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Friday, December 9, 2016

In the absence of the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church a pan-Orthodox Council took a controversial decision


A pan-Orthodox Council was to meet for the first time in more than a thousand years, but pan-Orthodox did not. Moreover, the absence of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church – although the largest local Church, but “equal among equals” – has become fundamental terms of the very “democracy” which is not the place understood by the organizers. But what is the point of disagreement in the Orthodox ranks? Isn’t it time to admit another split?

Sunday ended a meeting on acute Crete, which its organizers and participants for a number of reasons referred to as pan-Orthodox Cathedral. It was attended by ten of the fourteen local Orthodox churches, while Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian, and Russian Orthodox churches, the event is ignored.

“In the Church because there is no democracy, from the first century – and never will. Democracy – a government of the people, and the Church power belongs to God”

Iaroslavskoi at Antioch and the churches takes place the old argument about canonical belonging of Qatar. This dispute went so far that two local churches tore each other Eucharistic communion. And because the issue of Qatar in the agenda of the Cretan events were not included, Antiochia from a trip to Greece refused. Next to the “boycott” joined Bulgarian, then Georgian and finally, the Russian Church, at the insistence of which, incidentally, the venue of the Cathedral was transferred to Crete from Istanbul Patriarchate considered a question of a sharp aggravation of relations between Russia and Turkey due to the shot down in the skies over Syria su-24, which caused the death of two Russian soldiers. Ignore the Cathedral was planned and Serbs, but changed his mind at the last moment.

The Cathedral is not considered matters of dogma and canons. The documents submitted for the signature, mainly related to the role of Orthodoxy in the world, the relationship of the churches with modern society and other non-Orthodox denominations. Several of the theologians who refused to participate churches saw them as a number of inaccuracies and ambiguities, but to arrange an additional meeting to make drastic edits to the organizing Committee, i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarchate refused. This was the reason that the event was “cut” part.

At the end of the Cathedral the delegates issued a final collective statement, which was published on the official website of the pan-Orthodox Council. Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate has already declared that will attentively familiarise with content of the document and will soon prepare an official response. Some Russian experts have performed a little more quickly and have appreciated the message of the Cathedral as “alarming”. So, head of the Advisory Board of the world Russian people’s Council Alexander Rudnev said: “the Proposal held a Cathedral on Crete to proclaim the Cathedral as a permanent regular institution, accompanied by the statement that “Orthodox local Church is not a Confederation of churches”, is very alarming, because the combination of these two theses does not agree with traditional beliefs about the unity of Orthodoxy on the basis of a Symphony of local churches who will ultimately decide on the critical issues has primarily spiritual nature.”

Simply put, the expert saw the attempt to create a “Supreme collegiate authority” over all the local Churches, although their heads are initially equal to each other. They have full canonical authority within their jurisdiction and not invade someone else’s. New “Cathedral organ” claim of intervention in those issues that have traditionally been addressed within a particular Church. In social science this would rate as an attack on the powers of local authorities by the illegitimate supranational authority.

All, this message consists of the twelve theses, which can be regarded as an allusion to the twelve theses of the creed – the basic prayers, which defines what she believes an Orthodox Christian. It briefly outlines the results of earlier documents concerning the family and marriage, human rights, the situation of Christians in the middle East, relations between the Orthodox Church and other confessions, and science, as well as the condemnation of religious intolerance and fanaticism. And while ROC is preparing a formal response, it is worth noting that a number of provisions of the address is really far from reality. For example, in the first paragraph of the document says: “the Main priority of the Holy and Great Council was the proclamation of the unity of the Orthodox Church”. If you remember the controversy in Antioch and Jerusalem, to proclaim the unity of the honorable the primates clearly premature.

In the same paragraph, below you can find some words, concerned about the number of Orthodox experts: “the Orthodox Church expresses its unity and catholicity in the Cathedral. Collegiality defines the organization, decision-making and choose their path. Orthodox Local Church is not a Confederation of Churches, but one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” Considering that the event was not four local churches, with the principle of the unity of all, to put it mildly, not ideal.

Moreover, the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, declaring the Cathedral held it as pan-Orthodox, made a rather provocative statement on the procedure for the adoption of the outcome documents. “You come from a democratic country, where everyone expects that he will vote. Unfortunately, in any democratic country not all come to vote. Does this mean that the vote passed in a democratic way, not really?”, – so the Archbishop Teleski job commented on disagreements about “vsepravoslavnogo” of the event. That is, he compared the procedure of the Cathedral with the political, secular electoral procedures as for the Bishop, by definition, incorrect. Moreover, decisions at the Council are adopted and enter into force only in case of unanimous approval from the representatives of all the local churches. Otherwise, the decrees lose their legitimacy and, by definition, do not have the status of the pan-Orthodox.

About this statement already expressed the Deputy head of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Archpriest Nikolai Balashov: “I understand that the atmosphere on Crete tense, and to communicate with journalists tiring… But in the Church because there is no democracy, from the first century – and never will. Democracy – a government of the people, and the Church power belongs to God. Any self-respecting Democrat would have asked the Lord of job, for what term he was elected and when his term of office expires. After all, from the point of view of a Democrat any non-replaceable power is bad. And women have to work bishops do not take – what kind of democracy”.

Meanwhile, you need to understand that the comparison with political procedures, although incorrectly, politics really have time to join in this game. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had to say that the Cathedral took place, was it Warewolves and it was under his, the Ecumenical Patriarch, leadership – even if these statements are far from reality.

Here, by the way, and concerns about the fact that the Cathedral is planned to make a permanent body for all the local churches with the same constant and unchangeable President – Вселенскиv Patriarch. Here already grows a danger not only for the “catholicity” of the Cathedral, but also for the unity of the whole Orthodox Church with equal bishops and the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarch only “honor”. In fact, Patriarch Bartholomew wants thus indirectly becoming the “most important Patriarch.” Or “Eastern Christian “Dad” if you want. About these intentions spoken and categorical approach to the approval of the conciliar documents (that is, in the form in which they are tabled, and the failure to organize a preliminary meeting to address issues that impede universal participation in the Cathedral, local churches, and other features of the rules of the event.

If the Ecumenical Patriarchate will continue its policy of imposing its will on other primates and churches, the legitimacy of the “new Church organ” quickly simplifies to zero. Especially in the absence of a “quorum” on the island of Crete, where it was represented by the “Orthodox minority” – and the number of the faithful laity and the clergy and the episcopate. That is, if you go back to the words of the Constantinople Archbishop job of comparing the Cathedral with “democratic elections,” the legitimacy of the decisions taken on the Greek island, the more doubt. After all, most (and absolute) did not agree with the very fact of the Council in the format in which it is proposed to make the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Now you need to wait for the official response of theologians of the Moscow Patriarchate, to talk about the possible consequences of this “Cretan decisions.” However, concerns about the split between local churches, we can comment on at once – will not be split. Though, because the Cathedral did not affect questions of dogma, that is, the foundations of the Orthodox faith. Furthermore, differences in social, political and organizational issues for the Orthodox Church is deeply secondary. “There must be differences of opinion between you,” says the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians.

This, however, does not negate the fact that some tension between appearance and Nezavissimaya the Cathedral, local churches has certainly increased.

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