Friday, October 02, 2009

Welcome Patriarch Bartholomew

His All Holiness Bartholomew Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome

His All Holiness is coming to the United States on a pastoral visit from October 20th through November 5th. And so far it looks like an awfully impressive schedule, what with meeting everyone who is anyone as they say. You can read his itinerary here.

By my count H.A.H.'s itinerary includes...

6 liturgical functions + 1 prayer service at the UN
8 functions at which he will be honored or given some form of award
3 excursions that appear to be mainly sight seeing
2 functions where he will be speaking but do not appear to be aimed at honoring the EP and...
24 dinners, or private receptions in his honor with VIPs (excluding private meetings with Orthodox clergy). Many of these dinners and receptions will be taking place in 5 star establishments such as the Waldorf Astoria where H.A.H will be staying for much of his visit.

I am very glad to see that His All Holiness will be fed decently during his visit.

Still I wonder...

How many poor people could be fed off the collective bills from all of those formal receptions? Couldn't they have just had one really nice dinner for him and let the man dine alone or among monastics after that? What exactly is the purpose of this visit? What exactly does he hope to accomplish hob-nobbing with high ranking politicos? Does he think he is going to convert them? Does he think he might persuade the United States to pressure the Turks to stop bullying the Church?

I am of course deeply honored when someone of the stature of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome visits the faithful in America. And it is nice to see a high ranking hierarch speaking out on things like the environment which are surely important. I guess it's just the whole tone of the visit which seems to have more the characteristics of a state visit by royalty than a pastoral one. If we Orthodox ever wanted a Pope of our own he would seem to have the role down rather well, although Benedict XVI has revived the old Roman custom that the Pope dines alone.

Hat tip to Bill (aka the Godfather).


Reactionary said...

When is the Church's charade of referring to Istanbul as 'Constantinople' going to end? Such self-delusion naturally manifests itself in the Patriarchate's treating the visit as one by an imperial dignitary. And yes, I imagine the purpose of the visit is to lobby the West for pressure on the Turks.

Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

Hey! Sounding like a 'leftie' in that one paragraph. Same line they all use - the same as Judas - the money could be spent on the poor.....which it would never be,
Yes, the Patriarch is impressive and he should be. I admire him in many way and he would make a wonderful Pope but that seat is filled with another wonderful Bishop, Benedictus XVI.
Maybe it needs to be political at this time. I am sure he will deliver enough Orthodox spiritual counsel to make most people happy. At least that is my expectation. When and if Patriarch Kyril comes for a visit I am sure it will have a completely different tone.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I can't speak for the Church. But I for one will NEVER refer to the city by anything other than its true name... Constantinople.


John Paterakis said...

Correction on one point: there are seven liturgical functions. The "prayer service" is not at the UN; it is Vespers at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, to which Orthodox members of the diplomatic service and UN staff are invited. (Obviously, everyone is invited, Orthodox or not, but the primary purpose of this annual observance is to bring together the UN community in an Orthodox liturgical context.)

Visibilium said...

It's fitting that the EP visit his flock now that the Russians, through Met Jonah, are claiming the American Church as their own. Tellingly, the EP's itinerary begins in New Orleans, the location of the first Greek Church in America. Anyone who thinks that this trip isn't primarily about Orthodoxy hasn't been around us all that long.

Anonymous said...

It would seem from history, and from the lesson learned from the Blessed Moses, that Constantinople will continue to be know as Istanbul, until such time as the EP acknowlegdes and submits to the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome

-Ad Occidentem

Reactionary said...

Right. And Turkey is actually Byzantium. And 2 + 2 equals 5 if you say it often enough.

but the primary purpose of this annual observance is to bring together the UN community in an Orthodox liturgical context.)

The UN is an unholy institution; a modern Tower of Babel.

Conchúr said...

It is and forever will be Constantinople and New Rome.

Sincerely yours,

A Latin Catholic.

Reactionary said...

Don't immanentize the eschaton.

David said...

Until people live up to the realities of the world we live in we will forever be stuck in the rut of nostalgia. Jaroslav Pelikan once said "Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living" The EP means nothing to me in the everyday aspect of my faith. He is a historical figure that really doesn't mean anything to anyone except the media who reports he is the Orthodox Pope. That isn't to diminish the EP as a Christian, I respect the man more than the office because the office is obsolete as it stands now. He should be the EP of Washington D.C. or Athens. His See doesn't even exist except in memory and sadly the Orthodox are weak in missions to Muslim nations like Turkey (unlike those heterodox evangelicals). I think it will be North American Orthodox and Eastern European Orthodox that will have the impact and growth for Orthodox in the next century, given church attendance in Greece it may be time for us to send Missionaries to Greece again.

omorphia said...

Isn't "Istanbul" just the turkish way of pronouncing "Constantinople"? Just like the say, for example, Izmir, instead of Smyrna.

Of course, I would still never say anything else than Constantinople. And I never have. Not even when speaking of the city in a "secular" way. :)

Adam said...

"He should be the EP of Washington D.C. or Athens. His See doesn't even exist except in memory and sadly the Orthodox are weak in missions to Muslim nations like Turkey (unlike those heterodox evangelicals)."

I thought the names of Sees were determined by the holy canons, not expediency.