Home world Metropolitan Hilarion or Volokolamsk: the current situation threatens to split ecumenical orthodoxy

Metropolitan Hilarion or Volokolamsk: the current situation threatens to split ecumenical orthodoxy

September 8, 2018 21:41

In April 2018 the Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to address the issue of autocephaly to Ukrainian believers & # 39; to accept. The episcopate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church unanimously supported the preservation of its existing status. Contrary to his will, however, Constantinople has begun the practical implementation of the project of Ukrainian autocephaly. The communiqué of the Secretariat General of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, published on September 7, 2018, refers to the appointment of two of his hierarchies – Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia (US) and Bishop Hilarion of Canada (Edmonton) – "exarchs" of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Kiev. On the current situation and the reaction of the Patriarchate of Moscow to the voting decisions, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, said in the air of the Rossiya 24 television channel.

– Let's first look for the viewers who are the exarchs and why these bishops are appointed in Ukraine from the US and Canada. Why are they needed?

– The Greek word "exarch" means "superior". Exarchs called the leaders of large church areas. Moreover, the word "exarch" is used in the sense of "special envoy". I think that in this case we are talking about two special representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who have to go to Kiev to prepare the delivery of autocephaly from the Ukrainian church.

– I just want to clarify. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (and in fact autocephaly for these "Orthodox believers of Ukraine" that these exarchs are sent) falls under the responsibility of the Patriarchate of Moscow. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church asked for autocephaly, or is it still the Kyiv Patriarchate, trying to separate?

– The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has not asked for autocephaly. Moreover, the entire episcopate during the bishops' conference, which was recently held in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, unanimously supported the maintenance of its current status.

The Ukrainian church is an autonomous church within the Patriarchate of Moscow. This unit of the Russian Orthodox Church exists 1030 years, it dates back to 988, when Prince Vladimir Kievan baptized Rus. And now these exarchs (ie special representatives) of the Patriarchate of Constantinople are appointed to make a decision about autocephaly, which the canonical Ukrainian church did not ask. About the autocephaly the schismatics said, and not so much as they were asked, how many said, they say, this autocephaly we have, and you just have to admit it.

To ensure that our viewers understand what autocephaly is, I will explain that this is also a Greek word, which translates as "self-explanatory"; it means complete church independence.

– Why did the Patriarchate of Constantinople take such a step in your opinion – practically split or supported?

– In the Constantinople Patriarchate, for the last half century, a peculiar doctrine of the Papists, the Papist self-understanding has developed. Let me remind you that historically the first department of the Christian world was the Roman chair, at least since the fourth century, when the Roman Empire occupied a central place in the world. But in the same IV century Emperor Constantine moved the capital to the city of Constantinople he founded. On the Second Ecumenical Council it was decided that the department of Constantinople had equal privileges with the Department of Rome. When in the XI century a split took place between Rome and Constantinople, in the family of Orthodox churches the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which had always been the second, took first place. This primacy was never observed in the Orthodox Church as the primacy of power or jurisdiction. That is to say, in contrast to Catholicism, where the perception exists that the entire ecumenical church is led by the Pope, who is seen as a source of authority for other bishops, there has always been another system in the Orthodox Church. This is a system of local orthodox churches, each of which is independent, and no one submits to each other. Thus, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which turned out to be the first by chance, in the twentieth century (in the 1920s) began to develop an understanding of its own precedence, which presupposes certain special rights or privileges.

When in the early sixties the question arose that it would be good to hold the All-Orthodox Council, the Orthodox Churches agreed that the trial would be moderated by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but not because Constantinople had some special privileges as now, but because that was the consent of all orthodox churches. I think that if the Patriarchate of Constantinople were really a power that would gather the Church, helping to resolve certain differences, such an institution would indeed be required in the Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, the Patriarchate of Constantinople behaves very differently. Conflicts arise between the churches (eg between Antioch and Jerusalem), he can not solve. And instead of helping the local orthodox churches overcome the emerging schisms, he himself is on the path of supporting divisions.

– Regarding the rights of the Patriarchate of Constantinople … Patriarch Bartholomew claims, for example, that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has exclusive rights to solve the problems of the orthodox world. Based on what you just said, it appears that the Russian Orthodox Church disagrees with this statement?

– We absolutely disagree with this statement. Here I have the translation of Patriarch Bartholomew's speech, which he uttered for the full composition of the episcopate of the Constantinople Church a few days ago. In this speech he says that "the patriarch of Constantinople is the head of the body of orthodoxy", that "the beginning of the orthodox church is the ecumenical patriarchy", that "orthodoxy can not exist without the ecumenical patriarchy" . And how, forgive me, that the Church existed before the IV century, when there was no universal Patriarchy? And how did the Church exist when the Ecumenical Patriarchs fell into heresy?

Here we are sometimes accused that the Russian church, as it were, has independently declared its autocephaly, because when the Metropolitan of Moscow Ion was elected in the middle of the 15th century, this was done without the permission of the Patriarch of Constantinople. And how could Russia get his permission when the Patriarch of Constantinople was in a union, in heresy? He sent a metropolitan to us who commemorated the Pope and after his exile became a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.

The allegations of the Patriarchate of Constantinople about not only the primacy of honor, but a number of special rights and privileges are therefore completely unjustified.

– And in principle can the Patriarchate of Constantinople give a tomos about autocephaly?

Historically, the patriarch of Constantinople sometimes issued tomos about autocephaly …

– … Are there precedents?

– Yes. There are several local churches that Tomos received from Constantinople, but there are also churches that have not received it. Here, for example, the Russian Orthodox Church. She did not receive a tomos about autocephaly, but when the patriarch was elected in Moscow, this act was approved not only by the patriarch of Constantinople, but by the four Eastern patriarchs: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. That is, in the person of the four Patriarchs, it was a conciliar decision of the fullness of the Church that existed at the time – they accepted the fifth Patriarch in his family, and he became Patriarch of Moscow.

– Today the official declaration of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has been adopted. The decision to send the two exarchs to Kiev in the statement says: "These actions lead to a dead-end relationship between the Russian and the Constantinople Church, creating a real threat to the unity of the whole world Orthodoxy." How will the Russian Orthodox Church communicate with the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the future? Will it be necessary to change the position in one way or another, and is there such a practice?

– Apparently the funds for ecclesiastical diplomacy are exhausted for today. Of course you know that Patriarch Kirill made a trip to Istanbul a few days ago to meet the Patriarch of Constantinople. I must say that it was a civilized, polite and even fraternal conversation outwardly. But alas, the side of Constantinople, as shown by the actions that followed, not only heard our arguments, but also acted treacherously and treacherously from our point of view. Because they send their exarchs to Kiev without consent, not only with the Moscow Patriarch, but even with the Metropolitan of Kiev, which Patriarch Bartholomew repeatedly said that the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognizes him as the only canonical head of Orthodoxy in Ukraine.

Today we made this statement in the hope that they will reconsider their decision that no exarchs will go to Kiev. However, if the decision is not reconsidered, we will be obliged to take retaliatory measures. And now such measures are already discussed in the composition of our holy synod.

– What general reaction can be in this situation?

– Measures can be very different. I will not speak them before these measures are taken, because at every stage we will still give our partners the opportunity to think about their decisions and review them.

Why do we say that these decisions lead to a dead-end dialogue between our churches and threaten all orthodoxy? Because, firstly, there is currently no dialogue – there is a monologue by Constantinople, who claims his exclusive rights, says that the department of the Metropolis in Kiev was transferred to Moscow without the permission of Constantinople. It is said that when Kyiv Metropolitanate became a part of Moscow's patriarchy in 1686, it reportedly happened on a temporary basis, and Constantinople never ceased to consider Ukraine's canonical territory. And why were you silent for three hundred years? Why did not they say that? Why did not you say this is your territory, and suddenly "remembered" about this? Firstly, we categorically disagree with this misinterpretation of history: in the Charter of the Patriarch of Constantinople Dionysius, which in 1686 was sent to the patriarch of Moscow Joachim, nothing is said about the temporary nature of the transfer of the Kiev Metropolitan to the Moscow patriarchy, nor about any of the claims of Constantinople in this area.

Secondly, the current situation, in which Constantinople mixes in such a completely insolent and cynical manner in the affairs of another local church, not only leads the dialogue to a dead end, but also threatens to split ecumenical orthodoxy. If Constantinople completes his treacherous plan to grant autocephaly, this means that a group of schismatics will receive autocephalation. The canonical church will not accept this autocephaly. We do not recognize this autocephaly in the Russian church. And we will have no choice but to break communication with Constantinople. And this means that the Patriarch of Constantinople does not have the right to call himself, as he does now, "the head of the 300 million orthodox population of the planet" – at least half of the orthodox will not recognize him at all. That is, in fact, by his actions he will split the whole world of Orthodoxy.

"Let's hope this does not happen." Another question. The way in which the events you are talking about resemble the international events of recent years. It looks like the Maidan, only the inner church: exarchs from the US and Canada go to Ukraine to reach agreement on church independence, a split within the church … How in the church are they related to foreign policy challenges and the fact that most such actions are not about faith, concern about the flock, but about politics? Are you agree with it?

– Of course, all this happens against the background of an acute political confrontation. Moreover, the patriarch of Constantinople is in no hurry, so hurry. He understands that the days of the current Ukrainian government have been counted: next year there will be elections and probably a new power will come to power that no longer supports these papist assertions of Constantinople. That is why they try to do their black work as quickly as possible.

Interestingly, these decisions regarding autocephaly in Ukraine coincide with the decisions to award autocephaly to the so-called Macedonian church, and this is a direct conflict between Constantinople and the Serbian church. And the Serbian church participated in the Cretan cathedral, in which we did not participate, but the attitude towards us is nonetheless the same.

By the way, when we talk about the fact that the Cretan Cathedral is still being positioned by Constantinople as a sort of pan-orthodox, like the Holy and Great Council, whose decisions everyone should follow, why should the Patriarchate of Constantinople not follow them? ? The other day they made a sensational decision that a preacher – a priest or a deacon – in the event that his wife left him, a second marriage may be allowed. This not only violates the canons of the Ecumenical Councils, but also comes in direct conflict with the resolution of the Cretan Council, which explicitly states that the priesthood is an obstacle to entering into a new marriage.

It is even hard for me to imagine how they will marry these clergymen. For example, the priest will stand in a cassock with a cross to stand at the wedding, or will he change into a coat? How will these priests choose their wives? Will they look for their parishioners? Such guns were not accidentally adopted, it was done to protect the church from temptation.

Unilaterally, without coordinating with the local churches, destroying the canonical structure of the church that has evolved over the centuries, the Patriarchate of Constantinople actually puts itself outside of what we call the canonical field, that is to say outside the legal field of universal orthodoxy.

– Vladyka, the conclusion of our conversation, I want to clarify once more: Constantinople declared that he sent exarchs, the Moscow Patriarchate responded with his statement today and then we wait for the next steps. In principle, it is not clear when these examinations have to be taken. Or can you spend a lot of time from the moment of registration to the trip? Will they not solve this problem?

"I do not think they will pull, but we also have to wait for us, whether these investigations will follow or not, whether Constantinople will rethink or not reconsider his decision." That is why we stated in our statement that we will of course take mutual steps. I think that the moment at which these steps will be taken immediately depends on the dynamics of the project on "awarding autocephaly", in other words, about the legitimisation of the Ukrainian dichotomy, which the Ecumenical Patriarchate is currently working on, and with it a direct threat to the unity of Orthodoxy in the world.

– Thanks for this interview.

DECR communication service /Patriarhiya.ru


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