02/27/2020, 06.40
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'Fraternal' gathering of Orthodox against Constantinople in Amann

by Vladimir Rozanskij

 The rally, rather marginal, wanted to condemn the autocephaly granted to the Ukrainian Church.  The patriarchs of Moscow, Serbia and Jerusalem were present, along with metropolitans of Kiev and Slovakia.  Deep intestine divisions.  For Bartholomew: A farce.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - At the invitation of the patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus III (Giannopuolos), a "fraternal meeting" of the Orthodox Churches was held yesterday in Amman (Jordan) (not an official "sinaxis").  The aim was to discuss and overcome the crisis facing Orthodoxy since the end of 2018, when the patriarchate of Constantinople recognized the autocephalous Church in Ukraine, provoking wrath and excommunications from Moscow.

The meeting was attended by representatives of 6 of the 15 autocephalous Orthodox Churches: the Russian patriarch Kirill, together with the pro-Russian metropolitan Onufryj (Berezovskyj) of Kiev and the metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev);  Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilović) of Serbia, Metropolitan Rastislav (Gont) of Czechia and Slovakia, as well as Theophilus III and some minor delegates from Romania and Poland, who arrived at the last moment.  The meeting was a real failure.

The assembly proved to be rather marginal, so much so as to attract the appellative of meeting of the "Orthodox Mensheviks", the "minorities" of Leninian memory.  The Russians justified the absence of the patriarchate of Antioch for the "Qatar issue" which divides Syrians from the patriarchate of Jerusalem.  Russian metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev) said that "many of the churches that did not come share our positions, and have been unable to participate for practical matters".

The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew (Archontonis) expressed his disappointment towards the assembly, judged a farce organized by Moscow against him.  "If we want to be faithful to ourselves and live according to God, and follow the centuries-old principles of Orthodoxy, then every local Church had to refuse to go to a meeting of Churches in favor of the Russian Federation" - said the patriarch, with a tone revealing the ancient hostility existing towards his Jerusalem  confrere, who has always been a Moscow supporter.

The Russians have pointed out that even in Crete in 2016 four churches did not join, and Bartholomew decided to celebrate the Council anyway.  In addition, the churches represented in Amman make up 80% of the Orthodox faithful in the world, about 160 million people (80% of them in Russia alone).

It must be said, however, that the Russian faithful are calculated only on an ethnic basis, not by an explicit profession of faith: this makes the overall numbers hardly credible.  In any case, Constantinople replied that "numerical superiority was never the quintessence of Orthodox morality".

In addition to the condemnation of Ukrainian autocephaly, the meeting addressed other issues: the Serbian Church pointed out the dramatic situation in Montenegro, where the government wants to favor the local Church to the detriment of the patriarchate of Belgrade;  Theophilus of Jerusalem insisted on claiming jurisdiction over Qatar.

For the patriarch of Moscow Kirill it is necessary to organize these meetings regularly, because "the Churches want to have a common platform to discuss the various problems ... the one that existed before has now lost its meaning, because the patriarch of Constantinople wanted to solve everything on his own".  The reference is to the Pan-Orthodox Council of Crete in 2016, which failed precisely because of the Russians refusal to participate in controversy with Bartholomew's "orthodox papism".

The final communiqué of the assembly reminds that "questions concerning pan-Orthodox problems, including the granting of autocephaly to individual Churches, must be definitively resolved in the spirit of pan-Orthodox dialogue and unity, and also the consent of all the Orthodox"  : in the opinion of the participants it is precisely what has been missing in the Ukrainian crisis of these years.  They hope to organize a next meeting "within the year", with the hope of involving the other Churches too, beginning with Constantinople.

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