Head of Fanar to Patriarch Theophilos: Don’t persist with Primates’ Council

10 January 2020 10:46
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Photo: static.themoscowtimes.com Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Photo: static.themoscowtimes.com

The Synaxis of Primates can in no way serve the unity of Orthodoxy, since it will not be attended by the First in the Diptych, said Patriarch Bartholomew.

In response to the invitation of Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem to take part in the work of the Primates’ Council of Local Orthodox Churches, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople demanded that the former cease to persist in his initiative. This was reported by Orthodox Times news agency.

First of all, the Head of Phanar lamented that the Primate of the Church of Jerusalem addressed him in English and not in Greek.

“To begin with, we are surprised, not pleasantly, by the fact that for the first time in the centuries-long history of the two Patriarchates, the ‘Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem’ corresponds with the Ecumenical Patriarch in a foreign language and not our mother tongue, as if he has suddenly stopped feeling consanguineous and that he belongs in the same historic and suffering Nation,” addressed Patriarch Bartholomew the Primate of the Church of Jerusalem. “What has led your Beatitude to sent us this other than honourable circular letter in English instead of following the centuries-old standard correspondence between our Churches?”

The Head of the Church of Constantinople reminded Patriarch Theophilos of his Church’s place in the Diptych and said that the idea of convening a Council of Primates would not serve the unity of Orthodoxy, since this Council would not be attended by the presiding Primate – the Ecumenical Patriarch.

“It is needless to remind you of the position your Patriarchate holds in the rank of the Dyptichs of the Most Holy Orthodox Church, as well as the fact that, in the canonical order, which has always and until recently been respected by all Orthodox Churches, the Pan-Orthodox Synods of the Primates have been always summoned by the Ecumenical Patriarch, who presides over these Synods. What kind of unity does your initiative want to serve, if the First of the Orthodox Primates in rank is absent from the Synod you propose?”

The Head of Phanar also said that the initiative to convene such a Council, in his opinion, serves foreign purposes and undermines the Ecumenical Throne and that reportedly, Eucharistic communion between the Churches was never interrupted by anyone other than the Russian Orthodox Church.

Earlier, the UOJ published the text of the invitation of the Primate of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, to the Council of Primates, which he had sent to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. In his letter, Patriarch Theophilos III addressed the Head of Phanar as a brother in Christ and emphasized that he respects the privilege of seniority of the Patriarch of Constantinople. He emphasized that the Heads of the Local Churches should congregate for the Synaxis of Primates, since the unity of Orthodoxy is as necessary to everybody as a "living witness – martyr – to the world".

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