July 30, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch Decries Turkish Property Seizures

AsiaNews is reporting that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has "announced his intention to appeal to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg over violations against the Orthodox community and its foundations, unjustly expropriated of lands and buildings by Ankara’s Direction for Religious Foundations." Speaking to faithful in St Georges’ Parish, close to the Byzantine walls of Istanbul, the Patriarch affirmed that the decision to go to the Strasbourg court was made by the Synod: We have and you have come here to celebrate this religious ceremony in a parish that is facing many difficulties. Unfortunately it is not alone. The problem is that this parish and its community, as is the case with many other's of the Church of Constantinople, have been abusively declared mazbut (occupied) by the Direction for Religious Foundations. This means that we cannot claim any rights to the management of the properties of this community, nor proceed with the election of its … [Read more...]

Fr. Jensen: Where is the leadership?

On his blog Koinonia, Fr. Gregory Jensen responds to the Holy Cross faculty letter which, he says, "reflects no serious criticism of the failures of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to provide effective leadership either in the United States much less world wide." Excerpt: In my view, I think that the leadership of the Ecumenical Throne and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been mixed at best. The events leading up to the autocephaly of the OCA are illustrative of this. When the old Metropolia approached the Ecumenical Patriarchate ASKING for assistance in regularizing its relationship with the rest of the Orthodox Church, it was told that it had to address its concerns to the Moscow Patriarchate. It did and the result was the creation in 1970 of the OCA. Far from being a rejection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate the OCA was the fruit of the Ecumenical Throne's unwillingness to involve herself in the life of the Church in America. Another failure to take a leadership … [Read more...]

New book. Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church, When and Why?

Order at Amazon

By Archbisop Nathaniel of Detroit. HT: Orthodox News As plans are moving ahead for the convening of preparatory meetings for a Great and Holy Council to take place in Cyprus in June 2009, you need to prepare yourself for what is at stake through these meetings.  How can you prepare yourself?  Pray that the Holy Spirit guide the participants and read this timely volume: Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church - When and Why One of the many tracts that the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) organization has distributed during its twenty years of service to Holy Orthodoxy in North America is An Orthodox Christian Church in the United States: Unified and Self-governed, copyrighted in 2000. It is given out at all meetings and sent to the mailing list of the organization. On the outside back cover is a statement entitled “Resolution for Autocephaly Adopted October 10, 1998,” in which an appeal is made to His All Holiness, … [Read more...]

Holy Cross Faculty Weighs in on ‘Distinctive Prerogatives’ of Ecumenical Patriarch

The Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Mass., released a "Faculty Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate" on April 30 and posted it on the school's Web site on May 8. HT: Andrew. Text follows: The Leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Significance of Canon 28 of Chalcedon The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the preeminent Church in the communion of the fourteen Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. Reflecting the witness of St. Andrew, the First Called Apostle, the enduring mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is to proclaim the salutary Gospel of Jesus Christ in accordance with the Apostolic and Orthodox Faith. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has a particular responsibility to strengthen the unity of the Orthodox Churches and to coordinate their common witness. At the same time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a specific responsibility to care for the faithful in lands beyond the borders of the other Autocephalous … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah’s Second Russian Interview — “The Orthodox Church is most firmly opposed to the spirit of the world”

In an interview posted on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church (Patriarchia.ru) Metropolitan Jonah discussed the status of the autocephaly of the OCA and Constantinople's denial of it, as well as offering some new ideas on the future of the OCA. The interview was conducted by journalist Yuri Pushcha. Highlight: Puscha: What outcomes do you expect from the forthcoming conference in Cyprus, during which, among other things, the unity of the American Church is to be discussed? Are you counting on the Orthodox Church in America getting a greater measure of understanding of her position by other Local Orthodox Churches? +Jonah: The Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as some other Local Orthodox Churches do not recognize our autocephaly. And if they want to make any decisions affecting our life, this is only possible with our consent. Otherwise, it will be a great sin against us. HT: Orthodox Christians for Accountability The visit to the Russian Orthodox … [Read more...]

The American Orthodox Church at a Crossroads

George Michalopulos, frequent contributor to the AOI blog and author of several articles on the AOI website, is this week's guest on The Illumined Heart, a program on Ancient Faith Radio. In June 2009 leaders of all autocephalous Orthodox Churches - excluding the OCA or any representatives from North America - meet in Cyprus or Geneva (undetermined at the date of this posting), at a meeting convened by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I. This meeting is being called to discuss "the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology." The American Orthodox situation and its disunity is at the top of the agenda. In this edition of The Illumined Heart, host Kevin Allen and author George C. Michalopulos discuss this meeting, the history and state of Orthodoxy in North America and possible outcomes of this potentially pivotal convocation. Listen to Part 1 Listen to Part 2   … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill to visit Ecumenical Patriarchate in July

The ANA-MPA news service is reporting that "the new Patriarch of Moscow, Kyrill will be on a formal visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at Phanar on July 4-6. Patriarch Kyrill and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will co-officiate in a mass, while the visiting Patriarch is expected to follow the example of his predecessor and visit Aghia Sophia." Here's a good backgrounder on the tensions that have existed between Moscow and Constantinople for years. The report in AsiaNews was a "table setter" for the Pan-Orthodox Synaxis held in October at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From the article: The dispute between Moscow and Constantinople has been going on for some time: first in Rhodes (Greece) in 2007, when Moscow announced it would not take part in the pan-Orthodox Synod in 2008; then in Ravenna when Moscow’s representatives walked out of a conference because they objected to the presence of the Estonian Orthodox Church which Moscow does not … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Jonah apologizes for ‘uncharitable’ remarks directed at Ecumenical Patriarch

From the Orthodox Church in America Web site. Posted April 17: Metropolitan Jonah issues statement on recent sermon SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- On Great, Holy and Good Friday, April 17, 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, issued the following statement in response to recent commentary on his April 5, 2009 sermon, delivered at Saint Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX. "I greet you in a spirit of repentance and forgiveness as we celebrate the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Certain comments that were made in the course of my sermon have provoked a reaction from my Orthodox brothers that I did not intend or foresee. I regret making those comments. In particular, I realize that some characterizations regarding the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Patriarchate of Constantinople were insensitive. As the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, I am motivated only by the desire to underscore our fervent hope that future discussion … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Patriarchal Proclamation Pascha 2009

Patriarchal Proclamation Pascha 2009, Apr 16, 2009, Prot. No. 407 + B A R T H O L O M E W By the Grace of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch To the Plenitude of the Church Grace, Peace and Mercy By the Savior Christ Risen in Glory *** Dearly beloved brothers and children in the Lord, Christ is Risen! In sullenness, one day in the 19th century, humankind heard from the lips of the tragic philosopher: “God is dead! We killed him! All of us are his murderers … God will remain dead! What else are the churches but tombs and graves of God?”[1] And only a few decades later, we heard from the lips of his younger colleague: “Gentlemen, I declare to you the death of God!”[2] … [Read more...]

Greeks losing interest in Hellenism

The anarchists that sank Greece into a near state of chaos late last year are now taking aim at the Church: Greece is seeing an unprecedented spate of terrorist attacks against churches. Among the churches that were hit, in one case during religious service, were the Athens Metropolitan Church, the Piraeus Metropolitan Church, and the Church of St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki. Greek media have described these attacks, the likes of which Greece has not seen even when the country was under occupation, as a “declaration of war against the Church of Greece.” All of the bombs were defused in time and only one, at Agia Triada in Pireaus, caused minor damage. The organization “Conspiracy of the Nuclei of Fire – Commandos” along with “The Nihilist Faction” assumed responsibility for the attack and in a manifesto claimed “Religion is a mechanism of power that plays a particularly devious role in subjugating people.” Authorities in Greece are taking the attacks very seriously, especially in … [Read more...]

Bishop Hilarion: Ecumenical Patriarchate seeks to impose Roman Catholic model of primacy

From Interfax: 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 … [Read more...]

Met. Methodios implicity criticizes Met. Jonah’s rebuke of EP primacy claim (presumably)

It's hard to know for sure because it's an oblique reference, but a betting man might wager that Met. Methodios' criticism that other "Orthodox presences...do anything but foster love and cooperation in this land" referred to Met. Jonah's rebuke of the address given by the emissary of the Ecumenical Patriarch several weeks ago. Speaking at Holy Cross Seminary Met. Methodios said that, "One must always watch one's tongue and be careful of what he says...because of the internet, television, cameras, those comments are sent around the world and do a great deal of harm." These words, it seems, could just as easily be applied to the emissary. … [Read more...]