His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I (and I am compelled to use his full title out of respect for the office) is suffering the worst embarrassment of his tenure which began in 1991. The Holy and Great Council of Orthodox Patriarchs, which has been in the works for the better part of six decades, has fallen apart in the space of about a week.
The Council was originally going to be held in Turkey, the domain of the sitting Ecumenical Patriarch, and this itself was a controversial sticking point, as Russia has long grumbled about the fact that the ‘first among equals’ heads up an infinitesimally small flock in the district of Phanar. The venue became untenable after the shooting down of Russian fighter jet by the Turks in November of last year, and was moved to Crete instead.
On the agenda were some long burgeoning issues of a rather harmless nature. Coming to a consensus on what was to be done about autonomous churches in the non-Orthodox world which lie under the jurisdiction of larger churches (i.e – the Church of Japan under the Moscow Patriarchate), overlapping jurisdictions within the Orthodox diaspora in countries like the United States, the order of the diptychs (a largely ceremonial ordering of Church seniority), and some questions surrounding calender differences as well as fasting. There was also likely to be a statement on marriage, but not much in the way of changing current Orthodox teaching, perhaps only clarifying it.
The contentious element of the council’s agenda was the ecumenical movement, which involves the Church’s effort to mend relations with non-Orthodox Christians around the world, not only Roman Catholics, but Protestants, as well. Wrapped up in ever-shifting geopolitics and historical grievances, such efforts will always be difficult for the Church. Patriarch Bartholomew’s prayers with Pope Francis are what led the monks of the Esphigmenou Monestary on Mt. Athos, a spiritual center for the Orthodox world, to cease praying for him and defy his orders to leave their residence in a dispute that continues to this day. In their words:
There is not a single saint of the Church, ever, who believes in what Patriarch Bartholomew teaches and practices with regards to ecumenism, and this has caused great concern on the part of the monks.
What we see here is the authority of the dead, which I have spoken about before coming into play. Since Church relations were normalized with the rescinding of mutual excommunication in the 1960s, there has been much suspicion about the ecumenical movement, not all of it unwarranted. It seems that while not opposed to beneficial dialogue with outsiders, many within the Church are not happy with the language of the ecumenical movement, nor its approach to the external relations of the Orthodox Church. While this has been the root of much spiritual consternation, it wasn’t the primary reason the council was a threat to Orthodox integrity.
As Katehon reported, the presence of one Alexander Rondos raised immediate alarm bells. A friend of George Soros, he has been the benefactor of various ‘color revolutions’, and is politically connected to Western intelligence agencies. Another ‘point man’ it seems, with a lot of pull in the Constantinople Patriarchate:
Wherever Alex Rondos appears, he lobbies the same interests of his American masters, promotes Soros’ initiatives, changes regimes, and bolsters unipolar American hegemony by means of network war strategy.
Considering the broad, long-term goals of the Cathedral it is obviously necessary to weaken Orthodoxy by liberalizing it. We must remember that Modernists of every stripe were overjoyed by the Second Vatican Council in 1959, during which they finally managed to de-fang the Roman Church which had been a thorn in the side of Modernity and its attendant values for the longest time. It was after all Roman Catholic traditionalists who had opposed the French Revolution, and during the 1930s, many regimes of an explicitly Catholic stripe peppered Europe, almost putting Liberalism itself out of business for good. The Society of St. Pius X related via their website:
More gravely, the Council was hijacked by the liberal elements within the Church, who from the very beginning schemed to have rejected the pre-conciliar preparatory schemas and replaced by progressive ones prepared by their own “experts.” The liberals were also able to get their members onto the Council Commissions. The new schemas, passed as the Council’s decrees, constitutions, and declarations, contain, more or less explicitly, some of the same doctrinal errors for which liberals in the past had been condemned.
For more information on such past condemnations, Fr. Sarda’s ‘Liberalism is a Sin‘ is a good place to start.
It has become obvious within the last few years that the Western globalist powers have their sights set on the Eastern Christian world, the post-communist sphere. Everything from revolutionary seeding to NGO social engineering is party to this effort, for as Orthodoxy emerges to a renewed strength in this part of the world, liberalism is keen to see it squashed, and there can be no better way to undermine the Church’s beliefs than to target the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is prestigious at the same time as it is isolated and weak.
John Chryssavgis, spokesman for the Patriarchate, spoke of the planned council in terms that are reminiscent of a TED talk rather than a serious meeting of the ancient Church.
It needs to deal with issues such as bioethics, climate change, human rights and discrimination — taking them seriously and embracing them in an inspiring, prophetic, constructive and consoling way.
Such things of course bely presuppositions that are alien to Orthodoxy, and alien to the majority of cultures represented. They have come from the outside. The Patriarch’s agenda was never to resolve the various procedural and jurisdictional disputes, which is why he chose to ignore things like the now very serious dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem over who has authority in Qatar, but rather the aim was to begin setting the Church on the path to surrender in the face of the encroaching intrusion of the modern world.
Thankfully, this plot was not allowed to unfold. Unlike the Papal Office, the Constantinople Patriarchate does not have explicit authority to command anything and have it be binding. The veracity of councils within Orthodoxy is determined by consensus and consent of the full body of churches. This makes change incredibly easy to derail, and just such a derailment was deployed against the pan-Orthodox council to great effect. Fr. Andrew Phillips gives a great summation of the collapse of the council, with a succession of churches refusing to participate:
Each had its own reasons for not participating, apart from disagreement with the ecumenist agenda. Antioch because of its anger at Jerusalem’s invasion of its canonical territory and the fact that Constantinople foolishly told it to ignore such a question of principle until after the Council, even though the problem has been dragging on for years; the Georgians and the Bulgarians are not participating for being insulted by the US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople, which declared last April that the Georgians were fundamentalists and the Bulgarians were thieves, actually creating a diplomatic incident in Bulgaria. As for the Serbs, I think their problem is that of essentially everyone else – that Constantinople simply ignores any criticism, blindly trying to impose its will regardless of others, as if it were an Eastern Papacy. Of course, the Serbian Church, racked by a US-caused schism in Kosovo and under immense pressure from Washington/the EU/NATO and the masonic government in Belgrade, then decided to attend the meeting in Crete conditionally, but that is another story.
And so a total of four churches have defected, those of Antioch, Georgia, Bulgaria and Russia (the most populous of the patriarchates). While Antioch’s resentment against Constantinople has been festering for years, it was the actions of the Church of Bulgaria that set things into motion. Many have speculated the Bulgarians were working at the behest of the Russians. If accurate, it is a masterstroke of Russian Church diplomacy in action. A naked rejection of the council instigated by Russia would only play into Constantinople’s hands, providing evidence for the baseless assertion that the Russians were trying to usurp Bartholomew’s authority and sow discord. By having the Church of Bulgaria object to the seating plan of all things and torpedo the council this way, the smaller church takes the bullet with little to no consequence.
Bringing together the Orthodox faithful is difficult, as it should be. There is no uniformity among peoples, and each Orthodox nation embodies its own unique blend of both the Christian revelation and the innate characteristics of a people and their culture. For such a diverse collection, reaching any kind of consensus relies on the conclusion being extremely evident. Liberalism will never fill this criteria, and efforts such as that attempted by the Ecumenical Patriarch will be destructible via attacks on its representative bona fides. Continuing to expose the Western puppet strings that stretch from the USG to the Patriarchate of Constantinople is vital to bringing these attacks to fruition, and is the duty of diligent Orthodox Reactionaries.
Liberals were outraged at the collapse of the council, with Bloomberg gnashing its teeth through an article by Leonid Bershidsky, who is rather ridiculously described as a ‘Russian writer,’ even when the slightest bit of research reveals him not to be Russian at all.
The ultraconservatism and inflexibility of the faith is an underestimated factor that’s hindering the modernization of countries such as Russia and Greece. Until Orthodox Christianity takes steps toward the rest of the Christian world and starts relaxing its harsh dogmatism, these nations will continue to feel the pull of their distant past.
The article was titled ‘The Orthodox Church stays in the Dark Ages’. Those with any sense should be overjoyed at this development, because the future could scarcely look darker.