Bartholomew I: We will continue to dialogue with the Pope and Islam

HT: Byzantine TX. Source: Asia News

Pat. Bartholomew

Pat. Bartholomew

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – On the eve of the holiday season, Bartholomew I delivered a major address before an highly qualified audience from the Orthodox world, defending the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s choice for inter-faith dialogue. “We will insist on dialogue, despite the criticism that we suffer,” he said. “There is, unfortunately, a certain religious fundamentalism, a tragic phenomenon, which can be found among Orthodox and Catholics, among Muslims and Jews. These are people who think they alone have the right to exist on earth, almost as if they alone have the right to rule on this our planet according to the Old Testament. And they say there is no room for anyone else, and are therefore opposed to any dialogue. ”

The Patriarch continued: “We are subject to criticism and attack because we maintain relations with the Pope (because we are strong supporters of the ecumenical dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics), with Islam and the Jewish world. But we will continue to move forward on our journey, according to the path laid by our predecessors, well aware of our actions, regardless of the criticisms of which we are object. These fringes, characterized by extreme positions, are everywhere. It is therefore natural that we suffer their criticisms, according to their ideological dictates, all of us who try to widen our horizons and have a theological view of things. Because we want the peaceful coexistence of all, based on the principles of charity and friendship. ”

Bartholomew I added: “This is the credo of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and I want to remember that in 1920 the regent of the patriarchal see, along with the synod, had addressed to Catholics and Protestants an encyclical, called ‘The community of churches’, along the lines of the newly created ‘society of nations’. That encyclical is considered today by the World Council of Churches as the ‘Charter’ of the ecumenical movement of our time. This is a well known fact to insiders, and it is good that it should be made as widely known to as many people as possible”.

Then Bartholomew I went on to highlight: “With regard to interreligious dialogue, it is our belief and our creed. Because we need to know each other better, to work together while respecting the religious beliefs of others, their cultural identity, without oppression. This is the only way to live in peace. For this reason, the Patriarchate, in addition to having a dialogue with other Churches and Christian denominations, has established over the past 25 years a dialogue with Islam and Judaism. We have had several successful meetings. With the Muslims and Jews, our brothers, we do not discuss purely theological issues as it would be difficult. But we talk about social issues, social issues that effect all people, all humanity, all over the world. ”

Ecology has been one of the favorite themes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1989. The Patriarch said: “Everything that we try to do, we do because we believe it is our duty, because the Church should be actively present in the contemporary world and be sensitive to people’s problems, raise awareness and encourage them to love and protect nature like their own homes”. He added: “The environment, nature, is God’s creation and do not belong only to us who live today in 2010. They belong to all future generations. ”

Bishop Dositheos spokesman for the Patriarchate, commented on the Patriarch’s homily for AsiaNews, “a certain confusion prevails in some sectors of the Orthodox Christian world between the two terms, tradition and traditionalism. Tradition, to which those minorities often refer, is the ongoing search to interpret and understand the truth, while traditionalism which essentially belong to these minorities, is an intellectual sterility which often is identified with nationalism in the Orthodox world”.


  1. intellectual sterility which is often identified with nationalism in the Orthodox world

    Well, that’s the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

    Are we to conclude that the Wunderkind at the Phanar have finally conceded that the “hellenism” they have long preached is “intellectually sterile”?

  2. George Patsourakos

    Patriarch Bartholomew is correct in continuing dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, in order to achieve Christian unity.

    It is critical that the Great Schism of 1054 — which divided Christianity into Catholicism and Orthodoxy — be resolved as soon as possible, since doing so will be beneficial for all Christians.

  3. On what foundation is the unity to be achieved? Is peace in this world more important than salvation? Are we to reject the Cross? Is protection of the ‘environment’ (whatever that is) to be achieved by the denigration of man and a wholesale denial of the Incarnation and the place of humanity in the hierarchy of being that God created?

  4. Is there a transcript of this address available? I did not
    see one on nor on Sometimes, I wonder how we can have all types of streaming media, blogs and tweets for some patriarchal events but on others like this you are hard pressed to find a transcript.

  5. Isn’t this the goal of the New Age movement: to unite all religions, all beliefs and all philosophies? No matter how much would we interpret, the result will be the relativization of all religions. The hidden goal of the movement is to negate the reign of Christ in the hearts of mankind; to reduce God to the world and bring forth the man-created-god.

    Orthodoxy is Life

    Perhaps one of our biggest largest spiritual problems is that of the neo-paganism that runs rampant and for the most part undetected since there is no official, earthly visible head of this network of harmful, soul-destroying heresies. There is of course an architect behind the movement known as the prince of this world, but this deceitful blanket clause of “new age” seems to cover all of the neo-pagan and Gnostic falsehoods, delusions and blasphemies. Neo-paganism continually grows in worldly stature and acceptance. Today, new age materials are readily available in many print avenues as well as mass market media. The New Age mind-set has touched almost every area of life: education, culture, history, religion, politics, psychology, science and healthcare. A look at the overall atmosphere of New Age philosophy appears to be one of tolerance and even peaceful sincerity, but closer investigation reveals otherwise. It is the systematic weeding out, destruction and intolerance of Christ. Anti-Christ not necessarily obvious by being against Christ but intends to negate the reign of Christ in the hearts of mankind. As the church Fathers indicate this spirit wants to place its self in place of Christ.

    • Eliot, and anyone who dares, DARES, to raise even so much as an eyebrow is a ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘extremist’, not really Christian, etc. etc.

      Having come to the Church from a ‘new age’ type of belief, I know the soul destroying, even life destroying dangers of the rampant heresy of which you speak. As you say, it seeks to destroy the place in our heart that can only be filled by Christ and enthrone instead the world, the flesh and the devil. It is a type of idolatry, a worshipping of the created thing more than the creator no matter what poetic,even rapturous ‘spiritual’ words are used. It preaches that real faith is a violation of love, mercy and peace, is hypocritical, old-fashioned and destructive. It preaches against legalism all the while promoting promiscuity in the place of sound doctrine and genuine communion.

      I’d like an answer from anyone who actually believes that unity is possible even within the various Christian traditions–on what foundation is this unity to be achieved? Do we just forget all of the theological, soteriologcial, anthropological and eccesisological differences, because, after all, they are mere anachronisms of a less evolved, less educated generations are they not?

      What Christ? What peace? What unity? Tell me!

      ….or should I wait until unity is achieved to find out what is meant by it, to see who I am required to serve in the name of unity?

      • Michael: Don’t you think that the communists have tried to achieve the same thing: to destroy the place in our heart that can only be filled by Christ and enthrone instead the world, the flesh and the devil? Exactly same thing was tried to be achieved by Communism through brute force! Tens of millions of people were killed under communist atheistic regimes. Many suffered dreadful tortures but they remained steadfast in their faith. Today, many “attractive offers” are floating around … No offer, no matter how appealing is ever worth selling out loyalty to Christ.
        Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky, the New Confessor

        Earthly life is fleeting; one is hardly aware of the swiftness of its passing. Nevertheless, this transient life determines the eternal destiny of your soul. Do not forget this for a moment.

        The fundamental task in life is to save one’s soul for eternity. Keep this as the most essential task, the main concern of your life. Woe to those whose indifference and neglect bring their souls to eternal ruination.

        A Martyr of Romania’s Communist Prisons

        My head had swollen to the size of a bucket, my left eye had disappeared in the back of my skull, and my left maxillary was broken. I used a rag to cleanse under the upper lip, taking out blisters of blood and puss. My buttocks and soles of feet had turned black, and both of my legs were the size of logs due to the strikes. To make the swelling go down, I wrapped them in some wet long johns and lifted them up on the walls. Some other time they piled fifteen people on top of me in the narrow space between the wall and the cot. Above the fifteenth person, one more jumped forcefully atop the human stack to make sure the crush would be heavier. I filled my chest with air and propped myself up on my elbows. I was able to withstand it up to the eighth person, but then I exhaled and all the ribs on my right side broke.
        Once, during an investigation, I asked for paper and ink to give them a statement. I wrote the following: “I never was nor ever will be on your side. I stand fast with those who follow Christ. Signed: Vasile Patrascu.”

        • Eliot,of course communism and Islam attempt to kill and maim the body and destroy our hearts but sometimes seduction works where force does not.

          Words like peace and unity are seductive even when they actually mean just the opposite. How can anyone in their right mind object to peace and unity? How can anyone in their right mind object to the Chrisitan imperative to dress and keep the earth?

          And, of course, one cannot. The seduction is to allow ourselves to think that the means and the end are one and that any end short of Jesus Christ Himself is desirable and satisfactory.

          I do not despair for the Church, I do worry how many of us even care to be in her when the riches and power of this world are offered to us.

          Yes, destraction and seduction fueled by apathy and ignorance often work much better than brute force.

          Let us watch and pray–pray especially for the mercy of the Cross.

          • Michael: Indeed, there is no use in being anxious and troubled by the times we live in. As Christians we must be confident, and pray that God will illuminate our minds and hearts to do His will. The level of ignorance that exists in this day is quite incredible to me. I am talking both about the uneducated ignorance and the educated ignorance of vain human reasoning. Only the omnipotent power of God can destroy the base of secular manipulation and deceit, and drive away the cloud of ignorance.
            Unity cannot be achieved through worldly and secular means. Hitler and Stalin created unity by massacring everybody who disagreed with them.
            Only holiness can lead real and lasting unity. I believe that EP’s pursuit of unity is a sort of secular diversion. It is anti-Truth, hence anti-Orthodox; opposed to Christ and to the Gospel. As I said previously, Christ is the Messiah who came and the Son of God Himself; He was not just a prophet nor can He be the awaited Messiah of the Jews.
            These claims are irreconcilable no matter how much would we pretend or claim that we can progress in it.

      • Michael:

        I’d like an answer from anyone who actually believes that unity is possible even within the various Christian traditions–on what foundation is this unity to be achieved? Do we just forget all of the theological, soteriologcial, anthropological and eccesisological differences, because, after all, they are mere anachronisms of a less evolved, less educated generations are they not?

        What Christ? What peace? What unity? Tell me!

        I believe it would be reasonable to solve the differences between the RCC and the Orthodox Church first. There are plenty of things that need to be worked out.

        Fr. Arsenie Papacioc, 2005: On the sects and the Catholic Church.

        I have written about this, an entire book entitled “Solely the Orthodoxy” They are anathematized, that’s the way it is. Because if you alter a sliver of anything I have said, says the Savior let it be Anathema!
        You can no longer be saved. In every circumstance we must preserve all that the Ecumenical Councils have decided, because it wasn’t done either by you or me!
        It was done through Councils that lasted hundreds of days, abounding with signs and miracles, with the Holy Spirit! This is how the truth was established at the Seven Ecumenical Councils (EC) !
        The first was in AD 325 and the last in AD 787! They decided in all things in unity.
        The Catholics split in 1054; the Synods were complete by then!
        At the Sixth EC Pope Martin was a martyr! Why do they betray him now? Why did they depart? And from here everything started! Luther began the protestant movement, the Anglicans, and so on… We do not guarantee them salvation, we cannot!
        The Holy Fathers, too, the entire ECs consider that their teachings are heresies! We simply cannot consider anathematized heresy as salvific.

        What about Ecumenism?
        Well of course, I am against it. This is what I was talking about. Against it as in a life and death struggle! What Ecumenism? What do you want to reconcile now, coming with arrogance and approaching me? The Pope came to Romania not to chat over a cup of coffee; not to observe the Christian movement and to rejoice over the fullness of the churches during feast days. He came to serve a liturgy to prove something! He thought he would be a winner!

        What did he do with the Uniates? What did he do when he realized that he could in no way conquer them because they initially worshiped as Orthodox? “Worship as you please but as regards to administration you must belong to us.” And look at them now: they are more Catholic than the Catholics.
        And this is what they want now, to conquer, hegemony. They want to dominate! And I tell you, may our good Lord forgive me, but woe are they! Look what they did recently in Rome [at the burial of Pope John Paul II]: it was a nefarious demonstration with hidden motives. Do you believe that the Pope was just a Pope? He had various roles, all kinds of debts, God knows them, God knows them all …

        Brothers, the smallest departure is a great fall! There is so much order and purity in Heaven that we will certainly be accepted with great honors, surely, but without departure from the Truth … People are flabbergasted by the Catholic flamboyance and order, but all these is false. False! A show! A sickening show that suits their goals.

        And only to conquer! However, they have seriously hurt themselves; it is a self-destructive process because people are not that foolish!

        What the mod demands is irrelevant [beatification of the late pope]; what matters is the truth that comes out of the crowds! And the truth is only represented in illumined people because God does not allow Himself to be duped, my beloved! It does no work for me to say one thing and you another, to add and distort and so on … because these are transgressions against dogma! Hear what they say: the Pope is the Vicar of God! The vicar does not exist unless the master is dead! We have a living Master, Christ! Christ is alive; why do I need a vicar? “For lo, I am with you until the end of time” We live through faith, not eyesight! It was like this 1054 years, even though the patriarch at Rome was “primus inter pares”, or first among equals.

        He was the first consulted. But with a council, it is not one’s own opinion that holds sway; rather, what the entire council decides matters, what all the members hold to be true! The apostles appeared immediately at the Dormition of the Theotokos, brought together on the clouds of the sky. They held a council in Jerusalem, but Peter was not president! Decisions were made in a synodal way, nothing was decreed from on high. And such a thing cannot be when truth is at stake; God speaks through the majority!

        ECs were established, with the first being in AD 325 the most important one where the Creed was revealed. “And the Holy Spirit” at the Second Council: “And proceeds from the Father”. While the Catholics added that it also proceeds from the Soon! when Christ, Himself, says you make an addition to say that it also proceeds from the Son?

        The Primacy and Infallibility of the Pope.
        Truly, it has been said that three grave errors have been committed since the creation of the world: the fall of Adam, the betrayal of Christ by Judas, and Papal Infallibility! It is terrible! And then the Immaculate Conception, that the Mother of God was born without sin! A great error!
        We know who the Theotokos is. It is mind boggling! But to compare her to God you make her identical to Him?
        She is, still, His servant. “All nations shall call me blessed” that’s another thing. But she was born with the original sin inherited from Adam. And through the intercession of the Holy Spirit at birth, the sin was lifted. We escape from its bounds at Holy Baptism. Also, they serve the liturgy with unleavened bread, azimes. The word is “artos” – bread, not “azimos”! The new covenant of Christ came with whole bread; because truth is whole, leavened, not unleavened bread. And despite using leavened bread for 1054 years, they changed.

        Purgatory. They no longer have the practice of the commemoration of the departed because they no longer have the Proskomede. In other words, the most important part from the beginning which the priest does in silence: he commemorates the names; he does many things which I have no time to explain now. He commemorates the living and he dead with special Prosfora. Toward the end of the Divine Liturgy when bread and wine become the body and the blood of Christ the discus and the rest are placed in the blood of Christ: “Lord, wash away the sins of those named here!”.

        Only God can forgive sins. Later they added Indulgences so that they could finish building St. Peter’s basilica in Rome, thinking that this is a heavenly business transaction. Begone with your interpretation of “heaven” as commerce! What terrible errors! One of the greatest errors is believing that “the end justifies the means”. In other words I kill you and I am justified because the Church says so. It matters little that I kill you if the church supports me.

        And you realize of course that there are many hard-headed people without sensibility who would kill because they are justified by this notion. Like in the Judaic Talmud: it says that if you see a Christian on the edge of a precipe, push him over. And this is considered a church precept: one thinks he is doing well believing that he is bringing glory to God’s name! This is what the Catholic are doing these days. After they introduced: the end justifies the means.
        While carrying warfare against you he is allowed to bring you any type of harm because of what he is trying to accomplish, since again. the end justifies the means. This cannot be; it is not the Truth. It is a big tactical mistake in the battle about which God knows everything. I have said this before: God tolerates and tolerates before He strikes; this is what happens, we shall see! My God forgive me, but I tell you as a priest and I consider myself an ordinary but honest priest, not one who is greatly advanced that woe are they! I tell you …It does not work like that, priesthood must be pure Mister Pope; priesthood must be honest!

        After all the above are solved, they can work on the unity with other Christian traditions.

  6. I recall the EP speaking very movingly on 60 Minutes about the nature and extent of Turkish oppression against the OC. Nice meetings don’t mean much in the face of such actions.

    More to the point, dialogue is fine, but agreements should be based on principle and not expediency. For example, when I was in the ELCA, the church entered into common communion with the United Church of Christ. That made no sense to me. The ELCA, as Lutherans, assert the real presence of Christ in the communion. The UCC does not. But despite these mutually exclusive views on the core sacrament of the church, enter into common communion the churches did.

    What message did that send? First, that both bodies do not consider the nature of communion to be important. “Real presence or symbolism: (shrug) Who cares?” And if that central tenet of Christian faith wasn’t as important as vested ministers sharing a pulpit, how little would other core theological principles of Christian faith continue to matter?

    It seems to me the entering common communion also sent a strong implied message that other essential dogmas, and indeed, the centrality of Biblical texts, supposedly the central tenet of sola scriptura Lutheranism, don’t matter either. (Some would say that deconstruction is now well under way.) So, in the name of avoiding all conflict, both churches seemed to be saying that their beliefs aren’t important at all. John Lennon would be so proud. (Imagine.)

    So dialogue is important. But agreements just to agree can do much more harm than good.

  7. “These are people who think they alone have the right to exist on earth, almost as if they alone have the right to rule on this our planet according to the Old Testament. And they say there is no room for anyone else, and are therefore opposed to any dialogue.”

    Perhaps we should send a copy of the Old Testament to the Phanar and highlight Isaiah 43:10.

    • Or we could ask him to dialogue with the OCA. If memory serves, the Holy Synod of the OCA wasn’t supposed to be invited to the Episcopal Assembly.

    • Or….”Submit yourselves all ye nations, for God is with us…”!

      Dialog in this day and age usually means, throw out any standards and lets agree that nothing really matters.

      Dialog ususally requires some form of compromise. Are we to compromise the truth? Unfortuantely, the answer is often YES, anything for peace, unity and political correctness.

      Again I ask, what foundation do those who want unity, dialog, peace, etc. stand? No answers yet, just the vague and sentimental kumbaya nonesense followed by the anathemas to anyone who might possibly object–where is the dialog, peace and unity there?

      Until someone can make a reasoned argument for the unity that lays out the reasons for seeking it (other than it feels good, or we need it, or the Bible says so, etc, etc.) I will continue to think of these efforts as a bunch of hooey.

  8. Has anyone ever noticed the focus on the Christian message on the Phanar website? I’m actually beginning to think that my web brower has some sort of a secularist filter at work. In the event that I am wrong, I would like to share this with you which I put together in the early morning hours today, after another fruitless visit to that website:

    All About Me

    The insecure person that I am inside,
    Does not come out; he wants to hide.
    First among equals, what does that mean?
    You can’t be first and equal, that’s readily seen.
    But through my website I can carry the fight
    And show them myself in all of my might.
    I won’t let religion or teaching get in the way,
    I’ll be the focus through night and through day.
    I’ll post pictures of dignitaries talking to me,
    And how important I am, all will behold and see.
    No need to focus on Him hung on a tree,
    Start to understand – It’s all about me.

  9. Scott Pennington


    I started to make a longer comment on this earlier today but decided I was wasting my time. You summed up the gist of it with your poem. What I was going to say was that this all seems like echoes of the dhimmi mentality. Curry favor with any “important people”, you know, the people that matter, like Democratic politicians, secular environmentalists, the Roman Catholic Church, the liberal ecumenical movement, etc. This brings security. Stroke important people and they will be favorably disposed toward your tribe. Praise the sultan and he will leave your little millet alone, or even reward your obsequiousness.

    It all makes sense if you look at the Orthodox Church – – the Greek Orthodox Church – – as a tribal business, owned and operated by and for the benefit of Hellenism, Inc. If that is the focus, then neither Orthodox doctrine or canon law should be allowed to stand in the way of the pursuing the interests of the omogenia. Thus the fierce hostility directed toward “fundamentalists” who dare to criticize the Patriarch on religious grounds (“Of all things!) for acting in the interests of the millet.

    “These are people who think they alone have the right to exist on earth, almost as if they alone have the right to rule on this our planet according to the Old Testament. And they say there is no room for anyone else, and are therefore opposed to any dialogue.”

    What hyperbole! Such contempt! His critics disapprove of his uncanonical actions and endorsement of unOrthodox ecclesiology and he distorts this into suggesting that his critics can’t even tolerate the existence of non-Orthodox. How do you say non-sequitur in Greek? As if the monks of Mt. Athos wanted to exterminate all non-Orthodox. Of course, there cannot be a valid concern behind the criticisms. The critics must be rabid “haters”.

    He lives in the passive-aggressive world of dhimmitude. Be obsequious to the powers that be while acting like a little tin despot to those beneath you in the millet.

    Kinda pathetic, huh?

  10. Scott Pennington

    “Tradition, to which those minorities often refer, is the ongoing search to interpret and understand the truth, while traditionalism which essentially belong to these minorities, is an intellectual sterility which often is identified with nationalism in the Orthodox world.”

    Let me get this straight: A spokesman for the Phanar is criticizing others for excessive nationalism? If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is. Can they even hear themselves anymore?

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse

      I will get pounded for saying it now, but in two years we are going to start hearing prominent people say this publically and in three years it will be the accepted wisdom:

      The firing of Abp. Iakovos and the takeover of the American Greek Orthodox Church by Constantinople was a catastrophe of the first order. It will take an entire generation to reverse it, if it is even reversible.

      (Harry, you were right.)

      • Nick: fantastic poem.

        It says it all. Fr Hans: agreed. Not only has the EP derailed authentic Christian unity in America, but even if one doesn’t really care about that, one can see the absolute lethargy that has taken over the GOA. One only needs to look at the poor attendence each biennium at the various Clergy-Laity Congresses. The last one in July was the worst-attended ever. What’s the point?

        The irony is that in order to shore up the ethnic base and drive out the Americanists, the ethnicists have lost as well as those who were driven by the Christian spirit of Ligonier.

        I guess it’s all going to come to naught anyway. Now that the Holy Synod of the OCA announced that the autocephaly of the local, American Church is not up for grabs, I suspect we’ll see less and less enthusiasm among the money men of the GOA for hosting future Episcopal Assemblies.

        And since it seems that the EAs were nothing but ruses to derail authentic unity and autocephaly, that’s a good thing.

        • I don’t know about the dismissal, but George, if you are right, it would be cynicism of the worst order.

          I am so glad the Holy Spirit gave us + Jonah as Metropolitan.

          But we still need a general unified American Church, whether or not it includes every jurisdiction.

          • Wesley, we DO need a united American Church. What I see happening however is three cclesial bodies forming: a united church that’s truly territorial and regional (i.e. real dioceses with intact diocesan boundaries) coalescing around the metropolitan of all-America and Canada, and a GOA that will never make the break from being a Byzantine Nostalgia Cult, plus some rump Old Calendar jurisdictions. At least this will be the scenario for the next 30-50 years or so.

          • Wesley,

            Christ is Born!!! Glorify Him!!!

            Re: I am so glad the Holy Spirit gave us + Jonah as Metropolitan.

            But we still need a general unified American Church, whether or not it includes every jurisdiction.

            You are right on the money…on both counts.

            We need to move forward with a “coalition of the willing”, under the leadership of +JONAH….the right guy, at the right time, with the right message…

            I’ve learned…don’t EVER discount the Holy Spirit – My archbishop reminds us constantly, “it’s HIS church and HE will take care of it.” We need to remember that.

            In the meantime, let the Old World patriarchs play their games…they will come to naught…pope, vice pope, field marshall of the solar system…who cares.

            My advice to the OCA – Lose their telephone numbers…all of them.

            We all need to remember that most of the Orthodox churches on the planet spent time in the wilderness, considered schismatics by the Mother Churches…Greece, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria…almost ALL of them. So why would America be any different? It’s to be expected.

            Best Regards,
            Dean Calvert

      • Apropos, recently re-instated Archimandrite Fr. Gabriel Karambis officiated today as a ‘fill in’ at our local small town parish. Did rather well most thought. Didn’t stay for coffee though.

        (It seemed best to leave the blanks there blank for a more apropos week).

  11. Scott: Everything you say is absolutely true. With regard to the dialogue with Rome, if you have not seen it before, I would offer my analysis concerning the Ravenna document, written about three years ago. You can find it here, among other places. I was going to write a follow up on the Crete document, but Metropolitan Hilarion rightly nixed it before I had a chance. And I could not improve on his nix.

    • Scott Pennington


      “What this all boils down to is, in the world of Ravenna, there are only two protoi at the universal level, one of the East and the other of the West, with Rome as the protos and the Phanar as the vice-protos. This duality of structure, far from reflecting or manifesting a Trinitarian ethos, is missing the Third Person.

      The line in italics is priceless.

      Like your style.


  12. Dialogue? Maybe the folks at the Phanar should worry less about fashionable professional dialogues and more on supporting persecuted Christians. I always wonder why the Phanar loves to tout its own persecution while ignoring other persecuted Christians.

    Consider the following article:

  13. I’m still waiting for the folks who support dialog leading to unity to make a reasonable case. As to why and how any of the obstacles to unity might be overcome.

  14. Well, I will give Bartholomew a break here. Namely, he lives in Turkey, so one has to be careful with Islam. In the case of Turkey, secularists are actually better for any christian. Two, the Roman Catholic Church has a big impact in the west, one doesn’t have to agree theologically with Roman Catholics to agree maybe on other subjects, and Jews are also a group to deal with in the Middle East. Bartholomew lives in a different part of the world than people here.

  15. Cynthia: The problem with Bartholomew is not in dialogue per se. Hilarion is engaging in dialogue with Rome — not to unify the churches but to present a common moral witness to the excesses and immorality of Europe’s post-modern, death culture. The problem with Bartholomew is that he is ready to compromise on theological and ecclesial issues with Rome in order to have Rome butress his goal of being the pope of the east and the vice-pope of the world. (Just carefully read both the Ravenna document and the Crete working draft). He is the intellectual disciple of those that prostrated themselves in Florence. It’s all about him — but not HIM.

    • But is it o/Orthodox to separate morals from t/Theology like that? Orthodoxy and Rome oppose certain things in Europe for fundamentally different reasons. Orthodoxy being seen as making common cause with Rome just ‘enables’ Rome’s continuing, still-escalating hubris, and misleads Westerners and Easterners into thinking that Orthodoxy and Rome agree on everything, or almost everything … especially if there are still groups supposedly Orthodox in theology, but in communion with Rome (ie, Eastern Catholics of Byzantine tradition, aka Uniates). Or else the Lord really did study in Tibet during His teens and 20s….

      Long story short, how is “presenting a common moral witness” with Europe’s right theologically commendable, but doing so with the world’s center (eg, ascetic stewardship of the only planet God has given us to live on) theologically problematic? ISTM that despite any ‘coalitions’ Holy Orthodoxy enters into, the o/Orthodox basis for Orthodoxy’s witness must always be front-and-center as far as Orthodox are concerned. ‘Who Did Jesus Play Second-Fiddle To?’

      As to the present address, I’m more concerned about His All Holiness’ psychological state, to say such clearly exaggerated, false things about his critics. The intended readers of this dispatch, Catholics, might not know better, and accept “NAT da Polis’ ” account at face value, ie, that “Orthodox fundamentalists” really do claim such things. But very many other potential readers still know better…. And did he really say repeatedly that interfaith dialogue is Constantinople’s creed, credo, and belief … or should we question the translation? I thought my Patriarchate had only one Creed….

      —Leo Peter

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