July 29, 2014

Archons: Concerning the Ranks of Churches

archon

Who's on first? The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle has posted an article harshly critical of what it describes as the Moscow Patriarchate's uncanonical move to assert its status as one of "the five most significant Churches" or the Pentarchy of the ancient patriarchates. The writer of the article, Fr. Makarios Griniezakis, a professor of theology and ethics at the Theological Academy of Heraklion in Crete, maintains that the "28th Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council grants only to the Church of Constantinople the jurisdictional oversight of the 'barbaric lands.'" This position, he said, is also supported by Church history. The extension of the Patriarch of Russia's jurisdiction across lands outside its ecclesiastical borders is uncanonical and a violation of Church order. This is the case when other Primates act similarly. Local Churches would have been able to extend into lands beyond their established ecclesiastical border if the canon referred to ethnicities ("barbarians") … [Read more...]

A Catholic-Orthodox Union?

We should all be extremely cautious about the recent comments about a Catholic-Orthodox union (Fr. Peter-Michael Preble has already raised important questions about these reports). Outside of the obvious and thorny theological questions – on both sides – that would arise, is there any way such a union could take place without first convening an all-Orthodox Council? And if such a council would move in that direction, would the whole Church accept that council as Orthodox? In "Needed: Both Lungs," the editors of the National Catholic Register quote Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow who told an Italian newspaper that unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches could be accomplished in the very near future. In fact, the paper reported, the archbishop predicted that it could be a reality “within a few months.” At the same time, we read that "Moscow Patriarchate believes Uniate expansion in Ukraine the most complicated problem in relations with Vatican," according to an Interfax … [Read more...]

SCOBA’s Fr. Arey on Chambesy

On the Orthodox Christian Network, Fr. Mark Arey, the General Secretary of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), discusses the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met in Chambésy, Switzerland, in June, in an interview with Fr. Chris Metropulos. "If we're serious, really serious about Orthodox unity, well my friends, we have to do the hard work and put it together," says Fr. Arey. "You can't just snap your fingers and everybody says each bishop can have his own title and then we're done." Fr. Arey talks about SCOBA's future, in light of the move toward a new episcopal assembly, and how that would affect current governance of American Orthodoxy. "It's easy to talk about Orthodox unity when you don't have to actually do it," Fr. Arey says. Listen: From the Chambesy announcement on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Web site: Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the … [Read more...]

Radio Free Europe: The Price Of Influence

Writing on the RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Power Vertical blog, Brian Whitmore suggests that there may be a little too much symphonia in a recent move by Russian Patriarch Kirill to work closely with the United Russia political party. Whitmore: What motivated United Russia and Patriarch Kirill I to reach an agreement giving the Russian Orthodox Church an unprecedented voice in the legislative work of the State Duma? Aleksei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center tackles the issue in today's issue of "Nezavisimaya Gazeta." He begins by asking why the ruling party would want to enter into such an arrangement: Why? Because United Russia desperately lacks something despite its triumphs in elections throughout the country and the overwhelming majority in the lower house of the parliament. And what does it lack? It lacks society's respect. It lacks recognition as a genuine political party and not just an organization founded and coddled by the Kremlin. Because … [Read more...]

Ukrainian Orthodoxy ‘Very Politicized’

From the Religious Information Service of the Ukraine: MOSCOW—Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) expressed confidence that foreign structures will not interfere with church problems in Ukraine. In particular, they mean the Constantinople Patriarchate, which, according to the ROC representatives, the Ukrainian authorities hoped to engage in the establishment of a national church separate from the Moscow Patriarchate. “They (Constantinople Patriarchate) understand well that Ukraine is an integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church, that there exists spiritual unity of nations – Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovians, Belarusians,” noted the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Ilarion (Alfeiev) of Volokolamsk, at a press conference in Moscow about the visit of the head of ROC to Istanbul in early July. News.ru reports that in the archbishop’s opinion, the very tone of the past negotiations shows that the … [Read more...]

Interview: A Mission in the World

The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate distributed "A Mission in the World," an interview of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk by Expert Magazine (Issue No. 23 (661) June 15, 2009). Expert Magazine Your Eminence, one hundred days have passed since the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. What has changed in church-society relations since? Have any new tendencies emerged? Archbishop Hilarion The man who ascended to the throne of the Moscow Patriarchate is one who has been known for many years for his focus on mission and his capacity to shed light on matters. He has long been in active co-operation with all parts of the society, hosting a TV programme of his own and making regular appearances in the print media. Even before he was elected Patriarch, he was known and loved by millions of Russian Orthodox faithful throughout the world. He has gained authority in broad public circles. Metropolitan Kirill accumulated a unique … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Patriarch Kirill ‘copying John Paul II’

In the New York Times, Sophia Kishkovsky files a report on Patriarch Kirill's recent youth rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg where he struck both nationalist and highly personal tones. Patriarch Kirill also did not mention America, but said immoral economies are doomed to collapse. “An economic system built only on the striving for profit, on indifference to the fate of people, on disregard for moral norms, is deprived of stability and can collapse at any moment, burying the fate of people under its rubble,” he said. Here in St. Petersburg, Patriarch Kirill struck a much more personal tone. He made a generous reference to Martin Luther King Jr. — whom Kirill said he met in 1968 — and his “I Have a Dream” speech, and stressed the importance of true love and of striving for ideals. “He wasn’t a dreamer, he was a brilliant politician, orator, and Christian pastor,” Patriarch Kirill said of Dr. King, addressing some 8,000 students. “But he had a dream, and this dream led to … [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...]

Renewing Christian Roots

From the Catholic news service Zenit, which strained a bit for a news angle with this headline: Orthodox Priest Says Faith Is Not Dead in Russia PAMPLONA, Spain, MAY 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Moscow Patriarchate's secretary for ecumenical relations is affirming that relations between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in Russia are progressing, and that it is an important step for evangelizing the world. In an address at the University of Navarra in Spain, Father Igor Vyzhanov stated that the two Churches "seem to understand each other better now than before." His conference titled "Relations Between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church: The Current Situation" noted signs of the Churches' collaboration. The priest affirmed a shared responsibility of Orthodox and Catholics to "renew the Christian roots of Europe" and to preach the message of Christ to the world. He explained the challenges of the Orthodox Church in the task of evangelization, … [Read more...]