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Opinion: Constantinople Patriarchate trying to impose papacy on Orthodox world

June 07, 9:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to a well-known Russian church publicist, missionary and author, papacy is alien to Orthodoxy, and "it won’t be accepted by the Orthodox Church"
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is trying to impose papacy on the Orthodox Christian word and is showing dictatorial manners in the convocation of the Pan-Orthodox Council, hieromonk Macarius (Markish), a well-known church publicist, missionary and author of numerous books told TASS.

He said it in the wake of a decision by the Constantinople Patriarchate to turn down a proposal by the Russian Orthodox Church for organizing an emergency pan-Orthodox consultative conference in the run-up to the Holy and Great All-Orthodox Council, due to assemble on the Isle of Crete from June 19 to June 26.

The Moscow Patriarchate believes a conference of this kind could help participants clear out the eleventh-hour claims, apprehensions and objections regarding the Council’s final guideline documents that have been voiced by some of the national (local) Churches, primarily the Bulgarian Church.

The latter Church said on June 1 its delegation would not go the Council, as more preparations were needed.

On Monday, the Chief Secretariat of the Constantinople Patriarchate came up with a communique saying preparatory procedures underway in the run-up to the Council could not be changed. It offered other Churches to abide by the agreements reached initially and to send delegations to the Council on the dates established previously.

"This is a simple issue," father Macarius said. "That’s what make the Orthodox Church different from the Roman Catholic Church, which is built around the Primate seated in Rome - the phenomenon we call papacy."

"Papacy is alien to Orthodoxy," he said. "It’s one of the principles that separates us from Roman Catholicism. It won’t be accepted by the Orthodox Church."

"We don’t want to quarrel with the Catholics nor do we want to associate ourselves with them," father Macarius said. "An All-Orthodox Council is a good thing and scarcely anyone objects to it, yet it’s an external function as regards the Church."

"The Council is a kind of statement the Orthodox people would like to make to everyone on Planet Earth regarding the essence or their creed and its outlook of the problems and woes around that befall the planet," he said. "Please note, the planet and not the Church."

Father Macarius recalled that throughout its history the Church convened the Councils to resolve the pressing internal problems.

"Patriarch Bartholomew I (of Constantinople) doesn’t want an all-Orthodox evidence," he said. "Quite naturally, we’re saddened by this. The Russian Church and other Churches, the Orthodox figures around the world still have an opportunity to tell the world around us what Orthodoxy stands for and to reach out to the people."

The Holy and Great Orthodox Council, preparations for which started as far back as in 1961, is supposed to become the fullest and most authoritative assembly of top clerics of the Orthodox Christian world in almost a thousand years. Each of the fourteen national (local) Orthodox Churches is expected to delegate 24 high-rank representatives there.

Problems sprang up in the course of final preparations for the assembly recently, with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church saying its clerics would not attend the Council, since more preparations are needed.

Reports in the Russian media said the Bulgarian Church has objections against the contents of certain basic documents the Council is due to endorse. The Georgian Orthodox Church, too, has voiced objections against the documents on Christian marriage and the contemporary mission of the Church.

Moscow Patriarchate said in the wake of the situation it would make sense to hold an emergency Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference before June 10 where the current turn of the situation could be considered and the participants could scrutinize the amendments the national Churches had made for the basics documents prepared for endorsement.

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