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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Orthodox ecclesiology


Position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the problem of primacy in the Universal Church

An excellent summary from the Moscow Patriarchate, via Ad Orientem.

It struck me the other day that Rome, trying to hang on to everybody ended up losing many: Britain, Germany, Scandinavia. In fact, Rome may lose all of Europe, with the Vatican left as a rump Christian presence surrounded by atheists and Muslims, dependent on remittances from the Global South.

That seems to be an archetype of human history: the harder you try to hang on to people, the more they chafe and try to get away. Maybe if those Italian popes had recognized that British, German and Scandinavian Churches had different, non-Latin cultures and different temporal outlooks and told them okay, you can have your own Church, then maybe the Protestant Reformation wouldn't have happened. The Catholic Church seems most virile where she acts more like the Church Local: Hungary, France, Croatia, Poland.

Rome seems unable to come to terms with a post-Imperial, multi-polar world, so they're jumping on the universal democracy bandwagon, anticipating a seat at the table of the global democratic empire. They'll get completely cozy with this about the time whole countries start rejecting democracy and the UN becomes an utterly irrelevant joke.

Of course, we have our own obtuseness on this side of the Bosphorous. As John/Ad Orientem notes, this memorandum may be more directed to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who also seems to have no idea what to do in the absence of Empire. Constantinople has been trying to hang on to everything for a long time as well, and now "Constantinople" is a tiny, Greek Christian ghetto surrounded by Muslim Turks, dependent on remittances from North America.

And of course, Moscow, Antioch and all the rest seem just baffled by the modern reality that people can pick up and leave when the jobs disappear or the bullets start flying. So, again, they do what hierarchical organizations always do: try to hang on to the way things were, imagining that their out-married, English-speaking, Americanized flock is still just in diaspora.

6 comments:

Trifon Kupanoff said...

How might Constantinople have better handled the circumstances that have led to its demographic dwindling?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Don't lose wars to Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why Moscow got a mention in your last paragraph. Seems to go against what you were trying to say.

Trifon Kupanoff said...

"As John/Ad Orientem notes, this memorandum may be more directed to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who also seems to have no idea what to do in the absence of Empire."

Is that not insulting? And does it apply to the current Patriarch or every Ecumenical Patriarch since the decline of the Eastern Roman Empire?

It seems the Moscow synodal document did catch the eye of Constantinople:

http://www.patriarchate.org/documents/first-without-equals-elpidophoros-lambriniadis

The Anti-Gnostic said...

No, I think I've summarized things accurately.

I'm not sure any of the Patriarchates anywhere have had much of a clue since about 1000 A.D.

Trifon Kupanoff said...

I think I understand what you mean now. I've just started reading Christos Yannaras' _Orthodoxy and the West_, and it seems like since the Ottoman domination, then the Reformation and then the Enlightenment, many of the Orthodox were enamored of these Western European developments while being somewhat divorced from their own traditions.

And since the Greek Revolution it seems that what has become modern Greece has been largely divorced from its past.