Monday, June 13, 2016

EP doubles down on "binding" nature of Crete if you go or not

Question: Can changes be made?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Is what happens here binding even for people who don't come?
Answer: Yes.

My question: So, if everyone already agreed to things, and those things can be changed, what have they really agreed to? How far afield of the agreed points can one go and still claim whatever comes out in the end to be binding? Can you both speak to how open things are for discussion and then in the same breath say how everyone has already agreed to all of this so that they are locked into obeying the "great but not pan-Orthodox" Council?


  1. Whence comes this delusion on the part of the EP? Claims that this council is ecumenical are farcical at this point. I am starting to seriously lose respect for the EP because of this bizarre insistence that this council can somehow be "binding" on anybody prior to it even happening. I'm not saying that he is Pope Michael of Delia, KS-level of crazy, but I am half expecting that one of the "changes" that Archdeacon John is talking about is some sort of decree to the effect of "If anyone says that the Ecumenical Patriarch has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church ... and this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and both over all and each of the pastors and faithful, let him be anathama."

  2. The complaints have primarily been focused on the already approved draft documents. Fair enough, but what's the big deal as long as those documents can be changed, and as long as no document can be approved without unanimity among the local churches? Is there reasonable cause to believe the voting would be rigged, or that changes will not in fact be allowed? If not, what's the big deal? Is all this sturm und drang really about draft documents that would be discussed and voted on at the Council? Affirm the docs that are acceptable, negate the docs that are not acceptable and provide suggestions for them to be improved at the next Council.

  3. Han (above) hath spoken well. And apprised the situation accurately, I think.

    Bart of Istanbul is 76 years old. So perhaps instead writing him off as a complete kook, we should exercise charitable restraint and just chalk his behavior up to senility.

  4. St. John of Shang Hai and San Francisco:

    In sum, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in theory embracing almost the whole universe and in fact extending its authority only over several dioceses, and in other places having only a higher superficial supervision and receiving certain revenues for this, persecuted by the government at home and not supported by any governmental authority abroad: having lost its significance as a pillar of truth and having itself become a source of division, and at the same time being possessed by an exorbitant love of power—represents a pitiful spectacle which recalls the worst periods in the history of the See of Constantinople.

    From Orthodox Word, vol. 8, no. 4 (45), July-August 1972, pp. 166-168, 174-175.

    1. St. Justin Popovich:

      In view of all this, an evangelically sensitive conscience cannot help but ask the burning question: what is the real end of a council summoned in such haste and in such a highhanded manner?

      Most Reverend Bishops, I cannot free myself from the impression and conviction that all this points to the secret desire of certain known persons of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: that the first in honour of Orthodox Patriarchates force its ideas and procedures on all the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and in general upon the Orthodox world and the Orthodox diaspora, and sanction such a neo-papist intention by an "ecumenical council." For this reason, among the ten topics selected for the council there have been inserted, indeed are the first, just those topics that reveal the intention of Constantinople to submit to herself the entire Orthodox diaspora - and that means the entire world!

      ...I bow in reverence before the age-old achievements of the Great Church of Constantinople, and before her present cross which is neither small nor easy, which, according to the nature of things, is the cross of the entire Church - for, as the Apostle says, "When one member suffers, the whole body suffers." Moreover, I acknowledge the canonical rank and first place in honour of Constantinople among the local Orthodox Churches, which are equal in honour and rights. But it would not be in keeping with the Gospel if Constantinople, on account of the difficulties in which she now finds herself, were allowed to bring the whole of Orthodoxy to the brink of the abyss, as once occurred at the pseudo-council of Florence, or to canonize and dogmatize particular historical forms which, at a given moment, might transform themselves from wings into heavy chains, binding the Church and her transfiguring presence in the world. Let us be frank: the conduct of the representatives of Constantinople in the last decades has been characterized by the same unhealthy restlessness, by the same spiritually ill condition as that which brought the Church to the betrayal and disgrace of Florence in the 15th Century. (Nor was the conduct of the same Church under the Turkish yoke an example of all times. Both the Florentine and the Turkish yokes were dangerous for Orthodoxy.) With the difference that today the situation is even more ominous: formerly Constantinople was a living organism with millions of faithful - she was able to overcome without delay the crisis brought about by external courses as well as the temptation to sacrifice the faith and the Kingdom of God for the goods of this world. Today, however, she has only metropolitans without faithful, bishops who have no one to lead (i.e. without dioceses), who nonetheless wish to control the destinies of the entire Church.

  5. Time for the EP to be dissolved.

  6. To answer 123's question about why not just go and vote against something you don't agree on, I'm not sure EP understands consensus the way you are. If you read his keynote address at the synaxis of primates earlier this year it would seem that in his mind no one delegation has an indisputable veto power. I would quote the text but I seem to be unable to copy and paste from the site. It would seem though that they neither think the absence of any delegation would veto any document nor do they think any delegation's refusing to approve any document would ultimatel lead to it being tabled. Rather, they seem to define consensus as limited to those present to give assent and envision scenarios wherein a dissenting delegation, being unable to convince the others of their position, would have to sign the document all the same with only a record being made of their contentions.

    The passage in question is found nearer to the end of this document:

    Further, if the claims of the Georgian church are correct, it is not safe to assume the process of challenging and editing a text will be as easy as the good Archdeacon makes it sound since they say they were sort of stone walled by Met John Zizioulas.

    See here: