Monday, April 13, 2009
Moscow to Constantinople: Back Off
This is not perhaps the best timing for this discussion (the beginning of Great and Holy Week), but the issue is fairly important. In the wake of efforts by the Ecumenical Patriarch's surrogates to assert a claim to universal jurisdiction over the Orthodox world in the "barbarian" lands and a firmly worded response from Metropolitan +Jonah, Moscow has now joined the fray.
From the Russian news service Interfax...
Moscow, 10 April, Interfax - Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations expressed his disagreement with the Constantinople Patriarchate urge to govern all church communities in the Orthodox diaspora.
"One of the major challenges for inter-Orthodox relations I see the claims of Constantinople Patriarchate to a special role in the Orthodox Church," Bishop Hilarion said at Interfax press conference.
"The Orthodox Church is going to be enforced the model of the Catholic Church, which is the most centralized church power leaded by the one bishop of the Universal Church," the Bishop said.
He reminded that "there was no such a model in the Orthodox Church" and voiced his doubt "that we have the right to review our teaching of the Church."
According to Bishop Hilarion, the leading bishops of Constantinople Patriarchate urge to review the principle of the priority in the Orthodox world. This model envisages that the Constantinople Patriarchate "shall govern all churches in the so-called diaspora." Communities not included within the borders of historical national churches shall assume the jurisdiction of Constantinople.
Bishop Hilarion said that this whole complex issues shall be discussed at the inter-Orthodox meeting, where the Constantinople model shall be imposed on the Russian Church.