At present the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow no longer concelebrate because of Constantinople’s decision to set up a self-governing Church in the Ukraine, which has for centuries been Russian Orthodox canonical territory. This schism has split the whole Orthodox Church into two. But so what? What does a squabble about land and territory matter? The two Patriarchates should both be out there, converting the 7+ billion people of the world who are not Orthodox. Constantinople’s politicking in the Ukraine is absurd, but so is the Russian breaking of communion with Constantinople, which is excessive by far and makes the Orthodox Church into a laughing-stock. Surely you agree?
I agree that we should be out there, converting the 7+ billion, together with the Church Outside Russia in the Americas, Oceania and Western Europe and the Russian Orthodox Exarchates of Western Europe and South-East Asia, without any flag-waving nationalism and condemnation of Greeks or Non-Greeks. But converting them to what? To the US State Department? To Ukrainian nationalism? To Uniatism?
My point is that this is not a squabble about land and territory, but about who is the Head of the Orthodox Church: Mike Pompeo, Geoffrey Pyatt and the rest of the CIA, or to Christ our God? In other words, who does the Church belong to? To various artificial States, formed a few decades ago by Communist tyrants and nationalist empires that have not existed for centuries, or to Christ?
As for the Russian reaction, what are you supposed to do when someone embraces you, smiling at you and at the same time stabbing you in the back? Stand and continue to be embraced and be stabbed in the back again and again and again, in North America, in Finland, in Poland, in Western Europe, in Estonia and in the Ukraine? The Russian Church had only one choice, to separate itself from those who have already separated themselves from the Church and Her Saints and cease communion with them until they repent.
Soon there will be a Church Council in the Jordan, called by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem where the very first Church Council took place in c. AD 50. There the representatives of 200 million Orthodox will condemn the schism. The fearful representatives of 5 million are going to sit on the fence. Will the paid representatives of the other 15 million persist in their schism?
To Arius and Nestorius – Anathema!
To Monothelite Emperors – Anathema!
To Barlaam the Calabrian – Anathema!
To Chauvinists who put their State and Race above Christ – Anathema!
To Those who Refuse to Obey the Canons and Create Disunity in the Church – Anathema!