+Bartholomew seeks to restart ecumenical progress

Via Byzantine, Texas
CONSTANTINOPLE (OCL) – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is attempting to inaugurate a new path and new dynamics of rapprochement and reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church in conjunction with the Theological Dialogue working towards the Eucharistic Union of the Churches...
The patriarch revealed that “our Holy Orthodox Church finds itself in the delightful position of announcing that the preparation of its Holy and Great Synod has almost been completed, that it is in its final stages and will be convoked in the near future. It will pronounce upon the issue, among others, of the dialogues of Orthodoxy with the other Churches and it will take the fitting decisions in unity and authenticity so that we may progress toward the ‘unity of faith’ in the communion of the Holy Spirit in the surety that ‘To lovers of the truth nothing can be put before God and hope in Him’ (Basil the Great, To Eustathius the Physician, Letter 151, PG 32.608B; NPNF2-8:604).”

From my seat way, way in the furthest spot of the furthest pew in the very back row of Orthodoxy, this seems terribly naive and premature. First, Rome does not need ecumenicism. Rome has declared her universal jurisdiction and acts like it, with her Eastern Rites and established, august dioceses across the globe. Rome need not cede an inch on a single point of doctrine, so why would she. Second, Orthodox ecclesiology is a train wreck, with its multiple jurisdictions and seeming inability to grapple with the reality of the modern secular state.

Tend to our own flock first. Is the Orthodox Church in America autocephalous or not? If so, what is ROCOR, and why? What is Antioch, the Greeks, plus a few others I'm surely forgetting and why? Are we missions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate or still the Churches in diaspora? (Ask that question on Rorate Caeli and let me know what they say. I'll save you the time and tell you it won't be either of the foregoing.)

Maybe these questions are on the Great Synod's agenda but surely they have to be answered first. Then we can start thinking about ecumenicism.

God's will be done, and these are just a sinner's rantings.


Visibilium said…
I'd contend that "train wreck" ecclesiology is indispensible to my salvation.

The EP is trying vainly not to get totally shut out of the ecumenical dialogues. He's supposed to be our spokesman, you know, but Moscow has more pressing concerns than listening to his chirping.
+Bartholomew has a reputation for raising issues that are on nobody else's plate but his own, agreed.

I think I get your first point but could you elaborate?
Visibilium said…
Frankly, I don't think that Orthodoxy is an organizational train wreck, but it can certainly be disorganized, especially at higher levels. It's not the sleek edifice that Westerners associate with a respectable, successful, business-like operation. The reason for this disorganization is Orthodoxy's localized pastoral emphasis. The localization enables the Church to concern herself with the individual personality, not with the individual as a component of a horde.

The downside of the localized approach has been the emergence of personality cults, wherein converts attach themselves to caring, charismatic clergy. When such clergy have demonstrated sizable all-too-human frailties, their flocks have suffered varying degrees of disillusionment with Orthodoxy. Sometimes the disillusionment has been severe and permanent.
I am thinking especially about the multi-jurisdictional situation in the Americas and Europe. Subdivision is generally a good thing, but multiple jurisdictions beholden to different Patriarchs across the ocean results in church-shopping, fewer resources and lack of unity of purpose. It also reinforces the idea of the Western nations as the world's crash pads. Good places to make money, rent-seek and extract concessions, while trashing the idea that the folks already there might have legitimate claims to their own sense of nationhood and, by extension, their own national Church.