Politics and Intrigue: Is the Upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council an Attempt to Create a Vatican II for Eastern Orthodoxy?

(RNS1-dec1) Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople embrace after delivering a blessing in Istanbul on Nov. 30, 2014. Phoot by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

– 14 June 2016 –

Janus:

Janus-smallThere is steady push by globalists to unite all of the religions of the world into one, creating something like the Bahá’í faith. The United Religions Initiative is one of several organizations that are working towards this goal.

In the Christian world, ecumenical organizations such as the World Council of Churches have been working to unite the various Christian denominations by watering down the tenets that separate them. Many Christians think this is a good thing, that Christ wanted us to act as one. The trouble is, the end goal is not to serve Christ according to His Authority, but to blur Christianity into a meaningless international mud religion. In the end, the idea is that nations will differ only superficially, and religions will differ only in rituals and costumes rather than belief and action, that they will conform to the secular world, and all will fall under a single world authority.

Perhaps the most traditional of all of the branches of Christianity, Eastern Orthodoxy, is scheduled to meet on June 16 for a pan-Orthodox council. Eastern Orthodoxy is comprised of fourteen autocephalus churches, and each of these churches was theoretically supposed to attend. The event is historic because no such council has convened since the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672, and because preparations have been made for the current council, off and on, since the 1960’s.

Now with three local Orthodox churches so far refusing to attend, and Russia seeming to waver, the entire affair appears to be falling apart. It seems that there are concerns about the agenda of the Patriarch of Constantinople, who has attempted over the years to claim authority over all of the Eastern churches, something like an Eastern pope.

This article from Orthodox England aggressively demonstrates this concern:

It is well-known that since 1948 the Patriarchate of Constantinople has been a branch of the State Department in Washington. A Wikileaks document containing a conversation between the Patriarch and the US Senator Durbin confirm this. Their US-appointed Russophobic Patriarch said: ‘If the Oecumenical (sic) Patriarchate loses its traditional position in Istanbul, then the Russian Orthodox Church will be able to realize its pretensions (sic) to controlling the Oecumenical Patriarchate and will become the leader of the whole Orthodox Church. The Patriarchate needs defending in order to resist the humiliations of Ankara and the pretensions of the Russians’.

From a different article at Orthodox England, we have more evidence of the hubris of Constantinople:

Now we have heard the absurd words of the notorious Phanar [Constantinople] agent in the USA, Fr John Chryssavgis, who has openly stated that, ‘if one or more Churches doesn’t attend, or withdraws during the Council (sic), or is not present and doesn’t vote, all the decisions made will still hold and be binding for all Orthodox Churches. A Great Council is above and beyond any individual Church council or Synod … and it remains such even without the participation of one or more Church’. This piece of blackmail would be hilarious, if it were not meant seriously and so were not criminal in intent.

John Chryssavgis advises the Patriarch of Constantinople on environmental issues, and he has written on the subject of the primacy of Constantinople over the national churches, expressing a particular hostility towards Russia (which comprises 75% of the world’s Orthodox believers).

Rev._Dr._John_Chryssavgis_Update2

John Chryssavgis: Agent for the creation of an Eastern pope and an Eastern Vatican II?

Chryssavgis’ previously referenced interview demonstrates his wish that the Council becomes something like Catholicism’s Vatican II:

What do you expect to be the big issues?

Keep in mind the purpose of a council, its goal, which is unity. Unity is an objective, not a given. It’s something we aspire to. It may be there spiritually and liturgically and sacramentally, but to make it visible is hard, painful and slow work, all of which take time. Unity comes at the end of the council, not before. It is a consequence, not a condition.

For instance, ecumenical relations with other Christians are taken for granted in the Ecumenical Patriarchate [of Constantinople], but not always in other Orthodox churches. Over the last 50 years we’ve become close with the Catholic Church, and we’ve had tremendous collegial relations with Pope Francis. Those gestures and movements are natural for us, but they’re not necessarily reflective of where the whole Orthodox Church lies.

This council can be crucial in bringing some sort of a unified response, some guidelines in this response, like the Second Vatican Council did for Catholicism. There are probably more differences than similarities between this council and Vatican II, but it could have something like the same impact.

Other issues include, what happens when an Orthodox marries a non-Orthodox Christian, such as a Catholic or Protestant partner?  What does it mean for Orthodoxy to be in conversation, both culturally and in terms of the faith, with Judaism and Islam?

 So while it isn’t clear that Constantinople intends this particular Council to create an Orthodox Vatican II, it does appear that the “Ecumenical Patriarch” intends that the precedent set by this meeting will lead to such a change eventually.

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2 Comments

  1. If this council happens, and there’s no guarantee it will, I predict schism, probably led by My Athos.

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    • My ignorance is such that I don’t know enough to predict. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But without Russia, it would seem that this effort has no teeth, and that’s probably for the best.

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