Saturday, January 11, 2020

EP issues response to Jerusalem's "fraternal gathering" idea

CONSTANTINOPLE (TNH) – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, January 5, at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George, said in his homily, that “the invitation from Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem “to preserve unity in Eucharistic communion” must be actually sent to the Patriarch of Moscow and not to all Orthodox Churches.”

Representatives from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, led by Metropolitan Makarios of Lviv, also participated in the Divine Liturgy on the first anniversary of the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly for the Church of Ukraine. The Ecumenical Patriarch added that the “non-canonical” initiative of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, “left a deep impression” on them.

His All Holiness, addressing the delegation from Ukraine, said, “we are delighted to welcome you to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to celebrate all together the first anniversary of the granting of the Tomos of the Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

In addition, he expressed satisfaction that things were working properly and he said that he was optimistic about the future of the new Church, and noted that, “the Ecumenical Throne has canonically the sacred responsibility for the unity and stability of Orthodox Churches and that is why it never remained idle. Every time an Orthodox Church was seeking a solution long-standing ecclesiastical problems, it requested support from the Ecumenical Throne.”

He also said that “we consider it completely unacceptable that some accuse the Ecumenical Patriarchate of exercising power and of being manipulated by secular rulers. They are not ashamed of accusing the Mother Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch of being bribed. They measure their corn by their own bushel.A common variant on "Non alios suo modulo metiri. (Do not judge others by your own measures.)" - it not being fair to make up your own measurements on behavior and then hold others to it.
The Ecumenical Patriarch congratulated Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and also the Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria for standing by the Mother Church by including the name of Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine in the Diptychs. “On the other hand,” he said, “the non-canonical initiative of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem left a deep impression on us. He invited all Heads of Orthodox Churches to a meeting in Amman of Jordan in order to ‘preserve unity in Eucharistic communion’, as he said…Everybody knows [however] that the Patriarchate of Antioch is not in communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem because of the issue of jurisdiction over Qatar. It is also known that the Church of Russia severed full communion with three heads of Orthodox Churches, who are in communion with the Church of Ukraine. So, the invitation to us from the Patriarch of Jerusalem for a meeting in order to ‘preserve unity in Eucharistic communion’ must be actually sent to the Patriarch of Moscow and not to all Orthodox Churches,” he concluded.

Metropolitan Makarios of Lviv in his homily said among other things that “for many centuries we have been waiting for that day, that is January 5, 2019! God did not respond immediately to our prayers, but he ultimately responded in the best way! A Great and wise Patriarch was born, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who heard the sorrow in our souls, listened to the problem we had, and solved it by granting us Autocephaly.” He also referred to the work of the Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine, whom he assured that he has been supporting, adding that, “2019 was a very difficult year for us. We have heard many lies about our Church. We heard that the Mother Church of Constantinople has been exerting control over us, but in reality, it was the Mother Church that granted autocephaly to us! Instead, those who claim that they were free and independent, they are actually submissive to foreign orders. However, our response to lies and calumnies is the ‘Truth and Love’! Thank you very much! And we will be always grateful to the Mother Church of Constantinople. This is what we will be teaching to our children. To the children of our children. And to the next generations. They are our future.


  1. So much for conciliarity, which is beginning to correlate with sightings of Big Foot ;) While I appreciate the EP's forthright and correct assessment that the MP is making (the canonical) argument up as he goes along, the reverse is also true in that the precedent of the last 1300 years is that the EP's "strong" judgement as to the meaning of its role (primacy) in the post-Empire worlds (of which the modern situation is just one) is simply accepted and de jure.

    I am sure there will be many Big Foot sightings to come...

    1. Rome's primacy (itself a nebulous concept) was recognized canonically. Then Rome disappeared. "Constantinople" was listed next in the diptychs, for whatever that was worth, but then the Greco-Roman world collapsed. Eventually I expect the Turkish government will just tell the Phanar who's going to be Patriarch and I think then the See should just be declared vacant, or extinct. So Moscow has as much an operational claim to the status of "Third Rome" as anybody. Of course, she shouldn't because we're all simply in undiscovered coutry at this point. What we do know is that we're not going to have a Pope (in the Catholic sense) and we're not going to be congregationalists, as both such ecclesial forms are heterodox.

    2. The Powers have shown that they can sift through the Ancient Canons to find justification for their favored positions. Coming together to deal with the situation in which the Church actually finds itself, as the Fathers did when they formulated the canons, seems to be beyond them.

  2. EPB is really going to sit there and act like Constantinkple isnt the new kid on the block compared to Jerusalem which called the first council in church history, and add insult to injury by making up the ridiculous idea that only Constantinople can call a meeting.

    Nothing happens quickly in the Orthodox Church, good or bad, but I'm starting to wish EPB would just hurry up and join Rome so we can get this farce over with.

    As it is this schism and major split along ethnic lines will probably continue for the rest of my life. Just thankful that some of my favorite Greek monasteries and clergy have openly declared they won't go along with this, which is probably why the church of Greece hasnt actually done anything in an official capacity.

    Thankfully we can live out an Orthodox life regardless of how isolated bishops in far off lands act, but more's the pity when they're acting shamefully.

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  4. Such disgraceful and arrogant comments coming from usual. Very sad and disturbing.

  5. Here's a full translation of the letter Patriarch Bartholomew sent in response to Patriarch Theophilos: