What occurred today between the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches?


The “national” is part of the overall problem.

That churches were naturally "national’ at one time made sense and was inevitable. That day has passed.

Whatever a person thinks of him one way or another (and you can debate his various actions) one thing that was good about Archbishop John Ireland’s approach to that in the US was that he strongly opposed ethnic identity withing the Catholic Church in the US. He didn’t want “Irish” parishes or “German” parishes. That same belief, of course, is what lead to his terrible mistake with the Eastern Rite in the US. Anyhow, within the Catholic Church, that did set the groundwork to transition from ethnic Catholicism back, and it is back, to universality.

The Orthodox are going to have to do the same thing, and in the US they are trying. Stuff like this, however, causes all sorts of problems for Orthodox believers who are in the US, often intermarried with those of other backgrounds, as they try to remain faithful. The Creed says we are all to believe in one “Catholic”, i.e., universal, church. Creating these sorts of divisions in 2018 sure doesn’t help that at all.


Taking it a few steps further, if all of the churches were divided into separate pieces, wouldn’t it in some ways make it easier for them to be unified as one large group?


Yes., it would.


The only Russian Orthodox person I know attended the Greek Orthodox church when he was of a mind to attend a church.


The lack of unity among orthodox churches strongly reveals that the fullness of Truth is found in the Catholic Church


The Catholic Church endured the Western Schism for nearly 40 years where two to three “popes” were claiming the chair of Peter.

This is how the Orthodox practice corporate discipline. They usually resolve in a few years. Let’s hope that’s the case here as well.

IMO Constantinople ought to issue the tomos.


I think, and I could be wrong, that at the local level, especially here in the U.S., that it will not be a big deal. Orthodox will still inter-commune with each other. The Russians were I live either go to the Greek Orthodox Church or the OCA. Both pastors have an excellent relationship with one another.



If this was ever to lead to communion with the Catholic Church, it would most likely be Rome and Constantinople coming to an agreement, not Rome and Moscow.

But stranger things have happened.


But wouldn’t the Russian Orthodox be subject to the Metropolitan’s instructions?

I really don’t know, but my presumption is that his jurisdiction covers all of the Russian Orthodox everywhere. But maybe I’m incorrect.


I’m sure that it does cover the Russian Orthodox everywhere. I’m just thinking that in cities where Orthodox Churches have good relationships with each other that life will go on as usual. Now, I could be incorrect.



There’s another link from the Vatican News website .


Is the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia authocephalous?


It is complicated. The Orthodox Church in America has roots in the Russian church, and is recognized as autocephalous by Moscow and a few other churches. Those churches may follow Russia’s lead, but OCA may not, or take their time.

What happened in the Ukraine is far more complicated than I can follow. Kiev is where the Russian church started. It has long had a measure of independence on that basis. Constantinople is actually withdrawing a 500 yyear old privilege ceded to Moscow allowing them chose the Metropolitan in Kiev. Russia thinks that is ridiculous, Ukraine is part of Russia and Constantinople should not interfere.

Meanwhile, back in the Ukraine, the Russian metropolitan in Kiev in 1991 separated from Moscow and named himself Patriarch. Another bishop decided to try to get an autocephalous church, mostly Ukainians I think. While a third group is tied to Russia still. Constantinople has asked the first two groups to confer, presumably to meld Russians and Ukainians into one jurisdiction. ( rough while there are political tensions, near civil war.) The leaders of all 3 groups attended the installation of the Catholic Major Archbishop, leader of the fourth group in the area. The Catholics have another leader, the archbishop of Lvov who serves Roman Rite Ukrainians (they’re really Polish).

Something had to happen there to resolve these things.


Thanks! Do you believe the situation can speed up the reunion between Rome and Constantinople?


No. They reaffiliated with Moscow in 2007 and are now considered “semi-autonomous.” They probably will follow Moscow in this, I am guessing.


Hasn’t it been the case that several Orthodox churches go in and out of communion with each other?

Can someone explain why this one is any different?

Is there any evidence that Russia is being definitive in its rejection of Constantinople as spiritual head/first among equals? That is what some news articles are suggesting.


This one is probably considered different because it is the two most important Sees.

As for who is first among equals, Constantinople can’t be it if they are in schism–I don’t think schismatic bishops are equals with canonical ones. As for whether it is definitive, from my understanding of EO ecclesiology, which See has this rank is a matter of positive law and therefore it can be changed (and changed back for that matter).


The Orthodox are a mess.


I think that the relations between the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople will continue along a positive path as they have done from the meeting of Pope St Paul VI with Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964 up to the present friendship between Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople .

As to reunion between the two churches I haven’t a clue .


According to the EP, it wasn’t the privilege to choose, but to bless the kievian see, and on behalf of the EP.

Also note that the toma for Moscow itself arose when the EP was visiting Moscow and ran out of funds to return home. Moscow got its tome, and the EP got to go home . . .

In all seriousness, the only thing slowing communion (not reunion; there never was union, and never will be) between Rome and Constantinople is the RO and preventing (this) schism. Same reason Rome has never accepted the UCC head as a Patriarch rather than Major Archbishop (but the UCC has declared that itself, and Rome hasn’t gainsaid that, either).

At least the last two each of Pope and EP could have reached terms, if not over lunch, in very short order. Avoiding an EP/MP split was really all that was in the way.

I don’t have the cites at hand, but Russia does indeed want the order of precedence changed–with, naturally, itself on top.

Moscow has long seen itself as “Third Rome”, and “czar” is the russian of “Caeser” . There is no real reason for “Third Rome” to advance past “Second Rome” other than population. (sidetone: there are occasional references from russians to DC as “Fourth Rome”–but they seem to be in the context of making its own claim to third . . .)


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