Monday, August 9, 2010

The Orthodox Christian Church's Patriarch Bartholomew


  1. I remember seeing this. My heart really went out to the man. I just can't imagine trying to live, let alone head one of the local Orthodox churches under such conditions. His humility and and loyalty in this matter are to be commended.

    At the same time, one cannot help but feel that things could be somewhat easier for him if he were to stop repeatedly alienating the other local churches who may otherwise be more willing, (especially the Russian church), to use what influence they may have to try to ease the conditions under which the Constantinopolitan church exists. Yet we see his power-grabbing time and time again - in Ukraine, Estonia, the United Kingdom - uncanonically claiming jurisdiction where he has none and acting accordingly, poaching clergy without the canonical consent of their own churches or bishops, and claiming he has the right to do so - it is not of Christ. The Antiochian church publicly supported him when he did this to the Russian church in the UK, causing immense disruption to Orthodox life here. Of course, a few short months later, he did the same thing to the Antiochian church in North America, freely accepting clergy who were under canonical suspension with no reference whatsoever to their own bishops. Again, this caused disruption but I did not follow this case to see how, if at all, it was resolved.

    I sometimes wonder whether he would be doing all of this desperate grabbing for power and authority if the situation on his own canonical territory were not so dire. It seems that this is a self-perpetuating problem started by the evil one and perpetuated by human weakness. One might argue that the other churches should simply break the cycle by doing what they can to help. On the other hand, I can certainly see how they may wish to have some pledge of honesty and decency from him before they exert any effort at putting him in a better position to continue his antics, but so far no evidence of this has been forthcoming.

    None of that, of course, even touches on the ecclesiological "irregularities" (to be reserved), that one sees emanating from the Constantinopolitan church. The Athonite fathers have protested enough times for him to take notice, but he ignores them at best andk, as for the worst, all I can say is that we need to pray for the poor monks of Esphigmenou.

  2. Before crying too many tears, please see what this man has to say about "abortion rights" (from

    A Not So Pro-life Patriarch . . .
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 9:00 AM
    Hunter Baker

    File this under “U” for Ugh.

    John Couretas is drawing attention to statements by Metropolitan Bartholomeis of Chalcedon. And wow, these are some pretty “unorthodox” statements regarding the sanctity of life from a member of the Orthodox clergy. Take it away, John:

    Here is a direct quotation from a July 20, 1990, article, “SF Shows Off Its Ecumenical Spirit,” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Metropolitan Bartholomais of Chalcedon is the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    Asked the Orthodox church’s position on abortion, Bartholomais described a stand more liberal than that of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns abortion in all cases and whose clergy have, in some cities, excommunicated leading pro-choice Catholics.

    Although the Orthodox church believes the soul enters the body at conception and, ”generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy,” Bartholomais said, the church also ”respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples.”

    ”We are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian couples,” he said. ”We cannot generalize. There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion.”

    The statement was made in 1990, but Couretas goes on to highlight the same theme in the patriarch’s thought through the years. For a church that talks about being founded in 32 b.c. this is quite a divergence from early Christian practice, which consistently exhibited tremendous concern for the value of human life.