Phanar head: Without the First, Orthodoxy is a federation of church groups

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Photo:

The head of Phanar said that there are those who envy his position as the First in Orthodoxy and hence create a "new ecclesiology".

On October 24, 2021, in an interview with the Cypriot newspaper Politis, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople stated that “without the First”, Orthodoxy is just a federation of church groups.

According to the head of Phanar, the term "First" when applied to Constantinople is "a new invention, since it is used with negative connotations and is characterized as ‘papal’, clearly aiming to irritate and scandal some of our brothers."

“I want to ask: isn't there a first diocese in every diocese? Isn't there a First in every church? Then why shouldn’t he (the First – Ed.) be in the Local Churches? Since there is the First starting from the smallest structure, which is a parish, to the Local Church as a whole, how is it possible that the Local Churches do not have their First?” said Patriarch Bartholomew.

He is sure that "if we do not have the First, then we are a federation of local administrative church groups, without unity (the word κοινωνία is used in the text – Ed.) as required by our ecclesiology of the Local Churches led by the First."

According to him, “this federation and this new ecclesiology show that some brothers do not follow in the footsteps of our fathers” and “view the responsibility of the First from the outside as a privilege and consciously envy this position. But the position of the First is martyrdom, this is responsibility, this is sacrifice,” said the head of Phanar.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that Patriarch Bartholomew was hospitalized in the United States.

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