Who Speaks for the Eastern Orthodox Church – Fr. John Penteleimon Manoussakis

Fr. John Penteleimon Manoussakis, an Eastern Orthodox professor of Philosophy and Priest (see Dr. Adam DeVille’s interview), speaks to a growing problem within the Eastern Orthodox Church. Now, I don’t intend to point fingers here (readers known I’m capable of speaking to weaknesses in Catholicism), but it is interesting to see how the below statement really does identify why the current crisis with Ukraine will persist until the question “Who speaks for Orthodoxy” is answered definitively.

“The phenomenon of anti-papism, understood as a denial of a primus for the universal church and the elevation of such denial to a trait that allegedly identifies the whole Orthodox Church, is, properly speaking, heretical….Nevertheless, the phenomenon of anti-papism has become increasingly more observable within the Orthodox Church. Those who want to elevate their dislike for the pope into a definition for the Orthodox Church as a whole do not realize that, if they were right, their version of the Church would be reduced to little more than a religious club that can trace its origins to no earlier than the schism of 1054…. At the very least, this discussion requires that we reconsider the question of whether or not we need a primus in the Orthodox Church. And, if so, who or what might play such a role?…..Who can speak on behalf of the Orthodox Church? Who is entitled to do so? Orthodox faithful today become familiar with a phenomenon that takes alarming dimensions, namely, the rise of a movement within the Orthodox Church consisting of zealots who see themselves as the rightful ‘guardians of orthodoxy’, over and against the Church’s institutionalized authority. In their ferocity against the Western other, these ‘guardians of Orthodoxy’ reject any notion of primacy, espousing and promoting an ecclesiology that they misunderstand to be democratic in its structure of equality. Among their mistakes is the conflation of the ideas of conciliarity, sobornost, and episcopal equality.”  (Pg. 25-27)