Without exaggeration landmark event for the Orthodox - Orthodox council, scheduled for the near future - in danger of being ripped off. Several local churches have declared serious contradictions and called for the transfer of the cathedral. There is a position on the matter and the Russian Orthodox Church. Why Orthodox again can not agree?
Patriarchate of Constantinople will normally prepare for the Pan-Orthodox Council, which is due to begin on the day of Pentecost, 19 June on the island of Crete. Training will continue, despite the obstacles and complaints made at the last minute by some local Orthodox churches. This was reported on Wednesday, RIA "Novosti", referring to the decision taken on the eve of the Extraordinary Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
"Obstacles and complaints", which referred to the representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople - is, in particular, the refusal of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council. To be precise, the Bulgarian bishops demanded to transfer the cathedral for another time, but if the comments of the Bulgarian church will not be taken into account, then the arrival of the delegation can not speak. Bulgarian demarche, which became known 3 of June, in fact, was the reason for the urgent convening of the Extraordinary Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
But the day before there was another reason: in the cathedral church of Antioch refused to participate, one of the oldest local churches uniting Syria and Lebanon's Orthodox Christians. The Patriarchate of Antioch asked to postpone the convening of the cathedral for another time, "when the triumph of peaceful relations between the autocephalous (self-governing - Take a look.) Churches and will be guaranteed Orthodox consensus on the agenda of the Council of the day, regulation, organizational and practical procedures."
At the same time on Wednesday it became known that the Cretan council a delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
"In a state of emergency"
With regard to the largest of the local church - Russian Orthodox, then it doubted, whether there is the Cathedral, chaired by the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew truly Pan-Orthodox, given the differences among the churches.
Cathedral in Crete will not have such a status, if it will not be involved at least one of the 15 Orthodox local churches, on Wednesday said the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion (Alpheus). "It will not be Pan-Orthodox Cathedral, and inter-Orthodox meeting. Its decisions are not binding on all churches to be absent ", - he explained.
According to Bishop Hilarion, it is possible that refuse and the Serbian Orthodox Church to participate in the Cretan church. Commenting on interchurch disorganization, the head of the DECR called urgently addressed "all the questions due to which the church is now one after another refuse to participate."
Note that the head of the DECR, according to some observers, one of the bishops, who were the most interested in participating in the Pan-Orthodox Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church Synod called for an "urgent Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference" in connection with "state of emergency" in the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Cathedral, as reported by the press secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill priest Alexander Volkov.
What can be caused by fear of the Moscow Patriarchate and the harsh response of the other Orthodox Churches?
"Due to complicate the situation with Turkey"?
Problems became evident even during the preparation for the Synaxis - meeting of the heads of the Orthodox churches, which had been scheduled for January 21. The DECR called to postpone the meeting in Istanbul, where the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in a suburb of Geneva - Chambesy, where the Orthodox Center of Ecumenical Patriarchate. There, in Chambesy, in fact, took place V Pre-Council Conference.
Due to the aggravation of Russian-Turkish relations has been changed and the place of the cathedral if it was originally scheduled to be held in the church of St. Irene in Istanbul in January 2016 year at the urging of the Moscow Patriarchate was elected Crete (found in the canonical jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople).
But, however, the problem - not only and not so much in the relationship of secular government in Ankara with the outside world or forced depending on the Patriarch of Constantinople (residence in Istanbul) by the authorities of the Turkish Republic.
"In the course of correspondence between Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Russian Orthodox churches are unable to reach agreement on important issues in the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council", - he said in January the head of the Department for Church and society and the media of the Moscow Patriarchate, Vladimir Legoyda. TASS referring to Legoyda reported that a special inter-Orthodox commission, which was created in order to develop the rules of the Pan-Orthodox cathedral, "ran into difficulties, which could not be overcome."
From the point of view of observers parachurch "insurmountable difficulties" - is primarily a debate about the canonical territories.
Thus, the ancient Antiochian Church, which, as mentioned above, refused to participate in the cathedral, "divided" the state of Qatar with the even more ancient Jerusalem Orthodox Church. In this Arabian emirate, where 78% of the population are Muslims, nevertheless there is an Orthodox community. In 2013, the Jerusalem Patriarchate established its metropolitan here, although Antioch regards Qatar as part of its canonical territory. 3 June, the Antiochian Synod reported that "with deep regret and bewilderment" received the proposal of Constantinople to begin to resolve the conflict with Jerusalem not before the commencement of the All-Orthodox Council, but at its end.
Has not disappeared is not so sharp, but long-standing disputes and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Constantinople Patriarchate.
In particular, regarding Estonia, which are parallel to the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church in Constantinople jurisdiction. In 1996, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II, the protest at the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Estonia, broke communion with Patriarch Bartholomew. Three months communication has been restored, but the friction did not disappear.
An even more complicated situation in Abkhazia. Let's start with the fact that there has a "forced unrecognized" Abkhazian Orthodox Church, released from the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church, but was not included in the ROC.
In 2012, the clergy of this church: monks Dorofei (dBar) and Andrey (Ampar), serving in the New Athos Monastery - demonstratively tore decrees ruling bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Bishop of Maikop and Adygea Tikhon about imposing on them the prohibition from serving for a period of three years for separatist activities. Then the monks moved to the jurisdiction of Constantinople, led the "Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia."
As for the Bulgarian church, refused to send a delegation to the Cathedral of Crete, then to her Constantinople traditionally uneasy relationship - from the time of the proclamation of independence of the canonical BOC 1872 year. This led to the Greek-Bulgarian schism that lasted more than 70 years 1945 before, when the Ecumenical Patriarchate finally recognized the right of Bulgarians to their own church.
"Pan-heresy of ecumenism"
However, problems are rooted not only in the debate on the canonical territories, canonical status and seniority. Separate groups of Orthodox churches have criticized the draft outcome document of the cathedral, seeing in this document, "ecumenism", insisting that it Latins (Roman Catholics) and Protestants are not called "churches" and heretics.
A number of Greek and Russian Internet resources circulated the appeal of a group of Athos elders to the Sacred Cinema - the governing body of the monastic "republic" of Mount Athos, to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, to all local churches and "the whole church fullness". "The coming" Holy and Great Cathedral "is the stage of the program for the implantation of inter-Christian and interreligious ecumenism and religious globalization ...", says the appeal signed by the elder Gabriel from the monastery Kutluush, the elder Savva Lavriotsky from the Great Lavra and the elder Khariton from the Vatopedi the monastery.
In addition, the Athos monks condemned the decision of the Pre-Council Meeting on non-recognition of the Ecumenical Councils IX and XIV centuries, which were condemned by the tenets of Catholicism, including the primacy of papal authority and "Filioque". All this leads to the "pan-heresy of ecumenism", considered Athos monks.
Russian "Union of Orthodox Citizens," has accused the Patriarch Bartholomew in closer ties with the Vatican in the "eastern papism". "The Patriarch of Constantinople has gone too far, in fact imposing itself throughout the Orthodox world as the" Pope of the Orthodox ", - stated in the appeal of the public association.
"The ongoing real campaign against the convocation of the cathedral"
In addition, in some circles, there is an Orthodox community version, according to which the council will attempt to reform dogma allegedly made. Metropolitan Hilarion (Alpheus) is credited with the proposal to adopt a new translation of the Creed with the Church Slavonic into Russian, in which references to the Spirit of Life-giving is supposedly reduced to "animating" and the words "in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" will supposedly translated as "a single holy, catholic and apostolic Church. "
Back in 2012, Metropolitan Hilarion, dispelling rumors, wrote on the official website of the DECR: "Some marginal media have launched a real campaign against the convening of the cathedral ... The believers are frightened that the coming cathedral will become" anti-Christ ", because it allegedly will make decisions, contrary to the teaching of the church, its dogmas, canons and rules: they will introduce a married episcopate, abolish posts, and revise the foundations of the doctrine. And then Orthodox Christians will have nothing else than to leave the fence of the "official" church and seek other ways of salvation. Such arguments ... do not have any real grounds. "
Nevselensky Cathedral and the "normal" Patriarch
The Orthodox Church today recognizes seven Ecumenical Councils, the last of which took place in the VIII century. Prepared by the Cathedral of Crete is not declared as a universal, nevertheless it all world Orthodoxy must be submitted.
Let us explain: local or autocephalous Orthodox churches, independent of each other, but linked by a single communion, in the world there are 15. This is referred to the Patriarchate of Constantinople (officially called the Universal, with its center in Istanbul's Fanar) and Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (Syria), Jerusalem, Georgian, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Cyprus, of Greece (Greece), Polish Orthodox churches, as well as the church of the Czech lands and Slovakia, and America.
Although the patriarch of Constantinople from Byzantine times and has the title of the Ecumenical and the Church of Constantinople in Greek literature is referred to as "the Great Church of Christ", it is not overriding. Patriarch of the "new Rome" does not have the powers, which are, for example, the Pope as the head of all Catholics. Primate of the Church of Constantinople - the "first in honor", but an equal among equals. Each local jurisdiction conducts its business independently, without guidance from Istanbul.
Church of Constantinople with its dioceses 17, 3,8 million members in Greece and 1,5 million in the diaspora - is not the most numerous, but very influential. In the 20-ies of the last century, among the Greeks of the patriarchal environment (the so-called "Phanariotes" - the title area Fanar) spread the idea that the head of the Church of Constantinople has not only a primacy of honor, but also the primacy of power, that is, it can interfere in the affairs local churches.
This doctrine is not formally adopted, but is considered to be in some church circles, which in practice tends to Constantinople "east Popery."
It has been suggested that such a policy to the Patriarch of Constantinople moves that the vast majority of the congregation is in the diaspora (in Turkey -. Not more than 2 thousand Greek Orthodox), own canonical territory of the "new Rome", in fact, not.
By the way, note that it is to help the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew hoped the Ukrainian government, promoting his own project of the local church in Ukraine (based on the non-canonical, that is not recognized by anyone, sectarian t. N. "Kiev Patriarchate"). This project actively lobbied Viktor Yushchenko. After Maidan 2014, the self-proclaimed "Patriarch of All Rus-Ukraine" Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko) newly developed activity in this sector, so far without success.
William Schmidt, theologian, professor RANHiGS, Ph.D.
Is there a danger that some of the local churches do not arrive at the cathedral? Maybe yes. The time ahead is still there, and even the last day of one of the delegates may decide whether to participate. I do not see any threats to the opening of the cathedral, but the question is whether in fact he considered Pan-Orthodox Council, will be the agenda has been changed the day for the sites and churches comments. In the end, it will be possible to delay or revise any questions.
Include on the agenda - one of the difficult questions about the interaction with non-Orthodox and other churches. Some people and some churches see this trend toward ecumenism as such. Unfortunately, we have a different question refers to cooperation and ecumenism. Some radical mood is definitely present. But its position Russian Orthodox Church has already identified.
One of the delegates from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate - Metropolitan Agafangel Odessa, for example, said that he would like to be present at this council. It is understood that each bishop is responsible before God for his flock, and most importantly - for the purity of faith. Each primate of the Church understands the difficulties which he might encounter in their work, depending on how any congregation responds.
It is clear that the various churches by virtue of the historical context has its own views and their own unresolved issues. Such questions are at the Bulgarian church in Georgia, we now know of several thin outstanding issues in the relationship between the patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem.
Is it appropriate to link these issues with the context of the Pan-Orthodox cathedral, put them on the council? I think that it is a sovereign right of each church. But as rightly said, and Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion, there are questions of the first order - issues certificate of Orthodox unity - and the second-order questions.