MP DECR head explains if there are grounds in canons for Phanar’s primacy

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyeva) of Volokolamsk. Photo:

Met. Hilarion said that because of the OCU, Patriarch Bartholomew lost his coordinating role in Orthodoxy and the right to the primacy of honour in the Orthodox Church.

The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyeva) of Volokolamsk, in an interview with the RIA Novosti, explained whether Phanar can appeal to the canons of the Church on the issue of primacy in Orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized that the canons of the Ecumenical Councils do not mention any other primacy in the Church, except for the “primacy of honour”.

He recalled that Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon clearly outlines the canonical jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople: “It includes three dioceses (regions) of the Roman Empire, geographically roughly coinciding with today's Turkey. And it is said that the Patriarch of Constantinople must not only supply metropolitans for them but also bishops for the barbarians (that is, non-Greeks) living in these three regions."

“From this rule, the theory was developed according to which the Patriarch of Constantinople should have jurisdiction over all “barbarian” lands, which included Western Europe, America North and South, Australia, East and Southeast Asia. And now Constantinople seriously appeals to this canon to substantiate its claims to universal jurisdiction and demands that the parishes of all Local Churches located in these regions be subordinate to it. But this is an arbitrary requirement, which has no basis in the text of the canon to which it refers,” Vladyka emphasized.

He also explained that Canon 9 of the same Council of Chalcedon, on the basis of which Constantinople claims that it has the right to receive appeals from any Local Church, "is valid only for the Church of Constantinople".

“Already in modern times (XIX century), such authoritative interpreters of canonical rules as St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite refuted the false opinion about the alleged right of the Patriarch of Constantinople ‘to act in dioceses and regions of other Patriarchs’ including considering appeals from these regions,” noted the hierarch.

Metropolitan Hilarion also recalled that “the canonical rules of the Ecumenical Councils quite clearly define the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: they approximately coincide with modern Turkey. But Patriarch Bartholomew wants to extend his power to other Churches, which directly contradicts the church canons."

Vladyka drew attention to the fact that according to Canon 34 of the Holy Apostles, primacy in the Orthodox Church should always be balanced by conciliarity, and in the words of the canon “the bishops of every nation should know the first in them”, the principle of locality is expressed.

“The first one exists at the local level but not at the ecumenical level. There is not a single church canon of the era of Ecumenical Councils that would establish the powers of the first bishop at the ecumenical level,” the bishop emphasized.

According to him, “Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople deliberately and demonstratively violated the fundamental principle of conciliarity. He not only did not consult other Churches on the Ukrainian issue but also committed his deeds in a clear manner against their will."

“He invaded the boundaries of the Russian Church, declaring them his own, entered into Eucharistic communion with schismatics, who did not have canonical consecration; as a result, he lost his coordinating role in Orthodoxy and the right to the primacy of honour in the Orthodox Church,” resumed Metropolitan Hilarion.

As reported earlier, Metropolitan Hilarion said that the Phanar reshapes the ecclesiology of the Church according to the papist model.

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