Power of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

I have noticed that the modern view in Orthodoxy regarding the EP is that he has a primacy of honour and that his jurisdiction does not extend past his patriarchate.

However when one looks to history. I noticed the EP had A LOT more power and even interfered in the affairs of other patriarchates. Like the domination Constantinople had over Antioch. Has anybody else noticed this?

What caused the change in how much power the EP has?

During the Ottoman Empire the Patriarch was essentially made the head of all Orthodox Christians in the Empire by the Turks. The same thing happened with the Armenians who were given a see in Constantinople.

With the end of the Empire the power of the See returned to what it should be.

I have a problem with the claim that primacy involves honor only without jurisdiction. While the authority of See of Constantinople may have changed over time, it was never, and is not today, strictly honorary.

I don’t think discussing ecclesiology like political history will solve anything, quite frankly, and seeing a question predicated on “how much power” a clergyman has makes me shudder. There is but One Power - it’s pretty clear from the example of the Apostles how episcopal authority is supposed to work but human arrogance has deformed the idea of loaned authority into personal power.

As Nine_Two mentioned, the consolidation of a notion of “power” was a result, for instance, of the millet system - “a rough yoke of heathens” as the phrase goes in Syriac. The fact of the matter being it was the consequence of political tampering. Same thing with the Pope - no one can tell me the lords of Italy acted morally irreproachably during the 13-15th century, inclusive of the Pope and certainly the temporal authority that was created was a recipe for hate against the Church.

This is true.

It is such a common strawman that we are given that I no longer even notice it.

Question for my Orthodox brothers/sisters.

Pardon my ignorance,but does Orthodoxy consider Constantinople as the “head” See of the East? Is it viewed as we Catholics view Rome? Do serious matters lead to Constantinople?Just a question?

Short answers: No, no, and sortof.

Longer answers
No, it is not “head”, but it does have primacy and what happens within the see - in spite of its small size, does matter.

No, we certainly don’t view it as Catholics view Rome. Speaking as a member of the OCA, I am not directly affected by any decisions made by Constantinople, though I could be indirectly affected. Since I am not under the hierarchy that rules Constantinople, what happens in Constantinople is not of immediate concern of myself.

Finally, sort of. Constantinople in the modern Orthodox Church (and this is a role we grant that Rome would have) functions as a Court of Final appeal. So if there is a serious issue it is likely that Constantinople is going to be asked to weigh in on it. Two major instances of this in the 20th century were the Holy Synod of Cyprus’s deposition of Archbishop Makarios when he became Prime Minister (it was overturned and he was restored), and the Deposition of a recent Patriarch of Jerusalem (it was affirmed).

Cool, thanks for insight. So does that mean there isn’t one See which speaks for Orthodoxy? Each has its own jurisdiction? So if a council were to be called, all would have to consent to it? Just trying to understand on how the ancient Eastern churches function.


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