His All-Holiness officiated from the throne at the Metochion of Vatopaidi in Galata.
“What is being disseminated through various sites about “papal pretensions” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Modesty is completely baseless and surreptitious. Regarding this, we reiterate what Metropolitan Kallinikos Delikanis of Caesarea of blessed memory stated: “The guardianship, care, and support when Great Church of Christ provides intervention –on her own initiative and as a matter of duty on the one hand, and at the request of those concerned on the other hand – and the offering of her effective contribution to the arbitration and resolution of disputes that arise between the Churches of God… is never tardy or lacking.” This is our responsibility. This is our sacred legacy. This is evidenced by facts and documents. We have no right to deny it! The rumors about other intentions and situations is always fake news", stressed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his speech, after the Divine Liturgy, in which he officiated, today, Monday, December 14, 2020. The occasion was the feast of Saint Apostle Andrew, the First Called, according to the Julian calendar, at the eponymous Metochion of Vatopaidi in Galata, granted for the church needs of the Slavic-speaking Community of Constantinople.
In his speech, His All-Holiness referred particularly to the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora, in the context of the decisions of the Holy and Great Synod.
“The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the formal founding of the Russian Diaspora in Western Europe and North America. The violent establishment of the communist regime in Russia led countless citizens to flee, resulting in a change in the composition of the Orthodox Diaspora in the West. To the ordinary immigrants and refugees were added many people with excellent education and theological training, who were able to present the Orthodox tradition and culture at a high spiritual and intellectual level. During the two decades of the Ιnterwar period, a real theological renaissance took place, characteristic of which was the "return to the Fathers" and the fruitful corrective to Western thought. It was then that a robust identity was formed in Orthodox theology, which still bears fruit today. The names Sergei Bulgakov, Georges Florovsky, Nicholas Afanasiev, Alexander Schmemann, and, more philosophically, Nikolai Berdyaev, among many others, testify to the progress made.
“Certainly, the course of the Orthodox Diaspora, during the past century, also had obstacles, mainly the issue of multiple jurisdictions and the more than one Orthodox bishop in the same place. The Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 2016) dealt with the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora and decided to maintain the Episcopal Assemblies. It was declared that the common will of the Orthodox Churches is to resolve this issue "as soon as possible", so that "canonical exactness" can be applied and there can be "only one bishop in the same place". This is required by Orthodox ecclesiology and the canonical tradition and practice of the Church (see the text of the Holy and Great Synod, Orthodox Diaspora)."
The Ecumenical Patriarch then emphasized:
“The only solution to the problems of the Orthodox Diaspora is "adherence to the spirit and framework of the 28th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council", which is the "golden rule" for the "structure and arrangement of Orthodox things in the Diaspora" (Metropolitan Maximos of Sardis. The Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Orthodox Church, Thessaloniki 1972, p. 332). In the undiminished care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the stability of Orthodoxy, principles foreign to the canonical tradition of the Church, established by Ecumenical Councils and sanctified by the century-long church practice, were never applied. In this sense, as it is very accurately written, "the capital seat of the Ecumenical Throne in the Orthodox East", is "not an anachronistic event of the past", but "a living and active principle" (ibid., P. 334) .”
His All-Holiness expressed his Patriarchal satisfaction to the head priest and Preacher of the Metochion, the Very Rev. Panaretos, as well as to the new Archimandrite of the Most Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople, Fr. Victor, whom he had ordained a little earlier, "for their faithful priestly and pastoral ministry." He congratulated all their enthusiastic associates for their offering and thanked all the faithful who participated in today's festival. "Those Orthodox believers living in Constantinople and throughout our country are the spiritual children of the Mother Church of Constantinople, which surrounds them with abundant love," the Patriarch stressed.
Concluding his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch welcomed the present members of the handball team "Anorthosis", from Cyprus, as well as the leaders of the team, Honorable Messrs. Konstantinos Filaretos and Andreas Andreou. "We are used to telling those Orthodox believers who come to Constantinople that they are not just visitors, but worshippers in a place where the history of the Church and the Genos was written in golden letters, where even today the heart of Orthodoxy continues to beat. We ask you to convey to His Beatitude, our beloved Brother, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, the love and cordial wishes of the Church of Constantinople and us personally. We hold His Beatitude in great regard and honor ," concluded His All-Holiness.