Phanar goes full steam ahead to a new union and to its own disaster
The Phanar bishop called the Pope as his primate, gained the blessing for his ministry and said the Catholic-Orthodox union is at the finish line. What's the matter?
At the end of May 2021, the newly appointed Metropolitan of Italy and Exarch of Southern Europe of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Polycarp (Stavropoulos), received an audience with Pope Francis. After that, he gave an interview to the Vatican News agency, in which he stated, without any further diplomacy, that there would be a union with Rome in the immediate future.
There is nothing reprehensible in the fact that a newly appointed hierarch in a diocese, which is located in the territory of a country dominated by another religion or denomination, meets with the leader of this denomination. This is a common diplomatic practice, which is very often, if not always, resorted to by religious leaders.
As a rule, the purpose of such visits is interfaith peace and cooperation (of course, where religious canons allow it). However, the visit of Metropolitan Polycarp to Pope Francis had a completely different status. Metropolitan Polycarp himself told about this: “It was a very cordial meeting of the son with his beloved father, the meeting of a bishop with his primate and patriarch. The Holy Father has a great heart, a sincere heart, I thanked him for the encouraging message he sent me for my enthronement, and I asked for his papal blessing for my ministry this time as a bishop again in Italy ...”
It was a meeting between a son and his beloved father, a meeting of a bishop and his primate and patriarch. I asked for his papal blessing for my ministry.
Metropolitan Polycarp about his meeting with Pope Francis
That is, this meeting had the status of a meeting between a “bishop and his head”. Here, special attention should be paid to the word "his". Metropolitan Polycarp considers Pope Francis to be his primate. The question arises: in which confession does Metropolitan Polycarp serve – Orthodox or Catholic? From his words it follows that in the Catholic. This statement is confirmed by one more point: Metropolitan Polycarp considers it necessary to receive a “papal blessing” for his service as a bishop.
If we refer to the historical unions that were concluded both by the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1274 (Union of Lyons) and in 1439 (Union of Florence) and the hierarchs of the Kiev Metropolis in 1596 (Union of Brest), then the key issue in all of them was the recognition of the power of the pope. The adoption of the Catholic doctrine, moral norms and other "Latinisms" was sewn into this one thing – the recognition of the pope as the supreme primate and head. As you can see, Metropolitan Polycarp confessed precisely to this and, the most interesting thing is that he personally confessed to that – no one forced him to talk. Again, he literally said that he recognized Pope Francis as HIS Primate. Thus, Metropolitan Polycarp confessed that he was a real Uniate.
If Metropolitan Polycarp calls the Pope HIS Primate, then the question arises: in which confession does he serve – Orthodox or Catholic?
What threat does union pose?
Outwardly, union is not scary at all. You don't have to go far; you can take a look at our Ukrainian Uniates. There are services in churches, which are attended by people, especially in Western Ukraine. Hierarchs and clergy speak beautiful words; people pray and do some good deeds (we will not talk about evil ones). However, this whole rosy picture breaks against the words of St. Cyprian of Carthage: "To whom the Church is not a mother, to them God is not a father." The Church on earth exists and has always existed according to the word of the Lord: "I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ..." (Matt 16:18). It exists in the form in which it was created by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and arranged by the apostolic preaching. This Church is visible, tangible, and single. One can enter into Her through Holy Baptism or one can fall off Her through committing a mortal sin, including the sin of heresy.
Both Orthodoxy and Catholicism claim to be called this “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church (Creed), but only one of them is such. One of the signs of the true Church, among other things, is “primordiality” of Her faith, i.e. the dogma formed in the early days of Christianity. So only for this alone, Catholicism cannot assert that it believes as it has always believed. The dogma of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son (filioque) was finally introduced by the Latins into the Nicene-Constantinople creed only in the 11th century, which, together with the statement of the pope's supremacy in the whole Church, caused the Latins to fall away from the Church in 1054. In addition to these two errors, Latinism over the thousand-year history of its existence outside the Church has produced a whole series of errors. To put it in a nutshell, they are as follows:
- the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, which means belittling the Divinity of the Holy Spirit;
- the statement that the Pope is the visible head of the Church, which means the elimination of headship in the Church of Jesus Christ;
- perversion of the understanding of the essence of salvation: instead of Christ healing the damaged human nature, a person simply gets rid of punishment;
- the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, which means that the Most Holy Virgin did not need a Savior;
- the dogma of purgatory, which perverts the original teaching about the posthumous fate of the dead;
- a practiced method of sensual prayer, which is strictly forbidden by Orthodox ascetics and is called delusion;
- a practiced image of asceticism, which is also recognized by the Orthodox fathers as delusion;
- a statement about dogmatic evolution, which allows for introducing new dogmas and reinterpreting the old ones at one’s own discretion.
All this can be quite safely hidden behind Orthodox vestments, Orthodox rituals and, in general, the outer side. Therefore, extending the answer to the question – what is terrible about union, we can say that nothing when it comes to an external side, but at the same time the essence of union is a betrayal of Orthodoxy not only in doctrine, but also in many other aspects. By accepting union, any person, be it a hierarch or a simple layman, becomes alien to the Church of Christ, with all the ensuing consequences for the salvation of the soul. In the modern vocabulary, the word "identity" is quite buzz. So, the acceptance of union with Catholicism is the complete destruction of Orthodox identity.
Acceptance of union with Catholicism is the complete destruction of Orthodox identity.
Third union – to be
Despite the complete and unconditional failure of both the Union of Lyons and the Ferraro-Florentine, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is racing towards the third union at all times, which is likely to take place in 2025. More about this can be found in the article “The spectre of the third union with Catholics is no longer a spectre". Metropolitan Polycarp also quite frankly told about this: “What is surprising is that the closeness, gestures, initiatives of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew are genuine and far from any secular or spectacular aspects. These are two people who share the same thoughts and feelings. They recognize that they must act together for the benefit of our troubled humanity, which is even more affected recently by the health crisis and the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The journey of Catholics and Orthodox Christians to complete unity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is almost at the finish line. I think that this goal has already been achieved at the level of believers, and this is more important than at the institutional level."
The path of Catholics and Orthodox Christians to complete unity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is approaching the finish line.
Here you should pay attention to the problems that, according to Metropolitan Polycarp, are facing Orthodoxy and Catholicism. This is a “health and economic crisis”. Not a word about sin, which is eating away the human race, not a word about death, which rules over people, not a word about the communion of man with Christ through the sacraments! Only health care and economics are important. This very eloquently testifies to the religious consciousness of the bishop of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Moreover, he did not give an interview to some secular publication, whose readers are hardly interested in the issue of saving the soul. The interview was given to the main news agency of the Vatican, the religious publication Vatican News.
The words that “the path of Catholics and Orthodox Christians to complete unity <...> is approaching the finish line” once again confirms the assumption that both the Vatican and Phanar have a very clear vision of the timing of achieving unity and the corresponding plan of action. Moreover, these terms are counted not in decades, but in a few years. Both Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis are determined to go down in history as unifiers of Orthodoxy and Catholicism. However, the term "unification" is not very suitable here, or rather not at all suitable. No "unification" is intended. There will be a UNION of the traitors to Orthodoxy with the Latins, as it was in all previous historical unions, with the recognition of the power of the pope and the acceptance, directly or implicitly, of all the errors of Catholicism listed above. Metropolitan Polycarp also speaks about this directly and openly. His words that his meeting with Pope Francis was “a meeting of a son with his beloved father, a meeting of a bishop with his primate and patriarch”, who gave his “papal blessing for the ministry” of Metropolitan Polycarp as a bishop, is a solid witness to that.
No "unification" is intended. There will be a UNION of the traitors of Orthodoxy to the Latins with the recognition of the power of the Pope, as it was in all previous historical unions.
Catastrophe of the Patriarchate of Constantinople
History teaches us that it teaches us nothing. This ironic phrase is quite applicable to the current hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The result of the already mentioned Lyons and Florentine unions was that the clergy and church people rejected them, and the hierarchs who had signed these unions bore the stigma of betrayal and shame. They were not accepted into their dioceses, they were denied con-celebration, and many of them eventually repented of their deeds. Now Phanariots want to try to run into the same trap again. However, they are not safe from being injured by this trap as it was before. Some circumstances suggest that the looming union may still be more successful than the previous ones: despite the fact that both Patriarch Bartholomew and lots of other hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the past few years have constantly communicated messages to society about unification with the Vatican, we hardly hear any objections to this from the depths of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. ... Also, we have not heard any significant protests against Phanar's interference in church affairs in Ukraine. This is probably due to the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew, from the very beginning of his patriarchate, has pursued a policy of replacing the bishops' thrones with people loyal to him.
Despite the fact that both Patriarch Bartholomew and lots of other hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have constantly communicated messages to society about unification with the Vatican over the past few years, we hardly hear any objections to this from the depths of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
However, such protests from other Local Churches are quite resounding; moreover, these are Churches that are commonly associated with the so-called Hellenic group. The most recent vivid protest is an open letter, which Metropolitan Seraphim (Mentzelopoulos) of Piraeus of of the Greek Orthodox Church wrote to the Vatican News agency in response to an interview with Metropolitan Polycarp. In this letter, he expressed himself in a highly negative way about the words of Metropolitan Polycarp: “We are also not surprised that Polycarp feels himself about the Pope as “the son of his beloved father. To consider a heretic and usurper of the patriarchal throne of Rome or anyone else as his father is Polycarp's problem. However, we are surprised that Polycarp is called the bishop of the Orthodox Church and calls the unrepentant heresiarch as his patriarch."
Amazed by such explicit statements of Metropolitan Polycarp, Metropolitan Seraphim asks the question – how does Metropolitan Polycarp know that “the path of the Orthodox and Catholics to complete unity is approaching the finish line”: “Does he know anything that is hidden from believers? Did he not ‘give away’ a ‘secret’, which will astonish us once the ‘union of churches’ is at hand? How substantiated are the rumors about the upcoming ‘union’?”
In addition, there is one more circumstance that did not teach Phanariots anything. Probably, in their plans for the "third union", they hope that the American State Department will help them to fulfill these plans, because the previous unions were also pushed through by the secular authorities. However, the fact that the US State Department, as a result of almost three years of efforts, was not able to persuade the majority of Local Churches to recognize the OCU, suggests that it is not so omnipotent, and one can expect that with its help it will be possible to subjugate the Local Churches in the case of union with Rome. It is very naïve in the very least. In reality, even in the "Greek" Churches there are much fewer people who want to join the union than those who want to assert the superiority of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Orthodox world. After all, it is one thing to affirm the greatness of Hellenism within the framework of Orthodoxy, but quite another thing to betray Orthodoxy and obey the Vatican. Although the former contradicts the Gospel, the latter is off the wall altogether.
Therefore, it can be assumed that there are not so many bishops who wish to follow Patriarch Bartholomew’s "third union" scheming. Perhaps the majority of the bishops of his own Patriarchate of Constantinople will follow him, but in other Local Churches a very powerful opposition will arise, supported by theological arguments, historical analogies and the spiritual authority of such hierarchs as Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol and a lot of others. This is particularly true of Mount Athos, whose authority, however, was shaken due to the recognition by some monasteries of the OCU, but is still quite solid. Most of the Athonite monasteries will presumably oppose the union.
As a result, the supporters of the union will face the same inglorious end as their predecessors, the stigma of betrayal and shame, which, of course, is washed away by sincere repentance. It is precisely what Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus called Metropolitan Polycarp to in his letter:
"The acknowledgment of one’s mistake, one’s repentance is not an act of cowardice, but the main Christian virtue and doughtiness!"