September 24, 2014 (Source: https://mospat.ru/en)
The Moscow Patriarchate, along with the other Patriarchates, particularly the Patriarchate of Jerusalem which hosted the events, concluded this year’s “Plenary Session of the Orthodox-Catholic Theological Dialogue” which took place in Jordan. The event, as mentioned before, was conducted under the auspices of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which has come to fully embrace the ecumenist agenda (and thus, betraying the teachings of the Gospels and Apostolic Tradition).
The leader of the Moscow Patriarchate delegation is the well-known second in command of the MP, Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk. Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) occupies the position of head of the MP Department of External Church Relations (the old position that Pat. Kiril had before he ascended to power upon the death of Pat. Alexii II). According to the website of the MP DECR:
“The meeting was attended by twenty three delegates from the Catholic side and representatives of the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Cyprus, Poland, Albania and the Czech Lands and Slovakia.”
Thus, the entire body of the World Orthodox Patriarchates was represented. There was disagreement expressed by the MP delegates against the other World Orthodox delegates over the issue of the “Ravenna Document” from 2007. As CatholicCulture.org reports, this related mainly to the issue of primacy, Rome and Constantinople:
“The Russian Orthodox Church has resisted statements, supported by other Orthodox bodies, that compared the primacy of the Holy See with that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
The Phanar has for sometime pushed neo-papal pretensions, as reported on NFTU and other outlets. Of course, there is a real possibility that the fight between the MP and the Phanar is more than a political side-show; there are very real divergences on a political, as opposed to a theological, level between the MP and the Phanar (the MP is mostly controlled by former apparchniks of the Soviet regime, while the Phanar has effectively fallen under the control of British and American political hegemony since the 1920s [with Pat. Athenagoras famously being installed by the CIA and flown to Istanbul on the personal air-plane of President Harry Truman in 1949]). Other Patriarchates, while wholly endorsing the ecumenical agenda (which Pat. Bartholomew not only says they do, but, their very participation here shows they do), seem to sometimes waver on the issue of the Phanar’s control; obviously, the Antiochian Patriarchate would rather have joint-sharing of ecumenism as opposed to effective monolithic ecumenism headed by Pat. Bartholomew. In this sense, most of the disputes seem to center around non-theological issues (indeed, who can forget the fact that the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Romanian Patriarchate, and Antiochian Patriarchate would break communion with each other over land disputes, but, the issue of ecumenism, especially Antioch’s formal communion agreement with the Anti-Chalcedonian Monophysite groups has not been mentioned, nor even criticized by the JP since Pat. Diodoros’ 1997 Epistle to Pat. Ignaius (Hakim).
The MP definitively exists in the sphere of Russian national policy and influence, and is perhaps best considered to be a co-dependent body with the Russian political establishment. We should be careful to avoid thinking, however, that the MP or the Russian policy makers, especially President Putin, are so bound as to not be willing to betray each other (to assume that Pat. Kirill and Vladimir Putin and others would not throw the other under the bus if it suited them seems to give too much credit; Putin’s usage of the MP is purely political, since it can be used to foster a form of Russian nationalism; Pat. Kiril on the other hand enjoys benefits of political protection, tax exemption on a mass scale, and money grants; yet, of the two, Pat. Kiril is by far the worse, since, fundamentally, he is plain and simple a traitor to the Faith, while Putin is just another in a long line of leaders who, while we can justly criticize them on many level, and they are certainly not Holy Tsars, like St. Nicholas the Martyr, will simply use what they see they can, caring little for actual theology).
Within this context, we can understand some of what is transpiring. There are, of course, many members of the MP and the Georgian Patriarchate (which is also mentioned as disagreeing with the Ravenna Document) who probably do have genuine theological objections. But, by and far, they do not hold any noticeable positions of power; the objections by Met. Hilarion of the MP, and Met. Theodore of the GP, are just expressing these views for political gain, not necessarily because they actually hold them (let’s remember that Met. Hilaron (Alfeyev) was more than frank in saying that he regarded the Roman Catholics and other non-Orthodox bodies to be members of the Church and possess ‘valid’ Sacraments; and for those thinking that this can be merely passed off as “Russian scholastic” baggage, let’s not forget he made no comments about ‘illicit, but valid’, ‘valid, but, not effective for salvation’ or any of the such, he simply stated they are true Sacraments in the fullest sense of the word). Many remember how the Georgian Patriarchate experienced a major crisis in the late 1990s as old HOCNA and other True Orthodox jurisdictions began to make major inroads in the monasteries and parishes of the Georgian Patriarchate. Since the GP was of a small size (some estimates say at the time it has little more than 700 fully functioning churches, and perhaps 25 functioning small monasteries), there was a real possibility that a large portion, if not the majority, of the lower clergy, people and others could have left the official Patriarchate (few if any bishops would undoubtedly have followed). This, we know, was put a stop to, by the Georgian Patriarchate’s hasty withdrawal from the WCC and its European counterpart (however, the Chancellor of the Georgian Synod stated this was not due to ideological reasons, but merely fears over the ‘fanatics’; not many people knew of this informative statement, and the actions of the Georgian Church’s hierarchy was long taunted as being motivated by genuine anti-ecumenical feeling in the Hierarchy, and even the Catholicos- Patriarch; while such feeling did exist among many of the lower clergy, monastics and laity, it found little sympathy among the hierarchs; in fact, after the actions, the Georgian Bishop’s deposed many of the leaders of the anti-ecumenical movement, especially in the monasteries).
However, over the past several years, many have left the MP and the GP since they have come to gradually realize that it is impossible to in any since fundamentally change the ecumenist stance of these groups. When one loses complete control of the hierarchy, and it’s something that’s ongoing, that’s always a sign that the battle for Orthodoxy has been lost ( at least the Greek bishops who apostatized at Florence had the decency to immediately repudiate everything upon their return; the MP and other post-Soviet republic bishops have had over 20 years now; and any bishops that tried to raise concerns over Sergianist corruption or the ecumenical heresy, were generally driven out, or booted; see the case of Bp. Diomid and a few others). As more and more people leave the Moscow Patriarchate and its sister bodies, the ‘conservative’ element will simply shrink. From the perspective of the leadership, this can only be considered good; as it means their ecumenical agenda will have little or no opposition. The fighting from within mentality can only work if the fighting is real fighting and the hierarchy is by and large on your side and ready to take actual actions, instead of simply issuing words (thus, the Church did not witness its apostasy during the 1600s when many lower clergy and laity, and even some bishops, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate were being lured to have Jesuits and Dominicans as confessor, concelebrating with Papists clergy, etc., this was a phenomenon that was due more to mass ignorance, Papist connivance, and the simple corruption of the clergy, and simply ended within a short period of time due to successful hierarchs like Pat. Dositheus in the 1600s, and others).
We also find the wide-traveling Vatican chief ecumenist, Cardinal Koch present. He and Met. Hilarion, of course, have a long history of cooperation. Cardinal Sandri, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation of Oriental Churches (i.e., the department the Vatican assigns in dealing with its various Ukrainan, Ruthenian, Coptic, Melkite, Chaldean, Ethiopian, Armenian, etc, Uniate churches) met with Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev). The meeting happened on September 19, before the event ended. Oh, yes, did I mention it was the supposedly ‘conservative’ Jerusalem Patriarchate which hosted the whole meeting (but, they’ve been hosting an whole lot of ecumenical meetings under Theophilos III)?
And the Vatican Insider is more then accurate when it says the time of ‘full communion’ ( as opposed to the current patch work of ad hoc communion that exists) is slowly but surely being reaching. With approving nods, the Vatican and its acolytes laud the triumph they’ve achieved in the Jerusalem Patriarch. The above article states:
“Meanwhile, the fact that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is hosting the mixed commission’s new session, is seen as a positive sign in the Vatican. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem was once among those who were particularly tough on the Catholic Church.”
Certainly, a long way to go from Pat. Diodoros, who dying of liver failure and other ailments, was rolled into a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 2000, yet still at least had the decency to resist ecumenical ‘prayer’ and refused to say the Our Father with the Pope and company, as well as send any ‘official’ delegation to meet John Paul, and even went further. As religion writer, Andrew Walsh observes:
“John Paul is willing to accept bad treatment as the cost of getting his program across. Last year, on a trip to St. Catharine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, Orthodox monks refused to pray with him. In Jerusalem a month later, Orthodox clergy refused to pray the Lord’s Prayer with him and the near-dead Patriarch Diodoros dragged himself to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to personally prevent the pope from using the main door of the church, where the site of both Christ’s crucifixion and his tomb are enshrined.”
Many can raise the legitimate criticism as to why Pat. Diodoros did not sever communion with the other Patriarchates. But, at the very least, his attitude seemed to at least try and take seriously what was happening (at least in some sense); he being the only Patriarch to make a well-known 1997 public letter of remonstrance to Antioch for its communion agreement with the Anti-Chalcedonian Monophysites who have been under anathema for 1500 years. Of course, he seemed to come under increasing pressure since 1992 when the Phanar was outraged at his refusal to condemn ROCOR; not to mention Constantinople’s irritation at the anti-ecumenical documents he issued at meetings. But, this would not last long, the old Patriarch, for all his other faults and inconsistencies, gradually faded away. In his last year or so he was the subject of tricks by Israeli businessmen to get him to fraudulently sign over Church lands, as well as attempts by John Paul II (see John Paul’s speech ‘thanking’ (!) Diodoros) to try and get Diodoros associated with the Vatican and the Phanar’s ventures (though, as noted above, Pat. Diodoros did still seem to be putting up a fight in 2000; one wonders how Pat. Diodoros, half-dead, really thanked the Pope “from the bottom of his heart” in some stirring speech on JPII’s visit as Vatican authors try to claim; when did he do this? right before he refused to pray with the Pope, or after he made a point of blocking JPII’s entrance through the main door of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? indeed, in these cases, there seems to be more going on than is simply reported!)
However, Jerusalem’s resistance waned. Pat. Irenaios got the blame (as noted) for the fraud of some Israeli businessmen, and was thus expelled ( interestingly, the Palestinian Authority cleared Pat. Irenaios of all charges against him, and the evidence from a 2012 Israeli Court ruling points the finger instead at plain and simple fraud used against Pat. Diodoros in his ‘half-dead’ state). Was it because Pat. Irenaios was at least moderately anti-ecumenist? Was he willing to resist the attempt by the Phanar to control JP, which Diodoros fought against? He was a close associate of Diodoros, so, it is not entirely beyond belief that he shared some of his views, and was therefore seen as displeasing to the Phanar. Perhaps it was a little of both, and it was time to get rid of an hold over figure from a previous reign. It is more than interesting that Pat. Theophilos III is a cousin of former CIA Director George Tennet (who served in his position until a year before Theophilos’ ascendancy), as even the obviously pro-World Orthodox Orthodoxwiki must admit. Could the Phanar, existing within the CIA sphere of influence, which is obviously Masonic, Globalist, and an advocate of the ecumenist agenda, have cooperated to put in a more pliable figure? A man who would just go along to get along? There are several interviews with Pat. Irenaios on Youtube, but, they are in modern Greek. Perhaps in some of these interviews he does elicit such views. All this being the case, it does at least appear that we should be less than severe on judgments against Met. Agafangel for entering into communion with him (especially if the charges against Pat. Irenaios are absolutely false; in fact, for all the supposed protest over Pat. Irenaios ‘land deals’, by Theophilos, the Phanar, and many others, it was none other than Theophilos III who IN FACT, completed the sale of 80 million dollars of church land in 2011; it seems, again, there is more going on than the accusations of the Phanar, and Theophilos); at this point, it would seem the only clear way to simply solve the remaining criticism would be for Pat. Irenaios to sign some formal document affirming True Orthodoxy (perhaps similar to the document produced by the GOC-K commission for the absorption of the former SiR, and which Met. Agafangel and his Bishops were required to agree to).
The Phanar is working feverishly to gather together its future 2016 “Great and Holy Council”. What makes this important is that all the Patriarchates of World Orthodoxy have agreed to it; even the MP which was seen as ‘obstructionist’ has agreed to it’s date. Was there ever so much formal agreement? Jerusalem, which might possibly have proved an obstacle, has been once and for all taken care of in the person of the Phanar (and possible CIA) asset Theophilos III ( at this point, we should honestly wonder if the Holy Fire is indeed descending, or rather we are not witnessing a false miracle of demonic power, or simply an attempt to conceal the fact that the Fire has not descended; after all, when the New Calenader was briefly instituted in Jerusalem in 1970 during Pat. Benedictus’ time, God did not send the Holy Fire; though, this had happened before, in 1102 [not 1099!] when the Crusader Patriarch failed in his attempts to gain the Fire according to Matthew of Edessa, and in the late 1500s, when the Armenian Patriarch bribed the Turkish officials to expel the Orthodox and give the Armenian Patriarch access alone; it does show at least that God has on several occasions expressed His preference for the Orthodox Patriarch on the one hand, and the Traditional Church Calendar on the other; so with the above mentioned frauds and contrivances inflicted upon Jerusalem by the Phanar, Theophilos’, and their whole cadre, would they be above faking the Holy Fire at this point? perhaps only time will tell.)
But, we are told this is just over-reaction. We should just be happy with all the Patriarchates and their joint services with Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, etc. That the joint-prayer with the non-Orthodox is just a part of what they do. That the communion agreements with the Monophysites aren’t a big deal (after all, Fr. John Romanides, the paragon of ‘patristic tradition’ thought the Monophysites were really “Orthodox”). And Bishops that expressed contrary opinions and enacted (or tried to enact) meaningful actions are expelled form the Patriarchates, deemed schismatics, deposed, etc, etc. Yet, the World ‘Orthodox’ keep saying, “Don’t join those schismatic Old Calendarist fakes, because they aren’t part of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” Yes, the “One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” which apparently has no problem effectively renouncing the Fathers and Councils by repealing anathemas that have been on the official books of the Church since Ecumenical and widely recognized Local Councils. What the ecumenists call the Church is not the Church; the True Orthodox Church is the real One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Do not be fooled; the leaders of World Orthodoxy are not ‘backing away’ from ecumenism; they are just getting started. The True Orthodox have an increasing responsibility to not just, in a firm, but, entirely charitable, manner imitate St. Athanasius, and other Fathers who wrote against heresies, but, they have to look to missionary work among the Protestant, Roman Catholic, etc, world. It is not merely enough just to denounce the heresy of the false Patriarchates, and hope that a small number will join; it is also equally important to find ways to preach the Gospel to the world, so that they may become members of the Christ’s One True Church. This site is obviously dedicated to addressing True Orthodox and Ecumenical News; so, our focus is going to be on the more polemical and apologetical side. After all, you can’t entirely rely on a news website run by a skeleton crew to carry out a mass missionary endeavor. That’s up to the readers.