No one was in any doubt as to whether Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew can reshuffle the cards. His leadership talent is obvious for almost fifty years now. For decades now, he has confronted (in some places he was the winner) primates (see late Archbishop of Athens, Christodoulos), all-powerful states (see the Russians) and managed to overcome great difficulties that seemed insurmountable.
He was the winner most of the time. This time the Ecumenical Patriarch makes some choices that reorganize the human resources in the Patriarchate. But for what purpose?
To strengthen the institution all over the world so that the Russians have no willingness for domination. In addition, to cover his back at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. For at least as many years as God will let him live and remain on the throne.
The role of Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon
They write and say that the Ecumenical Patriarch gave Emmanuel the ring of succession. He made him “major general” so that he will be the next Patriarch after him. With all due respect to those who believe in easy scenarios, I have grave doubts about that.
For Bartholomew, all these things are obvious. The obvious when we talk about Bartholomew never came true and those who made predictions always lost. Emmanuel enjoys the appreciation and confidence of the Patriarch.
In his enthronement speech, he spoke about him with warm words and so did the Patriarch. He trusts him and knows that she will have him by his side as much as he needs. But not to become a Patriarch.
Emmanuel went to the Phanar for two reasons. To become the “opponent” of the Elder Metropolitan of Princes’ Islands, Dimitrios, who never hid his aspiration to become the next Patriarch. In a few words, to cut him down to size. The second reason for Emmanuel’s presence in Constantinople is to share with the Phanariots his experience from many years of ministry in the diocese of the Ecumenical Throne.
The Three Bodyguards
The Ecumenical Patriarch also has three bodyguards to accompany Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon. The two are spiritual children of the Metropolitan of Arkalochorion who never had excellent relations with the Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon.
The three bodyguards of Bartholomew who will support him in the Phanar are the newly elected Metropolitan of Bursa, Joachim, Grand Protosyncellus Theodoros (spiritual children of Metropolitan of Arkalochorion) and Metropolitan Andreas of Saranda Ekklisies, who comes from Patras.
With the experience of Emmanuel from the diocese of the Ecumenical Throne and the three sworn children of Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch shields both the institution and himself. Against the aspirations of the Elder Metropolitan of Princes’ Islands regarding the Patriarch and against the Russian obstacles due to the Ukrainian autocephaly issue.
The Ecumenical Patriarch has many open issues. However, he wants to have allies by his side. If you take into consideration Archbishop Elpidophoros who supports him (to whom Bartholomew gave the opportunity to gain great experience from his ministry in a diocese of the Ecumenical Throne), then Bartholomew regains power.
Both in the Phanar and in the dioceses of the Ecumenical Throne. They all work and serve both the Patriarch and the institution.
From the column of Greek edition orthodoxtimes.gr, Melchizedek