Pan-Orthodox Council was to meet for the first time in more than a thousand years, but the pan-Orthodox did not. Moreover, the absence of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church - although the largest of the local church, but "equal among equals" - was the principal terms of the same "democracy", which is not to the point understood by the organizers. But what are the differences in the ranks of the Orthodox? It does not state the next time to split?
Sunday ended with a meeting on the island of Crete, which the organizers and participants for several reasons called Pan-Orthodox Council. There are ten of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches took part, while the Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian and Russian Orthodox churches have ignored the event.
Antiochian and Jerusalem churches have a long-standing dispute about the canonical affiliation of Qatar. This dispute went so far that the two local churches broke off the eucharistic communion with each other. And since the question of Qatar was not included in the agenda of the Cretan event, the Antiochians refused to travel to Greece. Following the boycott, the Bulgarian, then Georgian and, finally, the Russian Church joined, at the insistence of which, by the way, the venue of the Council was transferred to Crete from Istanbul - the Patriarchate took into account the issue of sharp aggravation of relations between Russia and Turkey because of a shot down in the sky over Syria Su-24, which caused the death of two Russian soldiers. The Serbian planned to ignore the Cathedral, but changed their minds at the last moment.
This Council did not consider the question of dogma and canons. Documents submitted for signature, mainly related to the role of Orthodoxy in the world, the relationship of churches with contemporary society and other non-Orthodox denominations. Several theologians of the churches refused to participate in them saw a number of inaccuracies and ambiguities, but to arrange a further meeting to make drastic revisions in the organizing committee, ie the Ecumenical Patriarchate refused. This was the reason that the event took place in the "abridged" formulation.
At the end of the Council, the delegates made a collective summary appeal, which was published on the official website of the All-Orthodox Council. Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate have already stated that they will carefully become acquainted with the content of the document and will in the near future prepare an official response. Some Russian experts have acted a little more quickly and have already assessed the message of the Council as "alarming". Thus, the head of the expert council of the World Russian People's Council, Alexander Rudnev, said: "The proposal of the Council in Crete to declare the Council as a permanent regular institution, accompanied by a statement that" Orthodox local churches are not a confederation of churches ", looks very alarming, because The combination of these two theses is poorly consistent with the traditional ideas about the unity of Orthodoxy based on the symphony of local churches, the unanimity of which, in principle, Important issues have, first of all, a spiritual nature. "
Simply put, the expert saw an attempt to create a "supreme organ of the cathedral" of all the local churches, although primates are initially equal to each other. At the same time they have a full canonical authority within its jurisdiction and do not invade someone else's. New as "the cathedral organ" pretend to interfere in those matters that are traditionally solved inside of a church. In secular political science would appreciate it as an encroachment on the powers of local authorities by the illegitimate supranational body.
In total this message consists of twelve theses, which can be regarded as a hint of the twelve theses of the Creed, the main prayer that determines what the Orthodox Christian believes. It briefly outlines the results of previous documents relating to family and marriage, human rights, the situation of Christians in the Middle East, the relationship of the Orthodox Church with other faiths and with science, as well as condemnation of religious intolerance and fanaticism. And while the ROC is preparing an official response, it should be noted that a number of provisions of the message are really far from reality. For example, in the first paragraph of the document it is said: "The main priority of the Holy and Great Council was the proclamation of the unity of the Orthodox Church." If we recall the polemics of Antioch and Jerusalem, then the omnipotent priests evidently hastened to proclaim unity.
In the same paragraph, below you can find such words, is concerned about the number of Orthodox experts: "The Orthodox Church expresses the unity and catholicity of the Cathedral. Collegiality defines the organization, decision-making and the choice of the way. Orthodox Churches are not Churches Confederation, but the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. " If we consider that the event was not the four local churches, with the principle of catholicity everything turned out, to put it mildly, not ideal.
At the same time, representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, declaring the Council to be held just as the All-Orthodox, made a rather provocative statement on the procedure for adopting the final documents. "You came from a democratic country, where everyone is expected to vote. Unfortunately, in every democratic country not everyone comes to vote. Does this mean that a democratic vote is invalid? "- so Archbishop of Telmys Job commented on the disagreement about the" all-Orthodox "action. That is, compared the procedure of the Council with political, secular election procedures, which for the bishop by definition is incorrect. Moreover, decisions at the Council are adopted and come into force only if unanimously approved by representatives of all local churches. Otherwise, the decrees lose their legitimacy and, by definition, do not have the status of all-Orthodox.
Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, already spoke about this statement: "I understand that the atmosphere in Crete is tense and it's tiring to communicate with journalists ... But in the Church there is no democracy, from the very first century, and there will be no. Democracy is the power of the people, and in the Church power belongs to God. Any self-respecting democrat would ask the very Bishop Job how long he was elected and when his term expires. After all, from the point of view of a democrat, any irremovable power is bad. And women do not take us to work as bishops - what kind of democracy is there? "
Meanwhile, it should be understood that the comparison with the political procedures, although flawed, but the policy is really time to start the game. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was necessary to declare that the Council was held, it was a Pan-Orthodox, and it was under him, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the leadership, even if these statements are far from reality.
Hence, by the way, and fears that the Council is planned to make a permanent body for all local churches with a permanent and irremovable chairman - the Ecumenical Patriarch. There is already a danger not only for the "sobornost" of the Council, but for the unity of the entire Orthodox Church with the equality of bishops and the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarch only "in honor." In fact, Patriarch Bartholomew wants thus indirectly to become "the most important patriarch." Or the "Eastern Christian Pope," if you will. These intentions were also expressed by the ultimatum approach to the approval of the conciliar documents (that is, in the form in which they were submitted for discussion) and the refusal to organize a preliminary meeting with the aim of solving the problems that impede the universal participation in the Council of local churches and other specifics of the procedure of the event.
If the Ecumenical Patriarchate continues the policy of imposing its will upon other priests and churches, then the legitimacy of the "new organ of the Church" will quickly become simpler to zero. Especially in the absence of a "quorum" on the island of Crete, where the "Orthodox minority" was represented - both by the number of lay faithful, and by the number of clergy and episcopate. That is, if we return to the words of the Archbishop of Constantinople, Job, about the comparison of the Council with "democratic elections," the legitimacy of the decisions made on the Greek island is all the more doubtful. After all, representatives of the majority (and absolute) did not agree with the very fact of holding the Council in the format in which the Ecumenical Patriarchate proposed this.
Now it is necessary to wait for the official response of theologians from the Moscow Patriarchate to talk about the possible consequences of this "Cretan decision". However, concerns about the split between the local churches can be commented on at once - there will not be a split. At least because the Council did not touch upon questions of dogmatism, that is, the foundations of the Orthodox faith. The disagreements on the social, political and organizational issues for the Orthodox Church are deeply secondary. "There must be a disagreement between you," says the epistle of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians.
This, however, does not negate the fact that some tension between some effort yavivshimisya and no-shows at the Cathedral of the local churches.