Thursday, June 6, 2019

Jad Ganem: Between Alarmism and Commodification

Arabic original here.

Between Alarmism and Commodification

Until the present moment, many people in the Orthodox world have been treating the issue of granting autocephaly to the church in Ukraine according to a logic of alarmism or commodification.
Some dub the council held in Kiev last December a "robbers' council", while its organizers called it the "unification council."

Some think that what happened will lead to conflict between members of the same people and the shedding of innocent blood, while others announce that what happened will establish the unity of the Ukrainian people.

Some promote the notion that bishops, clergy and faithful of the legitimate church that exists in Ukraine will rush to join the newly-created ecclesiastical entity, while others sound the alarm about the pressure and abuse wielded against them and hint that they will defend their church to their last breath.

Some say that what happened has established a schism that may persist within the universal Orthodox Church, similar to the results of the Great Schism, while others think that what happened is a prophetic action and that all will unite around its historical rectitude in the future.

Some believe that what happened is an administrative act of oikonomia undertaken by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in accordance with its historical rights and that it stems from the patriarchate's guarding the soundness of Orthodox dogma and remedying schism, while others believe that what happened is a political action that violates the essence of dogma, runs contrary to all ecclesiology in Orthodoxy, establishes a new papism, undermines conciliarity and empties it of its content.

Some insist that what happened will weaken the Patriarchate of Constantinople and cause it to lose its position of primacy in the Orthodox Church, while others affirm that what happened will permit that patriarchate to reformulate its role as solid and pivotal within the Orthodox world.
Some predict that what happened will greatly weaken the Russian Church and turn it into a merely local church without any weight in the Orthodox world, while others promote the idea that this church will emerge victorious and be able to check the authoritarian tendency of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and those who played a pivotal role in formulating the new Orthodox order.

However, among these simplistic positions that vacillate between alarmism and commodification, many people miss the scope of the complexity connected to the Ukrainian issue, which does not resemble any of the other crises that the Orthodox world has known in its modern history. Even if this issue is not insurmountable, solving it requires honesty and precision in identifying the problem and effort to treat the longstanding pathologies in Orthodoxy that it has laid bare. Perhaps this will not happen before all sides realize that they are all in crisis that is reaching an impasse and that no one can emerge victorious over the other. Can the leaders of the Orthodox Church formulate a solution that will lead to a breakthrough in relations within the Church or will the alarmism and commodification lead to further blow-ups and fragmentation in the crisis-ridden Orthodox world?

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