Metropolitan Hilarion: Constantinople claims to be infallible

Head of the DECR of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev). Photo: Factor.mk

Patriarch Bartholomew cultivates the opinion that if Istanbul decides on something, then the matter is settled, said the Chairman of the ROC DECR.

The Primate of the Church of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew, claims not only primacy in Orthodoxy but also a kind of infallibility, said the head of the DECR of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk, in an interview with RIA Novosti.

“The famous proverb Roma locuta causa finita ('Rome has spoken – the case is closed') indicates the role of the pope in the Catholic Church. But the opinion is being cultivated in the Orthodox Church now that if something was decided in Istanbul, the matter is settled then. So Istanbul decided to grant 'autocephaly to Ukraine', and now it demands that everyone should recognize this decision rather than discuss it. ‘You must admit that the autocephaly of Ukraine is a fait accompli’, our counterparts from Constantinople tell us. Yet, we have never had an infallible earthly head of the Church, whose decisions are binding regardless of the pan-Orthodox standpoint on them,” the hierarch shared.

He believes it has caused only rejection with the Local Churches, as the Amman Meeting showed.

According to the Metropolitan, the current self-isolation of Patriarch Bartholomew, his reluctance to initiate inter-Orthodox consultations on his own or to participate in those initiated by others only deepens the confrontation between him and other Churches.

Despite the canonical crimes of Constantinople, its invasion of the Ukrainian Church, its legalization of the surreptitious schismatic community, its participation in the dialogue is possible and important, said the UOC DECR Chairman.

The Amman Synaxis will continue preferably until the end of this year, and the Local Churches hope that the Patriarch of Constantinople will also take part in it.

At the same time, Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized that at the moment the actions of Phanar head are not aimed at solving urgent ecclesiastic problems but at weakening the united Russian Orthodox Church.

“In Greece, there has been an old-style schism for many decades, which relates to ‘bishops’, ‘priests’, parishes, monasteries and believers. Why should the Patriarch of Constantinople, in cooperation with the Church of Greece, not heal this schism? There are various Orthodox jurisdictions in America. Why shouldn’t Constantinople, in assiciation with other Local Orthodox Churches, create an autocephalous Church in America? If there was a desire to solve actual problems, then there are many such problems outside Ukraine,” His Eminence noted.

He claims that the whole rant of Constantinople about healing the Ukrainian schism is just shielding. Most of the Local Orthodox Churches understand this, including those which for various reasons did not participate in the Amman event. They are also perfectly aware of Constantinople relying on the US support in its actions.

“Apparently, the Patriarch of Constantinople believes that the observance of the centuries-old principles of Orthodoxy is ensured today by the United States. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain the fact that both US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US President’s Special Representative for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, and the US ambassador to Greece, formerly ambassador to Ukraine, Jeffrey Payette, are openly promoting the Constantinople project to create an Orthodox structure in Ukraine which would be separated from the Russian Church,” the Metropolitan noted regretfully.

As reported by the UOJ, on February 26, 2020, the Chairman of the DECR of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, told the press that the Synaxis in Amman would be only the first meeting of the Primates, as there are a lot of outstanding issues the Orthodox Church needs to resolve.

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