Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew spoke in very strong terms against the Moscow Patriarchate in an interview he gave on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his election as Ecumenical Patriarch.
Speaking to the Cypriot newspaper “Politis,” the Ecumenical Patriarch spoke about the great church issue following the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
As he stressed, “we did not consider geopolitical interests, and, in fact, from the point of view that is attributed to us, nor financial interests. Geopolitical developments have entered the life of the Church and we see this in all the Autocephalous Churches created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
I am under pressure and derided to give in to the secular demands of those who, in the face of our canonical and historical arguments, demonstrate their economic and secular strength and power, even towards Churches that are politically dependent on “their good word”.
Bartholomew proved that he does not give in to pressure. I have been, by the Grace of God, Ecumenical Patriarch for thirty years.”
The personal war with slander against me but mainly the slanderous campaign against the historical responsibilities of the Throne that christianized them, not to mention civilized them, without altering the language, manners and customs, is the one that creates a feeling of fear and reluctance in the other Churches not to identify and align with the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
“How did the Ecumenical Patriarchate benefit from Ukraine’s Autocephaly on a secular level?” What did it win? Insults, defamation, slander, shame and humiliation. On the contrary, those who fought against this action are committed to a “dream” according to which political plans worldwide are served by chariot to the Church. Αnd no more needs to be said,” he emphasized.
The Ecumenical Patriarch commented that the so-called “primacy” of Constantinople is a new invention, as it is used with a negative connotation and described as “papal,” obviously wanting to irritate and scandalize some of our brothers. I want to ask: Doesn’t every Diocese have a First? Doesn’t every Church have a First?
If we do not have a First then we are a federation of local administrative church groups and not the society, as our ecclesiology stipulates, of local Churches headed by the First.
This federation, the new ecclesiology, shows that some brothers do not follow in the footsteps of our fathers.
In short, the true First only helps, only sacrifices, is not spent, empties itself, loses in order for the world to win, is crucified, but until then!
From this point of view, we were certainly upset in the Phanar by the initiative for the “fraternal meeting” in Amman. These are all new things for the teaching of our Church and its tradition.
Inextricable ties with Greece and Cyprus
The ties with the sister Churches of Cyprus and of Greece are strong from time immemorial. We are connected by relationships of close cooperation, mutual understanding and solidarity.
Our anguish is common to the Church’s testimony to the modern world and to the strengthening of God’s people in the ever-changing reality in which we live.
Finally, the Ecumenical Patriarch called on everyone to be vaccinated, and to listen to the advice of doctors on the subject of the pandemic, commenting that “the coronavirus did not and does not discriminate.
The issue is not open to controversy, which, after all, causes polarization and division. We must trust the medical community, which alone has the knowledge to give answers to every concern, to every doubt, but also to every fake news and conspiracy theory that circulates and can mislead a person who is afraid of a wrong decision.
In these critical moments, some cannot deny reality, deny the voice of reason, deny the positive contribution of the scientific community to the struggle that we as humanity are waging against the coronavirus.