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  1. Ukrainian media has been reporting on trouble boiling under the surface of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) for several weeks now. Factions have formed between those who support the official primate “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko and those who remain loyal to and supportive of “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko and are indignant at his minimal role in the new structure. Denisenko has been the unrivaled leader of the schismatic autocephaly movement in Ukraine for 30 years but was relegated to the role of “Honorary Patriarch” in the OCU, forbidden to put his name in for primate by the Patriarchate of Constantinople which created the new church in cooperation with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine. The first Synod meeting for the new “church” gave him control of Kiev churches—a far cry from the primatial leadership he had imagined for himself. Now the trouble has boiled over and Philaret has openly declared that he intends to restore the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and take those hierarchs loyal to him with him. That is, the schismatic OCU, made up of two schismatic bodies, now faces the serious threaten of breaking down into two schismatic groups again. Despite promising Constantinople that the KP was liquidated just before the “unification council” on December 15 that united the KP with the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC) to create the OCU, Philaret has since then continually declared that the KP still exists. He has given awards on behalf of the KP and parishes of the canonical Church that decided to go into schism were re-registered to the KP, not to the OCU. He has also declared that the “unification council” was in no way a Ukrainian council, but was a function of the Constantinople Church. It has become clear that Philaret kept the KP alive as Plan B in case he wasn’t satisfied with the new OCU, and he’s openly not. “The Kiev Patriarchate exists, it does not need to be returned,” he said in a recent interview 1+1. “There is a patriarch, and if there is a patriarch, then there is a patriarchate, the Kiev Patriarchate. And there it does and should exist. And the time will come when it will be recognized. I am 100% certain,” he added. He went on to acknowledge that there is a division in the “Ukrainian Church,” but said, “We are creating a single church—the Kiev Patriarchate. Necessarily.” The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, on the other hand, has officially stated on May 10 that the KP no longer legally exists in Ukraine as of January 30. However, the evidence shows otherwise, as the KP (and the UAOC) remains active in the state register of legal entities, individual entrepreneurs and public formations. As mentioned above, the KP has continued to receive new parishes since January 30. Philaret has also declared that only he who created the KP can liquidate it. Epiphany Dumenko was the protégé of Philaret Denisenko in the KP. Denisenko forced another KP “hierarch,” Mikhail Zinkevich, to remove his name from consideration for the primatial slot so his loyal project Dumenko could be elected. Denisenko assumed continued loyalty from Dumenko and even declared that he would continue to rule the church in tandem with the much younger Dumenko. However, the frosting of their relationship became apparent when Denisenko recently invited a number of “hierarchs” of the OCU to join him at Kiev’s Vladimir Cathedral on May 14 to celebrate the memory of St. Makary of Kiev, whose relics are kept at the cathedral. The invitations were sent on behalf of the KP, and Dumenko was not among the invitees. It is widely expected that the revival of the KP will be discussed. The Ternopil Diocese of the OCU, formerly the Ternopil Diocese of the UAOC, offered the clever response of expressing its support for Epiphany Dumenko in a letter published on UAOC letterhead. Denisenko did eventually invite Dumenko, commenting to him that he had not initially invited him because “not once after your election as the primate of the UOC—for five months—did you celebrate the Divine Liturgy with me. I had the thought, perhaps it’s wrong, that you consider it humiliating to serve with Patriarch Philaret?” The fact that Dumenko has not served with his mentor and “Honorary Patriarch” for five months indicates the growing sentiment among mainly the younger members of the KP that the future is not with Denisekno—it’s time to move on. And Dumenko’s supporters are striking back. An appeal to the supporters of Philaret, “10 Theses for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” has appealed online, imploring them not to provoke a new schism. Additionally, the administration of the schismatic Kiev Theological Academy has forbade its students from attending Philaret’s May 14 service for St. Makary. The online appeal states: “Immediately after the unification council, strange processes incomprehensible to us began, which we connect with the unacceptable lust for power and ambition of some of the church hierarchs… First of all, we are talking about several interviews of the former Patriarch of the UOC-KP Philaret.” The Orthodox world has long known that Philaret Denisenko went into schism in the first place 30 years ago after he was passed over for the Russian Patriarchal throne. As the Metropolitan of Kiev and Locum Tenens following the repose of Patriarch Pimen, Denisenko fully expected to ascend the throne, but in the aftermath of Alexei II’s election and enthronement, he betrayed Christ in His Church and became an ideologue of schismatic nationalism. He was defrocked, excommunicated, and eventually anathematized for persisting in schism. On October 11, the Holy Synod of Constantinople declared the anathema against him null and void. Its spokesmen have justified the overturning of the anathema by claiming it was never justified in the first place. Moscow had simply taken revenge on Philaret for seeking Ukrainian autocephaly they claim—it had nothing to do with Philaret’s lust for power. However, now that the Ukrainian schismatic church has autocephaly from Constantinople (though it is recognized only by Constantinople), there seems to be no justification for Philaret’s ongoing provocations, other than his egocentrism and lust for power that His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania spoke of in a 2015 interview. For his part, Epiphany Dumenko, who will not attend Philaret’s gathering, has responded that a return to the KP would mean the loss of the tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople and the isolation of the OCU. The OCU is, in fact, currently isolated from the rest of the Orthodox world, though Dumenko recently expressed the hope and belief that this will change. The current state of the OCU is only a continuation of what has always been. Before the “unification council” in December, the “hierarchs” of the KP and UAOC could not work together and the Holy Synod of Constantinople was forced to write the statutes for the schismatic church and to convene the “council,” forcing a unification of incompatible groups. http://orthochristian.com/121136.html?fbclid=IwAR1M8S0t4Ttj44C33Or8c5_ZuTrBkDHvIK9qslV_vqxNJGiEuxeCGHCst-s
  2. NEW YORK – The Holy Archdiocese of America cites the following announcement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate: ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE It is hereby announced that today Saturday, May 4, 2019, His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch received His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, who apprised Him on various affairs of his God-saved Eparchy. Thereafter, His Eminence, the Archbishop submitted his written resignation from the throne of the Holy Archdiocese of America, which he shepherded with God-loving care for twenty years, and which the Patriarch will bring for consideration before the Holy and Sacred Synod in its upcoming meeting of next Thursday, May 9. https://www.goarch.org/-/announcement-regarding-the-meeting-of-the-ecumenical-patriarch-with-archbishop-demetrios-geron-of-america Било је питање времена...
  3. The consequences of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s creation of a new schismatic church in Ukraine and the granting of autocephaly to it continue to reverberate throughout the entire Orthodox world, and the monastic enclave of Mt. Athos is no exception. The issue has divided the monasteries, some of which have accepted and concelebrated with the visiting representatives of the new “church,” and some of which categorically reject them as schismatics. OrthoChristian recently published a translation of the opinion of the representatives of four Greek monasteries that sharply criticized the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos. Now a letter from 12 Athonite elders from various sketes and cells has been published in Greek by Romfea and in Russian by the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. The letter is dated March 17—a month after the first schismatic delegation visited Mt. Athos and celebrated Liturgy in several monasteries. “With great sorrow and concern we learn about what is happening in the Orthodox Church as a whole because of the non-canonical granting of autocephaly to the schismatics of Ukraine without the consent of the canonical autonomous Church headed by Metropolitan Onuphry, which continues to consider the new autocephalites as schismatics, having no communion with them and, on the basis of the sacred canons, with all of those who have communion with the schismatics,” the letter opens. The Patriarchate of Constantinople granted autocephaly to a group within another Church’s jurisdiction, in clear violation of the holy canons, the Athonite fathers write, and thus the Russian Church has broken communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the authors’ view, Constantinople’s actions threaten a schism on the scale of the 1054 split between Rome and Constantinople. The Church is still bleeding from the wounds from the ecumenist council of Crete in 2016, and now there has been inflicted a new wound, “for which the Ecumenical Patriarchate is solely responsible,” the letter reads. Further, this justification of schism places people’s souls in danger of damnation because the Holy Spirit is not active in schism, the fathers write, with reference to the teachings of Sts. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom. Heresy and schism are the work of satan, the Athonites write categorically. “When [the devil] fails to thwart salvation through heresies, then he works to provoke schisms,” they assert. The occasion of the writing of this letter, the authors write, is that they do not want to fall into this soul-destroying work of the devil. The Athonite elders continue to recognize the schismatics precisely as such, and they reject the historical revisionism of Constantinople which claims that Ukraine has always been its territory: We have left the world and the pleasures of the world and we use our souls and bodies for ascetic podvigs, to obtain the mercy of God. Would it not be inexcusable negligence and folly to render our labors and aspirations worthless by communing with the Ukrainian schismatics who are removed from Eucharistic communion and defrocked by the Russian Church to which they belonged for more than three centuries, according to the unchanging, continuous, and general recognition of all Orthodoxy, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate? The fathers then point to canons from the ecumenically-recognized councils of Laodicea and Antioch to demonstrate that joint prayer with schismatics is prohibited, and that those who enter into communion with the excommunicated ought themselves to be excommunicated. Further, only the Church that excommunicates someone can receive him back—a rule clearly broken by Pat. Bartholomew, the fathers write, which according to the Council of Antioch, makes him subject to excommunication. “In 1686, by an act of Patriarch Dionysius IV, [Ukraine] entered the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, which according to pan-Orthodox consent has remained for 333 years until this day,” the letter reads. Later, after the fall of communism, Philaret Denisenko went into schism after he lost the election for Patriarch of Moscow and was subsequently defrocked and anathematized. Thus, the Athonite ascetics reject the historical revisionism that says that Philaret was punished simply for desiring autocephaly. Additionally, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” of Makary Maletich traces not only to schismatics, but even to those wholly devoid of any apostolic succession, the letter states, and thus they are recognized as schismatic by all, except for Constantinople. However, the canonical Church remains that headed by Met. Onuphry, according to the Athonite elders. And the problem did not begin with the Ukrainian situation: “It has long been known that Pat. Bartholomew does not have any particular respect for the sacred canons, which he has violated and violates, especially with regard to relations with heretics, and now with schismatics.” The entire construct upon which Pat. Bartholomew’s invasion of Ukrainian Church territory is built is like a house built on the sand of inept advisors: At first, relying on insufficiently-educated or self-serving theological consultants, he tried to justify his invasion by referring to the concept of ekkliton (ἔκκλητον), that is, that he alone, as a second pope, can accept appeals and petitions from other autocephalous Churches, as he is, allegedly, according to the recently-appeared prevailing opinion of the pseudo-theologians of the post-Patristic era, not the first among equals (primus inter pares), but the first without equals (primus sine paribus). And further: But this argument immediately crashed with a bang, because it contradicts the conciliar system of Church governance, in which all patriarchs and primates are considered equal to one another, with Constantinople having only a primacy of honor, not power, as claimed by the Pope. The right to hear appeals extends only to those of his own jurisdiction, and not to the jurisdiction of other patriarchs. The fathers then refer to the comments on the 9th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the “God-moved” St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite, “one of our greatest theologians and canonists,” to substantiate their argument about who has the right to hear which appeals. The Athonite elders then point to Constantinople’s changing tactics in regard to the Ukrainian situation: When Patriarch Bartholomew realized that he couldn’t rely upon ekkliton in his cross-border intervention within the bounds of another’s jurisdiction, then with the help of his own advisors, ready to serve him, he discovered 333 years later that Ukraine is within the jurisdiction not of the Russian, but of the Constantinopolitan Church! His inattentive or militant theologians concealed and misinterpreted many documents and opinions in order to come to the ridiculous conclusion about the temporary nature of the transfer of Ukraine to the Russian Church (a temporary character of more than three centuries!), and that now this concession is canceled. Despite these games on the part of Constantinople, every Local Church recognizes the Church in Ukraine as that headed by the “wise and modest” Met. Onuphry, as the elders write, which did not request autocephaly. As autocephaly was given to a minority group of schismatics, against the pan-Orthodox opinion, the autocephaly is highly problematic. The authors of the letter also consider it unjust and devoid of basic logic to “place a magnifying glass” on the nationalistic or ecumenistic tendencies of some in the Russian Church (past and present), though not of the canonical Ukrainian Church they note, in order to justify Constantinople’s anti-canonical invasion. The elders then testify that the majority of the fathers of the Holy Mountain rejoiced with great joy when the Sacred Community decided not to send a delegation to the enthronement of the schismatic “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko or even to send him a congratulatory letter. But they were very upset by the minority of monasteries and fathers which still participated in the enthronement. The same torn feelings were caused by the visitation of the delegation of the schismatic church to the Holy Mountain: “The exact same feelings of joy filled our hearts because many monasteries prevented the visit of ‘bishops’ and ‘clerics’ of the new false Church, but bitterness and dispassionate anger towards those, fortunately, few who courteously accepted them and/or served with them!!!” Due to the seriousness of the issue, and for the sake of the high authority that Mt. Athos enjoys in the Orthodox world, and for the sake of ensuring inter-Athonite unity, the authors of the letter entreat that the schismatics be denied access to the Holy Mountain, or at the least that their “clerics” not be allowed to serve, until a pan-Orthodox resolution is reached, given that, despite the extreme pressure, no Church has recognized the schismatics over the past three months. This decision should be made as soon as possible given the news about the schismatics planning more visits to Mt. Athos, the fathers write. Moreover, the founders of the Ukrainian schismatic movement are not only condemned by the Church, but also have the condemnation of civil courts for grave moral crimes, unthinkable even for non-Christians, the letter reads. They are also weighed down by involvement in the recent Bulgarian schism, ties with the Ukrainian Uniates, and persecution against the canonical Church, especially after Constantinople recognized them. They also lament Epiphany Dumenko’s recent statements about softening on the sin of homosexuality. Moreover, the schismatics visiting the Holy Mountain are not spiritually, but are rather politically motivated—looking only for acceptance of their illegitimate group that they can then advertise to the Orthodox world, “and to achieve their wicked plans,” the Athonite elders write. In conclusion, the fathers emphasize that they will not jeopardize their salvation by entering into communion with the excommunicated schismatics and that they will not promote the present schism on the local or global Orthodox level. “We fear an inter-Athonite schism if we do not make correct and courageous decisions,” the Fathers conclude. The letter is signed by: Elder Hieromonk Arsenios with the brotherhood of Panagouda cell of Koutloumousiou Monastery; Elder Hieromonk Abraham with the brotherhood of the kallyva of St. Gerasimos of Koutloumousiou Skete; Elder Hierodeacon Theophilos with the brotherhood of the cell of the Holy Unmercenaries of Grigoriou Monastery; Elder Nicholas of the cell of St. Demetrios of Hilandar Monastery; Elder Joseph with the brotherhood of the cell of St. Theodore of St. Paul’s Monastery; Elder Savva with the brotherhood of the cell of the Holy Archangels of Hilandar Monastery; Elder Nikodemos of the cell of St. Nektarios of Stavronikita Monastery; Elder Gabriel of the cell of St. Christodoulos of Koutloumousiou Monastery; Elder Euphrosynos with the brotherhood of the cell of St. John the Forerunner of Koutloumousiou Monastery; Elder Paisios with the brotherhood of the cell of the Holy Archangels of Hilandar Monastery; Elder Nikodemos of the cell of St. John the Theologian of the Great Lavra; Elder Arsenios of the kallyva of the Holy Monk-Martyr Gerasimos of Koutloumousiou Skete. http://orthochristian.com/120863.html?fbclid=IwAR1zff4SNu49qZZFj35lUMS7iPxGUBWZJPaVCfkYqZxCxm1KlS58nFcR1GA
  4. Archimandrite Alypius (Svetlichny) on the history and symbolism of liturgical utensils. What Vessels and Diskoses Were Used for the Eucharist After the Edict of Constantine the Great? When Emperor Constantine the Great issued his edict that granted Christians equal rights with the pagans, Christian congregations were finally able to worship openly and to build their churches. New liturgical life started, and it required new liturgical items. Provincial prefects and the emperor himself made generous endowments to the churches, including vessels for the Eucharist. We find it mentioned in the biography of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. Eucharist Cup, late 5th century The chalices often had the conical shape of the emperor’s cups. Diskoses resembled plain plates. It was understandable because they would order the usual cups and plates, which rich people used at their feasts. Diskos. 6th century When the believers multiplied, a new custom to drink the Blood of Christ from a Eucharist jug was introduced in some provincial churches. Liturgical scholars suppose that the jugs were used by poor congregations as a substitute for cups. The wine that Christians brought to a church in jugs was used during the Eucharist as the full offering. The jugs were later made either of semi-precious gemstones with Christian symbols on them, or of precious metals, and less often from gilded copper. This tradition gained popularity in monasteries because a deacon would carry the Holy Gifts to hermits after a liturgy. A jug was really practical for that, while the sacred Bread was simply wrapped in a piece of clean cloth. It must be noted that traditionally, almost until the tenth century, the faithful would drink the Blood of Christ straight from the Chalice or from the aforementioned jug, while they received the most pure Body into their hands, later into pieces of cloth on their hands, and they would consume it on their own with awe, but first touching their eyes and foreheads with it. The tradition of giving the communion to the faithful on a spoon started spreading in the Eastern Churches since the 7thcentury. However, they would give only the Blood of Christ on a spoon (this tradition has survived up to now in the Coptic Church). They started dipping the Bread into the cup with the Blood and then distribute the particles of the Body soaked in Blood on a spoon. Roman Catholics would criticize this method in their arguments with the Orthodox. Thus, Cardinal Humbert wrote in his treatise Against the Greek Misconceptions, “Jesus didn’t put bread in a cup and didn’t tell the apostles, ‘Take ye and eat it with a spoon, for this is my Body’… The Lord didn’t offer soaked bread to any of his disciples aside from Judas the traitor to point at the one who was going to betray him.” Thus, the Latin Christians started to pay attention to the historicity of the Last Supper. When and Why Did The Tradition of Giving Communion on a Spoon Arise? Apparently, the tradition of giving communion on a spoon wasn’t related to new concepts of personal hygiene. On the contrary, it reflected a development of a more reverent attitude to the Eucharist and was more convenient when there were too many parishioners willing to take communion. They didn’t need to take the communion in two steps any longer: they received both elements at once. Additionally, in contrast with the Latin tradition, which emphasized the suffering and death of Christ, and therefore used unleavened bread for communion as a symbol of sorrow and death, the Eastern Church shaped her attitude to the liturgical elements through theology. The Churches of the East regarded the Liturgy as the re-enactment of the Resurrection, and therefore the liturgical bread was ‘live’ – it was leavened bread of joy. Naturally, this theology stipulated that the Body had to be mixed with Blood visibly for the faithful to symbolize the restoration of life, i.e., Resurrection. That was why the Body was dipped into the Chalice and then taken out of the Chalice with a spoon. The communion spoon wasn’t actually called ‘a spoon’ (κοχλιάριον); rather, it was called ‘tongs’ (λαβίδα), hinting at the burning coal given to Isaiah by an Angel with tongs (Is. 6:7). Interestingly enough, the first spoons for communion resembled real spoons and were quite big. Until the 18th century, though the spoons became smaller, they remained deep enough to distribute sufficiently large portions of the Wine and the Bread to the parishioners. A Communion Spoon. 17th century There was an alternative method of consuming the Gifts in the middle of the 12th century, when the communion spoons were a new thing: drinking from the Chalice using a special silver straw. This custom saw a widespread adoption in Africa and Spain. However, it didn’t stick, and the silver straws became rare as early as the 14th century. I heard that such communion straws appeared much earlier, possibly even as early as the 6th century, in particular in the Western Church. Hardly anyone knows that a wine strainer was considered a liturgical utensil in the 4th century, too. It was made of silver or other valuable stuff and used to pour wine into the Chalice. Treasure found in the Zion Monastery: chalices, censers, a tabernacle, and a wine strainer in the front row Christians used to bring their own wine and their own baked bread for the Liturgy. The wine wasn’t always high-quality and clean enough. That is why they needed a strainer to filter out possible admixtures. Jugs were used for the Eucharist along with the Chalice until the 14th century; a mural painting in Stavronikita Monastery on Mount Athos depicting the Eucharist allows us to see that monks at Mt. Athos might use a jug for communion up until the 16th century. Therefore, the communion spoon wasn’t universally widespread. Use of a jug implies that the Bread and the Wine were consumed separately. https://blog.obitel-minsk.com/2019/03/when-and-why-did-the-tradition-of-giving-communion-on-a-spoon-arise.html?fbclid=IwAR2DuaWuimMP57VWs0KAUuuo88XubuXKYoVQwlfzGeoibRDr0eU1tCmLGeI
  5. The Orthodox Churches have no right to speak on the matter of the Ukrainian crisis other than to affirm the decisions and actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, according to Patriarch Bartholomew’s reply to the Albanian Church that was recently published in Greek and subsequently in Russian. In December, Pat. Bartholomew wrote to the primates of the Orthodox Churches throughout the world, calling on them to recognize the results of December 15’s “unification council” that created a new ecclesiastical structure in Ukraine. On January 14, the Albanian Church responded that while it cannot accept the Russian Church’s decision to break communion with Constantinople, it also has serious issues with Constantinople’s decision to accept the hierarchs and clergy o the Ukrainian schismatic groups whose ordinations are devoid of grace and the action of Holy Spirit. They also lament that the creation of a new “autocephalous” church did nothing to create unity in Ukraine, but conversely, has only deepened the divisions there and threatens a schism in the entire Orthodox world. As the Albanian Church’ statement was published in full, the Patriarchate of Constantinople also published its response to the Albanian Church in full. In the reply, Pat. Bartholomew laments that the “Mother Church and the Patriarch himself” are being “slandered” by those who benefit from misinterpreting Constantinople’s actions. This echoes statements he made in early January, that he would not change course on the Ukrainian issue no matter what the Local Churches say, as they need to learn to respect Constantinople more: “We pray that the sister Churches which unjustly oppose the decisions and initiatives of the first throne of the Constantinople Church would finally begin to think logically and fairly, with great respect and gratitude to the Church of our Ecumenical Patriarchate.” ‘Therefore,” the Patriarch writes to the Albanian Synod, “it is up to you to realize the truths that have been spoken, not to ratify them.” This echoes the Patriarch’s statement from October that, in the end, the Russian Church will have no choice but to obey its decisions. For Constantinople, it is a matter of having enough respect for the Patriarchate of Constantinople to simply accept whatever decisions and actions it makes, while the Synods, primates, and hierarchs from the various Local Churches have shown that they believe that these actions and decisions should be evaluated as to whether they are true to Orthodox ecclesiology and canon law. There seems to be contradictory statements and reasonings coming from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. During the recent town hall meeting put on by the Archons of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul took care to emphasize the supposed conciliarity of the Patriarchate’s actions, referring to the visits to each Local Church by a Constantinople delegation to discuss the matter. Here the Patriarch, however, openly states that conciliarity is unnecessary when Constantinople has already made a decision. As is typical for his statements on this matter, Pat. Bartholomew also states that the Patriarchate acts only out of love and the desire for good order, not out of self-interest or any other motive, including political. However, there have been voices throughout the Orthodox Church recognizing the opposite in the Patriarchate’s actions. For example, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro of the Serbian Church said of Pat. Bartholomew in December that “His love of power has led to great sorrow in Ukraine, to discord that is catastrophic for the future not only of Ukraine and all the Slavic peoples, but at the same time for all of Orthodoxy.” Moreover, the recent news that Constantinople is in fact receiving a number of buildings, premises, and other properties in exchange for the tomos of autocephaly invalidates the claim that the Patriarchate did not act out of any self-interest. Pat. Bartholomew also repeats his Patriarchate’s assertion that the canons of the Church grant universal jurisdiction to Constantinople, to hear appeals and intervene in situations in any Church’s territory—an assertion that has been heard more and more frequently in the context of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. For example, in his letter to Alexander Drabinko, one of the two bishops who defected from the canonical Church, in which Pat. Bartholomew received him into his jurisdiction (without a canonical release from the Ukrainian Church) on the eve of the “unification council,” he wrote that Constantinople “indisputably has the responsibility to judge ecclesiastical matters everywhere and to give them a final conclusion.” The same assertion was also made in the tomos granted to the Ukrainian schismatic church. However, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite, the Church’s foremost canonist, writes that “the Bishop of Constantinople has no authority to officiate in the dioceses and parishes of other Patriarchs, nor has he been given by this Canon [Canon 9 of Constantinople—O.C.] to grant a decision in reference to an appeal on the part of the whole Church.” Further, Pat. Bartholomew notes that the newest autocephalies were granted by Constantinople, but degrades the independent statutes of these Churches at the same time. “The newest and so-called ‘autocephalies,’” he terms them, reflecting Constantinople’s conviction that the autocephaly of any Church except for the four ancient Patriarchates and the Church of Cyprus can, in fact, be revoked by Constantinople, as they were never explicitly confirmed by an Ecumenical Council. However, their autocephalous status was confirmed by the organizational makeup of the Crete Council of 2016, which Constantinople considers to be binding on all Orthodox Churches. Moreover, it should be noted that most of these autocephalous were granted to Churches that were formerly precisely under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, such as the Russian Church, whereas Ukraine is not under Constantinople’s jurisdiction and thus its intervention there is non-canonical. And despite recent examples, the Church of Cyprus received its autocephaly from an Ecumenical Council, and the Church of Georgia initially from the Church of Antioch. Thus there is ancient precedent for autocephaly begin granted not by Constantinople. And regarding the newer examples, they were not always without controversy. Constantinople granted the Polish Church its autocephaly at a time when its Mother Church in Russia was weak, and this caused no little stir. The Polish Church later sought autocephaly from the Russian Church. The autocephaly granted to the Georgian Church in the 1990s was actually a recognition of what had already been, since the Georgian Church declared its own autocephaly in 1917, which was recognized by the Russian Church a few decades later. And the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia received its autocephaly first from the Russian Church, though Constantinople issued a new tomos of autocephaly later when the Czech-Slovak Church sought to regularize its relations with Constantinople (though without actually seeking a new tomos). Also regarding the canonical tradition, Pat. Bartholomew writes that he included with his letter a study on the reality of ordinations celebrated by schismatic or deposed bishops, which would mean by extension that Constantinople recognizes the hierarchs and clergy of the various Old Calendarist groups as true clergy. “However,” the Union of Orthodox Journalists writes, “in the very document, at the very beginning, Metropolitan Basil of Smyrna recognizes that on the basis of the sacred canons of the Church, it is impossible to draw a conclusion about the effectiveness of such schismatic ‘ordinations.’” Pat. Bartholomew also offers several historical examples of schismatic ordinations being accepted by the Church: the Meletian schism in the early Church, the case of the Bulgarian Church from 1872 to 1945, and the reunion of ROCOR with the Moscow Patriarchate. However, none of these situations are analogous, as none of them involves one Patriarchate interfering in the life of another to cancel legitimate excommunications and anathematizations and create an entirely new structure within another Church’s territory. The case of ROCOR is especially helpful in that we see a Church body, which was never fully out of communion with the Church, returning precisely to the body from which it had separated. In the case of the Bulgarian Church, it was not excommunicated by every Local Church—concelebrations continued with other Local Churches and the Romanian Church provided holy Chrism to it for many years—and in 1945 was received back into communion with other Local Churches—it was not a case of a sect of schismatics within one Local Church being restored under the authority of another Local Church altogether. http://orthochristian.com/119888.html?fbclid=IwAR3x-cHBJEfQ_bg-nEcg1tw1idOleTjDoXNSyWArVM2auoSUCK4RSguncNc
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  7. According to an order from Ukrainian Minister of Culture Evgeny Nischuk, the Uniates will be allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, one of the most ancient Orthodox churches in the city, on the feast of the Annunciation on March 25/April 7. The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics Svyatoslav Shevchuk announced the upcoming service during a service on February 17. As has been stated before, the common goal of the schismatic church and the Uniates is to create a single Kiev Patriarchate that will be recognized by both Rome and Constantinople. And on January 17, Shevchuk stressed his belief that no one church can lay claim to St. Sophia’s, but that it is “a meeting place for all descendants of the St. Sophia Church of Kiev.” The church currently belongs to the Ukrainian government. However, not everyone is happy with these plans. Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and “Honorary Patriarch” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the ideological leader of the Ukrainian schismatic-nationalist movement, is concerned about how Ukrainian Orthodox will react, and, resorting to his typical Russophobia, about the possibility of provocations from the Kremlin. In an address to Shevchuk published on the KP website, Denisenko asked him not to serve in St. Sophia’s because “it’s like if one of the Orthodox primates celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Peter in Rome.” The Ministry of Culture seems to have waivered in its decision following the statement by the ideological schismatic leader. In his message, Philaret calls the Uniate plans to celebrate Annunciation in the Orthodox cathedral “unusual,” because, he says, the Ukrainian Uniates have never served there, and he recalled that the enthronement of “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic church, was recently held there. Uniates contend, however, that St. Sophia’s was transferred to them for a time beginning in 1596. According to Orthodox ecclesiology and canons, it is forbidden for non-Orthodox to serve at an Orthodox altar, though Denisenko focuses only the possibility of negative reactions. He stresses that if the Uniates serve there, “it will cause resistance from Orthodox Ukrainians… At a time when there is a war for the independence and integrity of Ukraine in the eastern part of our country, we are called to testify and maintain peace and unity in society.” Moreover, the “Patriarch” fears, as he often does, how the Kremlin will respond: “There is a danger that this situation can be used by Russia to carry out provocations to harm the Ukrainian people.” Thus, Philaret urges Shevchuk to give up the idea of serving in St. Sophia’s and expresses hope that the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the Uniates will continue to develop good relations. Interestingly, following the publication of Denisenko’s letter, the Ministry of Culture posted a message on Saturday that the Uniates were not allowed to serve in St. Sophia’s, as that would harm the great UNESCO monument, though the message was soon removed, reports the Ukrainian site Strana, with a screenshot of the removed message. Many Ukrainian leaders, including the Minister of Culture himself, and the Parliament Speaker Andrei Paruby, are Uniates. Yesterday, the Information Department of the Uniate church reported that they respect the opinions of their “Orthodox brothers,” and thus a meeting between Shevchuk and Dumenko will be held to resolve the issue. http://orthochristian.com/119564.html?fbclid=IwAR0FaVLey2T8b86_8yocmgt2NkSMgcwQxl-GkyM6fwgsKA7olXZyTeyESow
  8. Ovruch, Ukraine, February 25, 2019 The Soviet times were a time of totalitarian pressure on the human conscience, just as now there are lying attempts to involve people in the new ‘church,’ said His Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Ovruch and Korosten in a new interview on the diocesan site. “In those days, several teachers and the military Commissar told me: ‘You believing Church people work for the West, America, the CIA.’ Now they tell my team and I another lie: ‘You work for Moscow, the Kremlin,” Met. Vissarion said, showing the similarities between Soviet Ukraine and today’s Ukraine. The hierarch recalled how the KGB threatened to arrest him for distributing morning and evening prayers, and now the authorities harass him for standing firm in his loyalty to the true Church of Christ. The Ovruch Diocese overwhelmingly declared its loyalty to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine on December 10. Among other things, the authorities created a fake Facebook page in his name to spread schismatic propaganda. They also installed a fake billboard in the city with his photo and text claiming that he blessed the creation of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Met. Vissarion also said that only 4 of the 220 clergy in his diocese moved into the schismatic church after its creation on December 15. Vladyka Vissarion suspended them for breaking their priestly oath, after which a new wave of slander crashed upon him. Now, as in the years of Soviet oppression, it is necessary to protect the flock and read special prayers. “We say: Our Church in Ukraine—it’s not Putin’s, not Poroshenko’s, but our Lord Jesus Christ’s; its administrative center is in the Kiev Caves Lavra, headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. And this Church is recognized by Patriarch Theophil of Jerusalem and all the Local Churches,” the Ovruch hierarch explained. He also stressed that the Church’s mission is to help people be purified and grow spiritually. “Through our Church there is the possibility, by God’s grace, to put on Christ and to go into eternity with such joy,” Met. Vissarion said. He also reminded those that have threatened him, including by text message, that God’s judgment awaits us all. “Having received about 10 foul-mouthed text messages, at the end they even wrote: ‘666 is coming soon…’ Let us recall from the Gospel: There will be a Second glorious Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Dread Judgment of the living and the dead,” the canonical hierarch concluded. http://orthochristian.com/119552.html?fbclid=IwAR2EdwzIwklsRLyhXczMI_bqHp9Xt0IOGWjVj_MKgqEQXjckplS9rUoBDU8
  9. Archbishop John of Charioupolis addressing the assembly today Today, in Paris, was held an extraordinary general assembly of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, or more precisely of the diocesan governing union of Russian Orthodox associations in Western Europe. The assembly voted against the dissolution of the Archdiocese (206 voters, 15 for the dissolution, 191 against). No decision has been made regarding the jurisdictional choice. A new assembly be may held in June to choose one. An official statement is expected. https://orthodoxie.com/en/the-extraordinary-general-assembly-of-the-archdiocese-refused-the-dissolution/
  10. During the French Revolution’s worst years, some of the most visible expressions of violence involved attacks on the Church, which was perceived as a pillar of the ancien régime. Revolutionaries slaughtered numerous clergy and expelled thousands of others. They expropriated Church-owned property and occasionally ransacked and burnt churches. It was hard not to recall these past events when reading about the recent spate of vandalism inflicted on Catholic churches throughout France over the past two weeks. The Observatoire de la Christianophobie reports that between February 3 and 11, nine Catholic churches were subject to severe vandalism, ranging from the smashing of statues and stained-glass windows to the overturning of tabernacles. One church in Yvelines, the church of Saint-Nicolas de Houilles, was vandalised three times in seven days. It follows a series of similar attacks on Catholic churches throughout France in 2018. Vandalism isn’t a new problem. But why have Catholic churches in France become a target in recent years? Part of the answer lies in that they are easy targets. Many churches are open to the public on a regular basis. In some cases, they lack internal surveillance cameras. This made it simple for a group of Romanian migrants, for instance, to stroll into Catholic churches throughout 2018 and walk out unimpeded with valuable artifacts to sell. Beyond professional thieves, the absence of security means that anyone with a grudge or strong resentment about their present circumstances won’t encounter too much difficulty if they choose to wreak havoc on a church’s interior. That could include people ranging from disgruntled teenagers to Islamists looking for easy targets. To that extent, the outbreak of church vandalism may reflect the social unrest presently permeating France. The country is now into its fourth month of protest by the gilets jaunes (yellow vests). Much of this has been expressed through vandalism of banks, high-end businesses in fashionable parts of Paris and other cities, and the occasional scrawling of graffiti on national monuments. The police’s aggressive response to the gilets jaunes has also helped inure many otherwise peaceful people to everyday violence. That, however, doesn’t explain the French media’s relative silence on church desecrations or the French government’s indifferent response to the problem. The only major French newspaper to raise major concerns has been the centre-right Le Figaro. On February 13, Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe belatedly tweeted a condemnation of the attacks, promising he would discuss the issue at his next meeting with France’s Catholic bishops. That’s hardly a robust response. It also suggests that, when it comes to violence against Catholic places of worship, the reaction of much of France’s political and media establishment is a collective shrug. In some quarters, things have not changed much since 1789. https://catholicherald.co.uk/magazine/frances-churches-are-under-attack-but-the-establishment-doesnt-seem-to-care/?fbclid=IwAR2zcLNMc51XhzQK0iVrFIiFoTS1I5Gfv1roZ8Zfq-TtLg9E8aI1RRrbP_E
  11. His Grace Bishop John of Glavinitsa of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church reposed in the Lord this morning in a Sofia hospital after a brief battle with cancer, reports Dobrotoliubie. Bp. John served as Vicar Bishop to His Eminence Metropolitan Kiril of Varna and Veliki Preslav and in recent years carried out his ministry at the world-famous St. John of Rila Monastery. He will be remembered as a hierarch who loved the service of God and the liturgical services. His Grace was born Stoyan Kostadinov Stoykov on November 29, 1949 in Sofia. He received his secondary education at the St. John of Rila Sofia Seminary, and on January 11, 1969, he took his monastic vows in the Bachkovo Monastery, and was ordained as a hierodeacon later that year. He was ordained as a hieromonk in 1971, and raised to the rank of archimandrite in 1976. n 1976, he graduated from the St. Clement of Ohrid Theological Academy in Sofia. He served as a priest in the Metropolis of Vidin, as the Deputy Rector of the Sofia Theological Seminary, and as the head of the Synodal Liturgical Department before becoming a bishop. He was consecrated as the Bishop of Glavinitsa on November 30, 2010, serving as a vicar to the Metropolitan of Varna. May his memory be eternal! http://orthochristian.com/119524.html?fbclid=IwAR2HffDPJ3aEpMVHPcsPiX8K9hj_VjinNZ1NjMsXOFgPn_BMvmG6DgS4KWQ
  12. His Eminence Metropolitan Paul (Tsaousoglou) of Glyfada of the Greek Orthodox Church reposed in the Lord today at the age of 76, reports vimaorthodoxias.gr. Met. Paul was hospitalized at 2:30 this morning in Athens and later reposed. He faced problems with his heart and had previously been hospitalized to his deteriorating health. Met. Paul with His Beatitude Met. Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. He was known as a very compassionate and loving hierarch who often visited the sick and distributed alms. When he was sick and recovering in the hospital, he forbade none from coming to receive his blessing. His Eminence was also known as a staunch defender against ecumenism and any attempt to water down the Patristic Orthodox faith. He also stood up for the moral tradition of the Church and fought against the leftist sex education programs being introduced into Greek schools. May his memory be eternal! *** His Eminence’s biography is provided by Orthodox Wiki: Metropolitan Paul was born in 1943 in the town of Ermoupoli on the island of Syros of the Cyclades. After graduating from the Theological School of University of Athens and the Law School of the University of Thessaloniki, he was ordained as deacon in 1966 and a priest in 1969. During the following years Father Paul served as preacher in the Metropolis of Nikopolis and Preveza, with the Panhellenic Holy Foundation of Evangelistria of Tinos, and the Archdiocese of Athens. He was active for some 25 years in prison ministries, representing the Church of Greece in European and international conferences. Fr. Paul also engaged in extensive missionary work in Africa having made 48 trips to the African continent. He also was professor of ecclesiastical education and director at the boarding school of the Higher Ecclesiastical School of Athens. In 1999, Fr. Paul was appointed abbot of the Monastery of Petrakis. On October 11, 2002, he was elected to the episcopate by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. On October 14, he was consecrated by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens as the first Metropolitan of the newly established Metropolis of Glyfada. He was enthroned on December 1, 2002. http://orthochristian.com/119435.html?fbclid=IwAR2glULgKwAfZmSLJuEQ3fQMg7uT2YyyWjZ-r8XHUJ2c7qPaKzLanf7Qqf0
  13. An article from the latest issue of the Greek Orthodox gazette “Orthodox Tipos.” The author, Demetrios Anagnostou, is a well-known theologian and publicist. The practice of Church Tradition in the fight with heresies and schismatics that threaten the unity of the Church is never just protest and a canonical fight with cunning theories and schismatic (anti-canonical) actions, but at the same time, the condemnation of those Church actors who support them and act accordingly. [Note: Of course, today, after an entire century of ecumenist propaganda beginning with the release of the infamous Patriarchal encyclical of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1920 “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere” (where heretical communities are first called the “Church of Christ”!), which is considered the charter for ecumenism, led by the Ecumenical Patriarch, we have reached the point where for us “conciliarity” and “pan-Orthodox” have imposed the abolition of the terms “heresy” and “heretics” in the Church-Synodal lexicon, whereby any document condemning delusions and confirming the existence of other churches beyond the bounds of the Orthodox Church are considered unnecessary! (see the decisions of the Crete “Council”)]. It is significant that in Church history it often happens that corresponding heresies and schisms are fixed under a name not only from the content of the relevant theories (for example: Monophysites, Theopaschites, iconoclasts, papists, etc.), but also from the names of their inspirers, leaders, and creators (for example: Arianism, Nestorianism, Paulicians, etc.). In the twentieth century, for the first time in Church history, this traditional practice was successfully artificially neutralized in respect to the emergence and development of the modern heresy of ecumenism, which, according to the great Serbian dogmatician St. Justin (Popović), is a pan-heresy. It happened and continues to happen mainly because this heresy (undeclared, despite the obviousness of it) is still allowed (if not protected) by the majority of the Local Orthodox Churches. Moreover, it’s connected with the fact that in several cases, the bearers and supporters of this particular heresy are themselves the heads of the Local Orthodox Churches. The most significant of these cases and the most serious and dangerous precedent is the example of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is not only a bearer of the modern pan-heresy, but also its leader, main patron, and guide. This is not a subjective assessment and not a private opinion, but a common conviction that is proven and unconditionally confirmed on the basis of the official and public actions, statements, and texts of this patriarch—the primate of the once glorious and Orthodox See of Constantinople. Thanks to his office, Patriarch Bartholomew has managed to remain untouchable for a long time, avoiding canonical confrontation and accusations, although he often provokes the feelings of all the Orthodox faithful (pastors and flocks) by his clearly anti-Orthodox and anti-canonical actions and purely heretical beliefs. He is himself (according to his own statement) a faithful continuer of the line of his predecessor—the Mason, Patriarch Athenagoras, who was dedicated to syncretism and pan-religion. This line is treasonous to Orthodoxy. Day by day it becomes clearer and more obvious that Patriarch Bartholomew is striving for the proclamation of and his actual appointment as the second (Eastern) Pope, and for the transformation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople into a super-Patriarchate recognized on the international political and Church level—the new Eastern Vatican (of course, in the worst case scenario)! Recently, this open leader and defender of the Church-fighting pan-heresy of ecumenism, after the traumatic (for him) experience of attempting to subjugate world Orthodoxy by the sadly infamous “Holy and Great Council” organized by him and convened two years ago on Crete, chose a “new way” for the spreading and strengthening of his power, and, accordingly, his theories about an “Eastern Pope.” Bartholomew now follows the tried and tested method of “divide and conquer” (including causing a schism in the body of the Church), such that he himself and his plans are weakened in the short term but in the long term undermine the power and influence of those who dared to hamper the realization of his great dream, the convening of the first Ecumenical (ecumenistic) Council, the purpose of which was to synodically legitimize the pan-heresy of ecumenism in a pan-Orthodox fashion. In particular, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, known for his vindictive character (as the Greek Church has learned from bitter experience), has carried out his plan for an indirect schism in the flock and the ecclesiastical (jurisdictional) dissection of his Church “opponents”—those who oppose his ambitions to become a super-Patriarch and to make the Patriarchate of Constantinople the Eastern “Vatican.” These opponents, besides the Moscow Patriarchate, are the ancient Antiochian and Serbian Patriarchates. For the sake of his own interests and in connection with his obligations and service to the well-known political superpower (the U.S.), the ambitious Patriarch could (as we will probably see in the near future) “lead” two more dioceses of other Patriarchates (after Ukraine) to “autocephaly” and turn them into Phanar satellites. Here we are talking about Montenegro (a metropolia of the Serbian Patriarchate) and the dioceses beyond the borders of Syria (in neighboring states), which belong to the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate! After the political events connected with the so-called “Macedonian” issue, the candidate for “victim” in the Phanariot’s plans is also the so-called “Macedonian Church” (canonically referred to as the Ohrid Archdiocese), which is also the canonical territory of the Serbian Patriarchate and has for many years been in a state of schism, isolated and not recognized by the Orthodox world. Positioning himself as a faithful keeper and scrupulous defender of the historical rights of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (as he fancies himself), he completely ignores the rights of the rest of his brothers, and is prepared, putting on the guise of defender of the autonomy and fighter for the independence of Local Church administration and structures, to miraculously restore schismatics, to unconditionally recognize them, and to sow ecclesiastical controversies and schisms (clearly violating Orthodox ecclesiology and introducing, despite his own assurance to the contrary, ethnic and secular-state criteria in the sphere of Church decisions). In view of the above, given the “tomos of autocephaly” recently presented to the schismatic formation of the new “church” of Ukraine (circumventing the one and only canonical Orthodox Church that exists there, against the will of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has canonical authority there), the thesis that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a real threat to the Orthodox East is confirmed. We should not forget that this threat continues to corrode Orthodoxy and undercut the unity of the Orthodox Church, and it ultimately serves to prepare the majority to recognize the pseudo-council of Crete, which is the completion of a fruitless theological dialogue with papists and the restoration of full communion with those who have from of old deliberately fought against our faith and our family! This threat, aimed directly at the Orthodox faith and the unity of the Eastern Orthodox Church, should be canonically neutralized as quickly as possible by Orthodox hierarchs around the world located in the lands of those who preserve the right faith, esteeming themselves as pastors of the Church, who have vowed to pass on the inviolable covenants and to observe the sacred rules and statutes of the holy Orthodox Church of Christ. May God grant it! Demetrios Anagnostou 2/18/2019 http://orthochristian.com/119398.html?fbclid=IwAR15IBYhBZu2rh68u-dzAOSUqoq9dizPUbWfhqZ-2I2HQMMXuCdFuaX09TM
  14. Priest George Maximov The decision of Constantinople patriarch Bartholomew to intrude in Ukraine has caused huge upheavals in the entire Orthodox Church, and they haven’t ceased for many months now. The Orthodox of various countries are looking on in perplexity and horror as the primate of a respected Church suddenly proclaims as his own canonical territory what has for over 300 years been accepted by everyone without exception as part of another Local Church, and pronounces those whom the entire Orthodox Church has unanimously recognized as schismatics to be part of the canonical Church—at the same time threatening to pronounce as schismatics those who have been abiding in Eucharistic unity with all the Local Churches. Meanwhile, Patriarch Bartholomew as if doesn’t notice that his actions have set a flywheel in motion of government persecutions against the canonical Church of Ukraine. After all, the “received tomos” is one of the main points in the pre-election program of the current Ukrainian president, who wants to be elected for a second term this spring. So now the hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being called to the carpet by secular officials who hand them letters from the Constantinople patriarch; priests are being taken in for “prophylactic talks” to the special services—the Ukrainian successor to the KGB—and monastics are being threatened with eviction from their monasteries. Patriarch Bartholomew calls his actions “granting autocephaly to Ukraine,” but at the same time two thirds of the Ukrainian Orthodox are parishioners of a Church that never asked him for autocephaly and refuses to accept it. Probably for the first time in history we are seeing a forced “granting of autocephaly”, which gives us pause to think about many things. Over the recent months, many articles and speeches have appeared from Local Churches criticizing the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate. There have also been apologetic articles written by Constinople’s representatives, and the ensuing polemic basically plunges the reader into the thickets of history, where he is offered various interpretations of one or another combination of words from seventeenth century texts. These themes are undoubtedly also important, but we can imagine that it is much more important to look at what is happening in the broader context and understand what caused the current upheavals. For this we need to answer two questions. The first question: Are the current actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Ukraine something unprecedented? Patriarch Meletius IV (Metaxakis). Alas, no. The same invasion took place in Estonia in 1996, when Patriarch Bartholomew received those schismatics into communion. We will say right off that it would have been a mistake to look for an explanation of this action in the personality of this specific patriarch, because his predecessors made similar actions in the early 1920s, from the time of the ill-famed Patriarch Meletius IV (Metataksis). In 1923 he took over the parishes of the Russian Church in Finland and Estonia, subjecting them to his jurisdiction, and the next year his tore the diocese in Poland from the Russian Orthodox Church, self-willfully declaring it “autocephalous”. In 1936, the Constantinople patriarch proclaimed his jurisdiction in Latvia, five years earlier, against the will of the Russian Orthodox Church, included the Russian émigré parishes of Western Europe, turning them into his own exarchate (recently dissolved by Patriarch Bartholomew). We can’t help but note that these acts of intrusion and capture were perpetrated right during the time when the Orthodox Church in Russia was literally bleeding, enduring unprecedented persecutions from a godless regime. If the Communists confiscated churches and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church within the USSR, then the Constantinople Patriarch was doing this beyond its borders. But it would be wrong to say that similar actions have only been taken against the Russian Orthodox Church. In the 1920s, the Constantinople Patriarchate obtained from the Greek Church its cessation of ecclesiastical presence in the U.S. and Australia, in 1986 it manage to dissolve and swallow up the Alexandrian Church’s American exarchate, and very recently, in 2008, Patriarch Bartholomew forced the Jerusalem Church to give up its parishes in the U.S. and transfer them to the Constantinople jurisdiction. These actions did not always end in victory for Constintinople. For example, in 1931, Constantinople Patriarch Photius II tried unsuccessfully to transfer the Serbian parishes outside of Serbia to his jurisdiction. He wrote to Patriarch Barnabas: “All the Church communities located in the diaspora and outside the borders of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches, regardless of nationality, should be ecclesiastically subject to our Most Holy Patriarchal Throne.” But the Serbian Church did not give in to this demand, nor did the Romanian Church. If in the twentieth century the efforts of the Constantinople Patriarchs were mainly concentrated on subjecting the Orthodox diaspora to itself, then in the twenty-first century their expansion has reached into the territory of the autocephalous Churches themselves. In speaking about criticism of their actions in the Ukrainian question, Patriarch Bartholomew recently tried to explain it away through national differences—so to say, it’s all a matter of: “Our Slavic brothers cannot endure the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of our nation in Orthodoxy.” This remark in and of itself racist, which falls under the category of the heresy of ethnophyletism, was calculated to gain support in Greek society. It is a sort of attempt to play on the Greeks’ feeling of national solidarity. However, it by no means reflects the real situation, because the Constantinople Patriarchate acted no less cruelly with regard to the other Greek Churches than it has with the Russian Church. For example, in 2003 Patriarch Bartholomew suddenly demanded that the Greek Orthodox Church transfer to his control thirty-six dioceses in the so-called “new territories” of Greece—at least regarding the appointment of bishops to these cathedras. The Synod of the Greek Church refused to submit, and its primate at that time, Archbishop Chrystodoulos of Athens, said that submitting to that demand would discredit the very fact of the Greek Orthodox Church’s autocephaly. After new bishops were chosen without his consent, on April 30, 2004 Patriarch Bartholomew announced a break in Eucharistic communion between the Constantinople Church and the Greek Church. When the Russian Church recently broke communion with Constantinople as a protest and extreme measure against Constantinople’s unlawful intrusion into Moscow’s canonical territory, many criticized this decision as too harsh. However the Constantinople Patriarchate itself used the same measure to pressure another, likewise Greek, Local Church. The Greek Church was unable to withstand this pressure and in the end submitted, giving over the “new territories” to the rule of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Did this happen because the Greek Church’s hierarchs were convinced of Patriarch Bartholomew’s correctness? No! The Greek Church called its decision an “act of sacrifice for the sake of peace in the Church.” But did this sacrifice truly preserve peace? Alas, no. Even the historical facts cited above show that the sacrificial acts and concessions by various Churches did not appease but rather whetted Constantinople’s appetite even more and encouraged it to launch new raids. And now, after its intrusion into the canonical territory of the Greek Church, an even larger-scale and more outrageous intrusion has taken place on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, namely on the autonomous Ukrainian Church. And what if the Russian Church were to respond in this conflict as the Greek Church ultimately did? Would it appease the Constantinople patriarch’s appetite, and could we expect that no more Churches will be subjected to such violations from it? Will it all end after Ukraine? Alas, no. Patriarch Bartholomew has already announced that he is getting ready to do the same thing in Macedonia, which is the canonical territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church. From the start, the “Ukrainian” and “Macedonian” questions were reviewed together. On April 9, 2018, Patriarch Bartholomew met with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, and on April 10 with Macedonian president George Ivanov. Both presidents asked that canonical status be granted to the schismatic groups of their respective countries. And both presidents came away from their meetings with the patriarch optimistic about the future. On May 30, the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate took up a “review of the status” of the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, which, just like the Ukrainian schismatics, sent a request for recognition. On June 11, Patriarch Bartholomew publicly announced: “When the Mother Church seeks the path of salvation of our brothers from Ukraine and Skopje, it is fulfilling its apostolic duty. It is our obligation and responsibility to bring these peoples back to ecclesiastical rightness and canonical order.” All of these steps point to the fact that Constantinople proposed a dual intrusion into Ukraine and Macedonia with recognition of their schismatics contrary to the will of the Local Churches, whose canonical territories those lands are. However, judging by everything going on, precisely the Russian Orthodox Church’s tough position regarding the intrusion into Ukraine, as well as the obvious displeasure on the part of other Local Churches have forced Patriarch Bartholomew to set aside his intrusion into the territory of the Serbian Church. He decided to return to the already proven tactic of breaking the Local Churches one at a time. But without a doubt, if world Orthodoxy resigns itself to the lawlessness perpetrated in Ukraine, then Macedonia will be next. But will Macedonia be the last intrusion? This is a rhetorical question, for the answer is clear. Not a single Local Church is insured against intrusion from Constantinople. And even if there is no base assumption to this, for example in Romania or Bulgaria, then when the situation changes and the occasion arises, Patriarch Bartholomew or his successors will no doubt take advantage of it. After Serbia, the very likely candidate for intrusion is the canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church due to the complex situation in Abhazia, where there already are schismatics fighting for the resolution to the local ecclesiastical question by addressing it to the Constantinople Patriarchate. They proclaimed themselves the “Holy Metropolia of Abhazia” and in 2012 had already visited Patriarch Bartholomew, turning to him again in 2016 with a request for “the resolution of the Abhazian church problems.” Within the current geopolitical conditions an intrusion is not likely, but if the situation changes in the future, then undoubtedly it will happen and nothing will hinder the Constantinople patriarch from again announcing that he is “fulfilling his apostolic duty” to “save our brothers” in Abhazia. “A new ecclesiological concept” Synaxis of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Now let us go on to the second question: What stands behind these actions of the Constantinople patriarchs? Why do they consider that they have the right to takeover, and what aims are they pursuing? To answer this question we do not need to rely on conspiracy theories or guessing games. It is sufficient for us to pay attention to words that were publicly pronounced. Behind all the expansions mentioned above, as well as many others that we have not even mentioned, and in order not to drag this article out longer than needed, stands a particular ecclesiological teaching on the exclusive position of the Constantinople patriarch in the Orthodox Church. In early September, at the Synaxis of bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate, Patriarch Bartholomew announced that “for Orthodoxy the Ecumenical Patriarchate serves as a leaven that leavens the whole lump (Gal. 5:9) of the Church and history... The beginning of the Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in it is life, and this life is the light of the Church”... “Orthodoxy cannot exist without the Ecumenical Patriarchate... the Ecumenical Patriarch as the head of Orthodox Body... If the Ecumenical Patriarchate... leaves the inter-Orthodox scene, the Local Churches will become like ‘sheep having no shepherd’” (Mt. 9:36). These remarks can be supplemented by remarks made by other representatives of the Constantinople Patriarchate. For example, the words of Metropolitan Amphilochius of Adrianopolis: “What would the Orthodox Church be without the Ecumenical Patriarchate? A form of Protestantism... It is unimaginable that some Local Church... should break communion with [with the Ecumenical Patriarchate], because the canonicity of its existence comes from it [the Ecumenical Patriarchate]. And here are the words of Protopresbyter George Tsetis: “The Constantinople patriarch, whether someone likes it or not, is the Primate of Orthodoxy, the visible sign of its Unity and the guarantee of the normally functioning institution that we call the ‘Orthodox Church.’” As we see, the matter has gone very far. If it all began with the assertion that all the Churches in the diaspora should be in submission to him, now it has reached a point where the Constantinople patriarch, as it turns out, is the primate of all Orthodoxy, the head of the Orthodox Body; all the bishops of all the Churches are subject to his judgment, and the primates of all the other Local Churches are like sheep to their shepherd. And without him, the Orthodox Church would not even be Orthodox. Is this what everyone, always and everywhere has believed? Don’t these statements shock anyone who is even a little acquainted with Church history? As we know, even claims to exclusive primacy by the bishop of Rome were rejected as heresy by the Orthodox world, but the bishops of Constantinople have even less grounds for such claims—if only because before the fourth century, Constantinople didn’t exist. Who at that time was the source, leaven, life and light of the Church? The Church did just fine without the Constantinople Patriarchate during one of the most glorious periods of its history. And after the creation of the Constantinople See, as everyone knows, there were heretics seated there many times. It would be no mistake to say that in the history of the Constantinople throne, heretics occupied it more often than any other ancient patriarchal see. And these periods stretched on for years, even decades. How, after this, can anyone say that Orthodoxy cannot exist without the Ecumenical Patriarchate and that all the other Churches receive their canonicity from it? In those times it was precisely the opposite—canonicity and belonging to Orthodoxy was determined by the break in communion with the Constantinople throne (and the preservation of purity of faith, of course). As it is not hard to see, we have to do with a new, false teaching being preached by the Constantinople Patriarchate. This teaching is the very source, and at the same time, theoretical basis for all his anti-canonical intrusions over the past 100 years, beginning with Finland and ending with Ukraine. Any new false teaching that arose in the Church has met opposition and criticism—and this is how it is with the teaching we are talking about. Back in 1924, the holy confessor Patriarch Tikhon wrote to Constantinople patriarch Gregorios VII: “We are not a little disturbed and surprised that... the head of the Constantinople Church, without any prior communication with us as the lawful representative and Head of the whole Russian Orthodox Church, is meddling in the internal life and affairs of the Autocephalous Russian Church. The Holy Councils (see canons 2 and 3 of the Second Ecumenical Council and others) recognized only the primacy of honor of the bishop of Constantinople, but did not nor does recognize primacy of authority.” This was said in response to the Constantinople patriarch’s recognition of the schismatic-renovationists supported by the Communist regime, and that he called for Patriarch Tikhon to step down and revoke the establishment of patriarchy in the Russian Church. St. John (Maximovitch) also noted in 1938 that the appearance of this false teaching coincided in time with the Constantinople Patriarchate’s loss of almost its entire flock on its own canonical territory as a result of the wars at the beginning of the twentieth century. Thus, the Constantinople patriarchs decided to compensate for this loss at the expense of expansion into other Churches. In the words of St. John, “the Ecumenical Patriarchate wanted to compensate for the loss of the dioceses that went out from under its possession, as well as the loss of its own political significance within the boundaries of Turkey, in regions were there had never been an Orthodox hierarchy up till this time, as well as the Churches of those states where the government is not Orthodox... At that time there was a subjection of separate parts of the Russian Orthodox Church that found themselves cut off from Russia... Limitlessly expanding its craving to subject the Russian regions to itself, the Constantinople patriarchs even began making statements that the joining of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate was unlawful... The next step for the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be to announce that all of Russia is under the jurisdiction of Constantinople.” But in fact, as St. John says, “The Ecumenical Patriarchate... having lost its meaning as the Pillar of Truth and itself become the source of division, at the same time seized with exorbitant love of power, presents itself as a pitiful sight that reminds us of the worst days in the history of the Constantinople See.” Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov). The disciple of St. Siluoan of Mt. Athos, Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), spoke even more specifically about this problem. In 1950 he wrote: At the present time, in the bowels of our Holy Church, a great danger has appeared that threatens to pervert the dogmatic teaching on it... You ask: In what is this distortion now seen? We reply: In Constantinopolitan neopapism, which is trying to move quickly from the theoretical phase into the practical... [Adherents of this teaching] at first accepted that Constantinople has jurisdictional rights... then they began insisting that it has the right of highest appeal in the universal Church, forgetting that it was precisely these claims by Rome that lead to the great and final separation of the Churches (1054)... After assuming the Roman Catholic principle of development, they have accepted that Constantinople has exclusive rights to the entire Orthodox diaspora in the world, and rejected this right for all the other autocephalous Churches with respect to the diaspora... [Constantinople] thinks that other autocephalous Churches are reduced before it: Constantinople is everything, it is the Ecumenical [universal] Church, and all the rest are parts, which only belong to the Ecumenical [universal] Church to the extent that they are connected with Constantinople. What true Christians will accept this? And if, shall we suppose, due to one or another catastrophe the First and Second Rome disappear from the face of the earth, does that mean that the world will be left without a true connection with God, because the connecting links with Him disappeared? No, this is a strange voice (Jn. 10:5). This is not our Christian faith. Need we say that this form of papism is also an ecclesiastical heresy, just like Roman papism?.. We reject any “Rome”—the First, Second, and Third—if this means the introduction of a principle of subordination into the life of our Church. We reject any Constantinople, Moscow, London, Paris, New York, or any other papism as an ecclesiological heresy that distorts Christianity. Not only Russian ecclesiastical authors have written about this problem, but also authors from other Local Churches. Thus for example, after the above-mentioned teaching of the Constantinople Church was stated, Archpriest Radomir Popovich of the Serbian Church noted that “this type of thinking reminds us of Rome... here they are talking not only about the bishop of Constantinople’s primacy of honor, but about a whole package of prerogatives of exclusive powers over the whole Orthodox world. This, unfortunately, is identical to the pretenses of the Roman bishop, and therefore many are justifiably talking about the appearance of a new pope.” And here are the words of one bishop of the Antiochian Church, the archbishop of Australia and New Zealand: In educated circles it is well known that the patriarch of Constantinople does not have the same position in the church hierarchy of the Orthodox Church that the bishop of Rome occupies in the Catholic church. The patriarch of Constantinople is not the Roman pope of the East. It is also well known in educated Orthodox circles that in the past there have been cases when the Constantinople patriarchs at Ecumenical and other Local Councils were recognized as heretics... The Constantinople patriarch is not the voice of Orthodoxy and cannot set the standards in Orthodoxy. Disagreement with Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions, which contradict the holy canons and sow temptations and schisms, was expressed in a Statement by Metropolitan Seraphim of Kithyra and Antikythera of the Greek Orthodox Church. More commentary could easily be cited here, including by representatives of other Local Churches. But non-acceptance of the Constantinople Patriarchate’s false teaching is not limited to the words of various hierarchs and priests—there has also been a conciliar condemnation of it. This took place in 2008 at the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church. In this special resolution is stated: The Council expresses its deep concern regarding the tendencies... appearing in the statements of certain representatives of the Holy Constantinople Church. Based upon the understanding of canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council by the indivisible fullness of the Orthodox Church, these hierarchs and theologians are developing a new ecclesiological concept that is becoming a challenge for all-Orthodox unity. According to this concept: a) Only the Local Church that is in communion with the Constantinople See is considered as belonging to world Orthodoxy; b) The Constantinople Patriarchate has the exclusive right of church jurisdiction in all the countries of the Orthodox diaspora; c) In these countries the Constantinople Patriarchate alone represents the opinion and interests of all the Local Churches before the government authorities; d) Any bishop or clergyman who serves outside the canonical territory of its Local Church is under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Constantinople, even if he doesn’t recognize this himself... e) The Constantinople Patriarchate determines the geographical boundaries of the Churches, and if his opinion does not correspond to the opinion of one or another Church on this matter, it can institute its own jurisdiction on the territory of that Church... This view by the Constantinople Patriarchate of its own rights and powers enter into insurmountable contradiction with many-centuries-old canonical traditions upon which the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church and other Local Churches are built.” Although in this council resolution, out of economia the word “heresy” is not stated, the rejected and condemned teaching is defined as a “new ecclesiological concept,” which marks the problem as being in the sphere of dogma and not only canons—for ecclesiology (the teaching about the Church) is a part of dogmatics. In 2013 the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church accepted the document, “On the question of primacy in the Universal Church”, in which it explains why it does not accept the Constantinople Patriarchate’s new teaching: “In the Holy Church of Christ, primacy belongs in all things to its Head—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ... Various forms of primacy in the Church are secondary in relation to the eternal primacy of Christ as the Head of the Church... On the level of the Universal Church as a community of autocephalous Local Churches, united in one family by the common confession of faith and abiding in sacramental communion with each other, primacy is determined in accordance with the tradition of the holy diptychs and is a primacy of honor... The order of the diptychs has historically changed... Canon law, upon which the holy diptychs are based, does not grant to the one in the first position any privilege of power on the Church-wide scale... The ecclesiological distortions that ascribe the function of rule to the hierarch in the first position... have received the name “papism.” Also in a more recent statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church dated September 14, 2018 are comments on the above-mentioned words from the Constantinople patriarch: “These statements are difficult to assess in any other way than an attempt to remake Orthodox ecclesiology according to the Roman Catholic model... in attempts to assert its power, which does not exist and never has, over the Orthodox Church.” All these cited quotes prove that the appearance of a new false teaching that distorts the dogma of the Church has not gone unnoticed—individual authors as well as councils have raised their voices to expose it. It is very sad to admit that the ancient Constantinople See is again infected with a heresy, but this is no longer just a suspicion—it is a committed fact that has been witnessed many times. It is this very heresy, as we have already noted, that is motivating the Constantinople patriarchs to commit their lawless acts aimed at solidifying their self-ascribed power over the Orthodox Church. And this process will not end in Ukraine or Macedonia—after all, not every Church has given Constantinople its diaspora parishes and agreed with its claims. This problem cannot be solved by any diplomatic maneuvers, compromises, or attempts to come to an agreement. All of this has been done, to no positive effect. According to the words of St. Mark of Ephesus, “Nothing that has to do with the Church can be corrected through compromises. There is no middle ground between Truth and falsehood.” A Pan-Orthodox Council is needed As always in the Church, dogmatic problems are healed only by condemning heresy and heretics, deposing them and placing Orthodox bishops on the cathedrae that had been held captive to heretics. This path is of course painful, but it is the only way to heal the Body of the Church. But modern events show that putting off a church decision on this problem is also by no means painless. It is already painful for the faithful of the canonical Church in Ukraine. But they could become the final victims if only all the Local Churches would find the will to gather for a common conciliar condemnation of neopapism. Furthermore, any attempt at papism needs to be condemned once and for all, so that no other Church would be tempted to fall into it in the future; so that no one would follow in the footsteps of the first and second Rome. A Pan-Orthodox Council should be called, which would make a sober assessment of the new teaching, as well as its practical expression in the form of lawless intrusions upon the territory of other Churches. Of course, Patriarch Bartholomew is not likely to visit such a Council—after all, within the framework of his false teaching he is pushing the idea that only he can call a Pan-Orthodox Council. Then he won’t have to face anyone’s judgment, because it’s obvious that Patriarch Bartholomew himself will never call a Council to judge his own speeches and actions. History contradicts this idea—not one Ecumenical Council has ever been called by the Constantinople Patriarch; moreover, some of the Councils deposed and anathematized the heretical bishops of that cathedra. And after the epoch of the Ecumenical Councils, the Church also enacted its judicial power over Constantinople patriarchs. Thus, for example, after the Ferrara-Florentine Unia in 1443 a Council was held in Jerusalem of three Eastern patriarchs, who deposed the heretical Constantinople Patriarch Mitrophan. In those days, for many years the first in honor in the Orthodox Church was the patriarch of Alexandria, until an Orthodox patriarch was placed in the Constantinople cathedra. In 2005, Patriarch Bartholomew called a Pan-Orthodox Council, at which he succeeded in deposing Patriarch Ireneus of Jerusalem, although the accusations against him were not about canonical violations that would have merited deposition, never mind the subsequent defrocking. The actions and assertions of Patriarch Bartholomew himself are much more deserving of a dispassionate review at a Pan-Orthodox Council. And with such dispassionate review, of course it should be considered that the false teaching propagated by the Constantinople patriarchs beginning in 1922 directly contradict the faith that their ancient predecessors confessed on that cathedra. For example, Patriarch Germanos II (1222–1240) said, “There are five patriarchates with specific borders for each, and in recent times a schism has arisen amongst them, the beginning of which was placed by a brazen hand having predominance and lordship in the Church. The head of the Church is Christ, and any demand of headship is against His teaching.” Unfortunately, his modern successors have themselves decided to demand headship of the Church, apparently considering that being under the headship of Christ is not enough for the Orthodox. In antiquity the Constantinople patriarchs said straightforwardly that they are counteracting the primacy of the Roman pope not because of any desire to assert their own primacy. In part, Patriarch Nilos Kerameus (1380–1388) wrote to Pope Urban VI: “It is not fair what some are saying of us that we desire to have primacy.” The current patriarch has shamed his predecessors, inasmuch as he has, alas, made these accusations entirely fair. These words are from an Encyclical of four patriarchs in 1848: “The dignity [of the Roman See] consists not in lordship and not in headship, which Peter himself never received, but in the fraternal seniority in the universal Church and advantage given the popes for the sake of the renown and antiquity of their city... we Orthodox have preserved the catholic [universal] Church as the unspotted bride of her Bridegroom, although we have no secular oversight or “sacred rule”, but are only united by the bonds of love and zeal for our common Mother, in unity of faith, sealed with seven seals of the Spirit (Rev. 5:1); that is, the seven Ecumenical Councils, and in obedience to the truth.” Beneath these words is the signature of Constantinople patriarch Anthimos, who, like his ancient predecessors, shared the same view on the question of primacy in the Church that the Russian Orthodox Church is now expressing. And the current Constantinople Patriarchate has departed from this faith, in fact so obviously that it openly criticizes and even calls it a heresy, as we can see from the words of the former secretary of the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate Archimandrite Elipidoros (Lambriniadis), now Metropolitian of Prussia. He stated that “refusal to accept primacy in the Orthodox Church—primacy that can only be embodied by the first [hierarch]—is no less of a heresy.” Even the Roman Church needed more time than this to dogmatize its teaching on the primacy of the pope. It is sad to acknowledge that even in the Greek Churches we have seen the rising of this heresy. There was some opposition in the Alexandria Patriarchate in the mid twentieth century, but then it ended. Although it would be hard to call Patriarch Bartholomew a popular figure, and in the Greek language one can find quite a lot of criticism against him. He is accused of canonical crimes, and of various heresies; but in the Greek language we don’t find anything accusing him of neopapsim. Papism in the documents of the ill-famed Council of Crete Let’s take also the ill-famed Council of Crete, which was the cause of so many temptations and divisions. How much criticism extremely intelligent people have aimed at it! There have even been accusations voiced of dogmatic mistakes in it documents; but at the same time, no one noticed the multiple metastases of the heresy of Constantinople papism that had crept into various council documents. Although, as we are convinced, that council was called precisely in order to have those self-ascribed privileges of the Constantinople Patriarchate recognized on the pan-Orthodox level. Its documents are of no value for any other Local Orthodox Church, and they did not resolve any relevant pan-Orthodox problems. However, there is much written in the documents in favor of the Constantinople Patriarchate, and we will cite a few examples of this below. It is worth stipulating here that the Constantinople version of papism does not correspond one hundred percent with the Roman version. There are some differences. For example, if in Roman papism the figure of the pope is exalted but all other bishops are thought to be equal to each other, then in the Constantinople version of papism, special rights and privileges extend to some degree to the bishops of the Constantinople Church. This is written in the document accepted at the Crete Council called, “The Orthodox Diaspora”. In section 2b is outlined the order of procedure of bishops’ councils in non-Orthodox countries of the world, and in part it is determined that “the assembly shall consist of all the bishops of every region and will proceed under the chairmanship of the senior bishop in submission to the Constantinople Church.” As we can see, not only the Constantinople patriarch, but also all bishops in submission to him possess the right of primacy in relation to all the other bishops of all other Local Churches, inasmuch as they should preside at local assemblies of Orthodox bishops of various jurisdictions. Even the Latins didn’t think of that. In many places in the Crete documents, the Constantinople patriarch is given power over all the Orthodox Churches, including judicial. In part: “In matters of common interests and demanding... pan-Orthodox review, the chairman [of the bishops’ assembly] shall address the Ecumenical Patriarch for further actions” (Orthodox diaspora, 6). “In the course of the following pan-Orthodox discussion the Ecumenical patriarch shall determine the unanimous consensus of Orthodox Churches” (Relationship of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world, 10). On the territory of the Orthodox diaspora, autonomous Churches shall not be established except in cases of pan-Orthodox agreement provided by the Ecumenical patriarch” (Autonomy and the method of proclaiming it, 2d). “In case differences of opinion arise... the participating sides shall jointly or separately address the Ecumenical patriarch, so that the latter would find a canonical solution to the problem” (Autonomy and the method of pronouncing it, 2e). In the Missive of the Council of Crete, it is proposed that a Holy and Great Council be instituted as a regular institution, the Constantinople patriarch for some reason having the only right to call it, which is something that has no basis in either the history or theology of the Orthodox Church. However, the right to call a Pan-Orthodox Council should belong not only to the first primate in the diptychs, but to any primate of a Local Church. Limiting this right only to the Constantinople patriarch makes it impossible to call a council in the case of a Local Church’s claim against the Constantinople patriarch, and in fact makes the patriarch of that Church not subject to any judicial proceedings, which contradicts the canonical order of Orthodoxy, according to which any bishop is subject to the judgment of a court of bishops. Why have Greek authors passed over all of this, as well as other more outrageous expressions of the heresy of Constantinople papism that we have cited above? Could it really be that they share in that heresy? Or are they ready to make peace with it simply for the sake of national solidarity? This is hard to believe; after all, the glory of the Orthodox Greek people always consisted in its dedication to the truth, for the sake of which its best representatives were not afraid to expose the Constantinople patriarchs who fell into heresy. Thus it was for St. Maximos the Confessor at the time of the monothelyte patriarchs, thus it was for St. Mark of Ephesus at the time of the Ferrara-Florentine Unia, thus is was for St. Meletius the Confessor at the time of the Lyon Unia... We could go on. For all of these holy Greeks, faithfulness to the truth always took first place. What has changed? After all, we are not talking about “taking the side of the Russians” or the “Slavs”, but about standing on the side of the truth. How many confessors and martyrs from among the Greek people have suffered in order not to accept Western papism? Could it really only all have been for their descendants to submissively accept the very same heresy, only this time wrapped in an Eastern, Greek wrapper? May it never be! We must talk briefly about the claims of the Constantinople patriarch to judicial authority and arbitrage throughout the entire Orthodox Church, inasmuch as these claims are part of that same wrapper. Of course, this article is dedicated to the dogmatic issue, and therefore we are not discussing canonical matters, which have been sufficiently covered in other articles. In view of the systematic violations and infringements of many canons by the Constantinople Patriarchate we are simply taken aback when at the same time we hear the announcement that the “Ecumenical Patriarchate bears responsibility for bringing matters into ecclesiastical an canonical order.” And these statements are being voiced at the same time that this Patriarchate is revoking canons altogether—for example the apostolic canon that forbids clergy from marrying twice. But does Constantinople have the right of appeal? Although we can discuss many things in this regard, it would drag this article out longer than necessary. But nevertheless, it is worth discussing one example of specific claims on judicial powers over the whole Church. In his already mentioned recent speeches, Patriarch Bartholomew spoke of the “unique privileges of the Constantinople Church to accept appeals from hierarchs and clergy seeking refuge from all the Local Orthodox Churches.” And these statements are made with reference to the ninth and seventeenth canons of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, as if they bestowed that privilege on the Constantinople Patriarchate. And by this he justifies, in part, his intrusion into Ukrainian affairs and the acceptance into communion of defrocked schismatics. We can understand just to what extent this interpretation of the canons agrees with Church Tradition by comparing it with the explanation of St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite in his famous “Pedalion” (“Rudder”): The Constantinople [Patriarchate] does not have the authority to act in dioceses and within the boundaries of other patriarchs, and the given canon does not grant him the right of appellate instance throughout the whole Church... Therefore, Zonara in his explanation of the 17th canon of this Council says that Constantinople is not placed as judge over all metropolitans in general, but only over those in submission to him. The Constantinople [Patriarchate] is the only first and last judge for metropolitans in submission to him, but not for those in submission to other patriarchs, because the unity of the Ecumenical Council is the final and all-encompassing judge of all patriarchs, and no one else. As we see, the false teaching on the dogmas is based upon a false interpretation of canons, which, of course unsurprisingly, inasmuch as we are talking about teachings, is alien to the Orthodox Church. Of course, adherents of this teaching, like any other heretics, can seek out various separate citations from old texts that are amenable to them, especially ones coming out of Constantinople; they can recall also the engulfment by Constantinople of the Bulgarian and Serbian Churches during the time of the Ottoman Empire—quite dubious and contentious actions, which Constantinople later had to correct. But all of this cannot change the fact that any papism is alien to Orthodox teaching, be it Western or Eastern. As the holy hieromartyr Gorazd of Czechia wrote, “The Eastern Church accepted only Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church and rejected the very idea of accepting an [ordinary] man as the head... because it saw this idea as the consequence of a lack of faith in the invisible Head—Jesus Christ—and His living rule over the Body of the Universal Church... as well as incompatible with the apostolic principle of conciliar decision of Church matters, which was expressed in its highest form at the Ecumenical Councils.” The Constantinople Patriarch, and not the “Ecumenical” Patriarch It is also worth talking about how the Constantinople Patriarchate uses its various titles of honor as the basis for promoting his papism—first of all the title, “Ecumenical (Universal) Patriarch”. If earlier this title was one of his titles of honor, like for example the Alexandria patriarch’s title of “Ecumenical Judge (Judge of the Universe)”, then in recent times it has become in fact the Constantinople primate’s official and main self-name. They have called themselves exclusively by this name for a long time, with their own understanding that their ecclesiastical jurisdiction extends literally over the whole universe. As an example of this term’s use, we can cite the words of Metropolitan Elipodoros (Lambriniadis): The primacy of the archbishop of Constantinople has nothing in common with the dyptichs, which only express hierarchical order... If we talk about the source of primacy, then the source is the very person of the archbishop of Constantinople himself, who as a bishop is the “first among equals”, but as the archbishop of Constantinople, and correspondingly, Ecumenical (Universal) patriarch he is the first without equal. Such an understanding of his “ecumenical (as in “universal”) jurisdiction” was also expressed in that during the twentieth century the hierarchs of the Constantinople Church have divided amongst themselves all countries of the world with the exception of those which they themselves recognize as belonging to other autocephalous Churches. So, even the countries in which there is not a single Orthodox Christian have found themselves written into the canonical territory of one or another bishop of the Constantinople Church. And that bishop can get angry and even furiously protest if some other Church opens its mission in a country wherein he has never even stepped foot and where he doesn’t have a single believer—simply by force of the above-mentioned allocation. That this allocation of the world, which originated only within the twentieth century, again exposes this teaching as new and previously unknown in the Church—because had it been ancient, the Constantinople bishops would have introduced that allocation much earlier. It is sufficiently well known that even when the title “Ecumenical” began to be used by the Constantinople bishops, the holy Pope Gregory the Dialogist categorically denounced it. He wrote in part to Patriarch John of Constantinople: As a result of your criminal and pride-filled title, the Church is divided and the hearts of your brothers are led into temptation... If the apostle Paul avoided submitting the members of Christ in their parts to a certain head, as if going around Christ, though these heads were the apostles themselves, then what will you say to Christ, Who is the Head of the Universal Church, when tried at the Last Judgment—you, who with your title of “ecumenical” are trying to subject all His members to yourself?” And here are his words from a letter to Patriarchs Eulogios of Alexandria and Anastasios of Antioch: None of my predecessors agreed to use this dishonorable title (ecumenical) because, in fact, if any patriarch will call himself ecumenical, then by this he takes away the patriarchal title from others. Nevertheless, the Constantinople patriarchs did not heed the words of the Orthodox pope, St. Gregory the Dialogist, who was at that time first in honor. And this title continued to be used. Some try to defend its use by saying that it supposedly is not used in the sense that St. Gregory wrote about, that it was no more than an elegant title, something like “Ecumenical Teacher” and “Ecumenical Librarian”, which they also had in the imperial capital. Perhaps that is how it was at the beginning, but if we look at how this title has finally come to be used, then we can count St. Gregory’s words as prophetic. St. Gregory was not the only pope who came out against the use of the title “ecumenical”. In the second act of the Seventh Ecumenical Council we read that the epistle that Pope Adrian of Rome wrote to the emperor was read aloud. In the original text of this epistle, besides a condemnation of iconoclasm, were these words: We were very surprised when we found that in your imperial edicts published about the patriarch of the ruling city, that is, about Tarasius, he is also called ecumenical. We do not know whether this was written was out of ignorance or at the suggestion of impious schismatics and heretics; but we strongly ask your most merciful imperial power that he never, not in a single of his writings sign as “ecumenical”; because it is clear that this is against the establishment of the holy canons and traditions of the holy fathers... Therefore, if anyone should call him ecumenical or give consent to this, then let them know that it is alien to the Orthodox faith. Although there is a great probability that these places in the epistle were not translated into Greek during its reading at the Council, nevertheless we see for the second time that the first primate of that time directly criticized and forbade the use of the title “ecumenical” by Constantinople patriarchs. These testimonies give us grounds to talk about the unlawfulness of using this title. Therefore, Orthodox writers should not use the name, “Ecumenical Patriarch”, but call him the “Constantinople Patriarch”, in order not to support the very use of this title and the spreading of the heresy of new papism. The Mother Church? Another title actively being used by Constantinople as a basis for its ambitions is “Mother Church”, although this title, like those before it, was never given to the Constantinople throne by any Ecumenical Council, but was in fact self-willfully assumed. It is fully justified only in the historical context and only in relation to Churches that received their autocephaly from the Constantinople Church. However, it is being used in a much broader sense. For example, in the above-mentioned speech, Patriarch Bartholomew talks about his Patriarchate as a “caring Mother and parent of the Church” in his claims on a special place in the pan-Orthodox communion. But this understanding of the Constantinople Church as the Mother of all Churches is obviously absurd, because many ancient Patriarchates historically preceded the appearance of Constantinople. Then how could it be their mother? If any Church could lay claim to this title it would be the Jerusalem Church. All the Churches have always recognized its special historical contribution, but it was never understood as a right to lordship and power. But Constantinople uses the self-ascribed title of “Mother Church” as grounds for its striving to subject to its authority all the other autocephalous Churches, which are supposed to be submissive and obedient like daughters to their mother. Although as Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) noted, even if we were to allow that Constantinople can truly call itself the Mother of all Churches... in any case, extrapolating submission from the fact of historical motherhood would be a departure from Orthodox triadology, according to which Fatherhood or Sonship does not remove the fullness of equality. The One Who is born from a being is equal to the One from Whom He was born. That is how the holy fathers thought. And the words “caring mother” sound especially cynical from the lips of Patriarch Bartholomew. No caring mother would ever do to her children what Constantinople is doing to the Russian Church, and not much earlier than that to the Greek Church. If we had to apply the word “mother” to the Constantinople Patriarchate, then its actions more closely illustrate the sickening pagan image of a mother who devours her own children. And who can blame the children who decide to leave such a “mother”? That the Russian Church has broken Eucharistic communion with Constantinople would be justified even if this matter were limited only to its desire to protest this evildoing on the scale of the entire Church, and to protect its children from communion with those who have entered into communion with schismatics. But in fact it is all much more serious than that. The Russian Orthodox Church has become the first to refuse to submit to the heresy of papism that is being imposed on all the Churches by the Constantinople Patriarchate. And all the other Local Churches will sooner or later have to make the same choice—not between the “Russians” and the “Greeks”, but between Orthodoxy and heresy. Priest George Maximov http://orthochristian.com/118982.html?fbclid=IwAR2foo2gRatveLVjIsfEVdl98rDbaPONacss6sA691F1irkuRL1KtGN9HZM
  15. Edith Stein (religious name Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD; also known as St. Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; 12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church, and she is one of six co-patron saints of Europe. She was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she took lessons to become a nursing assistant and worked in an infectious diseases hospital. After completing her doctoral thesis from the University of Göttingen in 1916, she obtained an assistantship at the University of Freiburg. From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite Order, Teresa of Ávila, she was drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Speyer. As a result of the requirement of an "Aryan certificate" for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933 as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, she had to quit her teaching position. She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern sister (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community′s needs outside the monastery), were sent to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands, for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that state in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on 9 August 1942. Stein was born in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), Lower Silesia, into an observant Jewish family. She was the youngest of 11 children and was born on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar, which combined to make her a favorite of her mother.[4] She was a very gifted child who enjoyed learning, in a home where her mother encouraged critical thinking, and she greatly admired her mother's strong religious faith. By her teenage years, however, Stein had become an atheist. Though her father died while she was young, her widowed mother was determined to give her children a thorough education and consequently sent Stein to study at the University of Breslau (also known as "Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität"). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Stein
  16. It is with great sadness that we have been informed that Metropolitan Pavlos of Sisaniou and Siatistis reposed in the Lord a little while ago. May his memory be eternal! May the Lord our God rest his soul in His heavenly mansions, where all the righteous repose. Suddenly today, Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista, reposed in the Lord. He was a very beloved and respected hierarch of the Church of Greece and a spiritual child of St. Iakovos of Evia. His words, example and advice carry great weight and his talks are filled with true love and wisdom. Below are a brief biography and a wonderful recent talk of his with English subtitles. May he have a blessed Paradise, and may we have his blessing! Brief Biography of Metropolitan of Pavlos of Siatista He was born in Halkida in 1947. After his cycle of studies he entered the Theological School of Athens and graduated in 1971. In 1973 he was ordained a Deacon by Metropolitan Nikolaos of Halkida, Istiaias and Northern Sporades and appointed to serve in Mantoudi. In November 1974 he was ordained a priest and received the position of Archimandrite from Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Halkida and served the parish of Mantoudiou for 25 years. In that area he became the Hierarchical Representative and was a respected preacher and pastoral guide. For over thirty years he focused on the youth and their problems, as a priest, spiritual father, catechist and educator, while at the same time he was called to speak to schools of parents, religious and youth gatherings in many Metropolises in Greece and Cyprus. On February 28th, 2006, he was elected by the hierarchy of the Church of Greece as Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis of Sisaniou and Siatistis, his ordination taking place on March 4th, 2006 in the Holy Metropolis of Athens. He took special care to cultivate the ranks of priests and monastics in his Metropolis. In his 14 years of shepherding the Holy Metropolis of Sisaniou and Siatistis, he built and consecrated many holy churches, founded new parishes and ordained new clergy. He was the author of books and had circulated many religious articles. His last night he spent in the Monastery of St. David of Evia and St. Iakovos, which he loved so much, and until noon of his last day he was near there in Rovies, serving his final Divine Liturgy on Sunday January 13th next to the Precious Skull of St. David. In his home town of Halkida there will be a viewing on Monday January 14th in the Church of St. Paraskevi. There will be a vigil that evening served by Metropolitan Chrysostom of Halkida. On January 15th, the body of the blessed Metropolitan Pavlos of Sisaniou will be brought to Siatista where there will be another viewing. His funeral will be served on Wednesday January 16th at noon in the Metropolis Church of St. Demetrios in Siatista. http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2019/01/metropolitan-pavlos-of-siatista-i-love.html
  17. IN TRUE BORGIA STYLE The “unification council” in Kiev: how it went, conclusions and prospects On December 15, 2018, in Kiev, before a several thousand-strong crowd among whom stood a great number of specially transported state employees from various regions of the country as well as members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic (Uniate) church, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko introduced the head of the new religious structure, which had received the name, “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. It is interesting that alongside the head of the country and “Metropolitan” Epiphany, on the stage stood only the parliament speaker Andrei Paruby. Neither Metropolitan Emmanuel nor the Constantinople exarchs, who prepared and conducted the council, were present. This looked very strange, because Patriarch Bartholomew’s emissaries’ deep involvement in the preceding events would have presupposed their direct participation in the presentation to the masses of the newly elected head of the OCU. Operation “Force” The final photo recording the first emotion of those present at the council after the announcement of the election results shows that the face of Metropolitan Emmanuel did not express any particular joy. The publications in Ukrainian media to follow during the next few days, which described the peripeteia that happened in that event, explained the reason for such an extremely restrained reaction from the Phanar representatives. This included information that the Greeks had placed their bets on Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar’s victory, which would have allowed them to place a canonical bishop at the head of the new structure. This could have increased the chances that a number of fence-sitting bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) could go over to the OCU, and might have eased Constantinople’s burden to provide recognition for the new organization on the level of world Orthodoxy. The buses that bussed in the crowd As certain publications confirmed, in order to make this plan succeed there were closed consultations held with the influential Volhynian “metropolitan” of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate” Mikhail, during which the necessity was discussed of supporting his candidacy at the elections for the head of the OCU, in order to split the unanimity of the “Kiev Patriarchate” episcopate and remove the possibility of a final victory for Philarets’ protégé, “Metropolitan” Epiphany, from the agenda. Besides this, the Phanariotes supposed that they would be able to confirm by council decision without any particular problems their own version of the OCU bylaws, in which points were prescribed that would make the OCU seriously dependent upon Constantinople, and the proposed autocephaly no more than a decoration. However it didn’t go as the guests from Turkey supposed it would. That scenario began to fall apart at the seams even on the eve of the council. First, even by applying administrative pressures, the Ukrainian authorities were unable to provide a presence in the Kiev St. Sophia Cathedral of a group of bishops from the UOC sufficient to, albeit with a stretch, call the council a “unification”. This not only significantly lowered Simeon’s chances of being elected, it also destroyed the foundation of a no less important process. The Greeks urgently needed at least ten bishops of the UOC who would vote for self-dissolution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In this way the Phanar counted on receiving an additional weighty trump card on which it could base its future attacks against the UOC with the aim of liquidating it as a separate, active Church. Secondly, alarming signals were coming from the camp of the so-called “UOC Kiev Patriarchate”. The exarchs were informed of the uncompromising position of Philaret, who was ready to disrupt the council if it didn’t go according to his own plans. As the events to come would show, this was no idle rumor. The council was supposed to begin at 10:00 a.m. However it in fact began only after 1:00 p.m. The reason for the delay, as the media reports, was Philaret’s demands on Poroshenko and the Constantinople emissaries to provide for the refusal of “Metropolitan” Mikhail of the “UOC KP” of his candidacy at the elections for the head of the OCU. If he didn’t, the indispensible leader of the “Kiev Patriarch” threatened not to sign the document of his religious organization’s self-liquidation, which would automatically mean a derailment of everything that had been planned for the action in St. Sophia. After lengthy consultations with direct participation by the head of state, they were able to regulate the situation. Mikhail was forced to agree to Philaret’s demands, and the latter gave his “green light” to the “UOC KP’s” self-liquidation. Incidentally, this was only the first stage in the conflict within the “upper echelons” of Philaret’s structure. It became clear at the council that many of his participants were ready to vote for Mikhail, and that he would easily outrun Epiphany. Philaret again struck a threatening pose and demanded that his Volhynian colleague sign a written refusal of his candidacy to position number one of the OCU. At this Mikhail’s nerves snapped. He began openly contradicting Philaret, proclaiming that such an approach is not fair or democratic. His position found active support from the delegates sitting in the hall. The atmosphere became more and more heated. No one wanted to give in. Finally Mikhail and his supporters left the Little Sophia hall in protest. Philaret in turn threatened that if the ambitions of his Volhynian fosterling do not cool down, he himself will command his own supporting “bishops” to leave the cathedral. The blackmail worked. Poroshenko and Paruby had an emotional talk with Mikhail, after which the latter finally gave in and ceased his struggle for the position of leadership in the OCU. After this the voice of the episcopate of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”, the UOC KP, and the Greek participants of the council could no longer hinder the victory of Philaret’ protégé. Epiphany, as expected, outran Simeon and became the triumphant final elected leader of the present delegation. As a result of this development, Philaret scored two important victories. The first was over the “Greek party”, who thirsted to remove the leader of the “UOC KP” from front stage and take the newly organized structure under its complete control. The second was over the plans of Petro Poroshenko to place someone closer to him in the head of the OCU’s chair—someone who would heed the desires of the guarantor of the Constitution no less than, and even more eagerly than directives coming from ecclesiastical Istanbul. However these were not Philaret’s final victories. After the election of the head of the OCU, an extremely harsh debate broke out regarding the new organization’s bylaws. The passions reached unprecedented heights of intensity and fury. In part, reproaches were flung at the Phanar representatives about how it is not good to give the OCU the low status of a metropolia. However, the Greeks “showed their teeth” too sweet. The emissaries from Constantinople stated that there has never been a Patriarchate in Ukraine, and if there is something bothering them about this then Constantinople is also ready to rise up and leave the council before it ends. No less tense was the fight over the section on the format of the OCU Synod’s work. The Phanar representatives insisted that the Synod not have permanent members and that it be formed on the basis of rotation. Their opponents asserted the opposite view, pointing out that without the presence of permanent members on the Synod, the head of the OCU will find it difficult to conduct his politics and have an influence on the work of one of the most important mechanisms of rule in the given structure. In the final analysis a “hybrid” option won out. For a certain transition period there will be three permanent members on the Synod. This means Philaret, head of the “UAOC” Makary, and the loser of the final battle for position number one in the OCU, Metropolitan Simeon. Incidentally, for the Greeks, this was only the “blossom”. The “berry” was the decision to leave Philaret with the title “honorary patriarch”, which automatically fixed him in the OCU with the position of “kingmaker” and created good possibilities for “butting” against the Phanar for control over the new religious organization. Petro Poroshenko, "Metropolitan" Epiphany of the OCU, and Metropolitan Emanuel of Gaul Taking all of this into consideration, there is probably no need to be surprised at Metropolitan Emanuel’s stony face and why no one from the “Greek party” was present at Epiphany’s presentation before the crowd gathered on St. Sophia Square. The Phanar’s bad hangover Only a few days had passed after the council when the information space began shocking everyone with scandalous and absolutely unexpected announcements and publications made by participants of the above event. Letter of Patriarch Bartholomew First of all, on the Facebook page of Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) a letter was posted from Patriarch Bartholomew in which the latter announces that he hereby receives the former vicar bishop of the UOC under his omophorion. It was dated December 14, 2018—the day before the council in Kiev. A number of experts consider that the former head of the Vynnista diocese of the UOC, Simeon, received a similar letter. If that is so, then not even one bishop of the UOC participated in the council, because by the time it was conducted both Metr. Alexander and Metr. Simeon were already representatives of the Constantinople Patriarchate. And this means that now, not even by the most absurd stretch can what took place in the Ukrainian capital on December 15 be called a “unification” council of “three Churches”. In fact what took place was no more than the melding together of two groups recognized by the Orthodox world as schismatic—the “UOC KP” and “UAOC”—into one whole, under the direct control of Constantinople. “Metropolitan” Mikhail of Volhynia Secondly, Mikhail is still unable to cope with the insult dealt him by Philaret. He gave several emotional interviews in which he stated that he had become the victim of blackmail by the “honorary patriarch” of the OCU and does not intend to step down from any further battles for primacy over the new religious structure. Moreover the Volhynian “metropolitan’s” overwrought state led him to say a number of things permeated with a spirit of the Borgia epoch, coming very close to being direct threats against Epiphany. “There could be new elections even tomorrow. There could be several reasons for this—the death of the primate, or his stepping down from that position. Just because he’s young there is no guarantee that he won’t remain without a post for a long time,” weightily emphasized Mikhail. Thirdly, Epiphany himself made his own mark. At first, as the Ukrainian service of Radio Liberty reported, he allows for the possibility of the UOC eventually switching to the “new calendar”. Then, on air on ICTV television, Epiphany did not dismiss the scenarios of the OCU combining with Greek Catholics. In his words, they first need to unite Ukrainian Orthodoxy, and then we’ll see. However, as the head of the UOC noted, there is a mood within his structure for a deepening cooperation with the UGCC. And this cooperation will begin in the sphere of education. In this context we immediately recall the words of the head of the UGCC Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) that he pronounced on April 17, 2018 during a meeting with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Mary Jovanovich. At that time, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics noted that the unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox within the framework of a new religious structure will be only the first step, after which will come a second—the intensification of its ecumenical dialogue with the UGCC, which is supposed to result in the unification of the “churches of the St. Vladimir Baptism” within a united Local Kievan Church. Fourthly, the leader of the “Right Sector” Dimitry Yarosh has not remained outside of these processes. Calling himself a Greek Catholic, the leader of the “Ukrainian Volunteer Army” called on his Facebook page for a “hunt on Moscow popes [derisive word for priests].” Here is a direct quote from that text: “The so-called UOC MP is not a church. It is an FSB residency that is an “Iskander” [the name of a Russian missile] in the hands of the satanist Putin, just as it was before in the hands of Stalin, Beria, Zhukov, and other atheists. The hierarchy of the so-called UOC MP, which has not found the national courage, strength and argument to change over to the Ukainian Church, are also not servants of God but agents of the FSB and Putin’s network, and that means they are enemies of Ukraine. A hunt on Moscow popes who faithfully serve Putin and Kirill is a work pleasing to God and our Motherland.”3 It is interesting that this leader sees the future of Ukraine in the “unification of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the recognition of this unification by both Constantinople and the Vatican.” As the People’s Deputy sees it, this will be the next epochal step in the development of nation and state. Well, and the richest moment in the array of scandals was made by Philaret himself. On December 16, 2018, in his address in the St. Vladimir Cathedral, he announced that he will be ruling the OCU along with Epiphany. At that he basically placed his protégé in the role of merely “minister of foreign affairs” under his own “presidency”. In the words of Philaret, Epiphany will be representing the OCU in the international arena. Just the same, this will only last until the OCU is recognized as a patriarchate. As soon as that happens, the power of the “patriarch” will also extend over new religious structure’s sphere of external relations. Philaret’s words produced the effect of a bomb explosion. As it turns out, they thought they chose Epiphany as the head of the OCU, but in fact they chose Philaret. Incidentally, on December 17 he waltzed into the services at the St. Vladimir Cathedral wearing his patriarchal kukol [white, rounded hat/hood with a cross on top] as if nothing had happened. This was the “warning shot” at the head of all the Phanar’s ambitions. He showed Patriarch Bartholomew his place, and his true regard for Constantinople’s claims on its “Ukrainian inheritance”. Conclusions and predictions 1) The events that took place have demonstrated that Constantinople’s plan to represent its meddling in Ukrainian Church affairs as a unifying element of Ukrainian Orthodoxy fell through with a deafening crash. De facto, with the Phanar’s application there came about a mere legalization of a schismatic structure. As a result of this simplistic rebranding, the “UAOC” and the “UOC KP” are now called the “OCU”. Furthermore, the head of the new structure has to be considered not Epiphany but Philaret, who reserves the right to rule the new structure, giving his favorite no more than external church relations. 2) Mikhail, the main competitor of Epiphany at the elections, has not reconciled himself with his humiliation and is prepared to continue the battle. This means that both Philaret and the nominal head of the OCU may now run up against backstage sabotage and opposition to their authority from the Volhynian “metropolitan” and his supporters. After Philaret’s death, Epiphany will be in dire straights. That is if he is unable by that time to significantly strengthen his personal position and authority in the ranks of the OCU “episcopate”. 3) It is entirely probable that in his struggle with Philaret and Epiphany, Mikhail can rely on cadres from the “UAOC”. Everyone knows about the complicated relationship between Makary and Philaret, as well as about the latter’s desire to dissolve once and for all the “UAOC” into the structure under his control. If the irreplaceable leader of the recently sunk into oblivion “UOC KP” sets about his work in a format of “breaking” the opposition “over his knee”, Mikhail will certainly gain new allies. 4) The first official commentaries demonstrate an, albeit cautious, but nevertheless readiness by Epiphany for a marked transformation within the OCU. Here we are talking about the possibility of introducing the “new calendar”, as well as a serious deepening of cooperation with Greek Catholics, the strategic result of which may be the combining of the OCU and the UGCC into one whole structure. 5) Very soon we can expect the Ukrainian parliament to pass their “anti-church” projects, in which they will try to change the official name of the UOC4 and make it easier to transfer the UOC’s churches to the OCU. There are several interests standing behind these steps. The first is the transfer to the Phanar of church possessions under their numerous stavropegic establishments (it’s much easier to grab for this purpose the churches of the UOC than of Philaret and co.). The second step is to place additional pressure on the episcopate and clergy of the UOC with the intention of speeding up and broadening the scale of people and churches moving over from the UOC to the OCU (taking over churches requires after all a certain amount of time and resources, and here they are counting on the passing of laws to scare the unstable and make the wavering decide more quickly to change confessions). The third is the change of power distribution within the ecclesiastical milieu in favor of the OCU, so that it would become the largest confession in Ukraine (this would allow in part for the Phanar to claim widespread support for its actions among Orthodox Ukrainians, and strike a painful blow to structures close to the Russian Orthodox Church). The fourth is the solving of purely electoral aims in the style of a “final crushing of the ‘Russian world’ in Ukraine.” How these laws will be put into practice is shown by the situation with the seizure of the cathedral in Vinnitsa. In the dark of night, Metropolitan Simeon’s close supporters conducted a so-called “parish meeting”, at which it was resolved that they would transfer to the OCU. Then the church guards were replaced with new ones, and the church found itself fast in the hands of the bishop who had been defrocked by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It would not be difficult to organize similar “parish meetings” all over Ukraine. All that is needed are the desire, resources, and appropriate opportunities. And these will all increase a hundredfold with the passing of applicable legislature. 6) On the eve of receiving the tomos, the final battle will break out for the OCU bylaws (according to information from a number of media, it has not yet been ratified). Having given in on a number of important issues, Philaret will try to outmaneuver the situation with the establishment of the Phanar’s custody over the Ukrainian diaspora. In turn the Greeks will defend to the last their position that the tomos is more important than the bylaws and that no changes can be made to the bylaws without Patriarch Bartholomew’s approval. This will be done with the aim of leveling any threats by Philaret to rewrite the bylaws after receiving the tomos to his total advantage and total disadvantage of the Phanar. Perhaps Philaret’s appearance in a patriarchal kukol in the St. Vladimir Cathedral was a signal that the “honorary patriarch” may have some aces up his sleeve. It is not a fact that the liquidation of the “UOC KP” at the council was registered in the necessary legal manner. This means that the bylaws of the “Kiev Patriarchate”, registered in the appropriate governmental agencies, are still in effect. And Philaret can always return to them and reanimate the “UOC KP” should the Phanar suddenly try to make sections of the bylaws “indigestible” to Epiphany’s teacher. 7) The final outcome of the struggle for the bylaws show whether or not we can expect the Phanar to use their most powerful weapon after Philaret’s death to “force” the OCU into submission. The name of this weapon is the possibility of recalling the tomos at any moment convenient to the Phanar. After taking similar steps with regard to the Russian Orthodox Church and the Western European Exarchate’s Russian parishes, there are obviously no limits to such actions. Absolutely none. And it could very possibly turn out that after a certain period of time, the “festival of disobedience” in the OCU and the departure to another world of Constantinople’s most dangerous “church” competitor in Ukraine, the situation could again return to its original point—the restoration of the Kiev Metropolia of the Constantinople Patriarchate. However, up to that time the Phanar has to preserve itself as a power capable of dictating something and forcing other religious structures to do its bidding. Such a boldfaced and brazen legalization of a schism, striking a blow to the unity of the entire Orthodox World, is an extremely risky step. And this is not at all because Constantinople will have to answer for its lawlessness before other Orthodox Churches. There exists a Judgment that is much more terrible and impartial. The Lord examineth the righteous man and the ungodly; but he that loveth unrighteousness hateth his own soul. He will rain down snares upon sinners; fire and brimstone and wind of tempest shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous and hath loved righteousness; upon uprightness hath His countenance looked (Ps. 10:5–7). The author, Taras Melnick, is a Ukrainian journalist and native Kievan. http://orthochristian.com/118113.html
  18. An Answer to the Invitation to Constantinople’s Ukrainian Robber Council In the letter below, His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol responds to the invitations being sent out by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to take part in its so-called “unification council” that aims to create a new church in Ukraine. Met. Luke has not hesitated to speak his mind throughout the recent and ongoing ecclesiastical crisis, and this letter is no exception. Whereas His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine chose to return his invitation unanswered to Constantinople, giving us an example of meekness and humility, Met. Luke offers us an example of fiery, righteous zeal—both examples that are good and necessary in the Church. *** Dear loyal subject of the Turkish Republic, Mr. Bartholomew! (better known as the “Ecumenical Patriarch”) We have learned from the mass media that you are sending invitations for the “council of the unrighteous” (Ps. 1:1) through government officials. In this regard, allow me to express to you and your envoys my heartfelt gratitude for the efforts you are making through the Ukrainian state apparatus and the juggling of the norms of canon law to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (the successors to the Church born in the Dnieper font), previously recognized by you as the sole canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine! Thanks for what, you ask? For what you contribute by your actions to our Orthodox flock in entering the Kingdom of God, subjecting it to the discrimination and persecution that it is presently enduring. Unfortunately, you probably don’t know our people’s wise saying: “Love can’t be forced.” Your actions are those of a man blinded by the illusory glow of caesarean authority. By your participation in political projects aimed at splitting the unity of the Church, you’ve already placed your status as the first honored hierarch in Orthodoxy in serious doubt. You declare today that in your person you represent “the Mother Church” for the Ukrainian people. However, for some reason, you act as the ideological inspirer of a large-scale campaign aimed at inciting hatred towards the UOC, the seizure of its sacred sites, the persecution of its flock, and the undermining of the position of Orthodoxy in Ukraine in favor of the gathering momentum of the Uniate “crusade” on native Orthodox lands! What kind of mother helps torture her child? Those awaiting the swift advent of the Tomos are not afraid to shout such slogans at their gatherings: “Death to the enemy”; and under the walls of our diocesan administration: “Moscow priests to the gallows, like the communists!” This is how your new pupils treat us and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a whole, being in Eucharistic communion with the See entrusted to you. Terrible things stand behind these slogans: the dominance of political expediency in any important question of Church life, the reign of total persecution against a Church that doesn’t correspond to the general ideological line of the ruling elite, the desecration of holy sites and objects, and the perversion of the canons by longtime opponents of Orthodoxy, who are now actively disguising themselves in the garments of supporters of the autocephalous project being pushed by you. Are you yourself ready to believe in the “Ukrainian national God,” or is this just an attempt to take our people under your omophorion? Or, quite horribly, do the processes provoked by you have ordinary mercantile interests as their foundation? In your attempts to subject all the Orthodox Churches to the throne of Constantinople (like the Catholic Church), you forget that it was not a priest but a ceasar who was in power in Byzantium—an empire that hasn’t existed for many centuries already. And one of the reasons it’s gone—and perhaps the main one—is that at that time, some of your predecessors, the Byzantine patriarchs, allowed the faith to become a bargaining chip in the games of big politics. It’s a great pity that you don’t take this into account—or have deliberately forgotten it. After all, more than 500 years ago, it was precisely the betrayal of the Orthodox faith by Constantinople and its departure into the Unia with Rome, and not the geopolitical conditions of those times, that became the driving force behind Orthodoxy gaining independence from Byzantium in the lands of Rus’. Thank you, Mr. Bartholomew, for aiding in our salvation. The only thing the clergy (whom your throne imagines to be its own for some absurd reason) and flock inquire of you is: What prevented you from hearing us in the spring? What has so clouded your mind that you consider yourself the Patriarch of the entire world? Perhaps your next step will be the assertion that you created this world out of nothing? With gratitude and hope in God’s admonition for each of us, LUKE METROPOLITAN OF ZAPOROZHYE AND MELITOPOL http://orthochristian.com/117824.html?fbclid=IwAR0jKgDDVK8CzYX4iRUmaMiu-rpfmoYy-9miCeuznFXejq5Hu2kUINQVRno
  19. In an episode of “The Archpastor” TV program (Yekaterinburg), Bishop Irinej of Bačka (Serbian Orthodox Church) spoke about various topics. Here is what he had to say on the Ukrainian issue: “We deeply regret that the Ecumenical Patriarch in his personal capacity, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a whole, have (in my opinion and in the opinion of the majority of our theologians and hierarchs), made the greatest mistake in the whole history of the Ecumenical Throne of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. I say it here for the first time, I have never said this before to the media: Ten years ago, maybe more, I told the ecumenical patriarch privately that I urged him not to interfere in the Ukrainian issue, because that would provoke an immense tragedy, not only there, but in the whole Orthodox world. I am not a prophet, but I knew enough about the situation and history, that it was easily predictable. Unfortunately, he did it. It is difficult to say for what reasons. Some consider it could be because of some grievance, a bitter feeling against the Patriarch of Moscow and against the Russian Church, due to their absence at the Council of Crete, but many also think it is the result of the pressure from the West, especially from the Americans, and that it is only a part in the general course of Western policy regarding Ukraine, and an attempt to further deepen the gap, to break apart the Russian world, and to ensure that Ukraine and Russia are not only separate, but enemy states. I fear that this may be true, at least partly. It is interesting that this opinion is shared also by some of my Greek friends, who have no reason to be at the service of the Church of Moscow. The Ecumenical Patriarchate thus made an absolutely uncanonical decision – or at least a decision that is not based on canons: to enter the territory of an already existing Church, the Ukrainian autonomous Orthodox Church, through negotiations with Ukrainian political power. As you know, Ukrainian political leaders are not very Orthodox: there are Orthodox in the parliament, but also Uniates and schismatics. The course of action is quite strange: the Ecumenical Patriarchate delegation does not discuss with the legitimate local Church, which is the majority in Ukraine. For the legitimate Church, the nationality of their members (whether Ukrainian, Russian, etc.), is not important. There is no national or political connection, but only the feeling of the ecclesial people that they are one church, as it has been along centuries. They do not prevent anyone from being Ukrainian or whatever – it is difficult to say how many nations are present in the Russian Church, one hundred, one hundred and fifty. [The Constantinople delegates] have not even visited Metropolitan Onufriy once. All their discussions took place with politicians and schismatics. And we are not talking here of occasional schismatics, but about people like Filaret Denisenko, who was once a candidate to become the new patriarch of Moscow. But he did not become a patriarch, for known reasons – his personal and moral life, and other factors. At first, he was opposed to Ukrainian separatism (at the level of the Church and other levels), far more than many in Ukraine. But then, when he was not elected patriarch, he remembered he was Ukrainian. And of course, his broke his oath to the patriarch not to create a schism, and he did create one anyway. He was then reduced to the lay state, excommunicated and anathematized. And now, the people of the Phanar come and say this is rubbish: “We acknowledged it [the Moscow decision], but we no longer do.” I read a letter from the Ecumenical Patriarch in which he writes to the Patriarch of Moscow that he recognizes and supports his decision, and that it cannot be otherwise. And now he says now that his own act is invalid. It is impossible in our Church. This is why our Church has made the decision of supporting the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in regard to the Ukrainian issue. Unfortunately, in Constantinople and in some circles, they think it’s odd. They say that the Serbs who had always been devoted to them and had fraternal relationships with them have now betrayed them and gone with the Russians. This reflects a very unhealthy feeling of ecclesial life. The Church is one, it is the divine and human body of Christ, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the house of the heavenly Father. It is not an ideological, political, or social organization. Autocephaly is not an ontological, but administrative concept. It is a mode of organization for the Churches in the world. Autocephalous Churches are not separate Churches: it is a mode of organization for the one and unique Church. In this sense, we cannot accept this approach, in which we see ourselves as Greek Orthodox, Phanariots, and that over there, there are Muscovites, Slavs, etc. No: the Church is one. There are no Hellenes, no Greeks, no Russians, no Serbs, we are all one, if we are Orthodox. If we do not understand this, we are not Orthodox enough. When we are accused of having become Russians, or servants of the Russians, I consider this is not healthy, this is not ecclesial. We are not against one another, nor for one another. We take into consideration the canonical order. A healthy ecclesial life, that’s what we are interested in. If what Constantinople is doing now had been done by Moscow or Kyiv, we would also react against them. We cannot be against other for selfish reasons or goals. Things can happen, to us or to other Churches, that exists. But here, we consider that Constantinople acted in an unfair and, unfortunately, irresponsible way. They hurt not only the Russian or the Ukrainian Church, but also themselves and the whole Orthodoxy. And we are getting humiliated and ridiculed, by Roman Catholics and followers of other religions, and even by people without any religion. Unfortunately, this has been caused by Constantinople unilateral actions. https://orthodoxie.com/en/the-patriarch-of-constantinople-has-made-the-greatest-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-ecumenical-throne/?fbclid=IwAR19WFsa1I9CjC2AtFTlbStAMiHb_E01fJ-2TKvvqO7SPrMoKOF5RSg5e2s
  20. Phanar recognized Metropolitan Rostislav only because of the threat of disruption of the Cretan Council in 2016 All the goings-on in Ukraine perfectly copy the schism in the Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia. Yet one can be sure – Phanar will not give any independence to anyone. Recently, the Czech Internet resource www.prazsky-spravodaj.cz published the full version of an article by the doctor of theology from Prague, Jakub Irji Jukl entitled “The Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the Crisis of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia”. As a repeated participant in the Diocesan Assembly of the Prague eparchy, it was extremely useful and important for me to hear an opinion about the current events in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia from the person in the leadership of Prague eparchy (member of the Diocesan Council) and, at the same time, a historian and theologian. I fully confirm the information presented in the article of Dr. Jukl and, based on its text, I want to focus on some details. The first actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Czech Republic in the 1920s plunged the local Orthodox community into a schism known in church history as Sabbatian. The attempt of the Constantinople Patriarchate during this period to subjugate the nascent Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia led to a division among the few clerics and laity, sowing distrust and hostility in the hearts of the people. On 2 March 1923, the Patriarchate of Constantinople issued a Tomos “On the establishment of the Orthodox Archbishopric in the Czechoslovak Republic” and ordained Sabbatius (Vrabts) as bishop, thus creating a parallel ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Obviously, the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not seek to help unite and strengthen Orthodox communities of Czechoslovakia, which critically complicated the local church revival. However, the people did not support the appointee of Constantinople, and got united around Bishop Gorazd (Pavlik), who later suffered a martyr's demise. In 1951, the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly from the Mother Church of Russia. Despite all the difficulties of the historical period, Orthodoxy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, after being granted independent status, developed quite actively and dynamically: a seminary was opened that trained local clergy, liturgical books and general ecclesiastic magazines were published, new monasteries and parishes were established. It was not until 1998 that the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognized the autocephalous status of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, but with many reservations and requirements that would make the Local Church dependent on Constantinople. However, the implementation of the provisions of Tomos in the Statute of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia was delayed, and therefore, the Constantinople Patriarchate took specific steps to completely subjugate the Local Church through the creation of schism and subsequent “healing” on its own terms. On 19 October 2013, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France arrived in Prague and took part in the Diocesan Assembly of the Prague eparchy, convened to elect a new archbishop of Prague after retirement of Metropolitan Christopher (Pultz). In his speech, Metropolitan Emmanuel stated that the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not recognize any of the candidates for the position of archbishop of Prague, thereby effectively disrupting the voting procedure. This was the first step in the generation of the split and an attempt to subjugate the Local Church. The next step, according to the Constantinople Patriarchate, consisted in the complete seizure of administration in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Taking advantage of the ambitions of the aged Archbishop Simeon of Olomouc (then elected as Metropolitan Throne's Locum Tenens by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia), at his invitation in December 2013, two delegates of the Constantinople Patriarchate arrived at the meeting of the Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: “expert” in schism, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and his colleague, Metropolitan Arseniy of Austria. Archbishop Simeon agreed to admit these two hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate to the Synod also with the right to vote, hoping with their help to become the Primate of the Church. As you know, Archbishop Simeon at this meeting of the Synod tried to dismiss, under false pretexts, two bishops of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Thus, only two bishops would remain in the Synod – Archbishop Rostislav of Presov and Archbishop Simeon, who, as Locum Tenens, had a decisive vote and authority to admit the bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate to the Synod. Only the position of all the bishops of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (except Archbishop Simeon) and the support of the Russian Orthodox Church did not allow the Patriarchate of Constantinople at that time to completely seize leadership in the Church. Having suffered an insulting defeat, Constantinople did not sit idle and continued its struggle to subordinate the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. The Patriarchate of Constantinople did not recognize the actions of the Local Council of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia regarding the election of His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav as Primate, and continued to support Archbishop Simeon as Locum Tenens. What is this all about – the desire to preserve the purity of the canons or the requirement of strict execution of the Statute of the Local Church? No, the Statute (Chapter 2, Article 2, Paragraph 3) clearly articulates the election of the Locum Tenens by the Holy Synod, which was fully performed by the Bishops of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. At the same time, Archbishop Simeon of Olomouc, being Locum Tenens, violated the Statute in Part 2, Art. 2, Para. 4, which states: "If the post of the metropolitan is vacant, the Holy Synod is obliged to organize the election of a new metropolitan within a period not exceeding 40 days." After the retirement of Metropolitan Christopher in April 2013, Archbishop Simeon did not convene a synod to prepare for the Local Council, fearing to lose power. In this sense, it was necessary to change the Locum Tenens in order to convene the Local Council and elect the Primate. The letter of the Patriarchate of Constantinople dated 26 August 2015 (about the non-recognition of His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav as Primate and the demand for new elections – see Dr. Jukl’s article) completely destabilized the inner life of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia and gave the schismatics a chance to seize the leadership of the Church. However, quite soon, namely on 14 January 2016, an absolutely amazing event happened – the signing of the communique on the recognition of Metropolitan Rostislav as Primate of the Church. What outstanding, on the verge of a miracle, happened in this short period? Or maybe, finally, in ancient Constantinople, they understood the details of the problems or made a really weighted decision!? The answer is extremely simple and the solution is pragmatic: in a few days, namely on 21–27January 2016, there was a run-up to the Pre-Council Conference of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches and the absence of one of the Local Churches jeopardized the preparation and convocation of the Pan-Orthodox Council. And in this case, a well-known firm position of the Russian Orthodox Church about the impossibility of convening the Council without the participation of one of the Local Churches, prompted the Constantinople Patriarchate to the forced recognition of Metropolitan Rostislav as Primate. Indicative in this case is the “canonical principle” of the Constantinople Patriarchate, its deft exploitation of the “historical tradition” and the use, if necessary, of the “salvation oikonomia”. Having conducted the Cretan Council, the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not give up its plans to seize the Local Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, changing only its tactics. Now, instead of including its bishops in the Synod, the Patriarchate of Constantinople demands a change in the Statute of the Orthodox Church, according to which the Local Church will in fact lose its autocephalous status. Again, the main lever of pressure is the threat of intensification of the split through supporting the schismatics who are waiting for revenge. Epilogue Schism has always existed as an element of church life. The devil is the father of the schism and the first schismatic of the spiritual world; Christ's disciple Judas is the first schismatic of Christianity. Ambitions and lust for power being sources of all schisms have been and will, unfortunately, remain in church life like a sin. Being in the Church does not guarantee correction, which is based only on one’s personal choice. The Church responds to those sewing schisms, feuds, splits with the words of Christ: “If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:17). But the Church must be in unity and unequivocally express its attitude to schism and schismatics, not splitting in itself and not dividing schismatics into good and bad. A common and unified attitude towards any schism is a key to minimizing splits in the future. Unfortunately, at present we are witnessing the cultivation of splits as a tool of pressure and the achievement of goals by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The “elder sister” from the family of the Local Churches always had a chance to be truly an example for all the Churches – in terms of mutual aid, consolidation and unification, as well as cessation of intrigue and enmity. The deep crisis in which the Patriarchate of Constantinople fell at the beginning of the 20th century made it possible to unite all the Churches in support of the Great Church – with a view to healing its plight and integrating World Orthodoxy. However, tempted by the commotions in the Russian Orthodox Church that occurred after 1917, the Patriarchate of Constantinople chose the path of expansion as an element of survival with the subordination of "poorly lying" territories. From that moment on, the schism became the breeding ground for the Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose instrument is pseudo-healing. The history of the Church confirms there will always be career-conscious and power-hungry people in Her Body who, in order to achieve their goals, will agree to any intrigue and schism, only if they have a chance to be legalized. While the “grace” of the schismatics is centered on the “tip of the pen” of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the trend towards schism will be only expanding. Currently, one of the priority issues of the inter-Orthodox dialogue should be to exclude the possibility of maintaining a split in any form and manifestation. In each Church, there are those who are disgruntled and offended, who can easily be used to put pressure on the canonical Church through appeals to the Patriarchate of Constantinople (although the Patriarchate of Constantinople itself is not an exception ...). The problems of recent years in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia are a vivid example of the absolute man-made split with the use of a completely specific technology. One can sincerely regret that the activities of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in recent times are not suggestive of possible peaceful life of the Holy Local Churches without the obsessive “care” of the Mother Church… In conclusion, I will express my opinion on church events in Ukraine. Everything that happens in Ukraine is an exact copy of the schism in the Orthodox Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia – there are offended men, there are ambitious careerists, and, most importantly, there is a conviction of schismatics in their legalization – the only thing that keeps the schism from falling apart. But one can be absolutely sure that the Patriarchate of Constantinople will not grant any complete independence to any church structure in the Orthodox world. If the Charter of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, which has the autocephalous status, is subjected to change so that it will make the Church absolutely dependent, then what can one say about the supposed new “independent” church entities? P.S. On 20-21 August 2018, Arseny of Austria, Metropolitan of Constantinople Patriarchate again visited Moravia (center of schism in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia). At the suggestion of the “vicar” of the Olomouc diocese, Isaiah Slaninka, Metropolitan Arseniy chose a place to open a metochion (mission) of the Constantinople Patriarchate in this diocese. All the actions of the leadership of the Olomouc diocese and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as far as is known, take place without the consent of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav. The rationale of recent developments in the Czech Republic and Ukraine gives a firm conviction that should one of the Local Churches be subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the same fate awaits all other Churches, since a fundamental precedent is created that changes a conciliar mechanism in the relations between Orthodox Churches. The method for implementation, obviously, has already been chosen: if one feels disgruntled and offended by the local church leadership (and such ones do exist!), then the “love and protection” of the Constantinople Patriarchate is rushing to embrace you! Obviously, local schismatics want to enlist the support of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who in turn expects to form in the Czech Republic human resources for leadership of the Church. By the way, on 1-2 September 2018, the Olomouc diocese was visited by Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko), having handed Isaiah Slaninka a gift “with a hint” – a primate tee, while Isaiah himself regularly visits the famous bay on the shores of the Bosphorus ... It is a pity that Christ did not know the canons as they are interpreted by the Patriarchate of Constantinople – maybe, in this case Judas would not have hung himself (by oikonomia) ... http://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/57477-illyuzija-nezavisimosti-gorykij-opyt-avtokefalii-cerkvi-v-chehii-i-slovakii?fbclid=IwAR2n7snBBOIW4MxZR1NkOR_aI8pxITNu1r4dNcJyUoko2GZpub7HNbfffaQ
  21. THE FIRST BOOK ADMONITIONS PROFITABLE FOR THE SPIRITUAL LIFE CHAPTER I Of the imitation of Christ, and of contempt of the world and all its vanities 1. He that follows me shall not walk in darkness(1), says the Lord. There are the words of Christ; and they teach us how far we must imitate His life and character, if we seek true illumination, and deliverance from all blindness of heart. Let it be our most earnest study, therefore, to dwell upon the life of Jesus Christ. 2. His teaching surpasses all teaching of holy men, and such as have His Spirit find therein the hidden manna.(2) But there are many who, though they frequently hear the Gospel, yet feel but little longing after it, because they have not the mind of Christ. He, therefore, that will fully and with true wisdom understand the words of Christ, let him strive to conform his whole life to that mind of Christ. 3. What does it profit you to enter into deep discussion concerning the Holy Trinity, if you lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which makes a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof. If you know the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should all this profit you without the love and grace of God? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, save to love God, and Him only to serve. That is the highest wisdom, to cast the world behind us, and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom. 4. It is vanity then to seek after, and to trust in, the riches that shall perish. It is vanity, too, to covet honors, and to lift up ourselves on high. It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh and be led by them, for this shall bring misery at the last. It is vanity to desire a long life, and to have little care for a good life. It is vanity to take thought only for the life which now is, and not to look forward to the things which shall be hereafter. It is vanity to love that which quickly passes away, and not to hasten where eternal joy abides. 5. Always be mindful of the saying,(3) The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing. Strive, therefore, to turn away your heart from the love of the things that are seen, and to set it upon the things that are not seen. For they who follow after their own fleshly lusts, defile the conscience, and destroy the grace of God. http://www.siestakeybeachmeeting.com/index_htm_files/Imitation of Christ -Modern translation.pdf http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/kempis.html
  22. https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/10/many-thousands-will-die-the-coming-schism-in-orthodoxy-repent-and-stop-this-insanity/ Published on: Oct 14, 2018 @ 00:40 – By Metropolitan Jonah – Once again, the United States and its policies are creating chaos, setting up the murder of innocent people, and disrupting an ancient institution. Only this time, it is direct interference in the affairs not just of a nation state, Ukraine, but of a religious institution, the Orthodox Church. And the effect of this is not just on a local, but worldwide level. The granting of autocephaly to the schismatic Ukrainian body, the so-called Kiev Patriarchate, is not primarily an ecclesiastical issue, but a political one. Ecclesiastically, the US policy is interfering on a number of different levels. It is not, of course, interfering for the sake of human rights, freedom of religion, of religious institutions governing their own lives without government interference, or the fundamental American principle of the separation of church and state. It is rather operating contrary to these fundamental American principles, and trying to force the faithful people of Ukraine into a unified state church, supporting an unpopular government installed, supported and maintained by the United States, and essentially appointing the clergy and hierarchy, particularly the patriarch, for that body. Undoubtedly it will support the Ukrainian government in its efforts to nationalize the 12,000 churches belonging to the legitimate canonical Ukrainian Churchand its faithful people, confiscating the buildings and property, including the ancient sacred monasteries and national landmarks. The Ukrainian people, faithful Orthodox Christians, will fight against the confiscation of their churches, just as they fought the Soviet confiscation of their churches by the Communists in the 1920s. And now as then, they will give their lives for the protection of their holy places from defilement by false brethren. Just as they heroically fought the Nazis in the Second World War, and then the Communists again after the Nazis were expelled, they will reject the false patriarch Denisenko and fight against a government that they know cares nothing for them and their interests, their liberty and religious freedom, just as they rejected the Living Church Renovationists in the 1920’s. Thousands will die, protesting against American policy translated into violent action by the Ukrainian government. This is a grave sin, for the Ukrainian leadership and their American masters. Moreover, not content to manipulate the ecclesiastical and political mafiosi of Ukraine, a failing state grasping for power and lacking legitimacy from its people, the State Department and other agencies have injected themselves into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They have manipulated the elderly Ecumenical Patriarch, either directly or through their proxies, through his greatest weakness: the precarious position of the Patriarchate within Turkey, politically and financially. They would expand his jurisdiction, and have ensured his financial stability with bribes of millions of dollars. They are using and abusing an old man who is trying with all his might to preserve an ancient institution. They have compromised him, and the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and are thereby disrupting not only the Ukraine and its precarious peace, but fostering a schism that will rend the Orthodox world, a community larger than the United States. This is a bitter and cynical move, and profoundly evil. Their justification is that they want to curtail the influence of Russia. The neoconservatives and others who control so much US policy are possessed by a paranoid Russophobia, left over from the first Cold War, and a new hatred of the Christian values espoused by the resurgent Russia. Despite Russia’s overtures for greater cooperation and détente, and President Trump’s apparent willingness to make friends with Russia, we remain hostage to the fears of State Department and Pentagon bureaucrats. Should we not to mention that Russia has a GDP less than that of Texas, and a military budget less than one tenth that of the US. So the United States tries to hit the Russians in the place they care about the most: their Faith, their Church, their Christianity. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, under Metropolitan Onuphry, is a maximally autonomous church attached to the Russian Orthodox Church. It is the Mother diocese of the Russian Church, and there is a thousand year connection between the Kievan Metropolitanate and the rest of the Russian Church. For years, the Kievan Metropolitanate has been autonomous, which means that their main connection with Moscow is that they commemorate (pray for) the Patriarch of Moscow at services. Otherwise, they govern their own life. The Russian Patriarch has far less authority over the Church in Ukraine than the Pope does over the Roman Catholics in America. (There is a close parallel to old deep seated American anti-Catholic attitudes, and fears of the Moscow Patriarchate.) Yet there are close personal ties, and huge numbers of Ukrainians serve in parishes and dioceses throughout Russia. The ties are organic, and the canonical Ukrainian Church has no desire, and has not asked, for autocephaly. And so the United States State Department and agencies support a disgraced and legitimately defrocked charlatan who is all dressed up, and who is himself manipulating the pathetic Poroshenko, for his own ambition. They have blackmailed the elderly Ecumenical Patriarch, in regards to the disappearance of funds from the American Archdiocese, and then bribed him. To justify himself he asserted an interpretation of his own jurisdiction that is rejected by the rest of the Orthodox Churches. The other thirteen Orthodox Churches, with one or two exceptions that have remained silent, condemn this move by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They do not accept the assertion of virtually universal jurisdiction by the Patriarch of Constantinople, nor the authority to act unilaterally, especially on matters that require the consensus of all the Churches, such as the granting of autocephaly. While the Patriarchs cannot control what happens politically in Ukraine, what is more likely is that they will meet and try to remove Patriarch Bartholomew for having acted contrary to the universal canons. The greatest hope is that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will repent and stop this madness. It may be too late. In the meantime, if they go through with the autocephaly, babushki—grandmothers—will be dying in Ukraine trying to defend their beloved churches from the new Ukraino-Nazis. The Patriarchate of Constantinople will have relegated itself to schism from the rest of the Orthodox world; it might as well then join the Vatican. In any event it will lose any claim to the primacy, save historical memory, and thus any influence. Sooner than later in Ukraine, Poroshenko will be voted out, and Denisenko, 90+ years old, will die. Then the schism will fall apart, regardless of its status. Ukraine will continue to collapse, autocephalous church or no, into political, social, economic and ecclesiastical chaos. No one, not the US and not Russia, is willing or able to step in and save it. It will finally have to emerge from the ashes. So it will join Iraq, Libya, Syria and other places destroyed by US intervention. Orthodoxy, however will survive – preferably with the Ecumenical Patriarchate intact, but even without it. The other churches have already rallied around the Patriarch of Moscow as standing for and maintaining canonical order; and around Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev as a victim of profound injustice, revealing Christ suffering in the midst of persecution. So thanks to US policy, Moscow emerges strongly as the moral leader of the Orthodox world. Poetic justice. But you, State Department, will have the blood of the little Ukrainian grandmothers and old men on your hands and your heads. And you will have to answer for your decisions and actions before God. Or do you even care? Metropolitan Jonah October 12, 2018 Metropolitan Jonah is a bishop within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the former Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and a native born American. HOUSANDS WILL DIE – The Coming Schism in Orthodoxy: “Repent, and Stop This Insan
  23. The Authority of the Pope: Part I In other Catholic Answers tracts, we have shown that the Church Fathers recognized that Jesus made Peter the rock on which he would build his Church, that this gave Peter a special primacy, that Peter went to Rome, and that he left successors there. In this tract we will show that they also understood that Peter’s successors shared in his special authority or primacy. In a wide variety of ways, the Fathers attest to the fact that the church of Rome was the central and most authoritative church. They attest to the Church’s reliance on Rome for advice, for mediation of disputes, and for guidance on doctrinal issues. They note, as Ignatius of Antioch does, that Rome "holds the presidency" among the other churches, and that, as Irenaeus explains, "because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree" with Rome. They are also clear on the fact that it is communion with Rome and the bishop of Rome that causes one to be in communion with the Catholic Church. This displays a recognition that, as Cyprian of Carthage puts it, Rome is "the principal church, in which sacerdotal unity has its source." Most significant are the passages below in which the popes, by their statements or their actions, reveal their understanding of their own authority in the Church, such as when Pope Clement I commanded the church of Corinth to reinstate its leadership, or when Pope Victor excommunicated the churches of Asia Minor as a group, after which the other bishops sought to change Victor’s mind but did not challenge his authority to have made the excommunication. In this tract we will cover the views of the popes and other Church Fathers up to the year A.D. 341. The views of the Fathers after this period will be covered in the tract, The Authority of the Pope: Part II. Pope Clement I "Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy" (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]). Hermas "Therefore shall you [Hermas] write two little books and send one to Clement [Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty" (The Shepherd 2:4:3 [A.D. 80]). Ignatius of Antioch "Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]). "You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force" (ibid., 3:1). Dionysius of Corinth "For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying" (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]). "Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement" (ibid., 4:23:11). The Martyrs of Lyons "And when a dissension arose about these said people [the Montanists], the brethren in Gaul once more . . . [sent letters] to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia and, moreover to Eleutherius, who was then [A.D. 175] bishop of the Romans, negotiating for the peace of the churches" (Eusebius, Church History 5:3:4 [A.D. 312]) "And the same martyrs too commended Irenaeus, already at that time [A.D. 175] a presbyter of the community of Lyons, to the said bishop of Rome, rendering abundant testimony to the man, as the following expressions show: ‘Once more and always we pray that you may rejoice in God, Pope Eleutherius. This letter we have charged our brother and companion Irenaeus to convey to you, and we beg you to receive him as zealous for the covenant of Christ’" (ibid., 5:4:1–2). Irenaeus "But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]). Eusebius of Caesarea "A question of no small importance arose at that time [A.D. 190]. For the parishes of all Asia [Minor], as from an older tradition held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior’s Passover. . . . But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world . . . as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast [of Lent] on no other day than on that of the resurrection of the Savior [Sunday]. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other but the Lord’s day and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day only. . . . Thereupon [Pope] Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the community the parishes of all Asia [Minor], with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox. And he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops, and they besought him to consider the things of peace and of neighborly unity and love. . . . [Irenaeus] fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom" (Church History 5:23:1–24:11). "Thus then did Irenaeus entreat and negotiate [with Pope Victor] on behalf of the peace of the churches—[Irenaeus being] a man well-named, for he was a peacemaker both in name and character. And he corresponded by letter not only with Victor, but also with very many and various rulers of churches" (ibid., 24:18). Cyprian of Carthage "The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). ... On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). "Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church" (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]). "Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting ... You wrote ... that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church" (ibid., 55[52]:1). "Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men ... when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church" (ibid., 55[52]:8). "With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and b.asphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source" (ibid., 59:14). Firmilian "[Pope] Stephen ... boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. ... Stephen ... announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:17 [A.D. 253]). Pope Julius I "[The] judgment [concerning Athanasius] ought to have been made, not as it was, but according to the ecclesiastical canon. It behooved all of you to write us so that the justice of it might be seen as emanating from all. ... Are you ignorant that the custom has been to write first to us and then for a just decision to be passed from this place [Rome]? If, then, any such suspicion rested upon the bishop there [Athanasius of Alexandria], notice of it ought to have been written to the church here. But now, after having done as they pleased, they want to obtain our concurrence, although we never condemned him. Not thus are the constitutions of Paul, not thus the traditions of the Fathers. This is another form of procedure, and a novel practice. ... What I write about this is for the common good. For what we have heard from the blessed apostle Peter, these things I signify to you" (Letter on Behalf of Athanasius [A.D. 341], in Athanasius, Apology Against the Arians 20–35). https://www.catholic.com/tract/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-i
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