Bartholomew celebrated his 30th anniversary of the Patriarchate. We conduct a brief analysis of the results of his patriarchal ministry.
On October 22, 2021, “His Divine All-Holiness” (the official title of the head of the Phanar), Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople celebrated the 30th anniversary of his stay on the throne. On this day, the Liturgy was served in Phanar, during which the guests congratulated Patriarch Bartholomew on this very respectable anniversary. But there were only two of these guests. The American Greek-language publication Orthodox Times listed them by name: “Metropolitan Nifon of Targovish, a representative of the Romanian Patriarchate, Archbishop of Ternopil and Kremenets Nestor, a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church <...> are present to honor the Ecumenical Patriarch.” The rest of those present are the bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Phanar clergy and lay people.
Nestor Pysyk (left) and Metropolitan Nifon.
Do not be embarrassed by the Orthodox Times’ report that “a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” came to congratulate the head of the Phanar. This is a deliberate attempt by the Phanariot publication to ascribe to the OCU the name that they are trying to steal from the real Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the leadership of Metropolitan Onuphry. The man named “Archbishop Nestor of Ternopil and Kremenets” is a representative of the OCU, who is a great admirer of “Greek” Orthodoxy.
The Bishop of the Romanian Patriarchate, Metropolitan Nifon of Targovish (Miheitse) is a canonical bishop who has held his chair for almost 22 years. His biography is quite remarkable. In addition to the Theological Seminary of Bucharest and the University of Bucharest Theological Institute, he studied at the University of Oxford, the Anglican College in Jerusalem (Israel), the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and the Catholic University of St. Nicholas in Ottawa (Canada). He is an active participant in the ecumenical movement, participated in many ecumenical events, mainly as the head of the delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
It is interesting that this bishop represented the Romanian Church at the Amman meeting. Moreover, after Amman, he called for preparations for the Pan-Orthodox meeting. Recall meeting of Primates and delegations of Local Orthodox Churches took place in the capital of Jordan, Amman on February 26, 2020. Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem came up with the initiative. The meeting was attended by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Irenaeus of Serbia, Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, as well as a delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Niphon of Targovisht and a delegation of the Polish Orthodox Church led by Archbishop Avishev of Lublin and Kholm. The meeting discussed the search for ways to overcome the crisis in Orthodoxy caused by the intervention of Patriarch Bartholomew in church affairs in Ukraine. Since the head of the Phanar was sharply opposed to holding such a meeting, then everyone who took part in it could be considered by him as opponents of the policy of the Phanar, including Metropolitan Niphon. Why, in this situation, he, the only bishop of all the Local Churches, went to congratulate Patriarch Bartholomew is still unknown.
In any case, it is very symbolic that only one bishop and Nestor Pysyk, who does not have canonical consecration, came to personally congratulate Patriarch Bartholomew on such a significant event as the 30th anniversary of the Patriarchate. But the anniversary is an excellent occasion to arrange magnificent celebrations, to invite representative delegations from the Local Churches and thereby show that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the leader of the Orthodox World. There is no doubt that it would be so if the authority of Patriarch Bartholomew was really high among the Local Churches. But now there is no need to talk about it. In fact, Patriarch Bartholomew, who talks a lot about the isolation of the Russian Orthodox Church, found himself in isolation.
How to assess the absence at the celebrations of representatives of those Local Churches that recognized the OCU, and therefore agreed with the Phanar’s leadership in Orthodoxy?
The fact that the head of the Phanar was not congratulated by the ROC or the Serbian Church, which also suffered a lot from “his divine all-holiness,” is understandable, but how to assess the absence at the celebrations of representatives of those Local Churches that recognized the OCU, and therefore agreed with the Phanar’s leadership in Orthodoxy? Let us remind you that these are the Churches of Alexandria, Cyprus and Greece. And does this mean that the given Church will continue to distance itself from Patriarch Bartholomew?
Before answering these questions, it is advisable to look at the results of the activities of Patriarch Bartholomew as primate of the Church of Constantinople. It must be admitted that there are no significant results of this activity. And the main symbolic event of the Patriarchate of Bartholomew is the transformation of the Church of Hagia Sophia into a functioning mosque in 2020, against which “his divine All-Holiness” did not even dare to protest. This silence was very eloquent, because at that time the United States, the EU, France and other states, as well as many Local Churches (primarily the Russian Orthodox Church), came out with protests. Everyone was waiting for at least some kind of reaction from Patriarch Bartholomew, but he remained silent. Just before the very event, he said that he was “in shock.” This was regarded as cowardice and greatly damaged the reputation of the head of the Phanar in the eyes of the Orthodox and Christians in general.
If we talk about the Patriarchate of Bartholomew in general, then its main characteristics will be the following.
First, it is interference in the affairs of other Local Churches. Back in 2008, the influential Turkish newspaper Cimhuriyet published an article sharply criticizing Patriarch Bartholomew for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries – “from Cyprus to Estonia, from Jerusalem to Ukraine.” The article argued that this creates foreign policy problems for the Turkish state, since “the state of Turkey does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. It turns out that Patriarch Bartholomew has one position, and the state of Turkey – another ”. This situation is indeed very ambiguous, since, according to Turkish law, the Patriarch of Constantinople has the rank of a civil servant. The apogee of the policy of interference of the head of the Phanar in the affairs of other Churches is his decision on Ukraine, in which he legalized the schismatics, and, on the contrary, recognized the canonical UOC as non-existent.
Secondly, it is, in the full sense of the word, rabid ecumenism. Patriarch Bartholomew is not only an active participant in the ecumenical movement in general, but also seeks to unite with Catholics in the very near future, as he has repeatedly stated. Moreover, the main obstacle to such a union from the point of view of the head of the Phanar is not so much the dogmatic differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as the question of the so-called “primacy”. It is this issue that occupies the most significant place in the negotiation process. The quintessence of Patriarch Bartholomew’s ecumenical aspirations can be considered his words spoken on the day of commemoration of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called in 2020. In his sermon, the head of the Phanar stated that the unification of Orthodox Christians with Catholics will take place “despite the objections of those who either underestimate the value of theology or consider ecumenism utopia “.
The head of the Phanar said that the unification of Orthodox Christians with Catholics will take place “despite the objections of those who either underestimate the value of theology, or consider ecumenism a utopia.”
Thirdly, this is the advancement of the theory, or better to say the heresy of “Constantinople papism”, according to which the Patriarch of Constantinople is the actual head of the Church, the first without equals, endowed with special and exclusive powers.
Fourth, it is the strengthening of their personal power within the Patriarchate of Constantinople. From about 2008 to 2011, Patriarch Bartholomew made a full-scale personnel revolution in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, forcing to resign from their posts all bishops and clergy representatives who could at least somehow point out to the patriarch that he was wrong. Instead of them, young, ambitious and personally devoted persons to Patriarch Bartholomew were appointed. One of the most dizzying careers at this time was made by the current head of the American Archdiocese, Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis), the author of the phrase “the first without equal” and an active lobbyist for the rise of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Fifthly, it is a clear, completely unconcealed dependence on the American establishment, adherence to the entire political course of the US administration. All important decisions and steps of the Patriarch of Constantinople were either initiated or agreed with representatives of the American authorities. The most important of them are decisions on Ukraine and on unification with Catholics. For example, here is a tweet from the US Embassy in Ukraine about S. Brownback’s visit to Kiev on September 12, 2018.
Screenshot of the post of the US Embassy in Ukraine on Twitter
The message directly states that the topic of the negotiations was autocephaly. At the same time, two so-called Phanar exarchs were operating in Kiev, who were also preparing autocephaly, and on October 11, 2018, the Patriarchate of Constantinople adopted the same criminal decisions to legalize schismatics and grant them “autocephaly”.
After the meeting of Patriarch Bartholomew with the then US Vice President Joe Biden in 2014, at which the dialogue between the Phanar and the Vatican was discussed, the head of the Phanar signed a joint Declaration with Pope Francis, which stated the firm intention of the Phanar and the Vatican to go to the end on the path of unification: “ We express our sincere and stable intention, obeying the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify our efforts to achieve complete unity of all Christians, and above all – between Catholics and Orthodox. ” As for the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew in Ukraine, they were wholly and completely initiated, controlled and supported by the US official representative for religious freedom Sam Brownback and other officials of the American State Department. To be convinced of this, it is enough to compare the schedule of meetings of these persons with the participants of the Ukrainian Phanar project and the dates of decisions and events within the framework of this project.
However, with regard to his actual subordination to the American establishment, Patriarch Bartholomew only continues the line of his predecessors, and especially Patriarch Athenagoras (Spiru), who explicitly stated that “the cornerstone of his activity as a patriarch is the promotion of American ideals” (from the report of the US Consul General in Istanbul Makati to the State Department).
After this very cursory acquaintance with the “achievements” of Patriarch Bartholomew in his post, one can ask a rhetorical question – and with what, in fact, congratulate him on the day of the 30th anniversary of the Patriarchate? Shortly after celebrating his anniversary, the head of Phanar went on a 12-day visit to the United States, during which he met with an ardent supporter of LGBT and abortion, US President Joe Biden. And this meeting testifies that the practice of fulfilling the will of the United States even to the detriment of its religious interests (not to mention the observance of the canons of the Church) continues and is gaining momentum. And the fact that, after negotiations with Patriarch Bartholomew, negotiations between the American president and Pope Francis have already been announced, says that the cause of the unification of the Phanar and the Vatican under the patronage of American politicians is actively moving towards its apogee. In these conditions, it is quite possible that the question of choice will be as follows: either to remain Orthodox, or to follow Patriarch Bartholomew in union with the Catholics.
This is hardly what the Local Orthodox Churches want, at least the clergy and ordinary church people. So Patriarch Bartholomew has to celebrate the anniversary of his patriarchate with only one bishop from the Romanian Church and with Nestor Pysyk, who was “ordained” to the “bishop” by excommunicated Filaret Denisenko. Adds gloomy humor to all this and the fact that Denisenko the very next day, i.e. On October 23, 2021, he accepted under his omophorion a group of Greek Old Calendarists, whom Bartholomew himself considers to be schismatics.
It is time to recall the words of the Apostle Paul: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. What a man sows, that he will also reap … ”(Gal 6: 7). However, while a person is alive on earth, the doors of repentance are open for him.