Friday, November 2, 2018

Abp. Job of Telmessos: Onomastician

Further: 'Archbishop Job thinks the new Church will be called “Orthodox Church in Ukraine." Not the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, because the church is the only one ... It belongs to Christ, and not to a nation or a state,” he says. “In Greek, the names of the churches sound like: Orthodox Church in Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria. The Slavic names - Bulgarian, Serbian or Russian Orthodox Church - are used incorrectly and indicate ethnophyletism, that is, religious nationalism, explains Archbishop Job.'

(RISU) - Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Doctor of Theology and representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches, who has been long and deeply involved in Ukrainian matters, told this in a BBC interview.

Archbishop Job emphasizes: since October 11 this year, not only bishops who belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church are the clergymen of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but also representatives of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate) in Ukraine.

“Through the abolition of the Synodal Act of 1686 on the transfer of the Kyiv Metropolia - that is, in fact, the territory of Ukraine - under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church, the administration of the Moscow Church over the Kyiv Metropolis and all dioceses in Ukraine was abolished,” said the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

From a canonical point of view, this means that today in Ukraine, the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate) no longer exists. All the bishops in Ukraine nowadays are de facto, according to this decision of the Synod, hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, and now they have to wait for the Ecumenical Patriarchate's directive on their further actions and existence in the prospective provision of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” says Archbishop Job.

In practice, this means that all the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Churches, no matter whether they previously belonged to the canonical church or non-canonicals churches, now they have an equal status in the eyes of Constantinople – that of the hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne.

And, accordingly, they have equal rights to participate in the Council which will be convened by the Ecumenical Patriarch through the agency of his exarchs in Ukraine.

According to him, the Ecumenical Patriarch will call this council when he believes that “time has come”.

Archbishop Job takes skeptically the statements saying that only those bishops of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate will attend the unification council who had filed a request to Constantinople for the provision of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. While the priests and laymen who want to remain in unity with the Russian Church, will be given this opportunity.

“If it is the case, as someone claims that those opposing Ukrainian autocephaly will have a chance to remain as a Russian exarchate, it should be understood this is non-canonical, as, according to the Church canons, there should be only one Orthodox Church on the territory of one state, and this autocephalous Orthodox Church must embrace all,” he says.

When asked what will happen to the Orthodox hierarchs - first and foremost, of the Moscow Patriarchate - who will not participate in the unifying council and remain outside the new Church, the archbishop replied, “All this is a process. There is a Greek saying: time is the best healer. It must be understood that the goal is to cure the split that has persisted in Ukraine for the last thirty years ... We are now undergoing the treatment process. The goal is the unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. I think only God knows how long it may take.” ἐπὶ δηλήσει δὲ καὶ ἀδικίῃ εἴρξειν - comes to mind as well.


  1. You left out the part where he threatens to revoke Moscow's autocephaly. It's in the original BBC interview. He basically states that the EP has the right to revoke any church's autocephaly if that autocephaly was not ratified at an ecumenical council.

  2. "BBC: If you develop this idea, then theoretically, can the current situation lead to the Ecumenical Patriarch simply removing the patriarchal dignity from the Moscow church or even abolishing the ROC?

    A.J.: Of course, this is not all done in a day, and we hope that the way the Orthodox Church in Russia behaves at the moment is only temporary, and this, one can say, is a reflex reaction of a certain indignation, which she is experiencing.

    We hope that she will turn to reason and return to unity with the Ecumenical Throne, because the Ecumenical Throne does not want to break off relations with the Orthodox Church in Russia.

    But if such a situation persists for a long time, then of course, the Universal Throne, as the First throne of Universal Orthodoxy, will be forced to take certain measures. To resort to certain decisions to ensure the unity of the church. "

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  4. I'm not trolling but am sincerely asking, what concretely has the Moscow Patriarchate done to reconcile the two breakaway communities in Ukraine? The schism is now 30 years old and the estrangement has been compounded by Putin's invasion of Crimea. What do folks imagine a reconciliation between the various groups and Ukraine and the MP would look like?

    1. Fr, respectfully, Putin did not "invade" Crimea. The people there overwhelmingly voted to join the Russian Federation.

      Kind of like Texas voted to join the U.S.

    2. Fr Gregory,
      the subject of this thread are the ecclesiological claims of Abp Job. In conjunction with the expressions of the EP himself, and from the his patriarchate it seems
      all Orthodox Churches are extensions of the mother church of C-ple.,
      no canonical precedent that is not 1300 years old (Nicea II) binds the EP
      the EP and his synod seem able to unilaterally redefine the canonical texts old enough to bind him.

      That’s just the quickest summary I could make. These seem astounding, and the auotcephaly thus obtained will be at the cost of devaluing autocephaly across the board, and redefining the nature of the Church, of Primacy, of canonicity.

      No one has to carry water for all of Moscow's policies and policy shifts in order to find this troubling, to say the least.

      I personally favor that autocephaly be given (conciliarly) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to the UOC that until this year we all conciliarly acknowledged as *the* UOC, and inviting those outside that body to come in on as generous terms as canonically possible, and that Met Onuphry enter the diptychs as Patriarch Onuphry, after Bulgaria; and I think it might be a good idea then for the next Patriarch after that to be of Minsk and Belarus; so my own position is not entirely Moscow’s.

      However it is simply not true that Moscow has done nothing concretely. Moscow provided an extremely broad autonomy to the UOC before even Filaret’s schism. Moscow at one point extended an olive branch to remove all canonical penalties and re-instate Filaret in some form if he came back. And just last year, upon the receipt of a letter to the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church by Filaret closing with a somewhat formulaic and generic request for forgiveness, ( the whole Bishop’s Council (which can not be over ridden by the Pat. alone), responded generously (, and chose to see it as a step to overcoming the schism and voted to established a dialogue. Also, Pat Kyrill has personally avoided blessing or celebrating the union of Crimea with the RF, and the MP has left the mitropolia of Crimea in the UOC despite protests from Russian nationalists.

      It should also be noted that the throughout the period in question there have been constant hints that C-ple was willing to intervene at some point, reports of the “irregular” hierarch’s negotiations with C-ple, and said “irregular” hierarchs comments on the same, appearing openly in the Ukrainian press. It is disingenuous to assert that C-ple has been hands off for 28 years while Moscow failed with out any outside interference.

      But if we give a highly critical analysis to Moscow’s policy, which me be valid, the cure should not be worse than the disease. That is the question.

      Also, George M., I personally thing quibbling the terminology of “invasion” is pointless here. Most Ukrainians, including those in the UOC, certainly perceive an invasion, not only in Crimea but in Donbass, where Ukrainians are still dying to preserve the integrity of their national borders. Of course there are (at least) two sides to all of those stories.

      The real story here at least in reference to Abp Job’s comments and that which preceded them is what seems a new ecclesiology. This is more fundamental than Russian or Ukrainian political narratives or what mistakes the MP has made.

  5. What has the EP done to resolve the situation in NA? What has it done to resolve the schisms within the Greek Orthodox world? The hypocrisy is as astounding as is the evil of feeding nationalism and social division.

    1. In NA, the overlapping jurisdictions are all canonical and in communion. The EP believes it is the sole proper flundation of unity in NA, just the same as the OCA. And yet, they are in communion.

      Not so in Ukraine under Moscow. The MP seemed perfectly content to keep the Orthodox there divided, in line with the government's actions to do the same politically with its invasions. Russia has done the same in Georgia and Moldova. A nominally autonomous puppet church that excludes the majority of Orthodox in that country under the control of a government controlled church in Moscow supporting the imvasion of it country is no realistic platform for unity.

    2. You're seeing things thru rose-colored glasses.

      Plus, your point re US and the canonical jurisdictions shows the hypocrisy of the EP's actions. The two Ukrainian sects were schismatic and thus uncanonucal. None of the ethnic jurisdictions were uncanonucal.

    3. I'd believe your scenario more if I saw that Cpole was actually more evangelical and less phyletist in practice. However, as we have seen in the US, the Orthodox Church has not experienced anything approaching growth and vitality since Bartholomew became EP. Indeed, quite the opposite.

  6. The only action of the Pope of Old Rome that approaches this is Pius VII's deposition a few obstreperous French bishops (both monarchists and constitutionalists) following the Concordat of 1801. I didn't know that the Apostle Andrew had left such a kleronomia to the obscure St. Stachys. Or was it Constantine and Constantius who made that bequest, whether to Eusebius (of Nicomedia) or Macedonius who can say? In any event, it is a perfect example of what Fr. John Hunwicke has termed "Hypersuperueberpapalism."

    1. Dr Tighe and many others may be interested in what an sharp Roman Catholic might do with some of these ecclesiological claims.
      Here, a convert to Rome from Geneva has a tightly argued, clearly written argument:

      (That's at comment 285 if you end up scrolling).

    2. Thank you, Fr. Yousuf, for that link. What an elegant evisceration of the primus sine paribus claims for C'ple advanced by Metropolitan Elpidophoros! It seems unanswerable.

    3. Fr. Youse,

      Thank you for the link. This same question has been troubling me as well. How can the EP claim Universal Jurisdiction and still justify not submitting to the novel Papal claims? It seems very self contradictory.

  7. The best case scenario here is that +Job is a pathological liar. If he believes what he is saying he needs help.

    1. His record at Rue Daru and during the Crete Meet would make the best case appear likely.

  8. This is all getting absurd. Calling it "Slavic" to say a country ahead of "Orthodox Church" is especially ridiculous given that:
    a) +Job was tonsured a Monk and ordained Deacon in the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada," which breaks his own rule, as does the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America"
    b) There are non-Slavic Churches that have similar names: the "Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church." In the Ecumenical Patriarchate there are the "Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church," the "Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America," and the "Finnish Orthodox Church!"

  9. Mr. Michalopoulos,
    In fairness to the EP, it is undertaking exemplary missionary work all over the world today. The rapid rise of the Albanian church, the young but constantly expanding mission on the suffering island of Haiti where free schooling is provided to about 1500 children and the evangelization of the Mayan people are just some examples.

    If the church in the US has not grown to our expectations then we have nobody but ourselves to blame since our non-orthodox neighbours did not find anything in us to draw them to Orthodoxy.

    The other thing is that you run a gossip/condemnation/slander blog where fatherly admonitions from clergy to correct yourselves are ignored and even mocked because, hey, you got “kefi”. What kind of witness are you giving to those outside the church? Lest people think that I am overreacting, a convert extensively involved in the drivel that appears on the blog announced that he was leaving the church due to the things he read there. “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” So when you’re in the mood to criticize, Mr. Michalopoulos, start with yourself.

  10. By this logic, all multi-national patriarchates ought to separate into autocephalous units. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem must grant autocephaly to Jordan and Sinai; the Patriarchate of Alexandria must grant autocephaly to the various African nations; the Antiochian Patriarchate must do this as well. The fact is that there is nothing requiring that each independent nation has its own autocephaly. The EP claims that numbers do not matter, but at the end of the day this seems entirely about numbers. The MP must be hacked apart because its juris extends to 17 countries and more than half of all Orthodox Christians.

    1. The Ukraine should be autocephalous. The question is: How to do it? The Ecumenical Patriarch is the arbiter of Autocephalacy (despite MP polemics), HOWEVER, WHO can receive the Tomos? Schismatics cannot receive anything except forgiveness, so HAH hit the "Canonical Reset" button on EVERYBODY, to create a canonical body that can receive it. I think the question here, is was this act in itself canonical? I can see both sides of the argument, and I also find this "Reset" to be of dubious legality. The MP itself has had no problem receiving defrocked and excommunicated clergy from the EP for their own ends, so I think there is a serious issue. Perhaps when all is settled, it will be work out. One thing is for certain: A TRUE pan-Orthodox Synod is necessary and inevitable. We can't go back to the way things were before. The Status Quo is dead.