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Author Topic: EP Blasts the 'third Rome' theory'  (Read 977 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orthodoc
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« on: September 15, 2004, 09:23:27 AM »

"ORTHODOXOS TYPOS": Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Denounces Moscow's "3rd Rome" Theory
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According to the Athens newspaper To Vima of 8 July 2004, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew responded to the "3rd Rome" theory of the Patriarch of Moscow (which had been brought up for discussion during the 8th International Assemblage of the Russian Orthodox Church) by calling it "...foolish, hubristic, and blasphemous," because "...it resounds with the spirit of caesarpapism and vaticanism; something totally unacceptable to the Orthodox Church."

To Vima went on to report that the Ecumenical Patriarch replied specifically to the positions and arguments posited by the attending Church hierarchy and political representatives of Moscow by sending -- via the Secretary of the Assemblage -- letters pertaining to this matter to the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexion; the President of External Affairs for the Russian Church, Metropolitan of Smolensk, Cyril; as well as to some of the politicians in attendance. Along with other matters, the letter contained the following:


To the representatives of the Russian government, Patriarch Bartholomew stated: "The gathering together of Orthodox faithful into one flock under the leadership of a single powerful leader, who would be carrying out the agenda of a particular government, will unavoidably lead the Church into becoming nothing more than an organ of that government, and not the means by which mankind achieves salvation."


To the Minister of the Exterior, Ivanoff, he stated the following: "The involvement of government into the decision-making process of the Church smacks of unacceptable caesarpapism. During the communist era there occurred an intolerable politicization of the Russian Church. ... We hoped that things would be different after the fall of that monstrous system. However, to our dismay, we see that the current Russian government continues to unhesitatingly interfere, and, indeed, to even 'make policy' concerning matters that are strictly ecclesiastical."


The Patriarch went on to ask the following question of the Metropolitan of Smolensk: "Are you telling us that the unity of Orthodoxy is a question of numbers, political strength, secular and diplomatic power?" According to the article in To Vima, the Ecumenical Patriarch went on to declare: "What we have heard regarding the unity of the Church is, in its entirety, an unfortunate echoing of the spirit of vaticanism, which construes unity as a single organizational structure, as opposed to the unity of the spirit and of the heart, which has been the way it has always been construed in the Orthodox Church."


To the Vice President of the Parliamentary Committee, the Ecumenical Patriarch emphasized the following: "The foolish theory pertaining to a '3rd Rome' is hubristic (in accordance with the ancient Greek definition of this word [having to do with overweening arrogance] ), and blasphemous. New Rome may be the first among equal Patriarchates, but she has never sought to dominate and exercise power over the other Orthodox Churches. We recognize her primacy in the stewardship of our unity, and she has performed this function humbly and absent any exercise of power."
Finally, as reported in the To Vima article, the Ecumenical Patriarch, wanting to send a clear and unambiguous message to all Orthodox faithful everywhere, stated: "Those who speak of a 3rd Rome are totally unsuited to hold leadership positions in the Orthodox Church, because they will play a role in transforming her from a Christ-worshipping faith to a feudalistic organization based upon the exercise of raw power."


On the other side of this issue, the official representative of the Russian government, Vladimir Zorin, spoke of the need to unite all of the Orthodox nations "...under the banner of the Russian Church, which is the largest, and, as such, holds the leadership position among the Orthodox Churches."


Russian Minister of the Exterior, Igor Ivanoff, stated: "Our diplomatic service cooperates and works with the Russian Orthodox Church, which represents the connecting link between all of the Slavic Orthodox Churches."


The Metropolitan of Smolensk, Cyril, stated unequivocally that: "The Russian Orthodox Church holds the de facto first place among all of the other Orthodox Churches because of her great spirituality, her ethics and virtues, her tradition, and her political influence; as such, she speaks for the over 350 million Russians throughout the world. Moreover, she exercises influence in all of the Orthodox Churches of the Balkans, as well as in those countries where the Orthodox faithful represent a minority. We are the rightful spiritual heirs of Byzantium."
The Vice-President of the Parliamentary Committee declared that the Russian Orthodox Church was "...the only one able to lead a Pan-Orthodox unity of a multinational character. For that reason, the 3rd Orthodox Capital prophesied by Saint Seraphim of Sarof is needed. We must adhere to the historical necessity of founding a '3rd Rome.' "


The Metropolitan of Minsk, Philaretos, argued that: "The Church of Constantinople was the Church of the Byzantine Empire, and her role within Orthodoxy has diminished as a result of the termination of that Empire; this has resulted in the Ecumenical Patriarchate becoming increasingly animated by papist tendencies."
Finally, the representative of the Metropolitan of Odessa, Milan Gerkas, declared: "We are the leaders of Orthodoxy, and we have to demonstrate that fact."

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EP Quote - "...foolish, hubristic, and blasphemous," because "...it resounds with the spirit of caesarpapism and vaticanism; something totally unacceptable to the Orthodox Church."

Comment:  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  This from the Patriarch that hob nobs with the Pope and bills himself as 'the SPIRITUAL  LEADER of the worlds 300 million Orthodox'!

We don't need a Pope like figure in either Istanbul or Moscow!

Orthodoc

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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2004, 11:31:58 AM »

"ORTHODOXOS TYPOS": Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Denounces Moscow's "3rd Rome" Theory
---------------------------------

==========

EP Quote - "...foolish, hubristic, and blasphemous," because "...it resounds with the spirit of caesarpapism and vaticanism; something totally unacceptable to the Orthodox Church."

Comment:  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  This from the Patriarch that hob nobs with the Pope and bills himself as 'the SPIRITUAL  LEADER of the worlds 300 million Orthodox'!

We don't need a Pope like figure in either Istanbul or Moscow!

Orthodoc



Good points, Orthodoc. As (yet) an outsider looking in, all this political bickering can make one disillusioned with the search for the historical church.  However, I guess there has always been political bickering amongst the patriarchates throughout history, yet the faith has remained.  It seems, though, that there could be balance between too much centraliztion (Rome) and the relative disorganized state of the current  Orthodox church with its overlapping (esp in this country) and often competing jurisdictions, for the sake of unity.
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2004, 12:03:19 PM »

What is this 'Third Rome' theory +Bartholomew is even speaking of?

The EP might have entirely valid points, but I doubt the MP is even doing close to what the EP is accusing them of.  All I've read concerning the 'Third Rome' is just Orthodox apologetical/historical books using this term as a nomenclature to refer to the MP in a practical sense concerning historical reality.  Nothing official at all.  Reality is that the MP is the largest Orthodox Church by a landslide - and in a major country of the world, so of course they would have a prominent role.

Just petty bickering/finger pointing.
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2004, 12:56:58 PM »

Please forgive me for saying so, but isn't all of this kind of a moot point?  Moscow may have been the "Third Rome" (among the Eastern Orthodox) when the Orthodox Czarist government was in place, but didn't all of that end with the triumph of communism?

As an Oriental Orthodox (who is only vaguely familiar with this terminology) I may be misuderstading the logic, but I thought that the see of the "First Rome" was given primacy of honor because that city was also the seat of the government.  Then, when Constantinople became the seat of the government, she became known as the "Second Rome" or "New Rome" and the bishop there aspired to the position of "First Among Equals".  Perhaps the same case could be made for Moscow after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (since this was the seat of the Orthodox Czar) but how can this be now with an officially secular government?
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