Is it Time to Go to Papa?

Orthodox Christianity reported this week that Patriarch Bartholomew was not appreciative of Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus efforts to keep the Church together for some odd reason. The Archbishop of Cyprus got the hint and knew he wasn’t wanted so he threw in the towel.  The question is why?  Why would Bartholomew object to Chrysostomos’ peacekeeping mission to help the Church stay intact?  

I’ve got another question for you.  Last September, Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandra said, “Stay with the Orthodox Faith and with the Canonical Church.”  That’s kind of an odd thing to say, don’t you think?  What does he mean by “stay with the Orthodox Faith?”  I mean, where did he think that Patriarch Bartholomew was going?  At the time, I just figured something was lost in translation.

Well, it has come to our attention that both Theodore and Chrysostomos (and no doubt other hierarchs) may be seeing something we don’t.  Is it possible Bartholomew’s true objective was to split the Church and he used Ukraine to do it?  Is this all about joining with Rome?  If so, folks, hold onto your hats.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I’ve got to tell you when I first heard this possibility being bandied about, it was too far-fetched for even Yours Truly to entertain, but we’ve got a confluence of events now that make such a scenario entirely plausible. Consider: we have a situation where the one bishop who can call a Council refuses to do so.  Then there’s the possibility that even if a Council were to be convened, Ukraine will continue to be a stumbling block. It is such a volatile region where any changes that might come out of it would not be well received.  The schismatics would never go under Moscow.  Even if they shrivel up to minuscule numbers and the Ukrainian government decommissions them, like their godfathers in the Phanar, they will maintain the illusion of their autocephaly until Judgment Day. Nor, for that matter, would Moscow take them if given the opportunity. 

In other words, the schismatic sect in Ukraine is an embarrassment to all concerned but it still remains a legal fiction. And that may be all Patriarch Bartholomew needs at this point.  If Bartholomew’s intent was to cordon off Russia, he more-or-less succeeded.  So what if Russia won’t commemorate him?  That’s fine, as long as he can take his toys and go home.  Things, of course, could get a little dicey for the Phanar if the other Orthodox Churches refuse to go along with him, but he can always cut and run. Sure, it would be nice to have the Local Churches along for the ride (Greece would be especially nice), but when you’re in dire straits you take what you can get.

We all know Bartholomew is afraid of Russia taking over his ecumenical throne and has said so to anyone and everyone in the State Department who will listen.  It is easy to see how he might see a schism as preferable to dealing with Russia over a possible split toward Rome.  Look at it from his point of view: he has been telling the world for decades that he speaks for all of us.  If Russia doesn’t want to play along with the fantasy it doesn’t make much difference.  Constantinople is the New Rome, the “Mother Church of all Orthodox Churches, the caretaker of all, the Mother and mistress among the Churches, and the clever mind of the Orthodox Church”.  And don’t forget the annual encyclicals to “the Plenitude of the Faith” –that’s all wannabe neopapalism.  

So yeah, he could get away with a schism (at least in his mind’s eye) to join with Rome. Why? Because he’s “first without equals”. And anyway, in time, the rest of the Church will get on board (or so he believes). Except for Russia, his nemesis, whom he wants to keep as far away as possible from his handlers in the West. 

As an aside, Russia would never agree to submit to the Vatican, especially since it has accused her of poaching on its turf through proselytism.  Is that why Pope Francis made such a big deal of saying, “Hey, we only acknowledge one patriarch of Ukraine and that is Kirill [paraphrasing].”  Was it his way of making “nice-nice” with Russia when it became clear Bartholomew was ready to go into Ukraine?  Around the same time, the B and F of the BFF started keeping their bromance under wraps.  No one wants to poke the bear.

And who is going to question Bartholomew if he announces the Orthodox Church has split (even though we have not)?  He’ll say those of us who side with the Russians are the schismatics, not him.  Again, it’s on record that he, alone, speaks for the Church.  No wonder he doesn’t want Chrysosotmos running around keeping all the local Churches together for the sake of unity.  He’s got to get this isolation of Russia thing on the road.  Unless there’s a sudden turnaround really soon, a (real) schism is going to occur.  It’s probably on Archbishop Elpidophoros’ official schedule, as we speak, and who knows, we may be fixin’ to go to Papa! (Snark Off)  

It’s worth at least looking at the evidence that would support Bartholomew’s intent to force the Church into a schism so he can unite with Rome:

  1. 2007 (October) – The Declaration of Ravenna, a Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox document re-asserting that the bishop of Rome is indeed the Protos.  The signing of the declaration highlighted the internal tensions between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the MP  on account of whether the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church had a right to be represented in Ravenna, which eventually led the Moscow delegation to walk out of the talks.
  2. 2014 (February) – Papalist doctrine of “First-Without-Equals” written by Elpidophoros Lambrianides
  3. 2014 (May) – Joint pledge with Pope Francis to heal the Great Schism of 1054 within a set timeframe.
  4. 2016 (June) – Council of Crete debacle where the point of contention was redefining “church” to be all-inclusive
  5. 2016 (September) –  The Chieti document, dealing with the foundation of synodality or conciliarity in the Church, where Primacy refers to first, protos or primus of the oikoumene—the whole inhabited earth—which embraces all local Churches; universal jurisdiction of the pope over other bishops.   
  6. 2018 (December) – Working with Ukrainian president and parliament, to bring two unrepentant schismatic groups residing in Moscow’s territory under himself, purportedly for $25 million, with the intent for this newly-formed schismatic body to persuade (through violence, if necessary) the parishes and monasteries belonging to Moscow to join them, from which, of course, he would benefit the Phanar monetarily.
  7. 2019 (May) – The forced retirement of Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis (who would never go for any of this) and the elevation of Elpidophoros Lambrianides, heir apparent to the throne of Constantinople, to the primacy of the GOA. 
  8. 2019 (July) – Gift of Saint Peter’s relics not to Constantinople, but to Bartholomew, personally.
  9. 2019 (September) – Liquidation of deadwood: any group that opposes him, such as the revocation of the Ukrainian Church’s three centuries-old Tomos of transfer and the dismemberment of the Western European Exarchate.
  10. 2019 (This Week) – The International Conference on the “Theological Legacy of Florovsky,” where the central theme of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s address was Fr Florovsky’s contribution to inter-Christian dialogue: “East and West are parts of a Christian world that, according to God’s plan, should not have split.”  Bartholomew goes onto say:  “The tragedy of division is the biggest and most critical problem in Christian history,” citing Georges Florovsky.

So what do you think, folks?  Is Bartholomew getting ready to take the diaspora and run?


  1. Fr. David Hovik says
    • “We cannot understand how, without any joint decision of all Local Churches, a bunch of excommunicated, anathematized, self-ordained schismatics who even did not care to demonstrate their repentance, were reinstated by one act, patched together at the unification council and at the same time granted ‘autocephaly’, while the canonical hierarchs who constitute the canonical Synod, representing the canonical Church, were committed to contempt altogether.”
      Thank the Lord that many clergy in the Orthodox Church of Greece remain attuned to reality and are not afraid of speaking up. If only that were true in the Greek Archdiocese in America. 

      UGCC head and Patriarch Bartholomew discuss ecumenical dialogue with OCU

      Now “the main interlocutor for the UGCC in the ecumenical dialogue is not so much the Russian Orthodox Church, but the local OCU,” Sviatoslav Shevchuk emphasized.


    • CHeck out the new and evolving view of Russia as Magog:

  2. Antiochene Son says

    It wouldn’t be the first time Constantinople went into false union with Rome. It still seems unthinkable though.

    Arbp. Chrysostom should be commended for his efforts, but the response from Bartholomew was condescending, like a parent to a child. Only the ancient sees of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem—which are in no wise “daughter churches” of Constantinople—stand a chance of talking sense to him. I pray they will step up to the plate and take the responsibility that has been thrust on them. If the three of them together called a council, I have no doubt the rest of the Church would participate.

    Funny, I wonder if Bartholomew’s refusal to help mediate between Antioch and Jerusalem in their recent schism was also a play to divide the ancient sees, which—especially united—have the most legitimacy to oppose his plans?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Interesting point, Antiochian Son.  There must be some reason the Ecumenical Patriarchate refused to mediate.  I understand they were asked (begged even) by one side if not both.

  3. The Patriarch of Constantinople. under the guise of being “first without equals” with “universal” jurisdiction may well believe that he will not have to split the Church to achieve his aims, but can with snaps of his fingers take away and grant autocephalies thus removing his opposition (Moscow first) and create new allies (read: a pan- pseudo-Orthodox body built around his All-Holy Self).

    A little recent history:

    Bartholomew in October 2018:

    “Whether our Russian brothers like it or not, sooner or later, they will follow the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarch, because they have no other choice…Our Slavic brothers cannot tolerate the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our nation [presumably meaning Greek people rather than Turkey] in Orthodoxy.”


    In an interview to BBC’s Ukrainian service, Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the World Council of Churches, says that the Moscow Patriarchate, having lost its position in Ukraine, could easily lose more if it continues to interfere and refuses to accept the decision on autocephaly for Ukraine that only Constantinople is entitled to make.

    Job then intimated that if the current situation continues with the Russian Church, then Constantinople may declare that it is revoking its autocephalous status.

    Job: “If this situation persists for a long time, then, of course, the Ecumenical throne, as the first throne of ecumenical Orthodoxy, will be forced to take certain measures—to resort to certain decisions to ensure the unity of the Church.”


    June 2019 reported on Romfea:

    The Archbishop of America argues that, from an ecclesiastic point of view, Moscow’s reaction is incomprehensible, while stressing that the Ecumenical Patriarchate carefully studied every aspect before proceeding to the granting of the status of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He also hopes that Russia will soon revise its attitude because, as he notes, “one cannot hold the river back”.

    • George Michalopulos says

      yeah… about that “holding the river back”. Not good. Sounds kind of arrogant to me.

      • It remains to be seen if this “river” refers to the Tiber and whether the EP plans to cross it or to just add his p- – – to its mighty stream.

    • They talk like this because talk is cheap and that’s all they have. Moscow is bigger than all the Greek-run churches put together.
      We are in a polemical war because polemic is the only ammunition of Fener and we are ostensibly Christians who don’t shoot each other. They get other forces together on the side for the dirty work, as in Rivne where shaved-head thugs beat canonical priests in front of their parishioners.  
      The new Fener-GOARCH polemic stateside is changing under Elpidophoros. You will no longer that the OCA is the ‘Russian Church’: now the OCA (whatever it is, essentially the mid-century Metropolia) has grown so frustrated by the lack of recognition among autocephalies and so desperate to legitimize itself to the Fener that Elpi can report semipublicly among his clergy as he did Friday, August 30 in Long Beach, CA  that  Metr. Tikhon told him the OCA is about to join the EP  — and we first read of it here! And shame on you George for carrying Elpi’s evil rumor further, as though saying it will make it so. And your apparent critique of the Fener agenda makes you the perfect instrument of the Fener polemic war against the rest of us. How does it feel to be pwned?

      • George Michalopulos says

        OK, I’m confused here Claes. Are you saying that I’m carrying water for the Phanar? I hardly think so.

        Anyway, thanks for the date of LP’s speech to his priests in Long Beach. By my calculations, my wager for a single-malt scotch (to be collected to the winner between myself and a correspondent regarding my breaking story about the OCA losing its autocephaly to the EP) has another 5 months to go.

    • “Job then intimated that if the current situation continues with the Russian Church, then Constantinople may declare that it is revoking its autocephalous status.”
      Hahaha!  This is the same “Bishop” Job (Getcha) who was fired from his job as bishop of the now-defunct rue Daru group because of his dictatorial style, complete incompetence, and utter inability (and lack of desire) to connect with any of his flock. Though that seems about what C’ple wants in its bishops these days…..
      This “bishop” Job (Getcha) is a Ukrainian Canadian, a group well known for its vehement anti-Russian attitude and its connections with the Nazis of old. 
      If C’ple ever magically unilaterally “revokes” the Church of Russia’s autocephaly, it will see even more clearly how few people in the Orthodox world care what it says or look to it anymore for leadership or guidance.
      The only ones who care what C’ple does these days are western organizations like the BBC (who interviewed the bishop as discussed) or the US state department, who are always ready to use C’ple to drum up anti-Russianism and to try to draw collapsing TV viewership.
      And like a lackey, C’ple is happy to let these western organizations use it however these organizations wish.  Sickening. 
      More and more I just wish that C’ple would formally unite with Rome already, so it could cease pretending that it’s still Orthodox Christian. Enough already. 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yeah, I’ve wondered if he would try to do the same thing but, honestly, if he could “snap his fingers” and make Moscow go away, I think he would have done it by now.

      What he is seemingly choosing to do is what my grandmother used to call:  “Say yes and saw wood.”  It means to nod your head in agreement and then go out and do precisely what you want.   That’s what he did in Ukraine.

  4. “We all know Bartholomew is afraid of Russia taking over his ecumenical throne and has said so to anyone and everyone in the State Department who will listen.”
    What if the present sultan will be more inclined to listen to the Russians? 😉

  5. Gail Sheppard says

    Just this week, Bartholomew was talking about unity and Pope Francis was talking about unity, which is why WE need to be talking about it. Sending Saint Peter’s relics was a sign from Francis that it is “on.” He confirmed that. – Interestingly, Pope Francis is ALSO talking about a schism in the RC where the traditionalist separate from the modernists. Most of the RC traditionalists are in America so we need to start building Churches big enough for them to become Orthodox (the RIGHT way).

    ROME – Pope Francis said giving fragments of St. Peter’s bones to the head of the church founded by Peter’s brother, St. Andrew, was meant to be a reminder and encouragement of the journey toward Christian unity.

    In a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Francis explained in detail the reasons he sent him a bronze reliquary containing nine bone fragments in late June. The unexpected gift had been presented to Archbishop Job of Telmessos, the patriarch’s representative, at the Vatican June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

    Addressing the patriarch as “Your holiness, dear brother,” the pope wrote that he wanted to give the bones, believed to be St. Peter’s, to the patriarch and “the beloved church of Constantinople over which you preside with such devotion.”

    “This gesture is intended to be a confirmation of the journey that our churches have made in drawing closer to one another: a journey at times demanding and difficult, yet one accompanied by evident signs of God’s grace,” he wrote. The letter, dated Aug. 30, was released by the Vatican Sept. 13.

    During a moment of prayer and reflection about “our mutual determination to advance together toward full communion,” the pope said he thought about their predecessors’ historic meeting in Jerusalem more than 50 years ago and the gift Patriarch Athenagoras gave to St. Paul VI – an icon depicting the brothers Peter and Andrew “embracing, united in faith and in love of their common Lord.”

    The apostles Peter and Andrew are the respective patron saints of the churches of Rome and Constantinople, and Francis said he felt “it would be highly significant” for some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter to be placed beside the relics of the Apostle Andrew.

    The fragments came from a funerary niche discovered in 1952 under the high altar in St. Peter’s Basilica. While bones remain in the niche, St. Paul VI had nine fragments removed and placed in a special reliquary that was kept in his private chapel in the papal apartments.

    The only time the bronze reliquary had been displayed publicly was in November 2013, when Francis presented it for public veneration as he celebrated the closing Mass for the Year of Faith, opened by Pope Benedict XVI.

    After Mass June 29 this year, Francis brought Job to the chapel of the old papal apartment and offered the reliquary to his guest as a gift for his “brother” Bartholomew.

    It was “another gigantic step toward concrete unity,” Job said.

    The patriarch said he was “deeply moved” and described this “brave and bold initiative of Pope Francis” as a “grand, fraternal and historic gesture.”

    Francis wrote in his letter, “The joining of the relics of the two brother apostles can also serve as a constant reminder and encouragement that, on this continuing journey, our divergences will no longer stand in the way of our common witness and our evangelizing mission in the service of a human family that today is tempted to build a purely secular future, a future without God.”

    Discussion about the potential schism in RC:

  6. “Well, it has come to our attention that both Theodore and Chrysostomos (and no doubt other hierarchs) may be seeing something we don’t. ”
    The experiment of Living Church was overcome by patience and shunning (Matthew 18:17).  The faithful did it, while the honest hierarchs were in prisons.

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