It happened on the feast-day of St Andrew the Fool, the Slav who lived in Constantinople and saw the Protection of the Mother of God with his disciple Epiphanios, the future Orthodox Patriarch.
Exactly 30 years ago I can remember a conversation with the late Archbishop George (Wagner) of the Rue Daru Archdiocese of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in which I asked him for his view on the charge of ‘Eastern Papism’ against his Patriarchate. He simply denied it, stating that it did not correspond to reality. Now we can all see quite clearly just how wrong he was. The Ecumenical Heresiarchate of all schismatics, Russians, Galicians, Macedonians, Montenegrins and sundry others, has been born. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, which for six centuries has only just survived, has committed spiritual suicide. It has lost everything by falling out of communion with everyone, apart from with its own tiny satellites.
In the Orthodox Church of 218 million (it has never been 300 million), it is now 217 million against a few hundred thousand. Already there are no more of the Constantinople episcopal assemblies in the Diaspora. Now there are those in that Patriarchate who will ask for the canonical protection of the Russian Church, not wishing to remain schismatics. The situation of Mt Athos, where many do not commemorate the heretical ecumenist Patriarch of Constantinople anyway, is not yet clear. Following the call of the Athonite Patriarch of Antioch, we can now expect a real Orthodox Council – probably in Moscow. Here the small but faithful Twelve Local Churches can decide on the future, together with their leader, the Russian Orthodox Church.
The air has at last been cleared and now we can look forward to the future, with hope that the mass of accumulated problems and injustices may now be overcome in the Diaspora and worldwide.