I am curious: Unless there is a MAJOR change in the situation with the Turkish government, when Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the First dies, the Patriarchal throne will be empty. Turkish law dictates that the Ecumenical Patriarch (a title the Turkish government doesn’t recognize) must be a Turkish citizen of Greek heritage. However, since the Turkish courts shut down the Orthodox seminary, there have been no new Turkish citizens ordained for several years.
The Turkish government has promised to grant Turkish citizenship to other orthodox bishops, and they’ve promised to get around to doing it real soon now.
Now, here comes the speculation, and I apologize in advance for the toes that I will undoubtedly step on.
My view of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is that it is positively resentful at times that there are Orthodox churches out there that look to Constantinople for leadership and not Moscow. Is it possible that Moscow will (or has) cut a deal with Istanbul, so that when Bartholomew dies Moscow will offer an Orthodox bishop of Greek heritage, Turkey will grant this bishop citizenship, and by default (as the only eligible candidate) Constantinople will now have a new Patriarch who is beholden to Moscow.
My big concern is that Ezekiel describes the War of Gog and Magog occurring when Gog gets a hook in his jaw. What if this little favor re: the Patriarchate that Istanbul does for Moscow is the hook that will be in Moscow’s jaw?