Monthly Archives: September 2018

How the US prepared the split of the Orthodox Churches. Horsemen of the Apocalypse for Ukraine

Now we can observe in some way unique events. The last time this happened was in the Middle Ages. When the power of one country is blackmailing the representatives of the Church to obtain a certain political effect, not particularly considering that this dramatically leads to a  large split in the Church itself and unpredictable cultural and social consequences.

The question of faith is very delicate. This  matter is not a fashion, not a hobby. Faith affects such deep structures of consciousness and subconsciousness that it is much easier to spoil than to create something new and sustainable.

Now the US, not particularly reflecting, with rough boots trample on the territory which they do not understand.

The harm they methodically inflict on Orthodox Christianity can ultimately be reflected in both Catholicism and Islam.

In order to obtain the necessary results in Ukraine and to sever the cultural and religious ties between the Southeast of the Ukraine and Russia as much as possible, the US began to use the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in the same way as they usually work with drug traffickers or minor politicians in  Third World countries.

Washington using blackmail actively pressures the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo coordinates this activity.

When the Americans noticed that the Patriarchate of Constantinople was too sluggish about the demands of  Filaret Denisenko and President Petro Poroshenko, they decided to remind Bartholomew of a number of points.

In the last days of July 2018, Mike Pompeo held a meeting with the head of the American-Ukrainian Diocese of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Dimitri Trakatellis. At the meeting, Mike Pompeo reported that Washington is aware of the theft in 2017-2018 of a large amount of money (about 10 million US dollars) from the budget for the construction of the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in New York. Mike Pompeo noted separately for the Patriarchate of Constantinople that the US Attorney’s Office has documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Mike Pompeo suggested to the Patriarchate of Constantinople that he would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for the realization on the part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople of the idea of providing the Ukrainian Church with autocephaly. After this “American kindness” and “closing eyes”, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew acted in the accelerated mode in the interests of Filaret Denisenko. The Patriarchate of Constantinople sent two exarchs to “… help with the construction of a local independent church. The two exarchs are called to pave the way for autocephaly. It should be noted that in this case the process is no less important than the goal. In fact, thanks to this process, the various branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church can be brought together, “said Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul, the Locum Tenens of the Western European Exarchate of Constantinople.

According to Metropolitan Emmanuel, Patriarch Bartholomew intends to defend the Ukrainian Church, for which he “is responsible, since the Metropolitan of Kiev canonically depends on the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, despite the fact that in 1686 the Moscow Patriarchate was granted the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev.”

But the most interesting are the personalities of the exarchs. Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia from the United States and Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton from Canada.

First, both Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia (Vladimir Zelinsky) and Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton (Roman Nikolayevich Rudnik) were born in Western Ukraine, in the very center of veneration of Bandera, Dontsova and Shukhevych.

Bishop Hilarion was born on February 14, 1972 in Lviv. Archbishop Daniel was born on September 28, 1972 in Ivano-Frankivsk. Ivano-Frankivsk has always been considered the most endangered in the anti-human Bandera ideology in Ukraine. Now, of course, everything has already been smeared.

Archbishop Daniel spent his childhood in Bucha, Ternopil region. Upon completion of secondary school in September 1993, he entered the first year of the Ivano-Frankivsk Uniate Seminary, and then in 1996, to continue his education, he left for the United States, where he studied at the Catholic University of America, and also at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

October 3, 2007 was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. May 9, 2008 in the Vladimir Church of Parma, Ohio, the name of Archimandrite Daniel Bishop was held.

In January 2006, Daniel Pamphyli was appointed an officer of the US Army (Corps of Chaplains). Thanks to Boris Filatov, who never watched the language, it is known that Archbishop Daniel Pamphyli gave Dmitry Yarosh the books of authorship of Dmitry Dontsov – the Ukrainian Nazi at the beginning of the XX century. It was Dmitry Dontsov who was the first to translate Mein Kampf of Adolf Hitler into Ukrainian.

Bishop Hilarion spent his childhood and youth in Lviv. He was enrolled in the 2nd year of the Kiev Theological Seminary, which he graduated in 1992. On the recommendation of Archbishop Vsevolod of Skopels (Maydansky) and with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, he was sent to continue his education in Thessaloniki. He graduated from the Theological Faculty of the University of Aristotle in 1997. He defended his thesis on the theme “The Canonical Connection of the Kyiv Metropolia with the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1240”.

On January 11, 2005, Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Orthodox Church elected him Bishop-Assistant Metropolitan of Spain and Portugal  with the title “Bishop of Telmissos”.

On June 9, 2005, while in Turkey, where he was an interpreter during the meeting of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, he was detained by the Turkish police. The bishop was accused of traveling on forged documents and that he was a “Chechen rebel”.

Metropolitan John (Stinka), First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada, asked Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to release Bishop Hilarion to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada. Bishop Hilarion arrived in Canada in 2007. In August 2008, the Extraordinary Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada elected him Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada. October 21, 2008 Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod elected him the diocesan bishop of Edmonton and the Western diocese.

Both Daniel and Hilarion are long-time preparations of the American special services for work in Ukraine. Hilarion was helping Yushchenko in his first attempt to banditize Ukraine.

Now these “blanks” are useful to the US for activating the split among the Orthodox Churches.

 

The Onslaught on Holy Rus and Our Response

Introduction

Having destroyed the multinational Russian Empire in 1917 and then 75 years later its successor, the Soviet Union, there remained for the Western Powers only one further thing to destroy, the Russian Orthodox Church. This was openly proclaimed after 1991 by Samuel Huntingdon (‘Torn Countries: The Failure of Civilization Shifting’ in Chapter 6 of his ‘The Clash of Civilizations’) and by the Russophobe Pole, Zbigniew Brzezinski, as ‘the enemy’. In fact all hell had been let loose against us since 1917 with the illegal overthrow by treason and then martyrdom of the last Protector of Christian Civilization, Tsar Nicholas II.

The Onslaught on the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church

  1. Against the Unity of the Church, already before the Revolution, especially in Saint Petersburg, there were divisions caused by internal traitors (renovationists and ecumenists), many of them clerics who after 1917 defrocked themselves. Indeed, after 1917 renovationism was fed by atheist Communism and soon appeared among the schismatic Saint Petersburg emigration in Paris and elsewhere, fed by pounds and then by dollars. Both inside and outside Russia they were openly supported by the British-run, and from 1948 on, US-run, Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was also active in meddling and creating divisions in Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Americas, Western Europe and Australia.
  2. Against the Holiness of the Church there was the Soviet onslaught from 1917 on (though there were many cases of martyrdom as early as 1905), with 600 bishops, 120,000 priests, monks and nuns and countless laypeople martyred.

Since the fall of Communism especially, two new threats have appeared in force:

  1. Against the Apostolicity of the Church there have appeared schismatic groups of sectarian and pharisaical extremists, ‘zealots’, both inside and outside the Russian Lands.
  2. Against the Catholicity of the Church there have appeared nationalists, especially in the Ukraine but also elsewhere, as in Estonia, fed by dollars through Constantinople.

Our Response

  1. In order to affirm the Unity of the Church, we defeated the renovationist traitors by our firm confession of Orthodoxy and so the humanist heresy of Sophianism of the fantasist Fr Sergiy Bulgakov was universally condemned as such by the whole Russian Church. Tiny elderly groups, stuck in the past, still survive here and there, but they are dying out in irrelevance.
  2. In order to affirm the Holiness of the Church, the New Martyrs and Confessors defeated the Soviet onslaught by their holy patience.
  3. In order to affirm the Apostolicity of the Church, schismatic groups of sectarian and pharisaical extremists, both outside and inside Russia, were defeated in 2007, when both parts of the Russian Church united against the ways of the world. Tiny elderly groups still survive here and there, but they are dying out in irrelevance.
  4. In order to affirm the Catholicity of the Church, we now face Inherently anti-Christian, nationalist divisions which go against the multinational nature of the Church (Catholicity), creating nationalistic and politicized ethnic fragments in place of multinational Holy Rus. The canonical territory of the Church of Holy Rus (the ex-Soviet Union minus Georgia plus China and Japan) is over 32 million square kilometres, well over one fifth of the world’s land surface, and is united against the schismatics fed from Constantinople. Therefore, in time, there is no doubt that Patriarch Bartholomew and his Sanhedrin will be judged by a Church Council and their anti-canonical papalist heresies will be condemned.

Conclusion

In the meantime, one response for the reunited Russian Church would be to establish a Metropolia in Western Europe in order to organize missionary activity here. Constantinople miserably failed to do anything like this, when the Russian Church was paralyzed for three generations by atheistic Communism. It had its chance and failed. However, a Metropolia cannot be built on obvious injustices, the promotion of bad priests, bad candidates and bad people over good priests, good candidates and good people, the discouragement and demotion of the good, reliance on money and ornate church buildings instead of on the pastorship of human souls, who are so despised and neglected. There must be the ability to apologize for crass mistakes, made through the refusal to consult locally, and to thank those who have suffered for so long from these mistakes as a result. The reunited Russian Church now has a chance to act. Let it not be said that it too failed to seize the moment.

 

 

Why We Are Russian Orthodox Christians Although We Are Not Russian

Why Christian?

Humanity has always needed to worship something greater than itself – be it the sun, the moon, rivers, emperors, kings, heroes, ‘celebrities’ or film ‘stars’. Of all the founders of faiths, Christ alone was God and man and so defeated death. All the other founders of faiths, the pagan gods of India and Egypt, the Buddha, of Greece and Rome, of Africa and Scandinavia, and Mohammed, are dead – they were simply sinful men: Christ alone is living because He alone is beyond sin. Despite the spiritual realizations and abstract moral truths which can be found beneath the layers of spiritual impurity in other faiths, the fact that Christ is alive makes Christianity unique. If you believe in the unique and Absolute Resurrection of Christ through His victory over death, then all other faiths fade into relativity and even irrelevance. They are unable to deliver us from practical enslavement to the devil, seen in death and our captivity in hell.

Why Orthodox?

To anyone with any historical sense, it is clear that Christianity must go back to the time of Christ, 2,000 years ago. Thus, all the myriad Protestant sects pale into insignificance because they were all founded less than 500 years ago, sometimes much less, by one particular provincial culture. And indeed, as they put that local culture above the Gospel of Christ, we can see that they are aggressive manmade religions of great spiritual impurity, deformed by a fantastic greed for money, pharisaical moralism and censorious sectarianism. They persecuted Orthodox Christians, each other and arrogantly destroyed the cultures of native peoples all over the world through their ruthless exploitation and asset-stripping of natural resources. These Protestant sects were and are the foundation of modern capitalism which is polluting and destroying the whole planet and leading directly to its end, which it has now made inevitable.

Similarly, Roman Catholicism is not the original Christianity because it was founded less than 1,000 years ago by one particular provincial culture situated at the Western tip of Eurasia. It put its cultural blend of pagan Roman imperialism and crude Germanic barbarianism, above Orthodox Christianity, which it rejected and attacked, pretending to be older than it. Having transformed itself many times, from the very outset it intolerantly and aggressively persecuted and murdered those who disagreed with it in organized violence. It has used worldly politics – armies, crusades, inquisitions, invasions, imperialist colonialism, wars and unprincipled behaviour – in order to attract greater numbers and so gain power. Clearly faith here has been reduced to a mere manmade and centralized religion and has little to do with Christ. Not Christians, but Catholics, slaughtered Orthodox Christians.

History confirms that only the Orthodox Church is the Christ-founded Church, as only She goes back to the first millennium, keeping the fullness of Christianity despite the attempts of States, emperors and politicians to meddle in Her affairs and misuse Her for their own evil ends. With Her near 2,000 years of history, the Church has confessed the Faith without alteration since the start. Geography also confirms that the first Christians were Orthodox. Thus, the words of Christ Who lived in and around Jerusalem were written down in Greek and Greek Christians and all those who have lived for generations in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Asia have always all been Orthodox. For Christ was in his human nature Asian, not European. It is therefore clear that if we want to be with the Church that Christ founded, then we must be Orthodox Christians, the only true Christians, for all others are not complete Christians.

Why Russian Orthodox Christian?

The family of 14 Local Orthodox Churches together form the Orthodox Church because they all confess the identical Orthodox Christian Faith. Without the Lord’s Orthodox Faith we cannot be in the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church is made up of 13 small mononational Local Churches (far fewer than 13 even two centuries ago) and one very large international, not mononational, Church. This is the Russian Orthodox Church which for centuries has led and protected all the others at the cost of great self-sacrifice. Present on every continent, with over 70 nationalities, both inside and outside Russia, it accounts for 164 million Orthodox Christians (75% of the total). It alone is inherently multinational and tries to avoid the pitfalls of nationalism, which is only worldliness under a different name. It not only accepts and welcomes Non-Russians but has always led the field in missionary work worldwide.

Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Church has remained faithful in every detail to the Orthodox Faith, despite vicious persecution and martyrdom by Western ideologies and atheism, of both the Communist and the Capitalist varieties. On the other hand, over the last hundred years some of the 13 very small and so weaker Local Churches have been forced by geopolitical pressures into some lax compromises, for example, abandoning the Orthodox Christian calendar for that of the State, altering the services, abandoning confession and fasting, failing to respect local people and their languages, imposing nationalism. It follows from all the above that if we are conscious Christians, then we should participate in the Russian Orthodox Church, defending Her from the treason, cowardice and deceit of both internal and external enemies, supporting, confessing, living and spreading her Faith, which is the Faith of Christ.

The First 300 Years of Russian Orthodox Churches Outside Russia: 1617-1917

Introduction

Although several Russian churches in Europe date back to well before the Russian victory over the atheist tyrant Napoleon and the liberation of Paris by Russian troops in 1814, ignorant and ethnocentric Western Europe only began to understand the reality of Russia then. The Russian Empire was not after all some kind of Asian khanate, but a fully-fledged modern Empire. Russian science and art flourished with names of world renown and the theological academies brought fame to the Russian Church, amazing obscurantist European scholarship. Although the treason of 1917 put an end to this, today, with freedom come, we are once more seeing Westerners taking a more enlightened attitude to the Russian Orthodox Church, whose presence among them now dates back 400 years.

1617-1817

The 1617 Peace Treaty established the legal status of a Russian priest in Stockholm’s Ryssgarden. Services were conducted in premises which merchants rented. A real and more or less permanent Russian church was founded in 1700, with a diplomatic representative in Sweden, and from then on services were conducted almost continuously. In 1684 an embassy mission to China opened. Church life began in Berlin in 1718. In 1721 a church opened in London. In 1727 the embassy in Paris started Orthodox services. That same year under Anna Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Holstein, a church was set up in Kiel and lasted until 1799. A church which lasted briefly was founded in Tokaj in Hungary in 1749.

From 1759 till 1765 there was a church in Königsberg. A church was set up in Madrid in 1760 and in Vienna in 1762. A church opened in Copenhagen in 1797. The Russian embassy in Constantinople (1802) marked the establishment of the church there. That same year two more churches were founded, one at the court of Ekaterina Antonovna, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and the other in Üröm, near Budapest, the location of the burial vault of Alexandra Pavlovna, Palatine of Hungary and sister of Emperor Alexander I. In 1804 a church opened in Weimar and in 1808 in Ludwigslust (Mecklenburg-Schwerin). A church was founded in The Hague in 1816.

1817-1917

A church opened in Bern in 1817, later moving to Geneva. That same year a church opened in Teheran. The Stuttgart church was organized in 1819. The church in Rome was founded in 1823 and in Rothenburg (Kingdom of Wurtemberg) in 1824. Emperor Nicholas I sent an ambassador to newly liberated Greece and a Russian church was set up in Athens. In 1844 churches were set up in Naples and Wiesbaden. In 1847 Archimandrite Porfiry (Uspensky) opened the Mission in Jerusalem. A church was set up in Amsterdam in 1852, Baden-Baden in 1858 and Nice in 1859. Two churches were set up in 1862, in Brussels and Dresden, and in 1865 in Karlsruhe and in 1867 in Pau in France. In the following year churches in Karlsbad and Florence were built. In 1870 the mission to Japan began under the future St Nicholas of Tokyo.

In 1874 a church opened in Prague. There was a church in Coburg-Gotha from 1874 to 1905. In 1876 a church was set up in Bad Ems and in 1878 in Vevey in Switzerland. The church in Marienbad opened in 1882. An Orthodox community opened in Argentina in 1888. A church was set up in Franzenbad in 1889, in Biarritz in 1890 and in Menton in France in 1892 and in Merano in Italy in 1897. Two Church missions were founded in 1897 ─ one in Urmia in Persia and the other in Seoul in Korea. In 1898 a church was built in San Stefano, near Constantinople, and in the following year in Darmstadt and in Homburg. Three churches were founded in 1901 ─ in Hamburg, Herbersdorf (Silesia) and Kissingen. Finally, by 1910 there were churches in Sofia and Budapest. Several churches were attached to the main ones in cities like Berlin, Constantinople and Nice.

Conclusion

Thus, by 1894 the Synod and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversaw 51 churches with 96 clergy and during the reign of the Tsar-Martyr, this increased to 56 churches. In addition, in 1912 the United States Diocese had 286 churches, while the Japanese Mission had 266 communities, the Beijing Mission fifteen, the Urmian Mission seven and the Korean Mission one. Since the flood of refugees from atheism after 1917, hundreds more churches have opened, and not counting the thousand or so in autonomous Japan and China and in autocephalous Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia and North America, the total in 2017 is about one thousand, all dependent either on Moscow or on the Church Outside Russia, now based in New York.

(Our thanks to Deacon Andrei Psarev for information supplied for this article)

Principles of the Coming Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe

Introduction

We first called for a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe early on thirty years ago, in April 1988, against the background of the then dying Cold War. Far more importantly, 15 years later, in April 2003, after the Cold War, but before the reunion of the two parts of the Russian Church, Patriarch Alexis of Moscow did the same. 30 years on, there is still no Metropolia, but we feel that, despite all the frustration, impediments and delays, its time is at last coming. A Metropolia, and then Church, that is Orthodox, but also Local, is inevitable in Western Europe. What principles must this Metropolia adopt?

  1. Faithful to Orthodoxy, not Heterodoxy

First of all, we say ‘Away with nationalistic Finnish, French and American ideas of ‘localism’’ (Finland / Rue Daru / OCA), which ignore the integrity of the Orthodox Faith, putting the local flag before the Cross. Instead of ideas propagated in Paris and transferred to the USA, we choose a Metropolia that is both faithful and local. This cannot be based on anti-canonical compromises, on spiritual betrayal of the Faith, in the name of State-sponsored or of self-imposed cultural conformism. We must keep the Orthodox calendar and Church canons, ignoring old-fashioned modernism and ecumenism.

  1. An End to Old-Fashioned Ecumenism

It is this latter ecumenism that has especially delayed the formation of a Metropolia, the foundation of a new Local Church. There were those who said: ‘We must not offend the Catholics/Protestants. We must not give local titles to our bishops’. Such voices were those of traitors to Orthodoxy, those who saw us and see it as a mere piece of foreign exoticism, of folklore. No Metropolia could be born until those voices had fallen silent – and they were still very strong in 1988 and in 2003. It is time to move forward to the free and independent future, to the Autocephalous Church of Western Europe.

  1. Bilingual and Missionary

Unlike the old Russian immigrants (and those of other nationalities), who were intent negatively on preserving and pickling the past, even when nobody any longer knew what it meant, and so guaranteed that they would die out – the future Metropolia will have to be bilingual. Here too we put the Cross before the flag. Only in this way will we be able to pass on the spiritual heritage and values of Russian Orthodox Civilization in a missionary fashion to both the descendants of Russian immigrants and to native Western Europeans. Only in this way can a truly Orthodox and a truly Local Church be born.

  1. Pastoral, not Bureaucratic and Racist

One of the greatest problems in Church life at all times is the tendency to put administration above pastoral care, to put marble and gold above church buildings and, above all, human souls. (We can think of the Irish and Rome). There can be no more second-class (or third-class) citizens; non-Russians must be treated as Russians. The past, all too recent past, is a very dark area indeed in this respect. In such a Metropolia, the foundation of a true Local Church, there can be no racism. The old-fashioned attitudes and mistreatment of native Orthodox is not acceptable and must be severely sanctioned.

Conclusion

Fifty years ago, with the Russian Church paralysed, there was still a hope that Constantinople would abandon its Greek imperialism and take responsibility for the Diaspora. It utterly failed to do so. Indeed, the spiritual decomposition of the Constantinople with its new lurch into Eastern Papism, means that its serious clergy and people now want to join the Russian Church (although the long-term solution would be for the Church of Greece to take over the Greek Diaspora and make it Orthodox). The recent, long-awaited appointments of new bishops in Western Europe and those to come, carried out by both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, are all steps towards the future Metropolia.

 

 

Another Step Towards a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe

On Thursday 20 September, the six bishops of the ROCOR Synod meeting in London established the Diocese of Richmond and Western Europe. This combines the former Diocese of Richmond and Great Britain and Geneva and Western Europe. The ruling bishop is Bishop Irenei (Steenberg), former Professor of Theology at the University of Leeds and venerator of St Irenei of Lyon, whose name he bears.

1938-2018: St John on the Decline of the Patriarchate of Constantinople

THE PRIMACY among Orthodox Churches is possessed by the Church of the New Rome, Constantinople, which is headed by a Patriarch who has the title of Ecumenical, and therefore is itself called the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which territorially reached the culmination of its development at the end of the 18th century. At that time there was included in it the whole of Asia Minor, the whole Balkan Peninsula (except for Montenegro), together with the adjoining islands, since the other independent Churches in the Balkan Peninsula had been abolished and had become part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarch had received from the Turkish Sultan, even before the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, the title of Millet Bash, that is, the head of the people, and he was considered the head of the whole Orthodox population of the Turkish Empire. This, however, did not prevent the Turkish government from removing patriarchs for any reason whatever and calling for new elections, at the same time collecting a large tax from the newly elected patriarch. Apparently the latter circumstance had a great significance in the changing of patriarchs by the Turks, and therefore it often happened that they again allowed on the Patriarchal Throne a patriarch whom they had removed, after the death of one or several of his successors. Thus, many patriarchs occupied their see several times, and each accession was accompanied by the collection of a special tax from them by the Turks.

In order to make up the sum which he paid on his accession to the Patriarchal Throne, a patriarch made a collection from the metropolitans subordinate to him, and they, in their turn, collected from the clergy subordinate to them. This manner of making up its finances left an imprint on the whole order of the Patriarchate’s life. In the Patriarchate there was likewise evident the Greek “Great Idea,” that is, the attempt to restore Byzantium, at first in a cultural, but later also in a political sense. For this reason in all important; posts there were assigned people loyal to this idea, and for the most part Greeks from the part of Constantinople called the Phanar, where also the Patriarchate was located. Almost always the episcopal sees were filled by Greeks, even though in the Balkan Peninsula the population was primarily Slavic.

At the beginning of the 19th century there began a movement of liberation among the Balkan peoples, who were striving to liberate themselves from the authority of the Turks. There arose the states of Serbia, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria, at first semi-independent, and then completely independent from Turkey. Parallel with this there proceeded also the formation of new Local Churches which were separate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Even though it was unwillingly, under the influence of circumstances, the Ecumenical Patriarchs permitted the autonomy of the Churches in the vassal princedoms, and later they recognized the full independence of the Churches in Serbia, Greece, and Romania. Only the Bulgarian question was complicated in view on the one hand of the impatience of the Bulgarians, who had not yet attained political independence, and, on the other hand, thanks to the unyieldingness of the Greeks. The self-willed declaration of Bulgarian autocephaly on the foundation of a firman of the Sultan was not recognized by the Patriarchate, and in a number of dioceses there was established a parallel hierarchy.

The boundaries of the newly-formed Churches coincided with the boundaries of the new states, which were growing all the time at the expense of Turkey, at the same time acquiring new dioceses from the Patriarchate. Nonetheless, in 1912, when the Balkan War began, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had about 70 metropolias and several bishoprics. The war of 1912-13 tore away from Turkey a significant part of the Balkan Peninsula with such great spiritual centers as Salonica and Athos. The Great War of 1914-18 for a time deprived Turkey of the whole of Thrace and the Asia Minor coast with the city of Smyrna, which were subsequently lost by Greece in 1922 after the unsuccessful march of the Greeks on Constantinople.

Here the Ecumenical Patriarch could not so easily allow out of his authority the dioceses which had been torn away from Turkey, as had been done previously. There was already talk concerning certain places which from of old had been under the spiritual authority of Constantinople. Nonetheless, the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1922 recognized the annexation to the Serbian Church of all areas within the boundaries of Yugoslavia; he agreed to the inclusion within the Church of Greece of a number of dioceses in the Greek State, preserving, however, his jurisdiction over Athos; and in 1937 he recognized even the autocephaly of the small Albanian Church, which originally he had not recognized.

The boundaries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the number of its dioceses had significantly decreased. At the same time the Ecumenical Patriarchate in fact lost Asia Minor also, although it remained within its jurisdiction. In accordance with the peace treaty between Greece and Turkey in 1923, there occurred an exchange of population between these powers, so that the whole Greek population of Asia Minor had to resettle in Greece. Ancient cities, having at one time a great significance in ecclesiastical matters and glorious in their church history, remained without a single inhabitant of the Orthodox faith. At the same time, the Ecumenical Patriarch lost his political significance in Turkey, since Kemal Pasha deprived him of his title of head of the people. Factually, at the present time under the Ecumenical Patriarch there are five dioceses within the boundaries of Turkey in addition to Athos with the surrounding places in Greece. The Patriarch is extremely hindered in the manifestation even of his indisputable rights in church government within the boundaries of Turkey, where he is viewed as an ordinary Turkish subject-official, being furthermore under the supervision of the government. The Turkish government, which interferes in all aspects of the life of its citizens, only as a special privilege has permitted him, as also the Armenian Patriarch, to wear long hair and clerical garb, forbidding this to the rest of the clergy. The Patriarch has no right of free exit from Turkey, and lately the government is ever more insistently pursuing his removal to the new capital of Ankara (the ancient Ancyra), where there are now no Orthodox Christians, but where the administration with all the branches of governmental life is concentrated.

Such an outward abasement of the hierarch of the city of St. Constantine, which was once the capital of the ecumene, has not caused reverence toward him to be shaken among Orthodox Christians, who revere the See of Sts. Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian. From the height of this See the successor of Sts. John and Gregory could spiritually guide the whole Orthodox world, if only he possessed their firmness in the defense of righteousness and truth and the breadth of views of the recent Patriarch Joachim III. However, to the general decline of the Ecumenical Patriarchate there has been joined the direction of its activity after the Great War. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has desired to make up for the loss of dioceses which have left its jurisdiction, and likewise the loss of its political significance within the boundaries of Turkey, by submitting to itself areas where up to now there has been no Orthodox hierarchy, and likewise the Churches of those states where the government is not Orthodox. Thus, on April 5, 1922, Patriarch Meletius designated an Exarch of Western and Central Europe with the title of Metropolitan of Thyateira with residency in London; on March 4, 1923, the same Patriarch consecrated the Czech Archimandrite Sabbatius Archbishop of Prague and All Czechoslovakia; on April 15, 1924, a Metropolia of Hungary and All Central Europe was founded with a See in Budapest, even though there was already a Serbian bishop there. In America an Archbishopric was established under the Ecumenical Throne, then in 1924 a Diocese was established in Australia with a See in Sydney. In 1938 India was made subordinate to the Archbishop of Australia.

At the same time there has proceeded the subjection of separate parts of the Russian Orthodox Church which have been torn away from Russia. Thus, on June 9, 1923, the Ecumenical Patriarch accepted into his jurisdiction the Diocese of Finland as an autonomous Finnish Church; on August 23, 1923, the Estonian Church was made subject in the same way, on November 13, 1924, Patriarch Gregory VII recognized the autocephaly of the Polish Church under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate—that is, rather autonomy. In March, 1936, the Ecumenical Patriarch accepted Latvia into his jurisdiction. Not limiting himself to the acceptance into his jurisdiction of Churches in regions which had fallen away from the borders of Russia, Patriarch Photius accepted into his jurisdiction Metropolitan Eulogius in Western Europe together with the parishes subordinate to him, and on February 28, 1937, an Archbishop of the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch in America consecrated Bishop Theodore-Bogdan Shpilko for a Ukrainian Church in North America.

Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarch has become actually “ecumenical” [universal] in the breadth of the territory which is theoretically subject to him. Almost the whole earthly globe, apart from the small territories of the three Patriarchates and the territory of Soviet Russia, according to the idea of the Patriarchate’s leaders, enters into the composition of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Increasing without limit their desires to submit to themselves parts of Russia, the Patriarchs of Constantinople have even begun to declare the uncanonicity of the annexation of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate, and to declare that the previously existing southern Russian Metropolia of Kiev should be subject to the Throne of Constantinople. Such a point of view is not only clearly expressed in the Tomos of November 13, 1924, in connection with the separation of the Polish Church, but is also quite thoroughly promoted by the Patriarchs. Thus, the Vicar of Metropolitan Eulogius in Paris, who was consecrated with the permission of the Ecumenical Patriarch, has assumed the title of Chersonese; that is to say, Chersonese, which is now in the territory of Russia, is subject to the Ecumenical Patriarch. The next logical step for the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be to declare the whole of Russia as being under the jurisdiction of Constantinople.

However, the actual spiritual might and even the actual boundaries of authority by far do not correspond to such a self-aggrandizement of Constantinople. Not to mention the fact that almost everywhere the authority of the Patriarch is quite illusory and consists for the most part in the confirmation of bishops who have been elected to various places or the sending of such from Constantinople, many lands which Constantinople considers subject to itself do not have any flock at all under its jurisdiction.

The moral authority of the Patriarchs of Constantinople has likewise fallen very low in view of their extreme instability in ecclesiastical matters. Thus, Patriarch Meletius IV arranged a “Pan-Orthodox Congress,” with representatives of various churches, which decreed the introduction of the New Calendar. This decree, recognized only by a part of the Church, introduced a frightful schism among Orthodox Christians. Patriarch Gregory VII recognized the decree of the council of the Living Church concerning the deposing of Patriarch Tikhon, whom not long before this the Synod of Constantinople had declared a “confessor,” and then he entered into communion with the “Renovationists” in Russia, which continues up to now.

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.

Greek Metropolitan calls on Patriarch Bartholomew to repent and stop his schism

POSTED BY: NEWSMAKER 17.09.2018

© RIA Novosti / Sergey Starostambulsky

Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira  and Antikythira of the Greek Orthodox Church has said that the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople have led to a schism in Orthodoxy and urged him to repent and to cease causing a schism.

The President of the Ukraine, Petro Waltzman, is trying to obtain the recognition of anti-canonical religious structures and so create a schismatic church in the Ukraine, outside the framework of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Patriarchate of Constantinople had previously reported that ‘in preparation for the granting of autocephaly’ it had appointed its North American Exarchs to Kiev.

The Synod of the Russian Church on Friday declared ‘a break in diplomatic relations’ with the Patriarchate of Constantinople after it had appointed its Exarchs to the Ukraine, which has always been on the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. In particular, it decided to cease commemoration of the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I during Patriarchal services and in structures, presided over by the representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The persistence of Patriarch Bartholomew in providing the schismatics in the Ukraine with autocephaly has led to sad results. The Patriarch of Constantinople, instead of playing with the Pope of Rome, should express his repentance, reads the statement of the Metropolitan, the text of which is available to RIA Novosti.

‘I was deeply saddened on hearing about the break in communion of the Patriarchate of Russia with the Patriarchate. These sad and disastrous results come from the insistence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics who are separated from our Holy Orthodox Church, that is, from all the Orthodox Patriarchates and Local Orthodox Churches and constitute only a small minority of the Ukrainian people’, he said in his statement.

Metropolitan Seraphim recalled that until recently the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognized only the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the leadership of Metropolitan Onufry.

‘Now he for his own reasons wants to give autocephaly to the schismatics in the Ukraine and revise the sacred order and the canonical Orthodox Church in the Ukraine, which is recognized by not only the Russian Orthodox Church, but by all the other Local Orthodox Churches’, the document says.

‘The schismatics, as we know, are not the Church, and communion with them is forbidden by the Divine and Holy Canons, Apostolic and Ecumenical Councils. What then is the perseverance of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in recognizing schismatics as an Autocephalous Church? To provoke splits and divisions in the One, Universal and Apostolic Church of Christ?’ he asked in the statement.

Metropolitan Seraphim said that many of the troubles were caused and provoked by the decisions of the meeting held in Crete in June 2016.

The Metropolitan criticized the recent decision of the Synod of the Constantinople Church to allow remarried priests under certain conditions.

Instead of praying together, as organized recently with the Pope of Rome and the leaders and representatives of other Christian communities and faiths, which are not only not helpful, but seriously insulting to Orthodox Christians, he should repent and return to the Universal Orthodox Christian world ‘to the Holy Faith’, to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, and in general to our Orthodox Tradition’, he said in the statement.

‘We know from St. John Chrysostom that «the sin of schism is not washed away even by the blood of martyrs’, said the Metropolitan of Kythira.

 

 

Orthodox Church Statistics

With various irresponsible and inaccurate articles being published at present, suggesting that the Orthodox Church has 250 million (or even 300 million!) members, we are republishing our statistical survey of the Orthodox Church. We would be grateful if anyone can correct the statistics presented, if they are incorrect. Thank you.

 

The Orthodox Church is a family of Local Churches, just like the Churches of the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Romans, the Thessalonians, the Colossians etc, as described in the letters written to them by the holy Apostle Paul. Each of the fourteen Local Orthodox Churches has a main administrative figure, a chief bishop known as a Patriarch, or in the case of smaller Churches, a Metropolitan or Archbishop. However, the Church as a whole has no earthly head, because the head of the Orthodox Church is our Lord Jesus Christ. His authority is expressed in the Orthodox Church through the Holy Spirit as revealed, particularly through Church Councils and the saints. Below you will find details of the Orthodox Churches and their approximate sizes, totalling in all over 218 million members with some 843 active bishops.

1. The Russian Orthodox Church 164,000,000

Also known as the Patriarchate of Moscow, this accounts for 75% of Orthodox. It cares for Orthodox living in the canonical Russian Orthodox territories, spread over one fifth of the planet (the former Soviet Union except for Georgia, plus China and Japan) and peopled by 62 nationalities. These territories include the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Transcarpathia (the main part of Carpatho-Russia), Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Baltic Republics, such as Latvia (250,000). The Russian Church also includes the self-governing, multinational Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (400,000 worldwide, mainly in the Americas and Australia as well as parts of Western Europe.), the Japanese Orthodox Church and the Chinese Orthodox Church.

2. The Romanian Orthodox Church 18,800,000

Also known as the Patriarchate of Bucharest. Apart from in Romania, there are also many Romanian parishes in the Diaspora, especially in Western Europe.

3. The Greek Orthodox Church 10,000,000

Under the Archbishop of Athens, this Church cares for all Orthodox in Greece.

4. The Serbian Orthodox Church 9,000,000

The canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Belgrade covers Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia. There are also many Serbian parishes in the worldwide Serbian Diaspora.

5. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church 4,500,000

The Patriarchate of Sofia covers Bulgaria and has a few churches in the Diaspora.

6. The Georgian Orthodox Church 3,500,000

The Patriarchate of Tbilisi covers Georgia and a very small Georgian Diaspora.

7. The Patriarchate of Constantinople 3,500,000

This includes Greek Orthodox in Istanbul (about 1,000), those on Greek islands such as Crete and Rhodes (700,000), and above all the Greek Diaspora in the Americas, Western Europe and Australia. There are also twenty-four autonomous parishes in Finland and small groups of other Non-Greek Orthodox elsewhere.

8. The Patriarchate of Antioch 1,800,000

The canonical territory of the Arab Patriarch, who lives in Damascus, includes Syria, the Lebanon and Iraq. There are also parishes in the Diaspora, including some 10,000 ex-Protestants in the USA and 300 ex-Protestants in the UK.

9. The Patriarchate of Alexandria 1,600,000

Although for historical reasons its Patriarch is a Greek and his appointment is in the care of the Greek government, this Patriarchate is in Egypt. It also cares for St Catherine’s Monastery on Mt Sinai, but the vast bulk of its faithful are Africans, spread over 54 African countries.

10. The Orthodox Church of Cyprus 700,000

Under an Archbishop, this Church cares for all Greek Orthodox in Cyprus.

11. The Polish Orthodox Church 600,000

Under the Metropolitan of Warsaw, this Church cares for Orthodox of all origins who live mainly in eastern Poland.

12. The Albanian Orthodox Church 200,000

Under the Archbishop of Tirana, this Church cares for Orthodox in southern Albania, most of whom are of Greek origin.

  1. The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia 170,000

Led by a Metropolitan, this Church cares for Carpatho-Russian, Slovak and Czech Orthodox, as well as large numbers of recent Ukrainian Orthodox immigrants to Slovakia and the Czech Lands.

14.The Patriarchate of Jerusalem 130,000

Although its Patriarch is a Greek and his appointment is in the care of the Greek government, this Patriarchate cares for Arab Orthodox in Palestine and the Jordan.