It should be clear to all that + Bart is running scared now. He knows that he can't bully the Russians (Moscow) nor the Romanians and others into submission. He knows he can't push through his agenda to run the entire Orthodox world - so, what to do? Call all the Patriarchs of the Ancient Churches and claim some sort of "Primal Authority." So, let's look at who these bishops are. Alexandria; it's nothing! Certainly not a leading Orthodox center as it was in ancient times. Antioch; which is now in Damascus and on the brink of all out civil war. If it weren't for Met. Philip, there wouldn't be a Church of Antioch. Jerusalem; is a mere puppet of Istanbul and the Israelis are taking more & more of the church lands. Christians are leaving by the droves. Istanbul; the same as Jerusalem with maybe 2,000 Christians left. So, what is this gathering? It is the gathering of the has beens. Yet, they want to rule and run Orthodoxy worldwide. HELLOOOOOO! It is a joke! These bishops are the greatest obstacle to world Orthodoxy and unity, not Orthodox growth!
It's like a special synaxis of "bishops with no laity," a marvel of Orthodox Ecclesiology. One of the agenda items at the Great Council should address how many voting bishops can be allowed per layman in such meetings.
All Orthodox bishops in every country should REJECT the Episcopal Assemblies. They are a sham and engineered to put all the Orthodox worldwide under + Bart. WHY???????? Ridiculous! The answer to ALL issues is: 1) Proclaim that every country is an "established ecclesiastical territory." 2) Every territory is "autocephalous." 3) All Orthodox bishops in these territories are now independent. 4) All Orthodox bishops are instructed to join a synod of bishops in their territory to run their own churches and elect their own Metropolitan. SIMPLE!
The talks related to autocephaly in USA is a non-sense. How many Orthodox people are here in USA and Canada in comparison with the Patriarchate of Constantinopole? You talk about how many Orthodox people exist in Constatinopole, 2000, how many exist in all the Orthodox Churches (without the Greeks) in New York, Washington etc. I tell you that are less members of Orthodox Churches in these cities than in Constantinopole.
2. How many members all the Orthodox Churches in USA and Canada exist in comparasion with the Patriarchate of Constantinopole, Romania, Moskow, Serbia, etc ? and you are talking a NON_SENSE!!!
How many schools in theology at the level of their schools exist in USA and CANADA ??? None!!!
Wake up people you are not mature in Faith or in Orthodoxy.
The almighty dollars or USA doesn't give you wisdom or right to talk that way you talk. It shows the less of education and knowledge in History of Orthodoxy and of the world.
Who died for the faith in front of Communists, You in USA?
how many of Orthodox people died because of turks and Islam for keeping the faith? You in USA or Canada.
You base your strength on US Government and of the dollars, what about on your faith and martyrdom?
Answer these in front of God than we can talk equaly.
I still hold out confidence in the Church - hierarchs, clergy and faithful - to work through this ongoing trouble; not much confidence, but enough to affirm autocephaly (read OCA) is a good thing. However, I really cannot stress enough the absolute, essential need we all have to conduct ourselves according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ - it is better to be maligned, misunderstood by those opposed to us and still love in humility than to cast dispersions and express disrespect for anyone clergy and faithful alike. So much of what is expressed online reflects a person's character; their internal, spiritual makeup. As we are all sinners, it is ultimately no surprise that so much of what is expressed is so ugly; yet, at the same time it serves as a clarion call to all who read and hear that though we are in a time of celebration for Christ's resurrection, we are all still so desperately in need to repent - O Lord and Master of my life..... I have been reminded in recent days of Clement of Rome's epistle to the Corinthians - how a coup took place to overthrow the leadership in the community at Corinth; Bishop Clement states very clearly, unless those overthrown and replaced were guilty of sin, it was not lawful for the leadership of the Church to have been overthrown. If there is ongoing, unrepentant sin taking place on the part of our hierarchs, expose it and remove it. There is much in our 2K experience as Orthodox Christians which is so beautiful - makes you want to truly spend your days in repentance and prayer; there is so much which really makes you turn red and want to blush for shame. What continues to happen within our O so small OCA fits in the latter category.
I read with interest the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch to summon a meeting with his counterparts who have Arab constituencies “to examine the unstable political situation in the Middle East” and am dumbfounded that the encounter will not take place until September – four whole months from now. By September, the ‘unstable political situation’ will have become a whole new political reality for the Near East and Africa and the good bishops will be left wondering just where they and their churches fit in – chances are good that they won’t.
Christians in that part of the world are truly a ‘forgotten people’, thanks in large part to the failure of their ecclesial leaders to respond with love and care to their legitimate needs and concerns and to address the political, social and economic realities of the region.
The Jerusalem church continues to sell property to the Israelis for illegal settlements while their Palestinian faithful immigrate in record numbers. Less than 2 per cent of the entire Palestinian population is now Christian compared to nearly 20 per cent a generation ago.
Thanks to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Christian population of that country is now scattered across the globe with no prospect of ever returning home because of the fierce anti-Christian atmosphere created in the wake American imposed ‘Democracy’ and ‘Freedom’.
If the Patriarchs were really concerned about ‘the unstable political situation’ then where were they as their faithful have been persecuted over the past several years? It seems the Ecumenical Patriarch can muster sympathy from American and European leaders to support him in his cause to open a defunct school in Istanbul but has he ever used his clout to defend the cause of the persecuted Christians in the Arab Levant with the same vigor? Maybe he has and I missed it.
But really, by September the new reality in Africa and the Near East will include Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the rest of the Gulf. The position and welfare of the Church in her traditional birthplace is in extreme jeopardy. It’s most unlikely that these Patriarchs can accomplish anything to stem the tide of history, but to put off addressing the urgency of the issue and demonstrating a coordinated concern on behalf of their constituents is just another example of the remoteness of the leaders from the everyday lives of the believers.
The Antiochian Patriarch is stained at the seams as he struggles to minister to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees flooding into Syria and now he’s fending his way thru a revolution in which the Christians are being increasingly marginalized.
The Alexandrian Patriarch is trying to see where he fits into the new Egyptian reality while continuing to focus attention on and provide leadership for an emerging new African Church in the heartland of the continent.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem continues to sell off Christian property to the Jews and ignore the religious, educational, political and social concerns of his Arab flock.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, consumed with his own pontificate, abdicates real service oriented leadership and proves he is in reality only the bishop of Istanbul with a few hundred constituents.
September will be too late for the Church to address ‘the unstable political situation’ in the Arab Levant.
Agreed! Cyprus is in the Middle East and the Cypriot Orthodox Church is still dealing with the Turkish occupation of a third of the island, so it seems relevant to invite them.
I'm a little surprised the Church of Greece wasn't invited though - there's a large Muslim immigrant population in the country (at least in Athens) and a Turkish minority in Greek-occupied Thrace, so one would think they would be invited at least to be asked to tone down the rhetoric vis-a-vis Orthodoxy and Islam.
I'm in Western Europe where the link to Constantinople, given that Rome in no longer Orthodox, is much clearer. There are very many Orthodox in Western Europe who are placed under Constantinople. It is not true to say that Patriarch Batholomeos has no congregation.
The behaviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in this part of the world towards their fellow Orthodox Christians has been unbrotherly and lacking in Christian charity and compassion.
The Romanians for the moment also seem to be going down the same nationalistic path. May God open their hearts to avoid falling in to error.
Therefore I am very happy that the Heads of the four remaining ancient Patriachates are to meet along with the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus.
The problems of the Orthodox in the Middle East and Europe cannot be separated as we are all brothers in Christ inhabiting the same quarter of the globe.
Here is an interesting sidenote, regarding the current Chris in Syria the current government in syria treat Christians quite well in fact the President of syria visit the Antiochian PAtriarch for Christmas and easter and visit many fothe Orthodox Shrines with his family speciacally St. thelka and Our LAdy of Saidynna.
The PResident of Syria is not Shia or Souni - his family is Allouite (a minority sect of Isam from the Shia form). So as a minority he protect the christian minorities as well.
Maybe we should take in to consideration wqhat would occur in Syria if the Souni or Shia take power?
Maybe the Patriarch of constantinople want to meet with the 4 PAtriarchs and Archbishop of Cyprus to discuss this issue.
The simple historical fact is that the Phanariot model for autocephaly is not the historical norm: Cyprus, Georgia, and Bulgaria (the first time out under a grant of autocephaly from St. Photius) are the only examples that arguably fit what Constantinople is claiming is "the norm".
Russia declared autocephaly when Constantinople was enthralled to the False Union of Florence/Ferrar. All the Balkan national churches, Serbia, Bulgaria (second time out), Greece, Romania, established autocephaly with facts on the ground before the "Mother Church" grudgingly got around to accepting the fact. Arguably Georgian autocephaly, granted by Antioch, not by Constantinople, is more of a parallel to the grant of autocephaly to the OCA, than to what the Phanar is arguing for.
Quite frankly the best thing that could come from the Episcopal Synod process would be for the bishops in each region to look at each other across the table, do what the bishops in each Balkan country did when they shook off the Turkish Yoke: proclaim themselves to be the Holy Synod of a national church and elect a primate. Constantinople objected when the modern national churches in the Balkans established themselves, and with better reason, as they were carving up the Patriarchate's territory.
Yes, yes, I know, we're in "barbarian lands" so we're in the Patriarchate's territory, too. Yeah, right. . . If you accept that theory, then the Phanar will have just as much reason to object as it had to Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian and Serbian autocephaly. In a few years, or a generation at most, the Ecumenical Patriarchate will get used to it.