Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Jad Ganem: The Dead End

Arabic original here.

The Dead End

On February 21, 2019 His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch responded to the letter from His Beatitude Patriarch John X sent on December 31, 2018 calling on him to convoke a synaxis of the primates of the autocephalous Orthodox churches in order to examine the Ukrainian issue and find a Pan-Orthodox solution to it. His Holiness states that "after four Orthodox churches, without reason from an ecclesiological and theological point of view, refused to be present during the work of the Great and Holy Council, for which there is no excuse– and your ancient church was one of them– the Ecumenical Patriarchate has good reason to refrain from such a meeting at the Pan-Orthodox level, which would be useless inasmuch as it would only lead to agreement that the participants are in disagreement with each other."

If we ignore the polemical position in this letter with regard to the four churches' abstention from participating in what was supposed to be the Great Orthodox Council-- and Constantinople appears to be unprepared to conduct an objective evaluation the reasons for this and its own responsibility for not resolving the outstanding issues prior to its convening-- the following is worth noticing in Constantinople's position:

* The insistence on rejecting calls for holding a synaxis of the primates of the Orthodox churches, despite appeals from the majority of them before and after the Ukrainian crisis for His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch to hold this synaxis.

* The insinuation that general Orthodox meetings are useless meetings that only lead to disagreement and fragmentation.
* Tyranny in its approach to ecclesiastical issues, immersion in Realpolitik, and total disregard for the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church, that always overcome the difficulties and hardship of history.

* The incoherence of the Phanar's position, which seriously refrains from calling a meeting of the primates of the churches under the pretext of fearing a lack of agreement, while its spokesmen justify convoking the "Council of Crete" with those who attended and reject the rule of unanimity in joint Orthodox work and call for majority rule.

*Denial of the established fact that the Church of Antioch participated in the synaxes of the primates of the churches that were held at the Phanar and Chambésy in 2014 and 2016, despite the decision to break communion with Jerusalem. It ignores that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceded to convoke the Great Council despite the objection of the Church of Antioch and its declining to sign the decisions of these two synaxes, relying at the time on the principle of majority rule.
Does the above mean that the Ecumenical Patriarchate rejects the call to hold a synaxis of the primates of the churches because the majority of churches opposes what it has done? Or does it mean that His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarchate has come to believe that an Eastern papism is the only way to manage the Orthodox Church? Does His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch think think that the decisions issued by him and his synod are correct decisions merely because they are issued by them? Does his refusal to listen to what "the Spirit is saying to the churches" and the appeals of his brothers and their synods mean that he has come to believe in his own infallibility and the infallibility of his see? Perhaps the biggest question remains what is to be done faced with this limiting of the horizon? Who will take the initiative to correct the course? Who will straighten what has been warped? Who will bring Orthodoxy out of this crisis? Has the time not yet come for all the Orthodox bishops of the world to call upon each other to rightly divide the word of truth for us, after the primus in Orthodoxy has abdicated his role and placed us before a dead end?


Anonymous said...

spot on! Fr John.

Elias Nasser said...

the last two words are the most salient: dead end

the world mainly ignores this farce but for those who do look on: half look on in dismay, the other half in incessant laughter

Such is the state of the Orthodox Churches in first part if the 21st century

and "Jesus wept"