Moscow Patriarchate freezes ecumenical journey: Pope never commanded in the East

More on the clarification from Moscow.

Source: Asia News

RC-Orthodox Consultation

RC-Orthodox Consultation

A statement from Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate, challenges the very foundations of the recent meeting of the Mixed Commission between Catholics and Orthodox on the role of the bishop of Rome in the Church of the first millennium, denying that the pope has ever had jurisdiction over the Eastern Churches.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Moscow Patriarchate has poured cold water on progress in the ecumenical journey that emerged from the recent meeting in Vienna of the Joint Commission between Catholics and Orthodox (see photo). In a statement published on the Patriarchate website Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Relations says that ” no breakthrough has been made,” on the theme of the meeting, that of the role of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium, and moreover challenges the very foundation of the meeting, denying that the pope ever had jurisdiction over the Eastern Churches.

The two co-chairmen of the Commission, Mgr. Kurt Koch and Metropolitan Ioannis Zizioulas, outlining the outcome of the meeting on September 24, had appeared optimistic about the results achieved. ” There are no clouds of mistrust between our two churches” – declared the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. ” If we continue like that – he added – God will find a way to overcome all the difficulties that remain”.

Zizioulas had argued that to achieve full unity – which existed until 1054, when there was the schism between East and West – Orthodox and Catholics need “not a reform, but an adaptation from both sides.” For the Orthodox, he explained, this means recognizing that a universal Christian Church is at a higher level than their national churches and the bishop of Rome is the traditional leader. For Catholics, this means strengthening the principle of collegiality, that is the role of the synods of bishops in decision-making.

Hilarion has rejected everything. Starting from the document drawn up last year in Cyprus, during the previous meeting of the Commission (at which the Moscow Patriarchate did not participate due to the presence of the Estonian Orthodox Church, which it does not recognize), which he refers to as a mere “instrumentum laboris” , or working document “which has no official status.”

That document, he adds, is “strictly historical in nature and, speaking of the role of the bishop of Rome, makes almost no mention of the bishops of the other local Churches of the first millennium, which creates a misunderstanding of how power was distributed in the early Church. Moreover, the document does not contain a clear and precise statement of the fact that the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium did not extend to the East. It is hoped that these gaps and omissions are remedied in the final draft of the text”.

“For the Orthodox, it is obvious that in the first millennium, the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome extended only to the West, while the eastern territories were divided among four patriarchs – Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. The Bishop of Rome had no direct jurisdiction over the East, despite the fact that in some cases, the Eastern bishops have called upon him as a arbitrator in theological discussions. This fact was not systematic in nature and can in no way be construed as meaning that the bishop of Rome was seen in the East as the holder of a supreme authority throughout the universal Church”.


  1. Axios! Metropolitan Hilarion.

    We are now seeing the difference between a “live” and a “dead” Church.

    The dead Sees want to accommodate Rome at any cost – to perpetuate the myth of their life.

    The live Church essentially says, “R U Kidding me?”

    It’s time for a Great and Holy Council all right…if only to sweep away the debris.

    First they attempt to legitimize this uncanonical nonsense in America thru the Chambessy process, now they want to sell out to Rome.

    I wonder how many pieces of silver they will get this time?

    Best Regards,

    • Watching Rueters report over the years on church issues, my impression is they are often first with a story that is as often wrong.

      I think their reporters accurately report what the first man in black says to them — without checking, without balance as to the decision makers and participants.

      In the end if the Roman/Vatican Pope retains the powers not formally repudiated yet in Vatican I (Christ’s vicar on earth, speaks of himself for the church, is universal diocesan (ordinary) bishop), etc. Then the Orthodox will be gone like a drop in their lake after a short while as the ‘finer points’ will dull and be forgotten by the majority— (for T. Nathaniel) that prefer the dwindling brotherhood of ordained young never married reassigners and protectors of the dubiously celibate who never sacrificed family and marriage as so many of them disliked women to begin with or at least preferred men to them.

      So much focus on canons and rules made in the context of lopsided male-female ratio above 24 years old, and an abundance of widower bishops now gone from this world.

      I feel so much like a fellow speaking about indoor plumbing to a group dedicated to the debate about what style of pot is best for carrying water daily from the stream to the villiage.

  2. This whole consultation is the equivalent of a eccelesiatical welfare program for sincecure staffers. How many dollars have been wasted on these meetings?
    Its time to pull the plug and put the donations of hard working people to better use.

  3. George Michalopulos :

    If I had my druthers, we could stop 99% of this nonsense by making all functionaries, chancery officials, and ecclesial bureaucrats deacons and/or credentialed laymen. Bishops should be real bishops pastoring real dioceses and priests should be either real archimandrites leading monasteries or real rectors pastoring real parishes. As far as I’m concerned, even a bishop meditating in a cave or cell, undertaking a real ascetic struggle is doing the world a whole lot more good than these pencil-pushing academics who oversee extinct mountain-tops in Greece jet-setting to-and-from the next ecumenical summit or inter-Orthodox gathering on the ski slopes of Gstaad.

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