“Like the Archangel Michael, O glorious one, thou didst vie with an earthly Lucifer who, grievously puffed up with pride, set his throne higher than the stars, and thou didst say, Let us stand aright! Let us stand in the precious traditions of the Fathers!” (Matins for St. Photios the Great. A verse from the Praises).
The above verses reveal the great spiritual struggle of St. Photios of Constantinople against the rising tide of Papal pretensions in his day (roughly the 800’s). The Pope (Nicholas) at that time began to aggressively promote the supremacy of the Rome Patriarch over his brother Patriarchs and Bishops. St. Photios valiantly opposed this great arrogance. Through his diligent labors, the tragedy of Roman arrogance was abated for the next 200 years or so. Sadly, Rome eventually could not resist the temptation of exclusive power claims over the whole church. In 1054 (more or less) Rome left the Catholic Church to pursue its desire for supreme power.
The Church in her hymns equates the arrogant claims and actions of Roman supremacy to the pride of Lucifer.
Anytime one Hierarch claims exclusive supremacy over the other Hierarchs within the Church, such a one is operating in the same spirit of Rome, who followed the arrogance of Lucifer.
In a previous blog post I considered and offered some comments on the Assembly of Canonical Bishops for N. America’s call to preserve and build up unity in America. A worthy call in and of itself.
The Assembly is chaired, of course, by the head of the Greek Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Elpidophoros. He is an extreme supporter of the universal power of the Ecumenical Patriarch (EP). He is the brainchild (one of them) of a theory which could easily be labeled the supremacy of the EP: Primus sine paribus. The full motto goes like this – As the Archbishop of Constantinople he is ‘one among‘ equals, as the Patriarch of Constantinople he is ‘first among’ equals, and as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople he is ‘first without’ equal.
Archbp. Elpidophoros teaches the very person of the EP to be the source of unity and primacy for the universal Church. Based on this we can, I think, safely assume that his vision of unity in America (and the whole world) is founded upon the person of the EP. Adherence to the person of the EP, not to the Living Tradition of Holy Orthodoxy, becomes the hallmark, in their minds, of “Orthodoxy.”
Many very astute men have already examined this false teaching, here is another very good article on the subject by Priest Alexander Mazyrin. I encourage everyone to read it. I agree in full with his statement that the teaching at hand is heresy. It is not altogether novel, since Rome of old already made such pretensions.
Ultimately the first “heretic” of this mindset was Lucifer, who desired for himself that which belonged to God alone. The only Person to whom unity and primacy are innate is the Person of Christ Jesus the Lord Who is both Cornerstone and Head of the Church (cf. Eph. 1:22, 2:20). For a mere man to usurp this role and ascribe it to himself is of the greatest folly and arrogance.
Of what unity do we speak, specifically in America? It is obvious that the only vision held by the one who chairs the Assembly of Canonical Bishops for N. America is that of unity around the person of the EP (very possibly he hopes to be the Patriarch of Constantinople himself one day, how handy would that be?).
Their new criteria of “orthodoxy” is blind submission to the EP. This has already been exemplified by those who are falling in line to submit to him. I pointed out in another article how the false hierarch, Epiphany of Apostasy, set as his “dream,” in basic, the fulfilling of the desires of the EP – see “An Epiphany of Dark Intentions.” His dream is not to preserve the light of Christ but the flame of the EP.
This is again exemplified in recent statements by the Patriarch of Alexandria. The studious reader will note how Pat. Theodoros refers to the EP as “our Patriarch.” This is a bit odd since Alexandria is supposedly a Patriarchate also, and older in the diptychs than Constantinople. He uses the same phrase again when he says, “Other churches will follow our Patriarch …” (Too bad St. Cyrill did not know he was to simply follow “our Patriarch” of Constantinople, Nestorius, when the latter demanded that Alexandria fall in line in the 400’s!) His language betrays that he sees himself as below the EP and not an equal to him, as is the Traditional view.
Why “our”? Because it refers to the “Greek” ethnos, which maintains heavy control over a number of the ancient Patriarchal thrones, and is using political, monetary, and ethnic pressure to manipulate various Patriarchs and Bishops.
It seems that independent Patriarchs are dwindling. As His Eminence, Met. Luke of Zaporozhye, observes they are being enslaved to Mammon.
The point being, as one reads through the statements and articles of those who fall in line with the EP’s vision of world domination, one notices an unhealthy emphasis on the very person of the EP. There is rarely any mention of holding fast to Holy Orthodoxy or Christ Jesus for that matter. Yet again humanistic unity is being set forth in the place of the true unity of the Theoanthropos.
Thus a clear vision emerges, and for Orthodox in America it should be deeply concerning (not to mention for Orthodox around the world). The only unity which will be acceptable to those who rule the Assembly of Canonical Bishops for N. America is one that is found under subservience to the EP. The emerging message is very simple – submit.
The EP has already revealed his willingness to begin deconstructing Orthodoxy. This is why groups such as “pubic orthodoxy” (more aptly “public heresy”) and “orthodoxy in dialogue” (or rather “orthodoxy in apostasy”) are very supportive if the EP’s actions in Ukraine, for example. They perceive the EP as a primary ally in their desire to “reconstruct” Orthodoxy, making of it Globaldoxy. In the place of Christ our Lord all such ones will be united around the very person of the EP. The very person of the EP – in its current state – will manufacture a “new and improved” gospel. And together with the other person of supremacy – the pope of Rome – they will preach this new anti-gospel, which through divisive and violent means will carve out a facade of “unity.”
We are being confronted with a purely humanistic unity, one which will only end in the desires of the flesh. They “desire to make a good showing in the flesh … only that they may not suffer persecution for the Cross of Christ” (Gal. 6:12-13). Humanistic unity is the foundation of the system of antichrist, and it will gladly use religious jargon and personage to promote it. Humanistic unity ultimately has its source in the arrogance of Lucifer.
If we are to have true and lasting Orthodox unity in America, and throughout the world, then we must, as one of the starting points, reject false unions. We must give a resounding NO to any “unity” that is not founded upon our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. As honorable as Patriarchs are, their “persons” are not sources of unity, for they are mere men and not the God-Man. Only founded upon the Divine Person of the God-Man, and guided by Him, is true unity to be found. Only His Person is substantial enough to unify, that is why the Scriptures and the Fathers call Christ alone the Head of the Church.
We must also understand that the unity of the Church is not quantitative but qualitative. It may be that a majority will follow the EP down the path of heresy and false unity. We may see more Hierarchs step forward and support the anti-Church actions of the EP, his support for schismatics and division for the sake of building his own empire. We must remember that there have been numerous times throughout history when a majority in the institution of the Church fell into heresy, such as in the times of St. Athanasius the Great and St. Maximos the Confessor. Let us prepare our hearts to suffer and stand fast.
Considering the vision of unity espoused by the chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops for N. America’s it would seem that the Assembly can bring no true and productive answer or resolution to America; thus it is obsolete unless of course we all simply want to serve the “first without equals.” Or the other Hierarchs could stand up and firmly and courageously reject this innovative false unity …
At least, let all of us reject every false unity and those who would exalt their thrones above their brothers, claiming to be without equals, and let us say with St. Photios and the Holy Archangel Michael, “Let us stand aright!, Let us stand in the precious Traditions of our Fathers!”