MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The Constantinople Patriarchate is seeking to establish dictatorship in relations with the thirteen national (local) Orthodox Churches as it turns down the proposal of the Russian Orthodox Church to hold an emergency conference in the run-up to the Pan-Orthodox Council, which is scheduled to convene on the Isle of Crete on June 19, deacon Vladimir Vasilik, an Assistant Professor at St. Petersburg State University told TASS.
He said it in the wake of reports on a communique wherein the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople said the dates of the Council would remain unchanged and the preparations for it would go on as planned, in spite of June 1 warning by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church that its representatives would not attend the assembly in Crete.
Refusal by at least one national (local) Church to take part in the assembly will strip it of the status of the Great and Holy All-Orthodox Council.
Moscow Patriarchate came up with a proposal to convene an emergency Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference before June 10 where the authorized representatives of the Orthodox Churches could discuss the situation on the eve of the historic Council and the ways of untangling it.
"Constantinople (Patriarchate) is called upon to do an urgent correction of errors on the threshold of the Council and these calls have come not only from us but also from the Bulgarian and Antioch Churches and from the assembly of monks of the Holy Mount Athos," Dr. Vasilik said.
"But still the Constantinople bureaucrats display mulish obstinacy as they look down on their brethren and feel reluctant to change anything," he said. "By doing so they contravene the plenitude of the Orthodox Church and demonstrate their desire to establish dictatorship of the Constantinople Patriarchate."
Dr. Vasilik, who is a historian, said his latter postulation is also proved by Constantinople’s conviction it has the power to convene Pan-Orthodox Councils.
"It craves the right to establish an overarching jurisdiction, the right to grant or to withdraw autocephaly, which means in fact the governing of any Orthodox Church," he said. "The Constantinople Patriarchate that was great once upon a time, that guarded the Orthodox faith and enlightened many nations has turned into a roost of freethinking, liberality and misconceptions, which it obstinately refuses to relinquish."
"An all-round scrutiny of the Church documents (that are to be endorsed by the Pan-Orthodox Council - TASS) has shown many of them are half-baked, unrefined, poorly conceived and failing to express either or dogmatic or the canonical tradition of Orthodoxy," Dr. Vasilik said.
"What we are left to do in this situation is to pray for avoiding a new split, for perishing this Council and for a re-emergence of the global Orthodox Christianity out of all this in unity and cohesion," he said.
The Holy and Great All-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 will 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.