Photo: – 23/10/18

The Patriarch dismisses arguments against his unilateral actions as “black propaganda”

Finally responding to the pushback against his Patriarchate’s unilateral actions in Ukraine, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has insisted that he will not back down in Ukraine, meaning he will continue to work towards creating an autocephalous Church in Ukraine, although the nation is already the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the headship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

Speaking at a meeting of the city government of the Greek diaspora in Constantinople, Pat. Bartholomew argued that his actions are based on the sacred canons of the Holy Orthodox Church and are binding on the entire Church, reports

To date, no other Local Orthodox Church that has spoken on the matter has supported Constantinople’s interpretation of the canons and its rights to act unilaterally within another Local Church.

He also said that the Russian Church would eventually have to submit and obey his decisions: “Whether or Russian brothers like it or not, sooner or later, they will follow the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarch, because they have no other choice.”

Rather than addressing the in-depth historical and canonical arguments being put forth by Orthodox Synods, primates, and hierarchs around the world, Pat. Bartholomew instead said he is aware of Russian “black propaganda” and “well-paid articles.” He did not mention how much he believes the Russian Orthodox Church is paying other Patriarchates to voice their views.

“Our Slavic brothers cannot tolerate the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our nation in Orthodoxy,” the Ecumenical Patriarch added.

It is unclear what “nation” he is referring to, as he is an ethnic Greek, and the Churches of Greece, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria are also dominated by Greeks and have shown no support or spoken directly against Constantinople’s actions.

The Ukrainian state and the schismatics that support it also view the push for an autocephalous Church through an ethnic “Ukrainians vs. Russians” framework, as they have consistently stated.

It is important to note that the Russian Church never questioned the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until it entered into communion with schismatics on October 11.

The Secretary of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk responded that “the Russian Church, as any other Local Orthodox Church, is not obligated to submit to the decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, inasmuch as the canons of the Ecumenical Councils, which Patriarch Bartholomew speaks of, do not confer upon him any authority outside of his own Patriarchate,” reports Interfax-Religion.

His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus (Greek Orthodox Church) recently offered a historical analysis of the canons, coming to the same conclusion as Fr. Igor.

Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the Deputy Head of the DECR, also expressed his bewilderment at the phyletistic element of Pat. Bartholomew’s comments.

“We can only regret that His Holiness so imagines the importance of the ethnic factor in the Church,” Fr. Nikolai told Interfax today.

“’Primacy’ in Orthodox of any race or nation is another completely new teaching foreign to the Orthodox faith, absolutely unacceptable, I believe, for every Church, and especially for the multinational Russian Church, which unites believers of many peoples belonging to dozens of various ethnicities,” Fr. Nikolai stated.




    Predictably OCP in a spectacular display of journalistic lack of integrity not only by exclusively sourcing articles from notoriously biased websites – particularly by posting an article with an ALREADY MISLEADING HEADING, AS THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH DID NOT USE THE WORD ‘OBEDIENCE’ – but by completely ignoring sources where a more balanced perspective is afforded for readers either on both sides of the spectrum or neutral, has repeatedly failed to engage with articles by scholars, journalists, academics, who argue in favour of the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Since people on this useless website won’t be getting the full picture on the issue, for those interested in a more professional approach to journalism which accommodates for all sides of the spectrum, I encourage you to visit these websites:

  2. Do you think you might be missing the forest for the trees? Watch the video available here: which the article cites.

    Is the “obedience” headline so strained an extrapolation from «Είτε αρέσει στους αδελφούς μας τους Ρώσους είτε δεν αρέσει, αργά η γρήγορα θα ακολουθήσουν την λύση που θα δώσει το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο διότι δεν έχουν άλλη επιλογή»? He is talking of the right of final appeal that he feels C-ople can rule on, based on canons IV: 9 & 17. The way he reads these two canons Russia has no other choice. (Aside: I would contrast his reading of these canons with that of Nikodemos). He then makes the alarming claim that «Δεν ανέχονται οι αδερφοί μας οι Σλάβοι το προβάδισμα που έχει το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο και το Γένος μας, μέσα στην Ορθοδοξία».

    Interesting. Is there fertile ground here for a theological theory of the dialectic between the προνομιούχο γένος της απανταχού Ρωμηοσύνης and the other nations?

    The he goes on to praise the article by this author: , which he contrasts with the well-paid black propaganda of the Russians. Βεβαίως θα υπάρχουν και άρθρα τα οποία θα είναι καλοπληρωμένα από τους Ρώσσους, η μαύρη προπαγάνδα των Ρώσσων etc…

    The playbook brands anything the Russians say as fake news…

  3. Dear PYCb:

    Of course you could understand the frustration of repeatedly seeing articles one after the other sympathetic to the Russian cause from this website and virtually zero offering an opposing view. Perhaps the staff were trained in their methods at the University of Pyongyang, but that’s another issue.

    My first question to you is, do you know modern Greek?

    Let’s assume that the Ecumenical Patriarch did in fact say that the Russian Church has no choice but to obey the decision to grant the Tomos. We understand that an Orthodox theology of Primacy excludes a modus operandi which involves of an imposition of authority by the Primate, which would violate the our belief that the Father’s monarchia as a source of unity in the Trinity precludes power over the Trinity. However I have a few citations that I thought would be useful to have your perspective on, given that you charge proponents of Orthodox Ecclesiology such as Zizioulas with manipulating theology to serve their efforts to aggrandise the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    How do you reconcile your views with Primacy as understood by these Orthodox churchmen in speaking of a hypothetical restoration of an Orthodox Roman papacy:

    The first is a quote from Nicolas Cabasilas:

    “As long as the pope observes due order and remains in the truth, he preserves the first place which belongs to him by right; he is the head of the Church and supreme pontiff, the successor of Peter and of all the apostles; all must obey him and treat him with complete respect.”

    The second is a quote from Simeon of Thessalonica:

    “When the Latins affirm that the bishop of Rome is the first, they should not be contradicted….Let them but show us that he remains in the faith of Peter and his successors, that he possesses what comes from Peter, then he will be the first, the chief shepherd and head of all, the supreme Pontiff…If there should come such a one…by the creed, by his life, by the morals of orthodoxy, he will be our common Father. We will take him to be Peter, and the bonds of union will last forever”.

    During the Monothelite controversy, a Synod took place in the Lateran in the year 649. Stephen, bishop of Dora and vicar of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, then ruled by the staunch Chalcedonian bishop Sophronius, reiterates the sense of duty to report to Rome the things which have occurred “in quest of healing for the wound inflicted”, identifying Rome as “the see that rules and presides over all others.”Then Stephen delivers his estimation of the Roman chair:

    “It has been accustomed to perform this [healing…] authoritatively from the first and from of old, on the basis of its apostolic and canonical authority, for the reason, evidently, that the truly great Peter, the head of the apostles, was deemed worthy to be entrusted, alone out of all, with the ‘keys of the kingdom of heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]…but also because he was the first to be entrusted with shepherding the sheep of the whole catholic church. As the text runs, ‘Peter, do you love me? Shepherd my sheep.’ [Jn 21:16-17]….Witnessing this, Sophronius of blessed memory…took and placed me…on holy Calvary…saying: ‘…proceed in haste from one end of the world to the other until you come to the apostolic see, where are the foundations of pious doctrine, and acquaint the sacred men there…with everything that has with precision been mooted here”.

    Do these sentiments reflect an aggrandisement or a genuine witness to the relationship of the collegium of bishops to the first among them, in a Primacy defined in terms of service to Church unity and safeguarding of the faith and canonical regularity? In other words, Primacy with a certain aspect of authority? If the former, why are these personages wrong? If the latter, then why do you not accept the tradition of the Fathers and accept Primacy which now belongs to Constantinople, the heir of the prerogatives of Old Rome?

    Is the description of Mount Athos as “New Zion” an aggrandisement or a term that recognises the immense spiritual authority of the Holy Mountain in the consciousness of the Universal Church?

  4. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>My first question to you is, do you know modern Greek?

    Yes, it and Russian. So what do you have to say about what he said?

    On your quotes, these are highly contextualized rhetorical flourishes. Not serious statements of faith. The statements of faith are written out in the councils and the canons.

    Athos is not known as New Zion, but Το Περιβόλι της Παναγίας. Νέα Σιών is a publication put out by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem

  5. I never really thought of Bartholomew of Istanbul as a comedian, because he has rarely, if ever, done anything even the slightest bt funny. Ridiculous? Yes. Terrible? Yes. Questionable in the extreme? Yes. Heretical? Yes. But … funny? No. That is, of course, until I saw THis headline:


    He shoUld tkae this show on the road! To every comedy club there is! HILARIOUS!!!

  6. “On your quotes, these are highly contextualized rhetorical flourishes. Not serious statements of faith. The statements of faith are written out in the councils and the canons.”

    Give me a reputable source for your assertion that they are “rhetorical flourishes” and address my points with reputable academic sources.

    Athos was referred to as New Zion in an internet article. Would that have been a bad translation?

  7. Michael Woerl,

    As you can see the level of intelligence with which this exchange between my friend PYCb and I is being undertaken is out of your range, judging by your frivolous and childish comments. I suggest you buy a book and learn to read.

  8. “apostolic and canonical authority” = “rhetorical flourishes. Not serious statements of faith” ??

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