Patriarchs of Antioch and Serbia urge Phanar to restore dialogue with ROC

Patriarch John X of Antioch and Patriarch Irinej of Serbia

The dangerous state in Orthodoxy, created by the decisions on Ukraine, threatens a long-term division among all members of the Orthodox Church.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East and His Holiness Patriarch Irinei of Serbia have called upon Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to restore “fraternal dialogue” with the Russian Orthodox Church to resolve the conflict caused by the Ukrainian church issue, says a joint statement of the Serbian and Antiochian Patriarchates that has been published on the site of the Serbian Orthodox Church today, as a result of the visit of the Patriarch of Antioch to Serbia.

They appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate: “Based on this foundation, and taking into account the urgent need to avoid further escalation of the current crisis, the Serbian and Antioch Patriarchs turn to their brother, His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, to establish fraternal communication with the Russian Orthodox Church, with the fraternal support and participation of all other autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches, to resolve the conflict between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate and to return peace to the Orthodox world”.

The hierarchs believe that in today’s world “it is not possible to realize the unity of faith and to effectively testify to the world if the Church does not have its own unity in word and deed and decision-making based on the traditional, canonical order of the Orthodox Church and the consensus of the Churches, regardless of their size”.

“The Orthodox Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, and it is not a federation or a confederation of Churches that would be separate and independent from one another, acting on the basis of their own interests,” stress the Patriarchs.

Given that the Orthodox Church is present throughout the world today, it demands more than ever openness, dialogue, and a unity in its testimony to the world based on the traditional, canonical communion between the Local Churches. Thus, the Serbian and Antiochian Churches emphasize that the Orthodox Church’s interest and preservation of unity and communion “requires self-critical consideration of all unilateral processes and decisions,” and also requires the application of the principle of consensus in issues affecting the Orthodox Churches in common, including questions of Church autocephaly, on the basis of the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology and canonical order.

“Only Orthodox conciliarity can effectively avoid the conflicting issues between Orthodox Churches, and this conciliarity is first of all founded in the common Eucharistic cup,” reads the statement.

And specifically addressing the ongoing Ukrainian issue, the two Patriarchates harmoniously state: “The dangerous state of the Orthodox world, created by the situation in Ukraine, cannot continue, without the emergence of a permanent division between all members of the Orthodox Church, which would bring harm to the fullness of the Orthodox world and its witness in the world today.”

Earlier, the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej, condemned the Phanar’s decision to grant autocephaly to the schismatic Churches of the UOC KP and the UAOC, noting that Patriarch Bartholomew suffered a great temptation.

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