Thursday, June 28, 2007

Breaking News: Ecumenical Patriarch is not Ecumenical

From Ankara:
All you Orthodox types out there obviously did not get the memo. You can not presume to order your Church in any way without checking with us. The Patriarch of Istanbul is not "Ecumenical" in any way shape or form. Why? Because we are the Turkish government and we said so. Next time check with us before making any decisions regarding the structure or ecclesiology of your church. Whats that? We weren't around when you made up that canon? Well you should have had the sense to wait. Have a nice day.

(Hat tip to Orthodixie)


Aristibule said...

So what I've read it isn't that they are denying the Ecumenical Patriarchate or 'first among equals', but the claim by the Ecumenical Patriarch to being 'spiritual leader of all Orthodox'. This makes sense, as the Ecumenical of the title means the Empire (Turkey is what's left.) However, the attempt to make the EP into a sort of Eastern Vatican - the Turkish governent seems to agree that just isn't legally so (and, I think Russia would agree, among other Orthodox churches.) Until I've read the court documents though - no telling what exactly was said. Minor victory - afaik, this is the first legal precedent for the Turkish state admitting they've got non-Turks inside their borders.

Ad Orientem said...

I must respectfully disagree with your analysis. The issue is not what the status of the EP is within Orthodoxy. Thats something of point of debate. The point is that it's none of Turkey's business. It also ignores the very large number of Orthodox jurisdictions who look to the EP as their primate, including at least four here in the United States alone.


Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Yes, the Turkish government actually denies, in some bizarre otherworldly manner, that the Ecumenical Patriarch is actually the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America. So, they not only claim that he isn't what he is in a spiritual manner, first among equals, but they deny that he has any legal standing as the head of an international organization. Meanwhile, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew does his job! I love my Patriarch!

Aristibule, "Ecumenical" took on the meaning "universal" as a synonym to "catholic" a long time ago. The "Ecumene" was understood not just as the Empire, but the entire inhabited world, of which the most familiar and most important part (in their perspective) was the Empire, of course. That was the usage in even pre-Christian authors.

Phil said...

Agreed, AO - it's none of Turkey's business, even if the EP wakes up tomorrow and declares himself the One True Pope.

It amazes me that Turkey fights tooth and nail to retain the right to subjugate its religious minorities. I've long felt Turkey should be admitted to the EU, but its own behavior has given me many second thoughts. Admittedly, this is an "ally" that is useful for geopolitical reasons, but its behavior is sickening.

Arthur said...

As a Catholic, I find this intrusion by the Turkish state into the affairs of a Church or any religious body absolutely infuriating. Perhaps this is rather Western thinking, but the State has no jurisdiction over theology or ecclesiology (although it may to some degree over real property, but that is a different matter). The Patriarch should just ignore the state and go on his merry way.