Metropolitan Anthony: Idea of "Eastern Pope" is unacceptable to the Church

Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich). Photo:

Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) stressed that differences in ecclesiology cannot but give rise to complex conflicts.

On March 30, 2021, the UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, in his report "Orthodox Teaching about the Church: Modern Challenges and the Search for Answers" at the XI Student Conference, said that the Orthodox Church rejects the presence of an "Eastern Pope", reports the UOC Information and Education Department.

Metropolitan Anthony said that the Phanar insists on its special status in the Ecumenical Church, which provides for not only the primacy of honour but also the primacy of power.

However, this “understanding of primacy in the Ecumenical Church has been the subject of theological controversy between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches for many centuries” since “it was the Roman bishops who began to gain a special power in the Ecumenical Church, which led to the formation of the phenomenon of papacy”.

According to Vladyka, the ecclesiological model proposed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople "presupposes the obligatory presence in the Ecumenical Church of the first hierarch with special powers".

However, the bishop said, “our Church fundamentally rejects the presence of such an “Eastern Pope” in the Church.

He also stressed that problematic issues in the field of ecclesiology are not only a theoretical discussion but "issues of real church life".

“The doctrine of the Church is embodied in the church structure and in interchurch relationships. Therefore, differences in the field of ecclesiology cannot but give rise to complex conflicts, ”said Metropolitan Anthony.

According to him, the "Ukrainian crisis" clearly showed that "the practical application of the ‘Constantinople model’ entails serious conflicts between the Local Churches".

“Today World Orthodoxy is actually teetering on the edge of a split. The unilateral efforts of the Local Churches cannot overcome this crisis. It is quite obvious that dialogue between Local Churches is vital in order to reach a consensus on these issues. However, this consensus should not be the result of concessions in the field of doctrine but the result of a deep and responsible study of the patristic heritage," stressed the UOC Chancellor.

Addressing the students and participants of the conference, Vladyka noted that "a great responsibility is entrusted to us" and "we must make every effort to preserve church unity".

“In addition, we must clearly formulate the teaching of the Orthodox Church on controversial issues. Let us believe that we will be able to accomplish this difficult task,”  resumed Metropolitan Anthony.

As reported earlier, the UOC Chancellor explained the difference in the understanding of primacy in the Church by the Phanar and the ROC.

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