UOC Spokesman: Head of Constantinople is a patriarch of non-existent empire
One should not think that the Ecumenical Patriarch is the patriarch of the entire world, noted Archpriest Nikolai.
It is erroneous to believe that the Primate of the Church of Constantinople, who is also called the Ecumenical Patriarch, is a patriarch of the whole world, emphasized Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, in a live program of First Cossack channel.
“One should not think that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the patriarch of the whole world. This is the patriarch of the empire, which no longer exists. And if it were not for the territory of the American Archdiocese, the Greeks in Australia, Northern Greece, the Island of Crete, the Patriarch of Constantinople would have been left with as few as 20-30 parishes based in Turkey,” said Archpriest Nikolai.
He explained that the title "Ecumenical" means in fact "the patriarch of the Byzantine Empire".
“’Ecumenical’ needs not to be understood in the astronomical sense of the word, that he is [the patriarch] of the globe, Mars and the entire solar system. The Ecumenical Patriarch means the patriarch of the Byzantine Empire, translated from Greek. <...> The Byzantine Empire was called “ikumeni” referring to the land inhabited by civilized people, because the Greeks considered everyone to be barbarians,” explained the spokesman of the UOC.
He recalled that the title "Ecumenical Patriarch" was adopted approximately in the VI-VII century and both the Pope and other Primates protested against it at the time.
“Because all the patriarchates – Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem – they were all located in the territory of the same state – the Byzantine Empire. And when the Patriarch of Constantinople called himself ecumenical, i.e. imperial, the Pope said, "Excuse me, please, but who am I then if you are the primate of the whole empire? For I am also based in the territory of the empire," Archpriest Nikolai added.
Moreover, in Latin, this title was generally translated as “universalis”, the cleric noted.
He also said that the Pope of Rome still writes in official letters to the Patriarch of Constantinople "To the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome".
"That’s it. The Pontiff does not write the "Ecumenical Patriarch". He does not recognize his title of Ecumenical Patriarch,” concluded the UOC Spokesman.
Earlier, the deputy head of the UOC DECR noted that the Patriarch of Constantinople wants to bring a political virus into the Body of the Church. “The Church lives a full-bodied life and it did not appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew, but representatives of schismatics – the UAOC, the UOC-KP or the present OCU – addressed him,” the Archpriest recalled. “Moreover, we remember that last year, in June, more than 400 thousand signatures were handed over to Patriarch Bartholomew from the believers of our Church requesting His Holiness not to do what he intended to. Half a million signatures were collected in less than a month or even two weeks. Therefore, the argumentation of Bartholomew is imbued solely with political rationale."