July 31, 2014

Bartholomew, Kirill Hold Patriarchal ‘Summit’ in Istanbul

A quick roundup: Andrei Zolotov, Jr., Chief Editor of Russia Profile and Deputy Director of the RIA Novosti Foreign Service, says that the recent Chambesy conference organized to discuss the "diaspora" resulted in Constantinople making concessions to Moscow. A report in the Kyiv Post says the patriarchs are putting on "a united front" despite the fact that they were to discuss the "sensitive issue of the churches in Ukraine and Estonia during the three-day visit to Turkey." The Greek news service ANA says "Patriarch Bartholomew underlined the need for unity within the Orthodox Church in order to meet the challenges of the times." Kathimerini reports that "the outcome of the meeting is keenly awaited by senior clerics both in Moscow and at the Vatican." Full text of Zolotov's analysis follows: A three-day visit by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Istanbul is more than just his first official trip abroad as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church or than his first visit … [Read more...]

Moscow Patriarchate reports on Chambesy meeting

The Moscow Patriarchate has released a statement, in English, on the work of the all-Orthodox pre-conciliar meeting in Chambesy, Switzerland, earlier this month. The patriarchate explains how "episcopal assemblies" are to be constituted. Text follows: The 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference, which took place at the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Orthodox Center in Chambesy near Geneva, completed its work on 12 June 2009. The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church led by Archpriest Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, included Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, Russian Church Outside Russia, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, and Mr. A. Churyakov, an interpreter. The conference was chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon. Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland, Patriarchate of Constantinople, acted as its secretary. It was attended by delegations of the Patriarchates of … [Read more...]

Some broad reflections on the SVS seminar

First of all, thank you to St. Vladimir Seminary, St. Andrew House, and Orthodox Christian Laity for sponsoring the webcast. Thank you to Ancient Faith Radio, and Executive Producer Dean Calvert and crew for making the webcast possible. I saw perhaps a quarter of it. The first seminars dealt with historical themes, important and interesting (had to concentrate though) but I won't comment on them here. I found the lecture on the "myth of autocephaly" very interesting, particular how the narrative of how autocephaly was obtained shapes contemporary self-understanding in the autocephalous Churches. This deals more with how historical narrative functions in a community, than the veracity of the actual narrative. (Of course, veracity is contentious term since history is, at bottom, narrative. Nevertheless, some history is "truer" than others, witness the attempts by the Marxists and other culture barbarians to rewrite it.) Back to the subject... Dr. Paul Meyendorff, professor of … [Read more...]

AsiaNews: ‘Historic’ decision in Chambésy

On the Roman Catholic site AsiaNews, Nat da Polis files a report on the Fourth Pre-Conciliar meeting of Orthodox hierarchs who assembled last week in Switzerland to discuss the problem of the "diaspora." Da Polis views the pending trip of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul as a "significant step" in sorting out the disarray. Story follows. Historic Orthodox decision, migrant communities to have their own bishops’ conferences Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The first of two meetings scheduled for 2009 was held in Sabezy [Chambésy, Switzerland, ed.] to prepare the much awaited Pan-Orthodox Synod. In agreeing to set up Bishops’ Conferences for Orthodox Diaspora communities, the meeting reached a historic decision. According to existing rules, Orthodox believers living outside their country of origin fall under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, the large-scale migration that followed the collapse of the Iron Curtain generated … [Read more...]

Moscow: No Episcopal ‘Monopoly’

More on the episcopal assemblies announced at the pre-conciliar meeting last week in Switzerland: "Anti-monopoly" proposals of the Moscow Patriarchate are taken into account in Chambesy Moscow, June 15, Interfax - The Fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference in Chambesy (Switzerland) has agreed in its final decision to the need of equal management of the Orthodox Diaspora which was highlighted by the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate before the meeting. The Conference decided to create new bishop assemblies within the regions of Diaspora (Orthodox communities living outside of the area of local Orthodox churches) to include all canonical Orthodox bishops governing the communities of such regions. "The decisions by such bishop assemblies will be made in conformance with the consensus of the Churches represented therein. The powers of Episcopal assemblies neither allow the interference into the eparchial jurisdiction of each bishop, nor limit the rights of his … [Read more...]

Communiqué from Chambésy

Figuring out the "diaspora" in Switzerland

Orthodox Report, a UK site, has a translation of the official French-language communiqué issued by the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met June 6-12 in Chambesy, Switzerland, to discuss the problem of the Orthodox "diaspora." [Orthodox hierarchs pictured above at the meeting] The news release is available in Greek and Russian, for those who can read these languages. But Orthodox Report says it cannot find an English version. Nor can we. This is one of those High Bureaucratic messages, the sort of thing that diplomats issue, that requires the reader to parse the phrases carefully for hidden meanings. Or maybe it's written this way because nothing immediately actionable came out of the meeting. Who's to say? The official site for the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Center for Orthodoxy in Chambesy is all in French, which doesn't help us rustics in the "diaspora." Orthodoxie, a French site, has more, in French. The text talks about the creation of "new episcopal … [Read more...]

On the ‘gradual consolidation of the Orthodox diasporas’

Comments from Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the pre-conciliar deliberations at Chambesy, Switzerland, which was to address, in part, "problems in the Orthodox diaspora." In this interview with the Russian news service Interfax, before leaving for the meeting, the archbishop talks about the "many faces" of the Orthodox 'diaspora' and the agenda setting process for a Great Council. The Chambesy meeting, scheduled for June 6-13, is the fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference with the most recent one taking place in 1986, according to the news service. Interfax: The forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference in Chambesy will deal with the Orthodox diaspora. What is today’s Orthodox diaspora in your view? Can we speak about even the smallest degree of its integrity or does it represent scattered local communities of the faithful of Local Churches whose ethnic and national ‘dividing walls’ reach as high as heaven? Archbishop Hilarion: The life and … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion Predicts ‘New Local Churches’

From Interfax: Archbishop Hilarion contemplates the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches Moscow, June 1, - Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk believes that the current Inter-Orthodox consultations may cause the establishment of new local Orthodox churches. "It is our opinion that the progressive consolidation of Orthodox communities will eventually result in the establishment of new local Orthodox Churches," Archbishop Hilarion said Interfax-Religion on Monday. According to him, the claims that Orthodox communities are "isolated from each other" evidence "the lack of knowledge about the real life of the community." "Orthodox believers usually seek communication with each other, and sometimes people make long trips, overcome language barriers and other obstacles to meet a particular Orthodox priest or attend a particular service," the Archbishop said. He highlighted that Orthodoxy had … [Read more...]

‘On a Summoning of the Great Council’

In response to the "First Pre-Conciliar Conference" held in Chambesy, Switzerland (near Geneva) in November 1976, Archimandrite Dr. Justin Popovic composed "On A Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church." In this, Fr. Popovic (1894-1979), spiritual father of the monastery of Celie Valjevo (Serbia), expressed his "grievous considerations for the future council." The Orthodox Christian Information Center has the complete text here. This letter is "dated" in that, written more than 30 years ago, it could not foresee the fall of communism and the revival of the Russian Church, nor anticipate the expansion of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to include members from outside of Turkey. And it is always risky to draw close analogies from one historical moment to the present. But some of the language in the letter reads as if it could have been written yesterday. Here are some selections in which Fr. Popvich gives some thoughts on the "diaspora" and the … [Read more...]

All-Orthodox ‘Pre-Conciliar Consultation’ Set for Chambesy in June

From Interfax: Moscow, May 26 – The 4th all-Orthodox pre-conciliar consultation is to be held in the Constantinople Patriarchate Orthodox center in Chambésy on June 6-13, 2009. “Participants will touch upon the topic of organizing Orthodox diaspora (Orthodox believers living out of borders of any local Orthodox church),” Acting Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Priest Igor Yakimchuk has told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday. He noted that several centuries had passed after the last seventh Ecumenical Council and “there are a lot of questions that need all-church solution for the sake of strengthening unity and avoiding schisms in one Orthodox Church.” “To settle these questions it is planned to hold the Holy and Great Council of the Eastern Orthodox Church in foreseeable future,” the priest said. It was decided to get ready for the Great Council by way of convening all-Orthodox pre-council consultations and inter-Orthodox … [Read more...]