You claim that Patriarch Bartholomew is merely restoring power that the Patriarchate always had.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Never once in the history of the Church has the EP ever had the power his interpretation of the Fourth council gives it.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The situation of diaspora is fairly new, but even then Moscow had churches under its jurisdiction from the 1800s throughout Western Europe.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The mission work into "barbarian lands" (Siberia, East Asia, Alaska etc) was always Russian and never subject to Istanbul.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Even today the EP has little actual control of the diaspora (which he claims is solely his) - the EP has no actual power to tell any Orthodox jurisdiction to leave the diaspora.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Hence why when put all together the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew do look very ambitious and suspicious.
Well, I wish I could give you the entire history of the Oecumenical Patriarchate since Chalcedon here; however, baring that I will at least present an outline of that history, my primary resource for this is the aforementioned The Oecumenical Patriarchate in the Orthodox Church
by Metropolitan Maximos of Sardes.
One of the earliest examples of the authority of Constantinople comes right after the Fouth Oecumenical Synod, during the Patriarchate of Anatolius of Constantinople the patriarch and his synod, exercising their new rights as the ultimate see of appeal, sat in judgment over Patriarch Timothy Aelurus of Alexandria, deposing him for Monophysitism in 458. Anatolius’ successor Gennadius (458-471) would have the deposed Patriarch Exiled and ensure an Orthodox Patriarch, Timothy Salophaciolus, be elected to the Alexandrian throne. While the aforementioned Patriarch Timothy was elected in Alexandria, though under the political pressure of both the Patriarchal and Imperial Thrones of Constantinople, the next example demonstrates the evolution of a more direct role taken by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In 518 the Emperor Justin came to the Imperial Throne and with him Patriarch John II would be enthroned as Archbishop of Constantinople. The Patriarch would anathematize Severus of Antioch, a Monophysite who had usurped the Patriarchal throne of Antioch and Severus would be exiled by Emperor Justin. The next event is of significant note, for it would often be repeated in one form or another throughout the history of the Church. The successor of Severus, Patriarch Paul of Antioch was elected in Constantinople and the then Patriarch Epiphanius of Constantinople would travel to Antioch to personally install Paul.
These events would continue fairly regularly until the fall of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem to the Moslems for a short time after which the Patriarchates would operate somewhat independently, though this situation was not to last. But even then the authority of Constantinople was not to wane, for example after the capture of Antioch by the Persians in 611 the Patriarch of Antioch would live in Constantinople, who would be directly involved in their affairs, especially the election, or deposing, of the Patriarch of Antioch. This would continue until the Arabs allowed the Patriarch to return in 742; though later, in the late tenth century when the Empire liberated Antioch, Antiochian Patriarchs would once again be regularly elected and installed in Constantinople. Accordingly, in 1156 when Emperor Manuel Comnenus defeated the Latin Crusaders and once again recaptured Antioch, part of the agreement made with the Duke, Reynald de ChÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢tillion, included the clause: ‘and a bishop is to be sent from Byzantium to Antioch according to the ancient custom’ (Cinnamus, ed. Bonn, p. 193 ‘And he bound himself with many oaths to many other things with the Emperor required, including the stipulation that a bishop should be sent from Byzantium to Antioch'). ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Likewise, with the fall of Jerusalem to the Cursaders, for a time the Patriarch of Jerusalem would also reside in Constantinople and be directly involved in the Local Synods of Constantinople.
In 1355 there was a conflict between Constantinople and Bulgaria, the latter of which, though being given the honourary title of Patriarch was never listed in the diptychs of the Church for he was not included amongst the five. In spite of this Bulgaria attempted to exercise authority as if it were amongst the five, or at least the equal of Cyprus, which was given rights by an Oecumenical Synod. In response to this we get a significant quote from Patriarch Kallistos of Constantinople regarding the status quo of the day:
‘and if the throne of Constantinople reviews, disposes, and approves the judgments of the other Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem and gives them authority, as the holy canons declare plainly and deeds bear witness to, how is not this throne so much more the lord of the Church of the Bulgarians which was honoured in being named by it?’ (F. Miklosich and J. MÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼ller, Acta Patriarchatus Constantinopolitani, I, 437-439)
The implications of such a statement, which is clearly supported by the previous historical examples, to Ecclesiology in general and the Diaspora in particular are most manifest.
The next era of the Church would be the turkokratia, which, as we will see, lead to neither a new ecclesiological innovations nor an alteration in the relationships between the Patriarchates, it would merely continue the Ecclesiological principles that had been practiced by the Orthodox for the last thousand years. From this time there are numerous examples of Constantinople being directly involved in the affairs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, including involvement at the parish level in the latter’s jurisdiction, the Patriarch of which would generally reside in Constantinople.
With the conversion of Grand Prince Vladimir in the tenth century the Rus came into the picture, Russia was directly under the Patriarch of Constantinople until the schism of Moscow in the fifteenth century, though the Archbishop of Kiev would still remain under the Oecumenical Patriarchate until 1654 when Little Russia was subjugated by the Tsar of Moscow. During this schism Constantinople’s authority would be challenged, but eventually reemphasized and renewed. This can be first seen in 1590 with the reconciliation between Constantinople and Moscow, in January of that year Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople would personally install Job of Moscow as Patriarch; this service was accompanied with the repeating of the prayers of consecration, for the previous episcopal ordination would have been regarded as invalid. When Patriarch Jeremias II returned to Constantinople in May he convoked a synod to ratify his elevation of Job of Moscow to the office of Patriarch. In ratifying the action of the Patriarch of Constantinople this synod, consisting of the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem and eighty one metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops, decreed in their Tomos,
‘so that he (Moscow) may have as head and source the Apostolic throne of Constantinople, as do the other patriarchs.’ (K. Delikanes, III, 24-26)
After this Moscow objected to being listed fifth in the diptychs and desired to be third, after Alexandria and before Jerusalem, yet this was not to be. In February of 1593 another synod, this time with Patriarch Meletius of Alexandria present as well as a delegate of the Tsar, met and issued another Tomos, decreeing that Moscow ‘is to be numbered with the other patriarchs, and is to rank and be commemorated after the Patriarch of Jerusalem; he is to be obliged to commemorate the name of the Oecumenical Patriarch and the other patriarchs and to hold and regard as his head and primus the Apostolic throne of Constantinople, as do the other patriarchs.’ (W. Regle, Analecta Byzantino-Russica, St. Petersburg 1891, p. 87)
This event and the lawful and canonical decrees did not end the influence of Constantinople over Moscow, in 1654 Patriarch Nikon of Moscow sent twenty seven questions to Patriarch PaÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¯sius of Constantinople seeking guidance, in 1665 the Patriarch of Constantinople convoked a great synod to answer these questions of the synod of Moscow. Of particular interest to this subject is the synodal response to question eight:
‘Question: Whether the judgments of the other churches are always taken on appeal to the Constantinopolitan throne, and whether each ecclesiastical case is finally settled by him.
Answer: This was the privilege of the Pope before the Catholic Church was split by false pretension and contumacy. Since he seceded, cases from all churches have been referred to the throne of Constantinople and have been resolved there, as the Oecumenical patriarch, according to the canons, has primacy equal to that of Old Rome. That this privilege has been transferred to the Oecumenical throne, you may learn from many things, not least from the commentaries of the great Nomicus, which sayÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦and from Balsamon: “The privileges prescribed for the Pope are not exclusively his but are inferred also for the Patriarch of Constantinople.’ Now that the Bishop of Rome has broken away from the Catholic Church, they apply only to the Oecumenical throne. If the other patriarchs chance to agree on an important question, their decision shall be unalterable.’ (K. Delikanes, III, 93-118)
Now this is, of course, just a very brief and general outline, I would recommend aforementioned book for a more detailed outline of the History, though by no means complete. The fact of the matter is that the Rights that Constantinople now asserts are long established Rights, hardly new innovations.
It also doesn't help either the way Patriarch Bartholomew treated those whom he evicted from Prophet Elias Skete - he could harldy have acted in a less Christian manner.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Schismatics or not, maltreating elderly monks isn't a virtue.
All they had to do was repent and return to the fold and all would have been forgiven, it is their own stubborness and schism that brought about their hardships, not the Oecumenical Patriarch. Since they could have prevented all of this trouble with a few words, I fear I have no sympathy for them.
Based on your comments about Elder Paisios and Elder Joseph it is safe to assume you have no actual knowledge of them from primary sources.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š That is why I scorn your Holy Cross education and question your cognitive ability.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š It is really quite shocking that someone with a degree from an Orthodox seminary can know so little about such important matters in Church history.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š All you really seemed to have gained is an ability to keep to the party line.
I have read what I was required to for class about them, I'm personally not very impressed, but I'm not generally given to hero worship either, so perhaps it's just my personality; the fact that I dont fall head over heels in love with everything I read does not, however, say anything about my cognitive ability, one way or another. Thus, I can hardly see what is so important about their minor schism, it's certainly not a vital issue of Church history when compared to the challenges of the past from Ariansim to Iconoclasm to the Great Schism to the Fall of the Empire. What is important and notable about these figures is that they are examples of people who fell into the sin of schism, but realized the error of their ways, they repented before God and their Bishop and were forgiven. A Mercy and Forgiveness that will be extended to all who repent and return faithfully to the flock of the Great Church of Christ.
As for the charge of schism - neither George nor I have said that we support the ecclesiological position of Esphigmenou monastery.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š I see it partly as a human rights issue and partly from a religious perspective. On the later issue if you would just leave the monks alone, not giving them the psuedo martyric attention they crave they may well someday give.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š On the former - blockades and such are hardly becoming of the Patriarchate.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š So you are hardpressed to say either of us are defending schism.
From a religious perspective, they're in schism and liable to the discipline their Bishop, the Oecumenical Patriarch, finds appropriate, unless of course you believe there is some notion of religious freedom in the Church that allows schism to go unanswered. Concerning the human rights issue, as I said above I have very little sympathy since they could make all the trouble to go away with a few words said in obedience and humility. Greece has religious freedom, the Holy Mountain does not, if they wish to become Orthodox again and be loyal to their Bishop they can stay, otherwise their presence is illegal and they should be removed, by force if necessary.
As to saying that laymen are judging bishops in being opposed to ecumenism - I suppose that would be news to the many bishops in all Orthodox jurisdictions that have spoken against ecumenism.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š There are many priests and bishops in the Church that are opposed to the ecumenical movement - are they schismatic?
Actually, my statement was that a lone Bishop, Priest, Deakon, or Layman does not have the right to judge a Bishop on issues of ethics, or Church practice, this judgement is reserved to the Synod alone. As to whether or not they are schismatic that depends, have they a) stopped commemorating their primate or b) been excommunicated/deposed by their synod?