The Phanar Ever More Isolated

 

Having taken on the schismatic, the defrocked, the anathematized, the non-consecrated and the plainly criminal in the Ukraine, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has isolated itself from World Orthodoxy. So far seven of the fourteen universally recognized Orthodox Churches, the Churches of Russia, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Poland, Cyprus and the Czech Lands and Slovakia, have condemned the actions of Constantinople outright. The Church of Bulgaria is almost certain to do the same and various individual bishops in the Churches of Georgia and Greece have already spoken out against Constantinople, as has the latter’s own Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). Only the Churches of Romania, Alexandria and Albania remain strangely silent, sitting on the fence for the moment.

So it is still looking like thirteen against one in the World Orthodox Church. Meanwhile in Moscow, the Russian Church is preparing an Inter-Orthodox meeting on the situation in February. What is to be done? The first thing which has to be admitted is that this whole situation has come about through individual bishops in Constantinople involving themselves in geopolitics, seeking power and money above the Kingdom of God, which they have not sought first. Their gross disobedience to the Words of Christ in the Gospels has led to their disobedience to the canons and thus to division. The solution must surely lie in returning to the Gospels and the Apostolic Canons, to the pre-Constantinople age of the Church, to Jerusalem.

For the past position and role of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Church only ever came about for secular reasons in the fourth century, because that city was then the capital of the Roman Empire. And this was later betrayed and ended ignominiously in 1453. Since Constantinople has for long not been an Orthodox city or the capital of anywhere, let us return to reality. Since Constantinople is irrelevant and has been for over 550 years, the Church today should surely return to the spirit of Jerusalem, which is the source of Constantinople and indeed of all Patriarchates, Councils and all apostolic succession. If this is done, then we can hope to see, instead of petty nationalist politicking, worldliness and infighting, the Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity of the Worldwide Orthodox Church. For this we pray to the Holy Spirit, Who inspires the prophets and the New Jerusalem.