Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany:
“Today’s Schism Risks Being More Serious than the Schism of 1054”
There is no longer any point to hiding that the policies of Constantinople are the policies of division, opines a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Interview by Natalia Goroshkova
– Vladyko, believers are shocked by the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate, though even earlier in the 20th century, one saw similar policies on the part of the Patriarchs of Constantinople. In your opinion, to what extent are the actions of the politicians of Phanar systemic, or are they simply the opinion of Patriarch Bartholomew alone? Is there a way out of this situation?
– These are unambiguously systemic actions.
ROCOR never harbored illusions regarding Constantinople. We have said long ago that their viewpoint in many ways is uncanonical, but no one paid us heed. Today, the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church has recognized that the unbrotherly actions of Constantinople sow discord and introduce division.
For many years, the negative actions of the Phanar drew no comment, their capricious behavior was endured in silence.
But today there is no point in hiding the fact that the policy of Constantinople is one of fragmentation. Their actions bring turmoil and schism to Universal Orthodoxy.
Earlier, the Greeks unilaterally changed the calendar, at the beginning of the last century. Since then we do not celebrate church holidays together with them. Only a few times, during Great Lent and Pascha, do we share some moveable feasts.
The recognition of a new pseudo-church structure in Ukraine and the granting by the Patriarch of Constantinople of a tomos for its autonomy is a step that led to suffering and conflict. This situation has led to a problem that will last for many years.
We can state today that there is an enormous difference and distance between the points of view of the Constantinople Patriarchate and all the other Local Orthodox Churches, which never recognized the pretensions of the Phanar that it occupies an exclusive position with regard to other Churches. The One Catholic and Apostolic Church endured many persecutions and suppressions, yet survived because she held fast to traditional Orthodox, dialogical, conciliar norms and canons.
The Church of Christ cannot serve as an instrument in geopolitical wars. She must in all difficult situations and crises maintain an open, internal ecclesial dialog.
I think that today’s schism risks being more serious than the Schism of 1054.
Today I see no concrete way out of this situation; I’m afraid that nothing can be fixed, but we will do everything that is within our power to preserve the purity of Orthodox teaching.