Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Ecumenical Patriarch: Ethnophyletism is a permanent thorn in the relations of the Orthodox Churches

The International Theological Conference on “Saint Gennadius Scholarius – Between East and West” was inaugurated on Monday, September 12, 2022, by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in the presence of Hierarchs of the Throne, clergy, university professors and students.

In his speech, His All-Holiness pointed out, among other things, that the Patriarchate, which paid a heavy price for its determining contribution to Orthodoxy, while this contribution and this price is often forgotten, remained and remains supranational. It has never served nationalism, which it considers an alienation of the universality of the Church.

Unfortunately, in the Orthodox world, ethnophyletism, despite the Synod’s condemnation of it as an heresy, continues to be a permanent temptation and “thorn” in the relations of the Orthodox Churches. The continuing friction between the Autocephalous Churches, the intractable problems of the Orthodox Diaspora, and, most recently, the instrumentalization of the Holy Eucharist by the Russian Church and its transformation into a means of exercising ecclesiastical politics in the case of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, reveal the truth of the matter.

The Saint of Pergamos characterizes ethnophyletism as ‘the greatest danger for the unity of Orthodoxy’ and praises the attitude of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on this point and its essential mission in the present and in the future as a supranational centre. The reverend hierarch has written: ‘Without the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Orthodoxy will fall into the vortex of nationalisms, the boasting of the past, the introversion of self-sufficiency, the contempt of the modern world.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has proved that it can transform the past into the present, the present into the future, yesterday and today into tomorrow. This is because, beyond its institutional status, it is the bearer of an open mentality, a universality and a sensitivity for the human being of every era. And this is the human guarantee of its future’ (Kosmou Lytron, p. 283).

This is the legacy bequeathed to us by Patriarch Gennadius, and it is the one that the Ecumenical Patriarchate guards as crown jewel, struggling to save Orthodoxy from being transformed into a “confederation” of Autocephalous State Churches.”

Referring to the importance that Gennadius Scholarius attached to the dialogue, the Patriarch noted:

“Gennadius Scholarius taught us the true meaning of dialogue. Neither theological minimalism nor syncretism have a place in interreligious dialogue. Today we are faced with the so-called ‘interfaith challenge’. Religiously different people are not far from us, but we coexist, cooperate and have a daily ‘dialogue of life’ with them.

With this stance, Gennadius teaches us that today too the dialogue of love and truth with the Roman Catholic Church must move beyond a utopian Unionism and a holy Anti-unionism. In authentic dialogue there are no losers. The danger is not dialogue and openness but the denial of them, a barren introversion and a phobic closed-mindedness.”

More Photos: Nikos Papachristou / Ecumenical Patriarchate