Report: 20 Orthodox bishops apply for Turkish citizenship

Writing for, Nat da Polis in Istanbul reveals “very important” news:

At the suggestion of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, there is the possibility of granting citizenship to the metropolitans of the Turkish Diaspora. This fact satisfies the ecumenical will of Bartholomew and unlocks the door to the possibility that in future a bishop who now resides outside of Turkey may be elected Ecumenical Patriarch. According to current rules, only those who have Turkish citizenship have the right to be elected to the patriarchal throne. Until now 20 metropolitans of the Diaspora have already applied for Turkish citizenship. In the eventual granting of Turkish citizenship to metropolitans of the Diaspora diplomatic circles see the first proof of the sincere will of the Erdogan government to be open to minorities. In fact, it must also be remembered that in mid-December the European Union will examine progress made by Ankara in its march towards Europe.

da Polis actually filed his story to mark what he describes as the launch today of the “second pan-Orthodox meeting in Chambesy” following the most recent meeting in June at the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s center near Geneva, Switzerland.

The first meeting in June decided on the creation of Episcopal conferences in the countries of the Diaspora, who will refer to Constantinople; in today’s meeting – which will last one week – the issue of autonomy and the autocephalous nature of the Orthodox Churches will be discussed . In short the debate will centre of the cannons to define and accept the autonomy and autocephalous status of the new Churches within the spectrum of the Orthodox world. The meeting aims to resolve issues that have emerged in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent emergence of new nation states, whose churches have sought independence from the Patriarchate of Moscow, demanding so a return to the status they had before the birth of USSR.

In a statement released yesterday the desire to end anomalies that have arisen over the course of time, largely due to historical junctures and the consequent pastoral needs of Orthodox flock, was expressed. The deep desire of Bartholomew I to proceed quickly in order to convene the first major pan-Orthodox Synod of the modern era was also noted.

There are signs here that da Polis’ news article was composed as a “one-source” story. When you talk about churches that “have sought independence from the Patriarchate of Moscow” but neglect to mention that there may be some churches, too, that would like a measure of independence from the Ecumenical Patriarchate (although not at liberty to reveal my sources, I have talked to experts who confirm that there are indeed such churches) then you probably haven’t talked to enough people in the Orthodox Christian world. Perhaps da Polis’ source was making a not-so-sly reference to the situation in the Ukraine?

Unfortunately, I can find nothing, anywhere, to corroborate da Polis’ claim that a “2nd round pan-Orthodox meeting” at Chambesy is starting today (the Fifth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference?). Perhaps, if so, it’s a lower-level planning meeting for the episcopal assembly in May. If you have a source that tells us more, please post in the comment box here. Thanks.


  1. Do we have any idea who the 20 are that have applied for citizenship?

    • Nick Katich says

      Fr. Peter: I certainly don’t know who the 20 are or whether the story is true or not. But a quick peek at the EC website reveals that there are 25 “greek diaspora” metropolitans.

  2. Nick Katich says

    John: When the Chambesy IV adjourned, it was announced that they would meet again during the first or second week of December to discuss the mechanism of granting autocephaly and/or automony. I was unable to locate the exact date that was set but I know it was early December. My understanding is that it is the same group of bishops that met in June, 2009.

  3. Isa Almisry says

    Can Russians apply?

    “The meeting aims to resolve issues that have emerged in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent emergence of new nation states, whose churches have sought independence from the Patriarchate of Moscow, demanding so a return to the status they had before the birth of USSR”

    Before the Bolsheviks, they were part of the Russian Orthodox Church. I do not think the Catholicos of All Georgia wants that.

    Asiannews.It, the Vatican’s mouthpiece to clamp onto Asia. No wonder it would like to fan the flames in Ukraine, having already moved its self-proclaimed patriarchate to Kiev from Lviv (where its cathedral stands on the grave of the Orthodox Metropolitan’s Cathedral). But the Patriarch of Moscow is on to the antics:
    Russian Church wants “concrete steps” from Vatican to make Patriarch-Pope meeting possible
    “”We expect the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church, to take concrete steps to show that there is a desire to be cooperative and heal all the wounds that were inflicted in the extremely harrowing period of the early 90s,” the Archbishop said.

    In that period, more than 500 Orthodox churches in Ukraine “were forcibly seized by Greek Catholics and the Orthodox believes were ousted from them”.”

    Myself, I support a Ukrainian ORTHODOX Canonical Patriarchate, but the uniate meddling is not helping.

    One good thing that might come out of this is it will sink the episcopal assmeblies, if they start out on what I see as their EP inspired mission: disseminate the novel interpretation of canon 28.

  4. George Michalopulos says

    re the “20 metropolitans seeking Turkish citizenship.” Is this a joke? Have they no shame? If this is true (and I pray it’s not), then we’re going to have no choice from now on but to call this ancient see, “the patriarchate of Istanbul.”

    Isa, I think you’re right. I was wondering what dunderheaded move the Phanar would pull which would derail the episcopal assemblies.

    • Dean Calvert says


      I can see them now in the Phanar…”Ti tha pi ‘dunderhead’?”

      Too funny!!!

      a Diasporean

  5. George Michalopulos says

    Now that I’ve popped a couple of Xanax’s, I can ask one question: how would these Greek-American, Anglo-Greek, or Greek-Australian bishops and their flocks like being called “part of the Turkish diaspora”? All my Greek ancestors are rolling in their graves.

  6. From, in Greek:

    Δελτίον Τύπου Γραμματείας επί της προπαρασκευής της Αγίας και Μεγάλης Συνόδου της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας
    Κατά την Σύναξιν των Προκαθημένων των Αγιωτάτων Ορθοδόξων Εκκλησιών, των συνελθόντων, προσκλήσει της Α.Θ.Παναγιότητος, του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου κ.κ. Βαρθολομαίου, τον Οκτώβριον του παρελθόντος έτους, εν Φαναρίω, εξεφράσθη υπ’ αυτών “η βούλησις δια την ταχείαν θεραπείαν πάσης κανονικής ανωμαλίας προελθούσης εξ ιστορικών συγκυριών και ποιμαντικών αναγκών” και εχαιρετίσθη η πρότασις του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου «να συγκαλέση δια την συνέχισιν της προετοιμασίας της Αγίας και Μεγάλης Συνόδου, Πανορθοδόξους Διασκέψεις εντός του προσεχούς έτους 2009…».

    Ούτω, μετά την συγκληθείσαν εν Σαμπεζύ Γενεύης κατά μήνα Ιούνιον ε.ε. Δ Προσυνοδικήν Πανορθόδοξον Διάσκεψιν, συνέρχεται ήδη, τη προσκλήσει της Α.Θ.Παναγιότητος, του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου κ.κ. Βαρθολομαίου, και πάλιν εν Σαμπεζύ, από 9ης έως 17ης Δεκεμβρίου ε.ε., Διόρθοδοξος Προπαρασκευαστική Επιτροπή, υπό την προεδρίαν του εκπροσώπου του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, Σεβ. Μητροπολίτου Περγάμου κ. Ιωάννου.

    Η Επιτροπή αύτη θα εξετάση τα υπολειπόμενα θέματα της μελλούσης ίνα συνέλθη Αγίας και Μεγάλης Συνόδου της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας, δηλαδή το Αυτόκεφαλον και το Αυτόνομον και τον τρόπον ανακηρύξεως αυτών και την σειράν των Διπτύχων.

    From in French:

    Nouvelle réunion des représentants des Églises orthodoxes locales à Chambésy
    Suite à la IVe conférence panorthodoxe préconciliaire (historique) à Chambésy, une commission composée des représentants des Églises orthodoxes se réunira du nouveau à Chambésy du 9 au 17 décembre. Les membres de cette commission examineront, sous la présidence de Mgr Jean (Zizioulas) de Pergame, les questions inscrites à l’ordre du jour du futur concile œcuménique, à savoir les modalités d’obtention de l’autocéphalie ou de l’autonomie d’une Église locale, ainsi que l’ordre des Églises locales dans les dyptiques.

  7. Why don’t they apply for Greek citizenship and deal with this in the “Byzantine way”:
    Greece riddled with corruption

  8. George Michalopulos says

    John, your point raises another point: remember last month when Arb Demetrius of the GOA said that Holy Cross needs to be bailed out by the Greek govt? I wonder if he was dissembling or if he is oblivious to reality.

  9. Indeed.

    If the Church can’t support its own seminary, that seminary should close.


    Too many Greek Americans/American Greeks would rather be ‘archons of the EP’ than actually help their ONLY SEMINARY endow and establish itself.

  10. George Michalopulos says

    John, that’s a good point, (esp. about the Archons) but I think we’re possibly missing a bigger (albeit Byzantine) picture here: It’s no secret that the xenophobes on the East Coast have had a real problem with HC, you know, all English education, etc. The EP of course has its own problems with Halki (i.e. there is no longer any Halki). If he had his way, he’s sell HC for a pretty penny and make all future GOA priests attend Halki. That’s why he’s carrying so much water for Erodgan. So we got to keep our eye on that ball.

    Also, now that the story broke on the OCL about the EP wanting real estate in the “diaspora” deeded to him from all EP bishops, it’s clear that he has no intention of going forward with Orthodox unity/autocephaly in North America, Oceania, England, etc.

    What we’re possibly seeing here is a retrenchment into the phanariote/”homogeneneia” core. Clearly, the Russians have him spooked. Remember last June when +Kirill went to Istanbul and looked around and saw that the Russians outnumbered the Greeks by 5 to one and hinted that in time some future EP would be a Russian?

    Just curious, what’s the Phanar going to do with all the real estate that’s being deeded over to them? Build Orthodox hospitals and orphanages? Universities? it’d be nice but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  11. Dean Calvert says


    As much as I tend to agree with you, I think we need to keep our heads in all of this…remember the advice of Gamaliel…

    “38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

    I trust the EP about as much as you do. But I sense the Holy Spirit working here. Let’s stand back and see. It wouldn’t be the first time God has used essentially evil or corrupt men to do good work…Look at Justinian for starters: The guy murdered 35,000 people in one afternoon…and eventually built Hagia Sophia (and was canonized as a saint)!

    A path is unfolding before us. Let the Phanar continue it’s dunderheaded gynmastics…that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re moving in the wrong direction. Always remember Yelstin, who in the midst of Soviet chaos, assumed the Russian presidency. Everybody said, “What a joke…what’s the Russian presidency” (at the time a Republic of the USSR and a figurehead position).

    A couple of years later, the USSR had disappeared, and all of those ceremonial positions (presidencies of republics) were suddenly running countries…and Yelstin was staring down tanks in Moscow..saving the young Russian democracy.

    Who could have predicted this?

    In any case…if this is of God, I certainly don’t want to be opposing it. And if it’s not…it will certainly fail.

    But it’s just possible that we, supporters of Orthodox unity, may look back on this period, and say, “We would never have guessed it…and THEY may not have even intended it…but those actions put us on the final path to Unity in America.”

    Just a thought.

    Best Regards,

  12. George Michalopulos says

    Dean, as usual, you are right. We must remember that God is always on His throne. I see the logic of what you’re saying, in fact in my mind I’ve kind of seen how these buffooneries will work to American advantage. Truth be told, I’m not worried about it, as far as I’m concerned there is a united, autocephalous local church in North America and I’m in it. Any of the other ethnic jurisdictions that want to join are more than welcome to do so.


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