August 29, 2014

Pat. Kirill on Chambesy

Patriarch Kirill: Every manifestation of Orthodox unity is our common glory, common joy, while a want of unity and every tension, every conflict in the global Orthodox family is a common pain and common defeat

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church pointed to the support of fraternal relations within the family of Local Orthodox Churches as one of the most important tasks of his Patriarchal ministry. ‘We should remember: the Holy Orthodox Church is one as the Lord is one. All the Orthodox nations comprise it’, he said in his address to the Bishops’ Conference on 2 February 2010 at the Church of Christ the Saviour, ‘The administrative borders of Local Churches are necessary of course for ensuring a proper canonical order but they cannot divide into parts the one body of the Church of Christ’.

Every manifestation of Orthodox unity is our common glory, common joy, while a want of unity and every tension, every conflict in the global Orthodox family is a common pin and defeat, His Holiness Kirill believes.

He expressed joy at the resumption of preparations for a Pan-Orthodox Council, which were blocked in the 90 because of the Estonian church problem. The 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference was held last June in Chambesy. It was devoted to the problem of pastoral care of the Orthodox diaspora as one of the most urgent problems of inter-Orthodox relations. In December, also in Chambesy, a Russian Orthodox Church delegation attended a meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission which tackled the problems of autocephaly and autonomy.

‘The Russian Orthodox Church has always insisted that Orthodox believers who live in diaspora have the right to maintain relations with the Mother Church’, His Holiness underlined, ‘It is necessary however to promote consolidation among Orthodox communities in various regions of the world’.

According to His Holiness, the 2009 meeting in Chambesy adopted the wording of documents optimal today for regulating interaction between various jurisdictions in the diaspora. Thus, the conference agreed to establish bishops’ assemblies uniting all the canonical bishops in a particular region. Their terms of reference will include the concern for Orthodox unity and coordination of efforts of the Orthodox in a particular region in bearing common witness to our faith and in developing church education together.

‘Our Church has showed the necessary flexibility in the approach to this issue’, His Holiness informed the gathering. ‘For the sake of church peace we agreed to have the bishops’ assemblies chaired in accordance with diptychs. However, the powers of the chairmen and the bishops’ assemblies themselves were defined very clearly. As we insisted, all their decisions will be made only by consensus. Canonical relations of bishops with their own Primates and Synods are not challenged, nor are the powers exercised by bishops in the diaspora diminished. Thus, our bishops in the diaspora will be able to make an active influence on the decision-making process in bishops’ assemblies’, he said.

The December meetings of the Inter-Orthodox Commission adopted an addition to the draft document on Autocephaly and the Way of Declaring It’ developed in 1993 and a new draft document on Autonomy of the Way of Declaring It. The supplemented document on autocephaly provides for a procedure of granting autocephaly to a church region, which begins with the consideration of an appropriate request for it by a Local Council of the Mother Church. In case of a favourable decision, the Mother Church notifies the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is to inform all other autocephalous Churches and to find out whether there is a pan-Orthodox consensus on it. Autocephaly shall be declared by an appropriate Tomos, which is to be signed by the Patriarch of Constantinople and Primates of other Orthodox Churches.

The draft document on Autonomy and the Way of Declaring It recognizes that the granting of autonomy lies wholly within the competence of a respective autocephalous Church. Therefore, a request for autonomy shall be considered by the autocephalous Church, which, if her decision is favourable, will issue an appropriate Tomos defining the territorial borders of the autonomous Church and the degree of its independence. Then the Primate of the autocephalous Church notifies other Church about the declaration of a new autonomous Church.

According to His Holiness Kirill, the results of the Inter-Orthodox Commission’s work are preliminary. They will be presented to the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference. ‘But already now we can note with satisfaction that these meetings have made a significant contribution to the task of strengthening Orthodox unity’, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

Comments

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Yup, it looks like the Phanar lost on this one. Clearly the MP is driving the train.

  2. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Isa Almisry says:

    This is the key part:
    ‘For the sake of church peace we agreed to have the bishops’ assemblies chaired in accordance with diptychs. However, the powers of the chairmen and the bishops’ assemblies themselves were defined very clearly. As we insisted, all their decisions will be made only by consensus. Canonical relations of bishops with their own Primates and Synods are not challenged, nor are the powers exercised by bishops in the diaspora diminished. Thus, our bishops in the diaspora will be able to make an active influence on the decision-making process in bishops’ assemblies.”

    So no, C’ple doesn’t have veto power, no, the Mother Churches are not going to have the power to broker a deal (like the recent C’ple-Jerusalem fiasco in North America) and force it on the “diaspora,” no, Chambesy didn’t validate Met/Archb/EP/Pope Meletius’ interpretation of canon 28.

    Yeah, the MP is in the engineers seat, although EP is allowed to play conductor.

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    Dean Calvert says:

    Hi Isa,

    Yep…I zeroed in on that exact same paragraph. He might as well have said, “this is the way it’s going to be done, whether or not C’nople likes it.”

    For some reason, this statement struck me as definitive – but the entire tone of this statement struck me as “no longer ridiculously deferential”. To be honest, your words from a couple days ago are ringing in my ears.

    This are clearly changing…perhaps the reason the Preparatory Talks have gone into warp speed is the election of a new Russian patriarch, who is no longer willing to sit around and wait for the Patriarchs of the dead sees to get their acts together.

    One thing is for sure…we are witnessing history.

    I continue to believe that the gap between the “dead” churches and the “live” churches will continue to grow – but, as you suggest, with the “live” churches increasingly running the show, either overtly or from behind the scenes.

    It’s interesting…even the recent demand of the Exec. Committee of the Archdiocese Council (that the metropolitan of Iconium be sanctioned) could be placed in the same category…i.e., the “live” churches no longer bowing to the “dead” ones.

    Yep…we are witnessing history unfold – a realignment of world Orthodoxy.

    All I can say is, “about time”.

    Best Regards,
    Dean

    PS Anybody know when the last liturgy was served in Iconium, the See of this guy with the nerve to criticize the Archbishop of America? According to Wikipedia, the city was conquered by the Seljuks following the battle of Manzikert in 1071. And according to the 1895 census, the city contained 899 Greeks.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Dean, re Iconium, I don’t know. Hopefully somebody does. But let’s be honest, the abeyance of liturgies in Iconium is emblematic of Istanbul in general. It’s just taking Istanbul longer to become extinct.

    Interesting take on the GOA laity laying down the hammer on the Phanar. I see your point, that they’re acting like a “living church.” I wonder though, are they aware of this? I have a reticence based on the fact that the EP and the GOA/Archons prop each other up for PR purposes: The EP/Phanar needs the GOA/Archons for money and political influence, the GOA/Archons rely on the EP/Phanar for nostalgia. Clearly, no exarchate in America needs Istanbul for legitimacy, question is: do they see it?

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    Isa Almisry says:

    Iconium? At the earliest the last DL would have been in 1923: there were hundreds of thousands of Turkish Orthodox, the Karamanlis, in Konya and Cappadocia until the population exchange. Ataturk didn’t allow non-Muslim Turks for the most part.

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    Ben says:

    Does this also give a blow to the OCA as well, essentially reducing it to autonomous status, since the Ecumenical Patriarch didn’t sign the tomos, or am I mistaken as to the actual reality of the situation?

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      Dean Calvert says:

      Ben,

      While it may appear that way…with the Moscow patriarchate squarely in the driver’s seat, I sincerely doubt the status of the OCA is likely to change.

      Furthermore, anyone thinking the OCA is going to slip quietly under the water, abandoning it’s autocephaly without getting anything in exchange (like a united American Church) has severely underestimated the new metropolitan.

      Just my opinion.

      Best Regards,
      dean

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Dean, Ben, it seems that the money quote in +Kirill’s statement is: “Canonical relations of the bishops with their own Primate and Synods not challenged…”

    To my mind, that means all existing decisions and relationships will remain intact. Plus, I agree with Dean, +Jonah has garnered tremendous moral authority in North America since his election. Sad to say, but +Philip and +Demetrius have seen considerable erosion in their’s.

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    Dean Calvert says:

    George,

    I thought that entire paragraph, mentioned above by Isa was absolutely “loaded” if you ask me. Here’s the paragraph, along with my interpretation:

    “For the sake of church peace we agreed to have the bishops’ assemblies chaired in accordance with diptychs. [However ridiculous is might seem, we are allowing C'nople to chair these regional meetings] However, the powers of the chairmen and the bishops’ assemblies themselves were defined very clearly.[i.e. there is a limit to our patience - 'chairing' means just that, we all know where this is going - so let's get started] As we insisted [interesting choice of words], all their decisions will be made only by consensus. [the chairing of assemblies is a temporary thing - the assemblies will be organizing themselves in short order] Canonical relations of bishops with their own Primates and Synods are not challenged, nor are the powers exercised by bishops in the diaspora diminished. [this one is interesting - a statement that 'bishops are bishops'- implying to me the power which will ultimately reside in the assembly of bishops, not in a SCOBA type executive committee]. Thus, our bishops in the diaspora will be able to make an active influence on the decision-making process in bishops’ assemblies [in other words, we will be monitoring events closely - read: C'nople - this is your last chance].”

    Please forgive my cynicism – but, as you know, I grew up in the GOA.

    Best Regards

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      Isa Almisry says:

      Yes, it has been my contention all along that Moscow is giving Constantinople just enough canon 28 rope to hang itself. Hence the understatement which gets its message across clear enough.

  9. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George Michalopulos says:

    Ditto, Dean. I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. God bless +Kirill.

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