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The Extreme Inconsistency of the Behaviour of …

The Extreme Inconsistency of the Behaviour of Patriarch Bartholomew

Protopresbyter Ioannis K. Diotis. Theologian, social commentator, writer and publisher. Recipient of awards fr om the Academy of Sciences of Athens for his activities.

It is with unprecedented hostility that the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has attacked the Russian Orthodox Church, which accounts for almost half of the world’s Orthodox population. The Patriarch’s behaviour is inconsistent. Here are a few of the ‘outpourings’ of the Patriarch’s heart as published on 2nd February 2023 by the Ark of Orthodoxy web portal.

“It is the Russian Church, which lacks a healthy ecclesiastical consciousness, and not Ukrainian autocephaly, which has widened the gulf between Ukrainians and Russians.”

It is the Patriarch himself who lacks an Orthodox ecclesiastical consciousness. It is he, through his uncanonical interference in another church jurisdiction belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate, who has widened the church schism in Ukraine. It is he who granted pseudo-autocephaly to the pseudo-church that he himself instituted in Kiev made up of schismatics, the excommunicated, and self-consecrated who have no priestly rank and persons anathematized headed by the pseudo-primate and pseudo-bishop Epiphanius. He has attempted to deceive all the heads of the churches, all of the fullness of Orthodoxy by asserting that he had restored from the perspective of ecclesiology all those upon whom the Moscow Patriarchate had imposed canonical sanctions. As a journalist I asked the Patriarch to make publicly available the procedure by which he restored those placed under ecclesiastical sanctions, but he said nothing in reply, which masked his nakedness from the ecclesiological perspective. And again, the Patriarch is faced with a challenge for the simple reason that he is obliged to do this. This is a general requirement, a requirement of the whole Orthodox Church.

I will linger on this issue because it is central and fundamental. The Ukrainian question continues to tear apart the unity of all the Orthodox Church as a result of schisms that have occurred. The only person who bears responsibility for this sad ecclesiastical situation is the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Attention, dear readers! And again I say – attention! The Patriarch is evidently contradicting himself.

This is the very same Patriarch who convoked the Synaxis of Primates of all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches in Chambésy near Geneva from 21st to 27th January 2016. The Apostolic Diaconia publishing house of the Greek Orthodox Church of Hellas put out a beautifully published and long 542-page volume containing the minutes and all corresponding documents of this solemn Synaxis under the title of The Synaxis of the Primates of the Most Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Churches. The first edition came out in October 2021.

Listen, and listen carefully. During the many dialogues and lengthy discussions during the seven days of the Synaxis, Patriarch Bartholomew, inter alia, directly, unambiguously and clearly stated: 1. “The unity of the Church is to be manifested not only in words but also in external affairs” (p.62); “I officially declare that the Most Holy Church of Constantinople has no intention of undertaking any acts in connection with church life in Ukraine, especially with regard to regulating the schism and the granting of autocephaly” (p.150). 3. “All of those here present recognize metropolitan Onuphrius to be the sole canonical metropolitan of Kiev” (p.71); 4. “Before the Holy Synaxis I repeat that every time bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, when visiting Ukraine, they in the first instance pay a visit to the Metropolitan of Kiev His Grace Onuphrius” (p.151); 5. “Philaret is a schismatic. I have given clear instructions to those Ukrainian clerics under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the diaspora that, when in Kiev, they refrain from all communion in the sacraments and joint services with schismatics” (pp.77-78); 6. “We believe that brotherly relations between the Churches of Constantinople and Moscow are a precious good” (p.78); 7. “There are no doubts as to the canonical rights of the Most Holy Russian Church in Ukraine” (p.77); 8. “The Most Holy Church of Constantinople in no way intends to intervene in the internal affairs of the autocephalous Churches and shall always act only at the request expressed by an interested Church” (p.77); 9. “The Ecumenical Patriarch resolves issues with recourse to the appropriate measures provided for by canonical order” (p.77); 10. “I propose to adopt together with the fraternal Russian Church a resolution that will enable the healing of the church schism in Ukraine” (p.155); 11. All the participants of this Synaxis are in agreement with Patriarch Bartholomew and recognize that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church comes under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

How terrible, terrible, terrible! By single-handedly granting to the pseudo-church of Kiev pseudo-autocephaly, Patriarch Bartholomew has turned on its head everything that he stated at the Synaxis of Primates, through his intervention in another ecclesiastical jurisdiction under the Moscow Patriarchate he has committed a most serious canonical crime. We must bear in mind too that at no time did the canonical Ukrainian Church headed by metropolitan Onuphrius ask for autocephaly. Patriarch Bartholomew committed an additional canonical crime by placing a second bishop – pseudo-bishop Epiphanius – in the same place as Onuphrius. This is completely forbidden by the holy canons. The behaviour of the Patriarch is remarkable for its inconsistency.

Since this first slander by Patriarch Bartholomew against the Russian Church required a lengthy refutation, we shall further lim it ourselves merely to quoting the disparaging “outpourings” of the Patriarchal heart.

“Moscow is attempting to undermine ecclesiastical order”; “The Russian Church is creating tension in Orthodox relations”; “The Russian Church has papal ambitions”; “Moscow does not recognize the Ukrainians’ right to an autocephalous Church since it wishes to persecute them severely, it wants to turn Orthodoxy into a confederation of Churches with Moscow retaining the final word”; “Moscow possesses an undisguised arrogant and hegemonistic mentality”; “The Russian Church is definitely trying to kill its own Mother Church”; “The Russian Church should beg forgiveness for those afflictions that it has caused to Orthodoxy”.

This collection of disparaging remarks by Patriarch Bartholomew cannot be tolerated. They stand in stark contrast to and contradict what Patriarch Bartholomew said at the Synaxis of Primates. No challenge was laid down to him. It is he who started this iniquity by teaming up with America that is under the power of the masons in order to wage war with Orthodox Russia.

After this shocking self-contradiction and painful self-parody, Patriarch Bartholomew can no longer enjoy respect as a public figure. Henceforth he is a person to be deemed totally untrustworthy.

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