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The E.P. and Orthodox "Pope"?

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  • Al Green
    http://www.interfax-religion.com/print.php?act=dujour&id=76 2006-10-03 00:00:00 Moscow Patriarchate’s representative urges Vatican not to impose the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2006
      http://www.interfax-religion.com/print.php?act=dujour&id=76

      2006-10-03 00:00:00

      Moscow Patriarchate’s representative urges Vatican not to impose the Patriarch of
      Constantinople as an “Eastern Pope’ on the Orthodox world

      Moscow, October 2, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate’s representative to the European
      Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria urged the Catholics not to impose the
      model of their church order on the Orthodox.

      ‘Whether the two ecclesiological models, namely, the Catholic one oriented at Rome as the
      centre of the universal church unity and the Orthodox one that is not oriented at any
      single centre are compatible, only a full dialogue on the primacy between the Catholic
      and the Orthodox Churches could reveal,’ Bishop Hilarion’s statement says.

      However, this dialogue would be possible only if ‘an ecclesiological model in which the
      Patriarch of Constantinople occupies the place of an ‘Eastern Pope’ is not imposed on the
      Orthodox Church,’ the Bishop underscored.

      According to him, there has been no such a model in the Orthodox Church, and for
      instituting it at least the Pan-Orthodox Council is required and the consent of all local
      Orthodox Churches.

      ‘Until a convocation of this Council, and as long as the Orthodox teaching on the Church
      remains as it has been for many centuries, no delegate is entitled to make alterations.
      The position of the Moscow Patriarchate will remain hard-line,’ the hierarch of the
      Russian Church remarked.

      Earlier he voiced his protest to the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting
      Christian Unity Cardinal Walter Kasper who put a document on the authority of the
      Ecumenical Council to the vote at the 9th session of the Joint Commission for the
      Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church held in
      Belgrade.

      The document said inter alia that after the severance of communion between the East and
      the West in the 11th century, a convocation of an ‘Ecumenical Council’ in the strong
      sense of the word became impossible, but ‘both Churches continued to hold ‘general’
      councils gathering together the bishops of local Churches in communion with the See of
      Rome and the See of Constantinople.’

      Bishop Hilarion raised some principal objections on this issue. He said that in the
      Orthodox tradition ‘communion with the See of Constantinople’ has been never perceived as
      a binding term of conciliarity like ‘communion with the See of Rome’ was perceived by the
      Western Churches.

      Cardinal Kasper expressed his surprise at the fact that representative of the Russian
      Church ‘dwelt on only one issue under discussion which is assumed to include many other
      issues of great importance and difficulty.’

      Bishop Hilarion thinks that Cardinal Kasper ‘is absolutely right in that it was an issue
      on which the Orthodox participants in the dialogue are not unanimous.’ However, it is
      even more amazing that the Catholic Cardinal put this issue to the vote and that ‘the
      Orthodox had to vote in the presence of the Catholics.’

      ‘The problems of Orthodox ecclesiology (the teaching on the Church), its dogmatic
      teaching and canonical order cannot be resolved by voting. The only way is to seek
      consensus within Orthodoxy and after it, if possible, between Orthodoxy and Catholicism,’
      the Moscow Patriarchate’s representative said further.

      The Orthodox Church has no universal primate, or ‘supreme pontiff’ (pontifex maximus).
      There is a bishop primus inter pares, the position held before the schism of 1054 by the
      bishop of Rome, and afterwards de facto kept by the Patriarch of Constantinople. However,
      the Orthodox Churches vary in their understanding of the Patriarch of Constantinople’s
      role and primacy. ‘Some rather regard this primacy as purely honourable, while others
      give certain coordinating functions to the patriarch of Constantinople and see him as
      highest court’, the bishop said.

      The recent case of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Diocese of Sourozh’s former administrator,
      who was received in Constantinople’s jurisdiction without a canonical release, is ‘a
      visual illustration of the dilemma.’ It shows that Constantinople probably ‘thinks it has
      a right to be the supreme authority to which all clergy who do not like their Local
      Churches may appeal,’ bishop Hilarion added.

      However, the Moscow Patriarchate believes ‘on the solid basis of the canons of the Early
      Church’ that no Patriarchate, including that of Constantinople, has a right to receive in
      its jurisdiction clergy from other Local Churches without canonical release, he said.


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