No Pope in the Orthodox Church, No Threat to Traditional Christian Faith

Let me illustrate, somewhat crudely, how little the Patriarch of Constantinople matters. 

Patriarch Bartholomew could marry a homosexual lover on the steps of the Vatican at a “wedding” co-officiated by the Pope and a Satanic High Priest, after which he could pledge eternal devotion to one of the Pope’s spare Pachamama idols – and the practical impact on the Orthodox Faith would be exactly nil. To be honest, the same thing could be said about any bishop, or even a synod of bishops. No one has the power to change the Orthodox Faith . . .

Originally appeared at: Orthodox Reflections

One of the latest controversies in the Roman Catholic Church was sparked by director Evgeny Afineevsky’s documentary called Francesco featuring several interviews done with Pope Francis. Among the Pope’s statements that caused a stir was this legitimization of homosexual civil unions, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they [homosexuals] are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

Immediately the Catholic faithful launched into a bitter war of words over what the Pope meant by his statements. As a non-Catholic, this is not an argument in which I am qualified to participate. However, there is one aspect of this lamentable situation which directly relates to my own Orthodox Faith. The Website Where Peter Is has as a slogan, “Where Peter is, there is the Church.” In other words, the Church is defined as the body of believers headed by the Pope and in communion with him. No Pope, no Church. Addressing the civil union statements, a writer on that site published an article entitled Has Pope Francis changed Church teaching on same-sex civil unions?

For the record, the author doesn’t believe he has. But from an Orthodox Christian perspective, that isn’t really the point. For us, the headline itself spells out the problem with the Papacy. Roman Catholics accept that the Pope could change Roman Catholic teaching on his own authority. That is why almost every word uttered by the Pope is parsed and argued over. If the Roman Church is defined by the office of the Papacy, then the Roman Catholic Faith appears to be whatever the “Vicar of Christ” says it is. Even if what the Pope says is not in fidelity to the historic teachings of the Christian Faith. Honest Roman Catholics admit this is the case, and they admit there is nothing that can be done about it.

Writing in, Archbishop Vigano wrote the following:

If canonically it is unthinkable to excommunicate a Catholic for the mere fact that he wishes to remain so, politically and strategically this abuse would allow Bergoglio to expel his adversaries from the Church, consolidating his own power. And I repeat: we are not talking about a legitimate operation, but of an abuse that, despite being an abuse, no one would be able to prevent, since “the First See is judged by none” – prima Sedes a nemine judicatur. And since the deposition of a heretical Pope is a canonically unresolved question on which there is no unanimous consent of canonists, anyone who would accuse Bergoglio of heresy would be going down a dead end and would obtain a result only with great difficulty.

And it is exactly this, in my opinion, that Bergoglio’s “magic circle” wants to achieve: to reach the paradoxical situation in which the one who is recognized as Pope is at the same time in a state of schism with the Church he governs, while those who are declared by him to be schismatic for disobedience will find themselves expelled from the Church because of the fact that they are Catholic.

Bergoglio’s action is above all directed outside the Church. The encyclical Fratelli Tutti is an ideological manifesto in which there is nothing Catholic and nothing for Catholics – it is the umpteenth embrassons-nous [“let’s embrace”] of the Masonic matrix, in which universal brotherhood is obtained not, as the Gospel teaches, in recognizing the common fatherhood of God through belonging to the one Church, but rather by the flattening of all religions into a lowest common denominator that is expressed in solidarity, respect for the environment, and pacifism.

With this way of acting, Bergoglio is a candidate for “pontiff” of a new religion, with new commandments, new morals, and new liturgies. He distances himself from the Catholic religion and from Christ, and consequently from the Hierarchy and the faithful, disavowing them and leaving them at the mercy of the globalist dictatorship. Those who do not adapt to this new code will therefore be ostracized by society and by this new “church” as a foreign body.

On October 20 in Rome, Pope Francis prayed for peace along with representatives of the world religions: the motto of that ecumenical ceremony was “No one is saved alone.” But that prayer was addressed indiscriminately to both the True God as well as to the false gods of the pagans, making it clear that the ecumenism propagated by Bergoglio has as its goal the exclusion of Our Lord from human society, because Jesus Christ is considered “divisive,” “a stumbling stone.” This modern man thinks that he can obtain peace by leaving aside the One who said of Himself: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6). It is painful to note that this apostasy of formerly Christian nations is accompanied by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who ought to be the Vicar of Christ, not his enemy.

What a predicament to find yourself in. To be Catholic, you must be in communion with the Pope who is the “successor of Peter” and the “Vicar” of Christ. But the current Pope is a globalist heretic who is altering the faith, possibly even going so far as to create a new one under Masonic influence. To preserve the Catholic Faith, you must oppose the Pope’s innovations, as Archbishop Vigano does. But if you oppose the Pope, you risk no longer being Roman Catholic. The Pope can excommunicate you for your opposition, putting you outside the Church, even if your opposition is clearly grounded in the Apostolic Faith. And, there is no way to remove a Pope even if he is blatantly heretical. Sadly for Roman Catholic Traditionalists, there is nothing you can do because “the First See is judged by none” – prima Sedes a nemine judicatur.

From a traditionalist point of view, the next pope is unlikely to be any better than this one. Waiting this out then is likely to take decades or longer, assuming that a “Catholic” Pope could ever be elected again given the problems in the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. Here is how one Roman Catholic Priest summed up the situation with the bishops after the release of the report on Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick:

This document is just another nail in the coffin of the moral authority and relevance of the episcopacy. They haven’t been relevant to the faithful for quite some time. I think it’s time for priests to now realize (if they already haven’t) that the bishops have abandoned us as well. Every priest is on his own (unless he has some friends he truly trusts).

You have written extensively about the decline of our culture and the impending persecutions. I agree with you. I believe it’s important to realize that these persecutions will come from everyone in power; including the hierarchy who will try to make peace with our persecutors, as we already see them doing with Biden. They are already selling out priests who speak out too strongly against moral evils. The threat to religious liberty in the Church is not particularly from the secularists; it’s from the bishops who refuse to speak out and will sacrifice their priests who disturb the fragile and imaginary peace they seek to maintain with the powerful in the culture.

The Papacy is lost to those who wish to maintain traditional Roman Catholic moral and theological teaching. The office now serves powerful, globalist interests. The parish priests, the good ones, are on their own. There may be a few good bishops left in the Roman Church, but they are not in control and do not constitute a substantial voting block in the College of Cardinals. But even if, at some point, the Roman Catholic Church could bring back a Pope John Paul II or a Pope Benedict XVI, the dilemma presented by the Papacy would still be unresolved.

If you got one Pope Francis, then you can obviously get another one. Nor does the Papal office have the best of histories in any case. Papal pretensions and innovations caused the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation. A talented Orthodox priest gives a summary of many of the issues with Papal innovations in this video. As an Orthodox priest and convert from Roman Catholicism has written, “For a millennium, since causing the Great Schism in 1054, Rome has been the cause of division after division in the West, leading to the splintering of Western Christendom and ultimately to the secularization of the West.”

Roman Catholic Traditionalists are in an unsustainable situation long-term. They can’t wait out the crisis. As Archbishop Vigano has warned, Pope Francis is just getting started. The heresies will shortly get more blatant to the point that even the most die-hard defender of the Papacy will be unable to finesse an explanation.  Traditionalists can’t resolve the crisis by either deposing the Pope or electing a new one. Which means at some point they must recognize the truth of the situation. They can preserve the Papal Office and their communion with it, or they can preserve their allegiance to the Christian Faith. They can’t save both.

Since you can’t be Roman Catholic without the Papacy, and it is maddeningly difficult to be Roman Catholic when the Pope obviously isn’t, the most logical course of action is to convert to Orthodoxy. As the above priest wrote:

The Orthodox Church has never added to or subtracted from the “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), and has never suffered a Reformation, Counter Reformation, or a Revolution as seen at and after the Second Vatican Council. There are no problems with liberal modernism in the Orthodox Church, no waffling on moral teachings, and no movements for women priests, liturgical innovation, or the definition of new dogmas. Despite having no “earthly head” and maintaining the primitive Christian decentralized ecclesiastical structure, the Orthodox Church remains fully united and hasn’t suffered serious schism since 1054. The Orthodox Catholic Church is today what she was 1,000 years ago, 1,500 years ago, 2,000 years ago.

Today, traditional Roman Catholics who enter the Orthodox Church can worship essentially as they always have, only in full sacramental communion and visible unity with the 300 million member Orthodox Catholic Church. Rather than looking back to the 1950s or to the Council of Trent (which isn’t even as old as the Protestant Reformation!) they can fully embrace the Faith and Order of the “Undivided” Church, the Faith of the Church Fathers, the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Canon of St. Vincent of Lerins.

And that is the message that many of us carry to the wonderful, Traditionalist Roman Catholics who are struggling.  Christ is calling them home to the true Church and the true Faith, and many are answering that call. I believe more would, if they did not have a serious misunderstanding of the role of a divisive figure within Orthodoxy – Patriarch Bartholomew II of “Constantinople.” Far too many believe the Ecumenical Patriarch’s role is analogous to the Papacy, and that makes them reluctant to trade one problem with unchecked power for another. Fortunately for the Orthodox Church, while the Patriarch is a problem, he just isn’t a very important one.

Constantinople was only raised in status above a normal bishopric in 381 A.D. The 3rd Canon of the First Council of Constantinople spells out exactly why the Bishop of Constantinople was being elevated, “The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honor after the Bishop of Rome because Constantinople is New Rome.” This was a political decision based on the facts on the ground in the Roman Empire at that time. Unlike the Bishop of Rome, there is nothing equivalent to the “Petrine Theory” that can lend credence to any expansive claims of authority made by Constantinople.

Further, the See of Constantinople was occupied by heretics or schismatics for over 230 years of its entire existence. Nestorius was Patriarch of Constantinople. Clearly, obtaining the office of Patriarch of Constantinople is no guarantee that a man is Orthodox in faith and/or morals. Despite that spotty record, however, the Orthodox Church as a whole has clearly endured and clearly preserved the Deposit of the Faith. That is because the nature of the Orthodox Church can be expressed thusly:

Basic to the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church is the concept of conciliarity. The Church is, in fact, at her core always synod, the literal meaning of the word “Ekklesia.” The concept of conciliarity, i.e., the conciliar or synodal approach to managing the Church’s affairs, is not confined solely to convening various types of synods, but also includes every expression of ecclesiastical life. Through conciliarity, the nature of the Church as theanthropic communion in Christ is expressed. This is why any ecclesiastical practice which is not a result of conciliarity is a deviation from Orthodox ecclesiology.

The preservation of the Orthodox Faith does not depend on any one bishop. Which is why the modernists have such a loathing for the Orthodox Church – its decentralized structure practically defies meaningful infiltration.

Now, this does not mean that the Patriarch of Constantinople is not a problem. In the early 20th century, the Patriarchate appears to have been infiltrated by Freemasons, perhaps eventually so was much of the Greek Church. In the early 1920’s, Patriarch Meletios took control over the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and promulgated a new interpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon: the “barbarian lands” theory according to which all territories not part of another Orthodox Church belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. None of the other Orthodox Churches seem particularly convinced by that novel interpretation of a Canon that had been around since 451 A.D. Since that very, very recent time in history, the claims to authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch have steadily expanded. This has led to Patriarch Bartholomew interfering in the local affairs of various Orthodox Churches such as in Ukraine and Macedonia.

At the moment, Patriarch Bartholomew is making the case for himself becoming, essentially, an Orthodox Pope:

“We, Orthodox, must make a self-criticism and reconsider our ecclesiology if we do not want to become a federation of Protestant Churches,” said Patriarch Bartholomew.

According to Bartholomew, the problem of unity can be solved if it is recognized that there is a bishop in the Orthodox Church who is higher than other bishops and has exclusive power.

“Since in our ordination to a Bishop we swear to obey the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, we must admit that in an indivisible Ecumenical Orthodoxy there is a “First” not only by honour, but a “First” with special responsibilities and regular powers entrusted by the Ecumenical Councils,” said the head of the Phanar.

There are secular forces that are pushing the Ecumenical Patriarchate forward in its ever more expansive claims. The United States has used the EP’s interference in Ukraine as an arm of its anti-Russian foreign policy. Greek supremacists want a way to push back against the larger, more powerful Russian Orthodox Church that they feel overshadows them. Modernists see centralization of power in the EP as the means to finally transform the Orthodox Church in the same ways that Pope Francis is changing the Roman Catholic Church. Many of these modernists are grouped around the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America based out of New York.

How likely is he to succeed in his quest for “Papal” powers? There is a much better chance of pigs becoming fighter pilots. The EP’s actions in Ukraine have already led to a schism with the Russian Church and the canonical Ukrainian Church, who together comprise the vast majority of Orthodox Christians in the world today. The canonical head of the Ukrainian Church, not the rogue body set up by Constantinople, is Metropolitan Onuphry. His Beatitude had this to say about Constantinople:

This spiritual relaxation from Constantinople in preserving the purity of the holy Orthodox faith is the root cause of the schism that occurred in 2019,” he continues.

His Beatitude also points to the desire of the Phanar to give “to Caesar not only what is Caesar’s, but also what is God’s,” which was the cause of the fall of Constantinople and the destruction of the great Byzantine Empire.

“And today, the Constantinople ecclesiastical authorities are ready to accept any custom and law forbidden by God that the world offers, just to return Constantinople (now Istanbul) to its former glory, and to regain the authority the Church had in the heyday of the Byzantine Empire,” the Ukrainian archpastor continued.

“Theoretically, the break in Eucharistic communion, which occurred in 2019, could be healed, but for that, the respected Patriarch of Constantinople should behave with all as the first in honor and equal in authority. Unfortunately, His Holiness acts as the first both in honor and authority, but this is alien to the Orthodox spirit of conciliarity, by which the Orthodox Church has lived and lives,” His Beatitude concludes.

The Patriarch of Constantinople is a modernist tool of anti-Christian globalist forces the same as Pope Francis, of whom he is a huge fan. Patriarch Bartholomew’s attachment to Orthodox – Roman Catholic Ecumenism causes some Orthodox to worry that he will unite with Rome. Were he to do so, of course, some modernist “Orthodox” might follow him. On the other hand, such a move would be guaranteed to create a world-wide schism that would leave him practically alone. On his own, the Patriarch of Constantinople has a native congregation of a few thousand Greeks in Turkey, an island of monks, and some Greek “diaspora” churches scattered around the world. It is hardly a base of power. In fact, the Patriarch’s ability to meddle in other countries is only possible because of the support of secular powers such as the United States. Times change, worldly powers come and go, and priorities shift.

Let me illustrate, somewhat crudely, how little the Patriarch of Constantinople matters.  Patriarch Bartholomew could marry his homosexual lover on the steps of the Vatican at a “wedding” co-officiated by the Pope and a Satanic High Priest, after which he could pledge eternal devotion to one of the Pope’s spare Pachamama idols – and the practical impact on the Orthodox Faith would be exactly nil. To be honest, the same thing could be said about any bishop, or even a synod of bishops. No one has the power to change the Orthodox Faith.

For many Orthodox around the world, the ambitions and pretensions of Patriarch Bartholomew are a pain to deal with. He and his representative in the United States, Archbishop Elpidophoros, can be unnerving, embarrassing, and downright infuriating. In Ukraine and other places, his intervention has led to many heart-rending tragedies. For those of us, who care about bringing people to the Kingdom, the Patriarch is a stumbling block of sorts. But his “power” and “influence” are severely limited compared to Pope Francis and that will always be the case. Pope Francis matters, just not in a good way. The Patriarch of Constantinople really doesn’t.

So for those of you looking for the authentic Christian Faith, you will find it in the Orthodox Church. As with any organization led by fallen men, we do have some personnel issues. The Church is a hospital for sick souls, after all. But our altars are pure, the faith is undefiled, and our decentralized structure is tailor-made to resistance in the modern world. There will always be Orthodox priests and Orthodox bishops, be they in catacombs or in cathedrals. And if one compromises the faith, there will always be another to take his place. While Christ is essential, no one man or one office ever is.

Please come home.

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