Reader Disagrees with Kalmoukos on Autocephaly

FILE - In this May 4, 2004 file photo, a full moon rises above the golden domes of the Orthodox Monastery of the Caves in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

To the Editor:

This is in response to recent commentary by Theodore Kalmoukos. As a sympathizer of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP), I have become profoundly distressed and disturbed by the Church of Constantinople’s violation of Church Canons and ecclesiology through its intervention in the affairs of Ukraine. It has long been established that the Ukrainian Church is under the omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Church. All local and autocephalous Churches recognize only the Church of Metropolitan Onuphry (Moscow Patriarchate) as being canonical and possessing catholicity and apostolicity.

The Orthodox Church is conciliar and decisions can only be made by consensus through the agreement of all local Churches. All agree that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is “first among equals.” and possesses a “primacy of honor,” but that does not give the see of Constantinople the right to grant Autocephaly to ecclesiastical territories belonging to another Autocephalous church. Nor does Constantinople have the right to overturn the “Anathemas” imposed on the Ukrainian schismatics by Moscow.

The EP’s actions have created alarm throughout the Orthodox world to the extent that Synods of many local Churches have met and endorsed the convening of a Council in order to resolve the Church crisis.

With all due respect to Mr. Kalmoukos, whose work I admire, and to the EP itself, the Russian Church has been wronged in Ukraine. It is also inaccurate to accuse the Moscow Patriarchate of having a mindset of “secular nationalism.” Orthodox Russia today stands as the fighter for Christian faith against Jihadism in Syria and against the depravity of western secular social values. While Russia continues building more churches and monasteries and embraces the faith of Christ, our beloved Greece is led by an atheist prime minister who has legalized same sex marriage and transgenderism while removing Orthodox faith from public schools and buildings.

Criticism of the Church of Greece, like that of Russia, is also unwarranted. The Greek Church has been performing magnificently by the work carried out by laypersons and clerics alike in providing humanitarian relief for migrants who have reached the Greek islands and for ordinary Greeks themselves, while trying to defend itself and the Greek family from the Tsipras government. Many of its sophisticated bishops, priests, and theologians opposed the pseudo-Council of Crete for valid reasons and they deserve respect.

Theodore G. Karakostas

Boston, MA