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The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church May Recognize Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as a Schismatic, Says Expert

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Moscow Council of the Russian Orthodox Church May Recognize Patriarch Bartholomew as a Schismatic

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is considering recognizing Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as a schismatic, according to Alexei Makarkin, deputy head of the Center for Political Technologies. However, the likelihood of recognizing him as a heretic is very small.

Approval of Document on Distortion of Orthodox Teaching

The Bishops’ Conference of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has approved a document that addresses the distortion of Orthodox teaching about the Church in the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The document declares the claims of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to primacy of power among the local Orthodox Churches as illegal.

Council of Bishops and the Assessment of Patriarch Bartholomew

According to Makarkin, it is highly probable that during a session of the Council of Bishops, a decision will be made to declare Patriarch Bartholomew a schismatic for violating canonical norms. However, Makarkin believes that using the term “heretic” is too strong and binding.

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Challenges in Convening the Bishops’ Council

Makarkin also highlights the difficulties in convening the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the challenge of gathering a quorum with the participation of Ukrainian bishops.

The Implications of Recognizing Patriarch Bartholomew as a Heretic

Makarkin explains that recognizing Patriarch Bartholomew as a heretic would mean that any church serving with him would be considered outside ecclesiastical communion and unacceptable to the Church. However, no other local Orthodox Church has broken communion with Constantinople, and if the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes Constantinople as a heretic, it would not be recognized as a unified decision by all Orthodox Churches.

Harshness of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission’s Conclusion

Makarkin points out that the conclusion of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission, while condemning Constantinople’s claim to primacy of power, does not directly accuse Patriarch Bartholomew of heresy or use strong language in reference to church abuses.

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