Friday, May 4, 2018

"For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all..." - Ukrainian autocephaly & the Great Schism

Moscow, May 4 (Interfax) - Head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion believes that if Ukrainian schismatics obtain desired autocephaly schism in global Orthodoxy will be compared to the Great Schism of 1054.

"It is terrific even to imagine what can happen if scenario of granting autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics will be realized in practice. (...) Schism in global Orthodoxy that will be inevitable consequence of this wrong step, can be compared only to the split between East and West in 1054. If it happens, Orthodox unity will be buried," the metropolitan said answering the questions of Greek Romfea church news agency.

The hierarch prays and hopes that "unilateral position of Local Orthodox Churches that was more than once expressed in the past will save Ecumenical Orthodoxy from the schism", and "this unilateral position will sooner or later bring schismatics back to the Church."

The metropolitan noted that the project of the so-called one local church in Ukraine is initiated by acting authorities, schismatic groups and Greek Catholics.

"Politicians see in it a happy opportunity to start electoral campaign at the backstage of deteriorating economic situation in the country. Schismatics supported by authorities continue seizing churches of canonical Church in Ukraine, they need legalization and support of any canonical Church of the Orthodox world," he said.

According to Metropolitan Hilarion, uniates consider union of schism and obtaining an official status for it in Orthodox world as a project aimed at subordinating Orthodoxy to Rome.

The metropolitan believes that true state of spiritual life in the canonical Ukrainian Church and in Ukrainian schism can be seen if we compare the number of monks.

"Today there are about 5000 monks in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The so-called Kiev Patriarchate has 200 people residing in monasteries, while the so-called Autocephalous Church has 15 people for 12 monasteries. The mass media often refer to the data, for which certain sponsors of sociological polls have paid. However, the data they cite cannot be compared to the things we see with our own eyes that can be easily checked," he said.

According to him, millions of Orthodox believers stand behind the canonical Church in Ukraine and "it is proved by large-scaled processions with cross organized by canonical Church in Ukraine which attract hundreds of thousands believers."

"Why our brothers in Constantinople are not interested in the opinion of these millions of believers? Granting authocephaly to schism despite the will of the canonical Church from which it has split does not have any future. It will not lead to the Orthodox unity, but to deepening of existing divisions and further destabilization of Ukrainian society," the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church believes.

16 comments:

  1. I do think it is tragic that we do not work towards unity. That is what Christ asked for the night before he died. Very tragic indeed to not desire what God asks of us. No matter how much suffering and hard work this would take. May our Lady of the most Holy Trinity be our guiding light.

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    1. Think about what you are saying. If someone comes into your house and stars knocking holes in the walls do you just sit there and talk to them about how nice it would be to redecorate together? Unity requires both parties to cooperate. If one party acts badly you don't have unity. This has been the problem with the RC Church for the past thousand years.

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    2. I am no scholar regarding the historical background to the great break regarding the Schism but there has been sincere efforts throughout the ages for communication and reconciliation but a statement like what you have just given is not even conciliatory.

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    3. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/eastern-catholic-married-priesthood-authorized-in-north-america Here is an example of the Latin church seeking to work towards unity. I quote: “It’s a very good move for us,” said Bishop Nicholas Samra, the Melkite eparch of Newton, Mass., in welcoming the decision. “We’ve been arguing and discussing this for quite a while.” Bishop Samra was among the more vocal advocates in the U.S. calling for a restoration of the faculties of Eastern-Catholic bishops outside of their patriarchal territories to ordain married men.

      The Vatican decision affects the 15 eparchies and two archeparchies of the various Eastern-Catholic Churches in the U.S. and appears to bring the Church’s practice into line with the Second Vatican Council’s teaching that “each individual Church or rite should retain its traditions whole and entire,” adapting to the “different needs of time and place.”

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  2. The Great Schism was over the soul-saving Orthodox Faith, the pending one...over territory.

    “For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."” Romans‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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    1. Not over territory, but authority. Similar to the last one. The EP is not a Pope.

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    2. The EP is not seeking to unilaterally grant autocephaly. But even if he granted autocephaly, it could just be ignored analogous to how some local churches view the OCA. Is this issue truly analogous to the issues of the Great Schism? The Orthodox tolerated papal claims for centuries, they did not tolerate pneumotological heresy once faced with its bareheaded pronouncement.

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    3. I just really find it really peculiar that the Ecumenical Patriarch can behave in the most uncanonical manner (ie commemorating and praying with the Pope, joint prayers with other religions) and make multiple statements that confuse and upset the flock, and he will get no reaction from other Patriarchs. But when it comes to territory (ie power, prestige), we are quick to break relations (ie Estonia, Qatar, Ukraine, etc, etc). In the past week, the Ukraine issue has been stated to be of the similar cosmic significance as the Temptation of Christ and the Great Schism.

      ...we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.” ‭‭1 Cor. 4:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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  3. A prediction from 1895; will it prove accurate, after all?:

    "It is obvious that there are questions on which the Russian Church could and ought to negotiate with the Mother See, and if these questions are carefully avoided it is because it is a foregone conclusion that a clear formulation of them would only end in a formal schism. The jealous hatred of the Greeks for the Russians, to which the latter reply with a hostility mingled with contempt — that is the fact which governs the real relations of these two national Churches, in spite of their being officially in communion with one another. But even this official unity hangs upon a single hair, and all the diplomacy of the clergy of St. Petersburg and Constantinople is needed to prevent the snapping of this slender thread. The will to maintain this counterfeit unity is decidedly not inspired by Christian charity, but by the dread of a fatal disclosure; for on the day on which the Russian and Greek Churches formally break with one another the whole world will see that the Ecumenical Eastern Church is a mere fiction and that there exists in the East nothing but isolated national Churches. That is the real motive which impels our hierarchy to (p. 69) adopt an attitude of caution and moderation towards the Greeks, in other words, to avoid any kind of dealings with them. As for the Church of Constantinople, which in its arrogant provincialism assumes the title of “the Great Church” and 'the Ĺ’cumenical Church,' it would probably be glad to be rid of these Northern barbarians who are only a hindrance to its Pan-Hellenic aims. In recent times, the patriarchate of Constantinople has been twice on the point of anathematizing the Russian Church; only purely material considerations have prevented a split." (p. 70)

    Vladimir Solovyev, *Russia and the Universal Church,* trans. Herbert Rees (London, 1948: Geoffrey Bles), pp. 69-70.

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    1. As Fr. Lawrence points to below, the "unity" of Rome appears to be nominal to a much greater extant than the unity of the Church of the East. Yes, the Church of the East has not responded well to the fall of the Empire, but that does not make Rome's and its Protestant subsiderary's response to the same any better. Fact is, the Greeks and the Slav's have real unity around dogma and even intra-eclisiology. The west is truly divided over these things...

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    2. This is the key point. Unity of faith and belief within the Orthodox Church trumps political unity any day. In some ways it seems the Political Disunity we Orthodox face is an outlet that allows us to hold to the true unity within the Church. The problem with the West is that they conflate true unity with political unity. Thus the confusion and schism over the past thousand years.

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  4. Mr. Solovyev also embraced the concept of papal primacy, so his jaundiced view is not surprising. This is not the first time that the bishop of Constantinople has been on the wrong end of a controversy (e.g. Nestorius) and inter-Orthodox quarrels (such as the quarrel between Cyril and Nestorius) should not be regarded as evidence that papal primacy should be embraced. 1895 was a long time ago. The quarrel between Moscow and Constantinople pales in comparison between the liberal and conservative Roman Catholics.

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  5. and orthodox Catholics (not meaning your Orthodox church :>) ) Do not consider themselves conservative--but orthodox in regard to dogmas, gospel living and church teaching. The liberals are in a whole other world.

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  6. Father, I do not think a lot of Orthodox understand the Catholic position. Rome still views Constantinople as the number #2, even if the two Churches are not in communion with each other. To Catholics who know their faith, the idea of Moscow acting the way it does is unthinkable - to them it would be as if the ancient primatial sees of Armagh (Ireland) Canterbury (England), Lugdunum (Gaul) were to act as if they were equal to the Bishop of Rome. Nor today would any primatial Bishop today threaten Rome with schism the way Moscow threatens Constantinople. Ultimately, Rome views Moscow as the head of a large national Church that will come and go, like so many other great sees (like Carthage). Rome, for all of its faults, cannot forget its sister, even if she is only a pitiful remnant of what she once was. I have read comments on this site that treat Constantinople with open contempt, so many of them based on the fact that she has so few sheep. Rome acknowledges the political reality of Moscow and Constantinople, but to Rome, Constantinople is still #2.

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