)

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    2. Breaking the old covenant law, which Christ came to fulfill, is completely different than denying a basic tenet of the church. That repentance is needed for salvation and admittance to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. In fact, the canons of the Ecumenical councils are not something that Christ will "fulfill". Canons are a way of guiding the mind of the church, and are not a dogma. Breaking the canons is not a damnable offence, in fact we probably break at least one of the more obscure ones every day. But, this discussion transcends canons, and ultimately, at the heart of it the question being posed is: "is repentance necessary for salvation"? I would say yes. Denial of the the need for repentance as a means for salvation I believe is a denial of one of the basic tenants of the faith. Christ did not deny any dogmas, he denied the old law.
      This discussion really shouldn't involve you or me at all, as we are both just two weirdos arguing on the internet.

      A great article to read that I think would answer alot of your questions is this one by Priest Sergei Begiyan: http://orthochristian.com/118892.html

      Goodbye and God bless you! :)

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    3. This one as well: https://orthochristian.com/118755.html
      :)

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    4. "...this discussion transcends canons, and ultimately, at the heart of it the question being posed is: "is repentance necessary for salvation"?..."

      That is the legalistic trap you have followed the MP's propaganda into. The question (in Christianity) is tautological, but then the (legalistic/MP propaganda set up occurs). At some point a glimmer, a shadow, will be seen out of the corner of your dialectical prison. It won't fit in it, but it will be the trutht. Look for it!

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    5. So was Bulgaria wrong in what they did, Randy? The EP was angry, and Communion was broken for DECADES. They received their "Tomos" from the Sultan. Was that "canonical?"

      As I said before, the actual reality and history of these matters is complicated and not so cut and dry.

      There are no insults here. I think the discussion has been very civil.

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    6. The court would like you for being as condescending as is possible Jake, please stand for the applause.

      P.S. David, this discussion has been anything but civil. I'd really like to end it. Yes, Bulgaria was wrong. Archbishop Anastasios of Albania specifically identified the Bulgarian schism as a period of "long term departure of an entire nation from ecumenical Orthodoxy". Either way, in the end repentance was received from Bulgaria.

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    7. It's been civil Randy. Perhaps you confuse your discomfort at being challenged with a lack of civility, and the court is being challenged. I have not even begun to tell you what I really think of your monstrous legalism and "repentance", but then I don't have to because it has almost nothing to do with Christianity - only a superficial resemblance.

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    8. Tell me that again after you read this Jake: https://blog.obitel-minsk.com/2019/01/what-do-holy-fathers-say-about-schism-and-schismatics.html

      Great article, great people over at St. Elisabeth Convent. They know so much more than I ever could.

      God Bless you Jake! Thank you for talking with me, even if things got a little heated :)

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  21. https://blog.obitel-minsk.com/2019/01/what-do-holy-fathers-say-about-schism-and-schismatics.html

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    1. Randy, thank you for your words on this thread...they ring true. Keep taking the high road. Those who cannot defend the EP and his schismatic group, have resorted to insults. A sign of the times.

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    2. Thank you Mikail, I haven't been doing real well lately and this post made me feel a bit better :)

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  23. Mikhail, from the moment that you reside in the territory of a local bishop, you are canonically attached to him. Neither Patriarch Kyrill nor Metropolitan Hilarion have any right to interfere there by admonishing the “children of the Russian Church”. This is the ecclesiology of the Church.

    The Church of Greece is attempting to offer a pastoral solution that will enable a population the size of Greece to return to the Church. It is looking to resolve issues affecting it directly. After all, until now they were not even allowed to baptize the babies of Ukrainian schismatics that were living in Greece. These are people who are Orthodox in every way but who are separated from the Church for canonical and political reasons. Now where some see a schismatic or someone offering worship to satan, the Church in Greece sees the image of God, whom Christ died for and it was fundamentally this recognition that compelled it to act.

    Which reminds me, in ‘Not of this World’, the biography of Fr. Seraphim Rose written by Fr. Damascene, we read that ROCOR had received multiple priests that were suspended by the GOARCH “out of love” and because their “suspensions were unjust”. And this synod, which by the way is the only synod in the history of the Church to make the case that overlapping dioceses are canonical, continues to do this today across the world. No repentance is necessary on the part of those received. So while the scale in the case of the activities of ROCOR may not be the same as those of the EP in the Ukraine, ultimately the perspective on the application of economia is. So do we not mock God when we impose a double standard on others?

    I better stop here because otherwise my polylogia will have no end but let me finish with another question to you. Your friend Randy indicated in another thread that the non-Orthodox have grace and here tells us that they also have apostolic succession. Do you agree?

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    1. When did I say non-Orthodox have grace? I said that some economia was exercised with the ordinations of the hierarchs of the uniate churches of Belarus who had been separated from the church due to persecution, but repentance was still needed, something wholly lacking among the Ukranian schismatic groups.

      Also, when speaking of how the church should respond to schismatics, I would entreat you to read this article: https://blog.obitel-minsk.com/2019/01/what-do-holy-fathers-say-about-schism-and-schismatics.html
      "St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov): A mortal sin that an Orthodox Christian hasn’t healed with proper repentance subjects the sinner to eternal torture… Mortal sins for a Christian are heresy, schism, blasphemy, apostasy… each of these sins mortifies one’s soul and makes it unfit for eternal bliss until it purifies itself with repentance."

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  24. This is exactly what you said:

    “While in the case of the Greek-Catholics, grace flowed through them even in their time of unwilling captivity to the Latins...”

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    2. My bad, I admit I did write that some time ago. I was wrong there. I have since learned more about the situation and have changed my view. I shouldn't have stated that. Grace does not flow through the mysteries of schismatics. But, I would say that there is a fair bit of ambiguity when it comes to the Greek-Catholics of 17th-19th century Belarus and Transcarpathia as to their status as inside or outside the church, which is why so much economia was applied at the synod of Polotsk. My point remains the same though, as the modern Ukranian situation is far less ambigious. The schismatics in Ukraine are unrepentant. (unlike the uniates who were reunited to the church by repentance).

      Sorry, I can hardly keep track of all the silly stuff I write on here.

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  25. Amazing read, would reccomend to everyone: https://spzh.news/ru/socseti/65703-dogmat-o-cerkvi-pozvolit-vernutysya-k-kanonicheskomu-ustrojstvu-jedinoj-cerkvi

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  26. You wrote that literally only a month ago. With all due respect, if you don’t understand fundamental aspects of our faith, maybe you shouldn’t be lecturing others on ecclesiology?

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    1. The algorithm's of the MP propaganda bots are updated daily...😱

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    2. I changed my opinion on an obscure historical situation involving 18th Belarusian Greek-Catholics and because of that I don't understand the fundamental aspects of my faith? What gives you the spiritual prowess to make these condemnations and judgements against me? Can I not change my opinion on something without getting berated?

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    3. Of course your right. Your inhuman legalism does not deserve and inhuman turn. I stand corrected, and I apologize.

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    4. God bless you Jake. I am the worst sinner and you are better than I could ever be. Forgive if I have offended you in any way. You are truly better than I could ever be, for I am a wretched sinner.

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  27. I need to say something about this church seizures and beatings business since Mikail fell back on that in his reply to me. When Ukrainian courts handle a parish dispute concerning which synod the parish will belong to, they side with the majority. So when a judge grants control of a parish to the majority of parishioners who do not wish to belong to the MP, the pro-Moscow press will present this as a “church seizure”. On the other hand, when a non-MP parish is taken away from parishioners in say Crimea, these same news sources will not touch the story. Furthermore, the beatings are hardly one sided as the members of the MP are capable of bringing in “athletes” to handle disputes and they have even reportedly resorted to arson. Again, the pro-Moscow press tells the story the way it wants to, ignoring the pro-MP thugs, the arsons, etc. This is how impressionable audiences are manipulated.

    The sites Orthochristian (called pravoslavie.ru until a couple of years ago) and spzh.news.ru (formed in response to the granting of the Tomos) comprise the bulk of the reporting on the Ukraine situation in English and are the daily reading of legalists who take everything they read there as gospel. This reporting has been shown to be dishonest, deceptive and lacking objectivity. Even the tone of the Ukraine reporting often lacks a Christian ethos.

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    1. "The sites Orthochristian (called pravoslavie.ru until a couple of years ago) and spzh.news.ru (formed in response to the granting of the Tomos) comprise the bulk of the reporting on the Ukraine situation in English and are the daily reading of legalists who take everything they read there as gospel. This reporting has been shown to be dishonest, deceptive and lacking objectivity. Even the tone of the Ukraine reporting often lacks a Christian ethos..."

      American's (assuming he is) such as Randy are strangely compliant and uncritical towards propaganda. Well, not so strangely, they live a consumerist culture where the "benign" advertising man shapes their whole life. As he explicitly admits, he "learns" from them. Combine that with a deformed legalistic 'nous' around Christianity...this is unfortunately is in part the legacy of the schoolbook/manual period in the ROC.

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  28. Nice try Peter. The schismatics will bring in large masses of non-parishioners to vote for switching a Church...otherwise, they cut locks and beat the true parishioners. I love how you and your fellow phanariots on this blog keep using words like, legalist, extremist, and sectarian, to attack those who do not agree with you. Do you attend Fordham?

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  29. We use these terms because their are valid descriptions of unChristian behavior. Don’t try to bring Fordham into this because you can’t deal with the inconsistencies in your position. You complain now about the term sectarian and in the same breath call those who have a different view point phanariots?

    Now please answer my earlier question: do you agree with the statements of your friend Randy that the non-orthodox have grace and apostolic succession?

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  30. Randy already spoke for himself...and this is my last post to you because of your increasing lack of charity.

    It is a common tactic to throw around the sectarian/extremist/fundamentalist lingo when you do not have a valid argument. That is why I asked if you were affiliated with Fordham. They are really good at that. However, I will end by saying this. I am not going to change your mind on anything...just as you will not change mine. If you are in agreement with the EP being "first without equals" and if you are at peace with what they have done in Ukraine, that is your prerogative. I believe that C'pole's end game is union with Rome. If that happens, then you are free to follow them there. Or perhaps you are already Roman/Greek Catholic? Whatever your situation, I wish you well.

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  31. "...Whatever your situation, I wish you well..."

    I don't believe you. You, Randy, and others have not displayed much *humanity* at all, only a cold and hard legalism. You know, you have to be *human* before you can be Christian. That's the seduction of the law, it can lead you to condemning 6 million Orthodox in the Ukraine as you spit out your little theologies of canonicity, schism, and Hell. A simple and naive relationship to the law can make be the occasion of you losing your humanity...then what are you?

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    1. Oh great, now we are not even human to you because we have a different view on ecclesiology than the EP. Cool, I really appreciate you being so civil Jake. Read this and come back to me again and tell me how the church fathers aren't human either: https://blog.obitel-minsk.com/2019/01/what-do-holy-fathers-say-about-schism-and-schismatics.html

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    2. I have a different view than the EP, but it's a human view. No I don't bother with propaganda, and neither should you.

      In one sense your right, we are not of the same City. Look up the etymology of civil...you will have to put down the propaganda for a few minutes.

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    3. It's not propaganda Jake. It's what my bishops believe. Your slander against the MP and the words of the saints is not a good route to take. And your accusation that I am not even human in your eyes is particularly disheartening for me.
      https://blog.obitel-minsk.com/2019/01/what-do-holy-fathers-say-about-schism-and-schismatics.html
      Still haven't read this yet, huh?

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    4. God bless and keep you, Randy.

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    5. "Your slander against the MP and the words of the saints..." Your slander and condemnation against the EP and millions of faithful Orthodox Christians in the Ukraine and elsewhere is an inhuman road to take.

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    6. God bless you Jake. I am the worst sinner and you are better than I could ever be. Forgive if I have offended you in any way. You are truly better than I could ever be, for I am a wretched sinner.

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  32. And you are a prime example on this blog, Jake, of someone who lacks charity and has not displayed much "humanity." It is embarrassing.
    Since you are so fond of throwing around the word "legalism" as a weapon against those who do not agree with your flavor of "theology", I will leave you with the words of a Greek Bishop who is an expert in canon law (I of course, am not). This will also be my last response to you, and whether you believe it or not, I wish you well too!

    “the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate made a peremptory and an ultimate decision to reinstate the former clergy, who are now even lay people, in the priestly rank without proper jurisdiction and canonical competence, since they had been earlier deprived of the holy dignity by the perfect patriarchal council of the Russian Church…
    …the decrees of the Constantinople Patriarchate are INVALID for they were adopted by the body that has no canonical competence thereon and will remain INVALID forever, no matter how many years pass, since only the de jure principle rather than the de facto one applies in the Church of Christ…
    …given the legal and canonical grounds, it follows that the so-called ‘Unification Council’ is also INVALID, because people who did not have the holy dignity participated in it, therefore the granting of autocephalous status to the canonically non-existent ‘church’ structure is INVALID as well…
    …I have never supported His Beatitude’s proposal to recognize autocephaly in this invalid and canonically non-existent ‘church’ created in Ukraine. It was documented that I resolutely expressed my opinion and said that we are invited to recognize invalid ecclesiastic acts being detrimental to the unity of the Church. I also warned of possible tragic implications that can be foreseen immediately…
    …Consequently, these people [OCU] are not only unholy, they are heretical and lacking the fear of God. Therefore, to ask the autocephalous Orthodox Churches to recognize them is at least outrageous.”

    Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, (known as a specialist in the Church’s canon law)

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    1. I like how you shout "INVALID" without any sense of irony about the use and abuse of that term in ecclisastical history.

      SSSSHHHHHHHH.....BBBBOOOOOOOMMM! Mikail drops another legalistic logic bomb on the Ukrainians from 30,000 feet! How many did you condemn to Hell on that run Mikail? What's the motto painted the side of your Enola Gay Mikail? Something along the lines of "Repent or go to Hell you unholy SCCcissmattiiiicccsssssss'sssssessss...."?

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    2. God bless you Jake. I am the worst sinner and you are better than I could ever be. Forgive if I have offended you in any way. You are truly better than I could ever be, for I am a wretched sinner.

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    4. LOL! I did not shout INVALID. That was from the Church canon expert Metropolitan Seraphim. I suppose Jake's beef is with him, and the other Bishops and clergy from the Church of Greece who will not recognize the schismatics...and all the other autocephalous Churches who will not recognize them. No wait...I know...they are all legalists!!! Ha!

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  33. SCCcissmattiiiicccsssssss'sssssessss.....Gollum-Gollum-Gollum...caaannonn exxperrtiissse...Gollum-Gollum-Gollum....myyyy prreccioussss'sss

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    1. God bless you Jake. I am the worst sinner and you are better than I could ever be. Forgive if I have offended you in any way. You are truly better than I could ever be, for I am a wretched sinner.

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  34. Piety (Russian or any other kind) is no substitute for Charity & Truth Randy...heck it's not even a substitute for humanism - you first have to be human if you want to be Christian.

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    1. You have given me and Mikail no charity whatsoever Jake. You have continually mocked us and declared we are inhuman sycophants for not having the same view as you do on the Ukranian issue. Truly even the schismatics are greater and more holy than I could ever be, which I why I desire more than anything for their salvation. Not through false means, but through the salvific repentance our Lord commands us to engage in. If you truly desired their salvation, then you would yearn with all your heart for their repentance and return to canonical union with the fullness of the church.
      St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov): "A mortal sin that an Orthodox Christian hasn’t healed with proper repentance subjects the sinner to eternal torture… Mortal sins for a Christian are heresy, schism, blasphemy, apostasy… each of these sins mortifies one’s soul and makes it unfit for eternal bliss until it purifies itself with repentance."
      You are correct that I am an inhuman wretch Jake. But Mikail is no such thing. Accuse me all you want, as a sinner like me deserves all the insults that come to him, but not Mikail, he does not deserve such things, and especially not our venerable right-believing bishops.

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    2. You are mistaken, Randy. I am the worst of sinners. I am constantly going to confession, and yet my repentance is incomplete and my progress is at a snail's pace. Let us both work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

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  35. I'm sorry dear Father I get heated in discussions like this. Forgive me for being such a divisive and argumentative thing. If anyone is at fault here it is me. God bless you for the work that you do Father. This blog is a great source of news from around the Orthodox world.

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  36. Well cry me a river Randy & Mikail. You post (and post, and post) endless links to MP propaganda and anti-Church legalistic and monstrous propaganda, get a little push back, and then complain about "civility"?!? If this is truly your faith, then perhaps you should be prepared to suffer a little for it...if comment box disagreement can be said to be a suffering ;0)

    By the way, your piety (i.e. "Mikail, *I* am chief of sinners" "No no Randy, *I* am chief of sinners") does not justify or cover the inhumanity of your philosophy...

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    1. If the words of the saints are MP are MP propaganda Jake I guess I'm an MP propagandist.

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  37. By the way Randy...have you seen the latest news. There are many patristic-minded Greek bishops who are speaking out against the outrageous pseodo-decision from the Church of Greece. If/when the Archbishop of Greece commemorates the schismatics tomorrow...these courageous bishops will defend the Orthodox faith.

    Glory be to God!

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  38. Mikail, so your parting words to me were to call me a Catholic? Where is Christ in that?

    You pronounce those that disagree with you to be not Orthodox and yet when asked a simple question so that we may know that you respect Orthodox teaching, twice you refused to answer. Where is the honour in that? You’re so busy smearing and reducing millions of uncanonical Orthodox Christians to a group of thugs that you couldn’t be bothered to combat the heresy right front you in the form of your friend’s denial of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    You promote division among Orthodox Christians, which is what prompted our exchange, so listen well to what Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus has to say about that: “In conclusion, I declared that this administrative issue [Ukraine] to not concern the faith and so I will not undertake any individual move that would rupture the unity of of the body of the hierarchy of the Church of Greece as I would do if there were an issue of ecumenistic intercommunion according to the 15th canon of the Holy Council of 861, because that would constitute a foolish action.”

    The pious Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia, another one of the seven Greek bishops who recently voted to postpone the decision to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, penned almost exactly a year ago what I still find to be one the best comments on the issue. As was expected, the site orthochristian, would not touch it since it noted that all parties involved were not behaving in a Christian way. Objectivity is not permitted by those who seek to shape the minds of future amateur internet canonists and historians.

    To push back against schism inducing legalism is righteous and proper and the ploy that this makes us heretics and Fordhamites is misguided and outrageous.

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  39. I said I would no longer respond to your insults and provocations. But I will make one last response to you for the sake of clarity. I did not claim you are Catholic. I do not know you...I said perhaps you are? Secondly, I am not saying that those who disagree with me are not Orthodox. I am saying that the OCU are a group of schismatic non-ordained Church seizing parishioner beating thugs. I will not respond to you further.
    Good day!

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    1. "... I am not saying that those who disagree with me are not Orthodox. I am saying that the OCU are a group of schismatic non-ordained Church seizing parishioner beating thugs..."

      Not not Orthodox he says. The MP propaganda algorithms must have received an update last night.

      I wonder what the MP will reap down the line from the sowing of it's Soviet style propaganda war. Will the legacy of their hard of heart legalism limit their voice in any future council? The ROC history with the Old Belivers suggest that they are all but incapable of rapprochement and "economia" within their own boundaries, let alone with other Churches. Could it be that EP's ecclesiological novelties will look moderate and even "necessary" in the face of ROC arrogance and failure(s) in any future council?

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    2. Just give it up Jake it's been 2 days.

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    3. Don't waste your time, Randy. He's a troll.

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  40. Poor Mikail on another blog:

    “The coward and schismatic Ieronymos, has just commemorated the false hierarch Dumenko. Let the fireworks begin. Now Bartholomew will travel to Athos and continue his dissection of the Holy Mountain.”

    He considers it an insulting provocation to have his unChristian comments on here challenged but it’s ok for him to hurl online insults at an ever increasing list of hierarchs while thinking he’s doing the Lord’s work.

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  41. Great article: https://orthodoxie.com/reflexions-de-leveque-irenee-de-backa-eglise-orthodoxe-serbe-au-sujet-de-la-reconnaissance-eventuelle-de-lautocephalie-ukrainienne-par-leglise-orthodoxe-de-grece/

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  42. Dear brothers and sisters,

    Let us not engage in sarcasm, backbiting or other ugly behaviors. The times are already difficult as it is. In time this will all pass.

    I will say that HAH's visit to the Holy Mountain has already brought great joy, in the announcement of the glorification of 4 great Elders of the Holy Mountain, among them Elder Joseph the Hesychast. Glory to God for all things!

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  43. How sad that Ieronymos has joined the schism and become a schismatic himself. May the majority of holy fathers on Mount Athos resist this sad chapter in the Orthodox Church

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  44. Randy and Mikail still doing the MP's propaganda work I see. Whose on first this morning? Mikail, are you chief of sinners right now?

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  45. This is a great article too:
    https://katanixi.gr/2019/10/21/%cf%80%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%b1%cf%80%ce%bb%ce%b7%cf%81%ce%bf%cf%86%cf%8c%cf%81%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%b7-%ce%b3%ce%b9%ce%b1-%cf%84%ce%b7%ce%bd-%ce%b5%cf%80%ce%af%cf%83%ce%ba%ce%b5%cf%88%ce%b7-%cf%84%ce%bf%cf%85/

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  46. Randy, is it not the oddest thing? Here we have a layman by the name of Serhii Petrovych Dumenko who thinks he is the new Metropolitan of a newly created "Church" in Ukraine. He plays dress-up and is supported and applauded by Constantinople. You can't make this stuff up! We live in strange times!

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    1. Not as odd as an MP canon lawyer/propaganda bot 🤯

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  47. Troll, troll, troll your boat, gently down the stream. 😁

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