Moscow Patriarchate disagrees with Constantinople desire to play special role in Orthodoxy
MOSCOW (April 10) — Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s external church relations department, has criticized the Constantinople Patriarchate’s intention to control all church communities within the Orthodox diaspora.
“I see the situation in the inter-Orthodox relations surrounding the Constantinople Patriarchate’s claim to have some special role in the Orthodox Church as one of the key challenges today,” Bishop Hilarion said at a press conference at the Interfax main office in Moscow on Friday.
“What is happening is in fact an attempt to impose a model existing in the Catholic Church on the Orthodox Church to have as centralized church power as possible, with one bishop leading it as the head of the Ecumenical Church,” he said.
“There has never been such a model in the Orthodox tradition,” Bishop Hilarion said. He doubted that “we are entitled to revise our teaching about the Church.”
The leading hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate are calling for revising the principle of primacy in the Orthodox world, Bishop Hilarion said. This model presumes that the Constantinople Patriarchate “should administer all the churches within the so-called diaspora,” that is, that all the communities outside the borders of the historical canonic national churches should be within Constantinople’s jurisdiction, he said.
Bishop Hilarion said this issue will be discussed at an inter-Orthodox conference in June.
Also see “The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology” by Fr. Alexander Schmemann.