"Moscow plans to anathematize Patriarch Bartholomew" - religious scholar on another "zilch"

23 September, 11:26
"Moscow plans to anathematize Patriarch Bartholomew" - religious scholar on another "zilch" - фото 1
In the "Point of View" program on Radio Liberty, religious scholar Dmytro Horyevoy said that the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is quite seriously going to declare Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew a heretic. The final decision is planned to be made in November this year. Moscow Patriarch Kirill is afraid to make such decisions himself, and therefore gathers a Council of bishops to share responsibility for this with more than four hundred bishops. The religious scholar also predicted what such actions of the Russian Orthodox Church could lead to.

The expert explains such conclusions with the fact that on September 16-17, 2021 the "Universal Orthodoxy: Primacy and Conciliarity in the Light of the Orthodox Faith" conference was held in Moscow. The role of this conference is to justify the "fallacy" of Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions in order to further condemn him. The largest intellectual capacities of the Russian Orthodox Church – the Synodal biblical and theological commission and the church-wide doctoral program-were involved in its implementation. All this was supervised by the external relations department, which already indicates the practical application of this conference in international activity.

"The main leitmotif of the conference is to condemn Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and prove his own case and Moscow’s historical narratives in general. Therefore, we should not expect balanced academic discussions, professional approaches and cautious statements from this conference. Its goal was something else – to "prove" how bad Constantinople is and how good the Russian Orthodox Church is," the expert explains.

Within the framework of the Moscow Conference, a collection of studies and documents "reunification of the Kyiv Metropolia with the Russian Orthodox Church" was presented. Moreover, it was presented, as Dmytro Horyevoy notes, as a kind of new scientific study, it was emphasized that "hundreds of archival documents are being published for the first time." Although this book is not new by modern standards, according to Dmytro Horyevoy. It was released back in 2019.

According to Dmytro Horyevoy, radically new things, any breakthroughs or qualitatively new facts in scientific discussions have not happened since 2019. This means that the position of the Moscow Patriarchate in academic terms is rather weak.

"Even if Moscow manages to somehow condemn Bartholomew for his non-Moscow interpretation of ecclesiology (the science of the church), this is unlikely to help the Russian Orthodox Church in the situation with Ukraine. Because from the narrative about the incorrect understanding of primacy, they deduce the following thesis – they say Bartholomew interfered in the affairs of another local church. But this is not true," Dmitry Gorevoy sums up.

The religious scholar justified his position as follows:

"Before granting autocephaly, the Ecumenical Patriarchate repealed the act of 1686, returned power over the Kyiv Metropolia illegally appropriated by the Russian Orthodox Church, and only then granted the Tomos to its own part. So, from October 2018 to January 2019, the entire Ukrainian Orthodoxy was part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, until the Tomos was granted. And if there was any encroachment on this case, it was exclusively on the part of Moscow on the Kyiv Metropolia."

Dmytro Horyevoy also notes that the Phanar has always acted very cautiously in matters of autocephaly:

"The Patriarchs of Constantinople granted autocephaly exclusively to their territories, that is, they independently reduced their own power in favor of the new churches."

Dmytro Horyevoy predicts that the Russian Orthodox Church will not be supported by any other autocephalous church.

"It turns out that only the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes Bartholomew as a heretic. And according to Orthodox canons, anyone who prays with a heretic is recognized as a heretic himself. Since no one will break off relations with Bartholomew and continue to communicate, Moscow will later have to recognize all Orthodox hierarchs, including the most loyal Serbs, as heretics. Thus, the Moscow Patriarchate canonically drives itself into a trap. Because either you follow the canons and isolate yourself, or get involved in hybrid relations, but in violation of the canons."

According to Dmytro Horyevoy, Kirill is not psychologically ready for isolation.

"This will only be a forced, last step of a dead-end hierarch. But his likely successor, Tikhon (Shevkunov), dubbed "Putin’s confessor" by Russian media, is a much more isolationist, and may lead the Russian Orthodox church to a dead-end in the future."