By Kostas Onisenko
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow participates in a two-day conference that began yesterday and will be concluded today in Moscow, entitled “World Orthodoxy: Primacy and Synodicality in the light of the Orthodox doctrine.”
This particular conference, according to the information that already exists, aims to denounce the Ecumenical Patriarchate because of the decisions it has taken on the Ukrainian autocephaly issue and, as the title demonstrates, refers to issues of primacy in the Orthodox Church.
As can be seen from the position of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at this conference, the Russian Orthodox Church openly disputes the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Orthodox world.
It is simply an “honorary” primacy that was granted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate “due to unfortunate circumstances,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.
On his part, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, went one step further by questioning the permanence of the Ecumenical Patriarch:
“Claims of special rights and privileges have been expressed in the past by hierarchs and theologians of Constantinople, but they have never expressed them in such strict terms and with such an extreme version as today,” said Patriarch Kirill.
He added that “they went so far as to call the Patriarch of Constantinople not the first among equals, but ‘the first without equals’. This innovative ecclesiology has no basis either in the sacred canons or in the ecclesiastical tradition, in general.”
“It is important to think once again what the ecclesiastical schism means, how the local Churches should react to it, whether the prayerful and eucharistic communion with the schismatics is acceptable and what canonical (editor’s note: according to religious canons) consequences of this communion are, if the ecclesiastical authority can be considered legal, which concelebrates with schismatics and the self-ordained priests, who are not ordained according to canons,” Patriarch Kirill said yesterday during the conference held in Moscow.
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