Daily Archives: December 10, 2015

The Curious Council

The Inter-Orthodox Council, with a token number of bishops from each of the fourteen Local Churches and supposed to take place in May 2016 to discuss administrative issues, is looking increasingly troubled. First, there is the schism between the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioch. Then there were rumours after contacts with top US officials that the US State Department was trying to set the agenda, specifically regarding homosexuality. Then there was news from the Russian Orthodox Church that delegates from several Local Churches, notably the Russian, the Romanian (the second biggest) and the Georgian, had failed to agree on the contents of several points in the seemingly US-determined agenda.

Hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church then expressed popular concern that the Council was taking place at all. After all Constantinople had not long before sent schismatic representatives of the Ukrainian Church in Canada (the fraction under Constantinople) to Kiev for reasons which the Ukrainian Church naturally found sinister. After this came the news that the elderly Patriarch Bartholomew had erected a statue to himself and that he would never recognize the Carpatho-Russian Metr Rostislav as the representative of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Then came the Patriarch’s visit to Bulgaria when he insulted the Bulgarian people and a diplomatic incident followed and the Bulgarian Prime Minister refused to meet the Patriarch. Some even asked if Patriarch Bartholomew’s behaviour was designed to sabotage his own Council.

After this the Synod in Constantinople sacked the hierarch appointed only two years before for the modernist Paris Jurisdiction, Archbishop Job. Next came the shooting down by Turkey – some say at US instigation – of a Russian aeroplane. The result of this is that the Russian delegation felt unable to attend the next preparatory meeting in Istanbul for the future Council. Indeed, the question was asked if the Council could even take place in Istanbul, as had been proposed. Some have suggested, as we suggested in our booklet, ‘The World Council of Orthodoxy’ in May 2007, that any future Council take place at the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow, where alone a politically free Council could take place.

Next came the Pope’s welcome for the Council – in effect compromising it, making it appear just to be a cheap copy of the Vatican’s disastrously divisive and US-Protestant-style Second Council of 50 years ago. Then came the Pope’s greeting to Patriarch Bartholomew on the Catholic St Andrew’s Day, looking forward to the day when Catholics, without repentance, would be in full communion with Constantinople. Then came the news that a joint commission of the Russian and Bulgarian Churches had agreed that there were no objections to the canonization of the much revered Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev), the archbishop in Sofia of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia who was the hero of the Moscow Council of 1948, which denounced ecumenism.

Now news has come that Archbishop Jerome of Athens, the head of the Church of Greece, will not attend the next preparatory meeting in Istanbul. There is speculation that this is connected with the imperialistic and meddling claims of Patriarch Bartholomew to Greek territory. And also the news that Rome and Constantinople are celebrating (!) the 50th anniversary of the highly controversial (and some would say meaningless) lifting of the 1054 anathemas between Rome and Constantinople does not help. As Patriarch Alexis I of Moscow pointed out at the time this event has no importance whatsoever for the mass of the Orthodox Church as a whole, since it is an event that concerns only the tiny Local Church of Constantinople and Roman Catholicism. Even so the event was rejected at the time and is still today rejected by the devout and politically free of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

It can be concluded without hesitation that the Patriarchate of Constantinople is looking increasingly isolated from mainstream of the Orthodox Church and its Council project, at least in its old form, is looking increasingly in doubt. As has been said throughout Christian history: man proposes, but God disposes.

On Mr Trump et al

In the UK only last week Parliament decided to bomb IS in Syria. It seemed very strange when only two years ago, it was considering bombing the enemy of the IS, the Syrian Army. How you can change sides in just two years is something of a mystery. However, an even greater mystery is why you should bomb in a foreign country thousands of miles away without asking the permission of its government. Had President Assad requested British help, it would look very different. It seems that the UK Establishment is so arrogant that it thinks that it has the right to bomb other countries regardless of what the local government wishes. For example, the Syrian government does not vote on whether to bomb criminal groups in the UK. Apart from a murderous fanatic in east London, probably no-one is very alarmed by any of this token bombing, however. This is because the tiny number of air strikes by the tiny number of British aeroplanes from the tiny Royal Air Force will make very little difference at all.

In the US, Mr Trump, a Republican candidate for the Presidency has suggested that all Muslims should be banned from the USA. Of course this may simply be an attack on President Obama, whom a majority of Republicans believe to be a Muslim. It is true that at present, whether in the Middle East, or in Paris, or in California or in London, fanatics who are Muslims are murdering the innocent. It is also true that, like Judaism, Islam is inherently an Old Testament religion with an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, ethos, an ethos that encourages violence and revenge, that it has not known the Christian reality of love and forgiveness that flow from the Resurrection. On the other hand, it is also true that there are plenty of so-called Christians who are no less Old Testament in their mentality and have as little idea of love, forgiveness and the Resurrection as the average Muslim. Mr Trump may well be one of them.

Any reader of the history of how Charlemagne slaughtered the Saxons will confirm the Old Testament mentality of many so-called Christians. Any reader of the history of the Crusades will confirm this. Any reader of the history of how the Catholic conquistadors and the Protestant cowboys massacred Native Americans will confirm this. Any reader of the history of how Britain and France carved up the Ottoman Empire after the First World War and created artificial client states like the Lebanon, Syria, the Jordan and Iraq, thus guaranteeing civil wars, will confirm this. And any reader of the history of how the Western Powers have over the last 25 years massacred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria will confirm this. Sad to say, for many tens of millions of Muslims the only terrorists in the world are the Western Powers which massacre in the Muslim world and bring the Western weapons of mass destruction to their bloodied lands. Mr Trump’s concept shows the sort of xenophobic arrogance and insular ignorance that is familiar in the UK only through its most crass and discredited tabloid newspapers.

At the present time the world is on fire. Madness has seized the world. It is as though new words from the Book of Revelation are being read every month. Hundreds are being massacred every day, in Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Mali and in Nigeria, and many others are drowning in desperate escape bids across the Mediterranean. What is required to avert an even more terrible and widespread war than those already taking place in North Africa and the Middle East is water, not oil.