Moscow overrates its influence on the Orthodox World, - religious expert on Amman Meeting
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) was intending to hold a Council of Churches in Amman, Jordan, on February 20, to raise the issue of the "church schism", to disrupt the process of recognition of the Orthodox Church and to challenge the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The council did not work: the largest Churches refused to legalize Moscow's plans. Religious expert Dmytro Horyevoy told this to LIGA.net.
The formal initiator of the meeting in Amman, Moscow in November 2019 was the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III. He put forward this proposal bypassing the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, after meeting with Kirill and Putin, when he received a prize from Russia's "Unity Fund for Orthodox Peoples." The ROC presented this as an initiative of Jerusalem. "But in fact, it was Moscow who was promoting the idea. They intended to create a new platform for condemning the actions of Constantinople in Ukraine," says religious expert Dmytro Horyevoy.
It is important for the ROC that the Orthodox meetings be held in a foreign territory. Moscow broke off relations with the first in the church hierarchy - the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Then they tried to get the Alexandrian Patriarch on their side as the second in rank. but in the autumn Theodore II acknowledged the autocephaly of the OCU. In response, the Synod of the ROC in December severed relations with Alexandria and withdrew its parishes in Africa from the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Patriarchate. The Church of Antioch is no good choice because it is considered a satellite of the ROC.
Therefore, as Dmytro Horyevoy summarizes, at the last moment Kirill reoriented himself to Jerusalem, the fourth Church on the Orthodox map of the world. Then goes the ROC, others are lower in rank. "In the hierarchy, Jerusalem precedes Moscow. The ROC wanted everything to be done by someone else's hands, and they were not blamed for being inspired by Russia by this Council," Horyevoy explains.
Orthodoxy is represented by 15 autocephalous Churches. Four of them (not counting the OCU) made it clear that they would not attend the meeting convened by the Russian Orthodox Church in Amman. "These are the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Archbishop of Cyprus and Greece. They are heads of the four largest Churches in the world. The ROC last year severed relations with Constantinople, Greece and Alexandria for the recognition of the OCU.
In January, Patriarch Bartholomew sent a letter to Jerusalem in a stern tone, reminding Theophilus that he was not competent to take such steps.
"If there is a meeting in Amman at all, it is just like a meeting of heads of several local Churches. I think no more than five out of 15 will arrive. I.e. one third of them," Dmytro Horyevoy sums it up.
Despite the entire arsenal of available funding, Russia has never been able to form a large coalition against Constantinople. At present, the overall state of the Church's map of Orthodoxy does not seem to favor the Russian Orthodox Church.