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Russian Church: Constantinople ruins talks with Catholics
interfax ^ | 23 October 2007 | interfax

Posted on 10/23/2007 8:18:16 AM PDT by kawaii

23 October 2007 Russian Church: Constantinople ruins talks with Catholics

Moscow, October 22, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church representative to European institutions accused the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on Monday of seeking to establish itself as the top authority in the world's Orthodox communion and of ruining Orthodox-Roman Catholic dialogue.

The representative, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, was referring to the 10th meeting of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

The delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate withdrew from the meeting, held in Ravenna, Italy, in protest against the participation in the event of the Estonian Apostolic Church, a church set up by the Constantinople Patriarchate in 1996 in Estonia, which the Moscow Church considers part of its territory.

The Ravenna meeting resulted in a final document that did not bear the signature of the Moscow Patriarchate.

"Metropolitan John of Pergamon [of the Constantinople Patriarchate] as co-president of the joint commission for Orthodox-Catholic dialogue is responsible for derailing the dialogue," Hilarion said.

"His comments and the final text of the document work on which has finished in Ravenna without the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate may produce the impression that the Constantinople Patriarchate deliberately pushed the Moscow Patriarchate to withdraw from the dialogue so that decisions should be passed that would have been impossible with the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate," the bishop said.

In a statement after the signature of the final document, Hilarion said the fact that the dialogue excluded "the largest Orthodox Church, one whose number of members exceeds the total number of members of all other Orthodox Churches put together, calls into question the legitimacy of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue."

Metropolitan John responded by accusing the Moscow Church of seeking to demonstrate its influence and of resorting to authoritarian methods to do so.

"Constantinople," said Hilarion, "wants to force on us a model of church organization that has never existed in Orthodox tradition and that is closer to the centralized model existing in the Roman-Catholic Church. In that model, the patriarch of Constantinople would have the role of the 'eastern pope.'"

The next round of talks, to start in 2009, would show whether other Orthodox churches would accept the alleged model, Hilarion said.

"However, it is already clear that the absence of the Moscow Patriarchate will make the work to develop such a model much easier," he said.


TOPICS: Catholic; Orthodox Christian; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: constantinople; moscow; russianorthodox

1 posted on 10/23/2007 8:18:18 AM PDT by kawaii
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To: kawaii
I guess I'd have to say that the Moscow Patriarchate was pretty stupid to leave meeting if +Hilarion is right as to what Constantinople is up to. Interesting that, for the second time during these talks, Moscow has a hissy fit and not one other Orthodox Church sides with them!

Black Bart of Constantinople is no prize, but the KGB's boy up in Moscow is going to have to learn that its the canons, not numbers, that count in The Church.

2 posted on 10/23/2007 8:46:18 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

Their “hissy fit” is not about doctrine, but rather about territory, power, and ultimately money. How sad.


3 posted on 10/23/2007 9:05:13 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50; FormerLib
Black Bart of Constantinople is no prize, but the KGB's boy up in Moscow is going to have to learn that its the canons, not numbers, that count in The Church.

I don't think aledging that other church's patriarchs are secret agents for anachronous institutions is called for, I think it's more useful to look at this from a canonical stance.
4 posted on 10/23/2007 10:28:42 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: bobjam
Their “hissy fit” is not about doctrine, but rather about territory, power, and ultimately money. How sad.

Considering this is an ecumenical gathering it's as much about the papacy. The Orthodox turning a blind eye to the EP blatentently interfereing in the matters of local churches should not that any sort of ecumenical agreement under such circumstances would invite the same treatment from the Bishop of Rome.

That said it does seem that some compromise was offered and rather hastily refused.
5 posted on 10/23/2007 10:36:05 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii

K, you’ve got to understand something. Hierarchs, Russian, Greek, Arab, Finn or otherwise, are NOT your friends. There are a multitude of reasons why we say that the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. +Alexei is not a good guy. One hint of that is that none of the other non-Russian hierarchs will support him. That’s because he is playing the same game Russian hierarchs have been playing for over 500 years. That’s all fine and good, but in this specific instance he’s simply making a fool of himself and dissipating what little influence he does have.


6 posted on 10/23/2007 10:54:55 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: kawaii
“I think it’s more useful to look at this from a canonical stance.”

If you mean the Estonian thing, well that’s already been done and Moscow came up short. If you mean the dialog, well Moscow is free to walk, or not agree with any joint statement and it seems that’s just what they have done. That’s Moscow’s prerogative, K, just as it is the prerogative of the rest of canonical Orthodoxy to do otherwise. The canons will determine what we do with any Ecumenical Council called to discuss reunion with the Latin Church but we are a long way away from that right now, K.

7 posted on 10/23/2007 10:59:21 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
There are a multitude of reasons why we say that the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. +Alexei is not a good guy.

He has managed to unite the Russian church, and Vladika Laurus seems to think he's worth throwing in with.

That’s all fine and good, but in this specific instance he’s simply making a fool of himself and dissipating what little influence he does have.

Folks may not be backing Moscow's behavior, which is apparently juvenille, but I doubt they agree completely with what Constatinople is doing either. I'm sure no one want's a precedent for schismatics on their own territory to be able to appeal to Constatinople and get canonical status. Further if this happens with Ukraine, which I don't know that it's likely to, I suspect you'll see a bigger outcry.
8 posted on 10/23/2007 11:06:06 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii; Kolokotronis

The same sorts of things happened between the Greeks and the Bulgarians when the Serbian Orthodox Church was first recognized.


9 posted on 10/23/2007 12:31:08 PM PDT by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: FormerLib; kawaii

“The same sorts of things happened between the Greeks and the Bulgarians when the Serbian Orthodox Church was first recognized.”

Yup! Autocephally, by tradition, is seized, not bestowed gracefully, though that has happened.


10 posted on 10/23/2007 12:38:57 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: FormerLib

I’d only be half suprised if Constatinople gave ROCOR-V legitmacy at this point...


11 posted on 10/23/2007 12:55:55 PM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Kolokotronis
Yup! Autocephally, by tradition, is seized, not bestowed gracefully, though that has happened.

Ceased by the government for nationalistic reasons. Seems to me these things have fizzled out as often as they've stuck around.
12 posted on 10/23/2007 12:56:50 PM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii

It seemed to me that the dispute arose over who is in charge of and therefore financially benefitting from the Orthodox faithful in Estonia. This has been an ongoing problem in several nations recently liberated from the Soviet Union. Alex2 is trying to maintain what he considers the historic See of Moscow (aka the old Russian Empire) while Bart2 is looking for places that can give him financial support. I know B16 is interested in working things out with the East, but he would probably not like to be seen as picking a side in this mess.


13 posted on 10/23/2007 1:37:47 PM PDT by bobjam
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To: bobjam; kawaii

“I know B16 is interested in working things out with the East, but he would probably not like to be seen as picking a side in this mess.”

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread...and +BXVI is no fool.


14 posted on 10/23/2007 1:45:05 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Absolutely ... as disorganized as this business may seem to Latin eyes, it's progress. And it will get sorted out. No hurry, no worries.

15 posted on 10/23/2007 1:50:01 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: bobjam
It seemed to me that the dispute arose over who is in charge of and therefore financially benefitting from the Orthodox faithful in Estonia. This has been an ongoing problem in several nations recently liberated from the Soviet Union. Alex2 is trying to maintain what he considers the historic See of Moscow (aka the old Russian Empire) while Bart2 is looking for places that can give him financial support. I know B16 is interested in working things out with the East, but he would probably not like to be seen as picking a side in this mess.

The Moscow Patriarchate are in no major need of Estonian donations, as it is they control more than half the churches in Estonia anyway; many ethnic Estonians go to MP churches, there are simply a nationalist few who prefer their own. It was the Estonian government which declared the non-MP church valid, and much latter the Ecumenical Patriarch endorsed it.
16 posted on 10/23/2007 2:08:15 PM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii
“Ceased by the government for nationalistic reasons. Seems to me these things have fizzled out as often as they’ve stuck around.”

In virtually every instance nationalism has been behind a grab for autocephally. Similarly these seizures of autocephally, starting with Russia’s have lead to long periods of schism with the original Patriarchates. But in the end, they are always recognized. Off hand I can't think of any autocephally which fizzled out, except perhaps the OCA and even they are still around.

This nationalism in religion is I suspect inevitable in countries where a)government control of virtually everything is important and/or b) the Patriarchal Church which has or claims jurisdiction over the local church is located in or under the control of a government inimical to the local government.

17 posted on 10/23/2007 2:53:54 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: ArrogantBustard

“And it will get sorted out. No hurry, no worries.”

Precisely! :)


18 posted on 10/23/2007 2:55:12 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
In virtually every instance nationalism has been behind a grab for autocephally. Similarly these seizures of autocephally, starting with Russia’s have lead to long periods of schism with the original Patriarchates. But in the end, they are always recognized. Off hand I can't think of any autocephally which fizzled out, except perhaps the OCA and even they are still around.

The Bulgarian nationalist church recognized by the Sultan comes to mind.
19 posted on 10/23/2007 3:16:50 PM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Kolokotronis
This nationalism in religion is I suspect inevitable in countries where a)government control of virtually everything is important and/or b) the Patriarchal Church which has or claims jurisdiction over the local church is located in or under the control of a government inimical to the local government.

I don't see how it's inevitable MOST Estonians still go to patriarchal churches including many non Russians, only a handful of nationalists (who support God knows what else) go to these separatist nationalist parishes. This is not really comperable to the schism-autocephally-canonical church issue of old. This is secular governments ordering canonical churches out for nationalist reasons and then being backed in this action by Canonical churches. Further there's certainly been churches recognized by the EP which subsequently vanished (though that problem may also be pecular to the post-communist-question).
20 posted on 10/23/2007 3:19:37 PM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

And solving a problem in under two centuries means the Orthodox have “fast tracked” it.


21 posted on 10/23/2007 4:04:52 PM PDT by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: Kolokotronis

Come on, though... It is sad that Moscow is trying to make this derail the talks. He’s taking his ball and heading home because he can’t control everyone else.

Only 16% of Estonians believe in God. The vast majority of believers are Lutheran. There’s only about 1-1/3 million, so the Orthodox population of believers must only be a few tens of thousands, tops. Constantinople is acting ridiculous, also, in instigating Moscow, but come on: Moscow shouldust shrug, declare “Whatever!” and ignore Estonia.


22 posted on 10/23/2007 8:13:05 PM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus; Kolokotronis; FormerLib; ArrogantBustard; kawaii

Without getting into the merits of the canonical dispute between Constantinople and Moscow, given Rome’s jurisdictional claims and what Moscow thinks of them, it seems strange that Moscow would be willing to sit down with Rome and not with Constantinople.


23 posted on 10/23/2007 9:12:03 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Petrosius

Unless Moscow had no intent of participating in the first place. If they don’t show up, everyone carries on without them.


24 posted on 10/24/2007 4:59:08 AM PDT by dangus
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To: kawaii

Moscow doesn’t need the money from Estonia, but the EP does. He needs every penny he can get. Nobody can argue the fact that Russia is by far the biggest and wealthiest branch of the East. And on the political side, Russia is the biggest player in Eastern Europe. The logic used 1500 years ago to make the Bishop of Constantinople the top cleric in the east would today make the Bishop of Moscow the top cleric in the east.


25 posted on 10/24/2007 5:53:55 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: dangus
Come on, though... It is sad that Moscow is trying to make this derail the talks. He’s taking his ball and heading home because he can’t control everyone else. Only 16% of Estonians believe in God. The vast majority of believers are Lutheran. There’s only about 1-1/3 million, so the Orthodox population of believers must only be a few tens of thousands, tops. Constantinople is acting ridiculous, also, in instigating Moscow, but come on: Moscow shouldust shrug, declare “Whatever!” and ignore Estonia.

Sure ignore canon because it'd be impolite to insist on following it; the Orthodox have a practice of such decenting opinions it's not the papal monarchy.
26 posted on 10/24/2007 6:58:53 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: bobjam
Moscow doesn’t need the money from Estonia, but the EP does. He needs every penny he can get. Nobody can argue the fact that Russia is by far the biggest and wealthiest branch of the East. And on the political side, Russia is the biggest player in Eastern Europe. The logic used 1500 years ago to make the Bishop of Constantinople the top cleric in the east would today make the Bishop of Moscow the top cleric in the east.

Moscow is also the most populous branch and save 70 years of supression (and even then it was active) Moscow has defended Orthodox interest since Constatinople fell... I'd love to see Istanbul and a strong active EP return but the EP is losing numbers to Muslims while muslims convert by the thousands in Russia to Orthodoxy.
27 posted on 10/24/2007 7:00:41 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: dangus
Unless Moscow had no intent of participating in the first place. If they don’t show up, everyone carries on without them.

I'm curious if the SSPX showed up at this meeting and the Orthodox treated them as canonical Catholics if you'd agree to the Pope sitting by and tolerating that.
28 posted on 10/24/2007 7:08:24 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Petrosius
Without getting into the merits of the canonical dispute between Constantinople and Moscow, given Rome’s jurisdictional claims and what Moscow thinks of them, it seems strange that Moscow would be willing to sit down with Rome and not with Constantinople.

The issue was not with constatinople being present it was with 'patriarchs' of a schismatic church which constatinople recognizes and Moscow does not.

Frankly btw what possible contribution could a church that accounts for a minority of a minority church in Estonia contribute ANYWAY?
29 posted on 10/24/2007 7:09:43 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: dangus
Only 16% of Estonians believe in God. The vast majority of believers are Lutheran. There’s only about 1-1/3 million, so the Orthodox population of believers must only be a few tens of thousands, tops.

The Orthodox and Luthern Churches are about tied at 15% of the population. The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (Recognized by Constatinople) has 20,000 adherents, the MP Estonian Orthodox Church has 250,000. The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church has 200,000 members.
30 posted on 10/24/2007 7:39:54 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii

True, but all the Eastern Patriarchs know that the only gorilla in Continental European Christianity with a bigger hammer than Moscow is Rome. They may not like it, but it is a fact. In the growing tug of war between Moscow and the EP, the balace would be tipped if one side could coax the Pope into their corner. B16, to his credit, is staying out of the fray. It will take both Moscow and the EP to come to a settlement with Rome, and the German Shepherd is not going to risk alienating one of them.


31 posted on 10/24/2007 8:38:01 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: bobjam
True, but all the Eastern Patriarchs know that the only gorilla in Continental European Christianity with a bigger hammer than Moscow is Rome. They may not like it, but it is a fact. In the growing tug of war between Moscow and the EP, the balace would be tipped if one side could coax the Pope into their corner. B16, to his credit, is staying out of the fray. It will take both Moscow and the EP to come to a settlement with Rome, and the German Shepherd is not going to risk alienating one of them

Much as Alexy II flirts with Rome I would see the EP signing up prematurly not Moscow... as far as Europe I suspect they'll work together long before union, and establish real results. Keep in ming Bartholomew has already met with the Pope. Alexy II refuses to until there is something big to announce though I doubt he'll wait till union to meet the Pope. Benedict is playing both sides against eachother in a lot of ways probably out of knowing that if one were to commit without the other it has zero chance of success. It was Russia that first rebelled against the premature Council of Florence.
32 posted on 10/24/2007 8:46:05 AM PDT by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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