How do we see the Patriarchate of Constantinople today?
Archpriest Darko Djogo, Doctor of Theology, professor of the St. Basil of Ostrog Orthodox Theological Faculty at the University in East Sarajevo
In a recently published article in the Serbian language, I expressed a very simple thought that seemed interesting to many readers: “Today, the Phanar should be taken for an office of the US State Department rather than for a Local Orthodox Church.”Yet, many my friends and acquaintances criticized me pointing to the excessive sharpness of the wording of my viewpoint.
“Is it too harsh a judgment about a martyred Church whose situation now is not favourable either?” We are living at the time of the post-modernist contrast: on the one hand, the culture of modern communication often requires from interlocutors to show some “exquisiteness” with a tendency to euphemisms and ambiguousness, while on the other – an unimaginably obscene language is being increasingly heard in public discourses. Meanwhile, I prefer a timeless attitude to the truth, according to Aristotle: “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.”This is the way to speak for me. So, the question of the correctness of my opinion is not to be regarded in the light of “normality” or “conventions,” but should rather be viewed in terms of the adequacy of what is said in spite of the truth.
How does Constantinople appear to us today? Of course, my friends and acquaintances, who still care for what Patriarch Bartholomew and other Phanar officials say and do, would prefer to see Phanar differently, at it is usually presented by others: as the ancient see of the holy apostle Andrew, as a Local Church of a two-thousand-year-long history of the seemingly uninterrupted succession. But anyone, even the one with a superficial knowledge of the history of the Orthodox Church, would disagree with the Phanar admirers: there is still no clear evidence as to what Constantinople’s attitude is to the dark pages of its own history and to those of its periods when the chair of Patriarch Bartholomew was occupied by the producers of heresy.
If the answer to this question in case of Nestorius and Pyrrhus is negative, it is yet unclear what the attitude of today’s Phanar is to the patriarchs of Constantinople who occupied this post during the period between the Council of Florence in 1439 and the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It is a noteworthy historical fact that though Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius completely broke up with the unionist policy of his predecessors, the Patriarchate did not recognize the lawfulness of the decision of the Russian Church to break off the relations with those deluded during the time of the unionist rulers of Constantinople. Are the present-day patriarchs of Constantinople successors to those who died being in union with Rome? As it appears today, the ecclesiastical political line of the Phanar seems to be fully corresponding to the position showing the Patriarch of Constantinople as a legitimate successor to the patriarchs-unionists.
Moreover, there is one more factor related to the essence and mission of the Phanar today. As the Greeks themselves are saying, its mission is to promote and preserve the unity of Greek culture and generation (genos). Even when I ask those Greeks, who are critical of the activity of Patriarch Bartholomew, why they do not dissociated with people whose actions contradict their words, they would often answer that being aware of the Phanar’s erroneous policy they believe that the severance of relations with it would entail disintegration of the Greek world for which the Phanar is one of symbols and probably the most important center of the Greek identification.
Certainly, this position is absolutely understandable, but it is evident in this case that there is no “ecumenical patriarchate”, but only a “pan-Hellenic patriarchate.” The Phanar’s readiness to crush the freedom of the two Slavic Churches: the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć and the Orthodox Ohrid Archdiocese in 1766-1767 under the rule of the Ottoman Empire makes this, centuries-long period of the Phanar’s identification serve as a very important key to the interpretation of certain processes and procedures. Today’s Phanar does not only tend to exercise a selective mentioning of the facts (for example, the history of granting autocephaly to Slavic Churches, while forgetting its own attempts to liquidate these same churches), but also to use a specific language (“mother Church” – “daughter Church”). So, history has shown a sufficient number of examples of the Phanar’s anti-Slavic disposition and actions for us to see what the Phanar’s identity is all about. Therefore, we won’t be surprised if we see such examples again.
The cynical view of their own history is characteristic of today’s official historians of the Phanar who try to convince us into believing that the troubles which befell the historical see of the apostles during the Ottoman yoke and the generous assistance of Moscow’s tsars were a sufficient excuse to cede, or, to say more precisely, to lend the Kievan see to Moscow during the time of the turkocracy and autocracy.
According to this version of their own history that took origin within the Phanar, it was absolutely normal from the moral viewpoint to let Moscow “violate the canons,” provided it had finances to justify this! Could anyone else’s words be more convincing for the Phanar? Could anything else speak more explicitly about the lack of shame and shortage of moral norms in the Phanar today and about the fog reigning there? It is hardly so. In addition to that, the Phanar behaves as the “only one address” in world Orthodoxy today as far as the “network, i.e. global structures are concerned. It looks like that this is not an ecumenical but a “globalist patriarchate.” The reasons for such symbiosis are revealed in different aspects.
Just like the First Rome, the Second one has decided to turn the primacy of honour and love into the primacy of power; but there is no justification to be found for it either in the nature of the Orthodox Church (its conciliarity resists to any ossification of “papism” in it), or among the canons based on conciliar nature. Therefore, the power which the Phanar is drawing from the global centers of influence is “borrowed,” i.e. given by somebody at a certain price. We see the price of this power in Ukraine. The costs are being covered by the sufferings of the true Church of Christ.
We should also remember that a great part of the Phanar’s real flock consists of rich Greek emigrants, plutocrats in particular, who have fully integrated in all Western projects. During the time from the Age of Enlightenment and Freemasonry to the “new world order,” different ship owners and merchants, as well as the “Orthodox” philanthropists and sponsors of the Phanar, according to St. Justin Popović, have been part of the “Europe without Christ, in the Aryan civilization.” Therefore, this NATO-Orthodoxy symbiosis could lead only to destruction both for us, the attacked, and also for the Phanar itself.
The theology of the Phanar has already completely changed into an ideology providing a “theological” basis and justification for each of the social programs of the “new world order.” Be it a new attitude to the gender and gender identity or complicated problems of the American social policy and promotion of the “Green Patriarch,” the Phanar would invariably, conscientiously and proudly, side with the “deep state.” Therefore, the fact that the Phanar is an ideological division of the US State Department would be more insulting for the people whom the Phanar has taught in our Local Churches, than for the Greek metropolitans who make their statements and built up their “theology” in accordance with the current ideological and political course of Washington.
Then, what our attitude to the Phanar should be today? Should we see in it as an ancient patriarchate, a pan-Hellenic establishment, or an office for the liquidation of the Orthodox Church under the direct control of the State Department?
Today the Phanar’s actions speak louder than words. At the present moment it is performing exclusively as an office of the State Department and implements its agenda in the Greek churches relying on the authority of a pan-Hellenic institution and acting under the cover of the image of the ancient patriarchate. This is the truth as it is. When Patriarch Bartholomew and his followers give up such behavior and convince us that in the first place they are safeguards of Orthodoxy, the witnesses of the sufferings and resurrection of Christ and worthy heirs of the heritage of St. John Chrysostom, of St. Photius the Great of Constantinople, or at least, of other great patriarchs, they will find in us the same brothers as they had left when they embarked on the path along which they are going now.