Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Metropolitan Tikhon visited Phanar on March 19-20 this year, where he concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew on the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy Liturgy. A few days later, on March 23, His Beatitude’s statement on the results of this visit was published on the OCA website.
Despite the cautious tone of the document, some users of Orthodox websites began to express elation and optimism – no, not about the victory over iconoclasm wich commemorated that day by the Church, but about the fact of concelebration between Metropolitan Tikhon and Ecumenical Patriarch. However, what did the OCA actually look like at the event?
One could understand the joy of the faithful if their church hadn’t been recognized as canonical till the time and the Ecumenical Patriarch suddenly recognized her and decided to concelebrate with their Primate. But there are no doubts or controversies about the OCA’s canonicity itself, it has been enjoing mutual communion with all Local Churches for a long time already. As for the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America, nothing has changed in this issue. But judging from the rank among other clergy which was taken to Metropolitan Tikhon at the worship service, questions arose about what kind of future awaits the OCA.
As you can see in these photos, the head of the OCA Metropolitan Tikhon was the last but two among 12 bishops who concelebrated with Bartholomew – just after the Metropolitan of San Francisco Gerasimos and before Metropolitans Maximos of Selymbria and Amphilochios of Adrianopolis. For the oldest and the second largest Orthodox church in the USA such hierarchical position of its Primate is an overt affront. Is it possible that Metropolitan Tikhon no longer is the Primate of the OCA? May be he became a cleric of the Constantinople patriarhate? How did the advisers to the OCA’s Primate make such a shame for their Metropolitan and the whole church? Didn’t the head of Chancery John (Jillions) feel ashamed to look into the His Eminence’s eyes, did he? May be he just followed the orders of the Patriarch Bartholomew?
It is worth noting that the uncanonical interference in the internal affairs of other churches have become commonplace for Constantinople long ago. The previous Primate of the OCA Metropolitan Jonah was deposed for defending the OCA’s viewpoint in the face of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and for a good relationship with their Mother Church – the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The circumstances of Metropolitan Herman’s resignation also raise suspicions about the possible involvement of Phanar and pro-sodomy pseudo-Orthodox journalists. Did Metropolitan Tikhon want a quiet old age without any shocks and therefore His Eminence simply arrived in the Phanar to surrender his Church?
Recent events speak volumes about just how deeply tentacles of the Constantinople Patriarchate penetrated into the body of the OCA. For example, on February 1, 2016 the Ecumenical Patriarch’s adviser on environmental issues Archdeacon John (Chryssavgis) delivered a lecture at the St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Despite the fact that the lecture was dedicated to the 33th anniversary of the repose of the OCA Archpriest Alexander Shmeman who contributed a lot to the restoration of communion with the ROC and to the autocephaly as well, in his speech, Archdeacon John has described the ROC and a number of other autocephalous churches as a vain paranoid nationalists and almost heretics sabotaging the Holy and Great Council. And representatives of the OCA Holy Synod quietly endure the defamation of their Mother Church which has been trying hard for almost 50 years so as to the OCA head became on a par with other Primates of autocephalous Churches!
Such behavior of Constantinople is understandable. After all, the EP has been being under the Turkish yoke for hundreds of years and has virtually no own lambs. Therefore, not a peace-loving but an aggressive foreign policy aimed at the subordination of churches from other jurisdiction is the hallmark of the recent Constantinople Patriarchs.
Nowadays, while Phanar are trying to take advantage of Tikhon’s weakness or its agents infiltrated to the His Eminence’s Chancery, you can see how all its intentions toward the OCA become evident. It is a pity that the successors of this ancient Christian See are fighting not for the purity of Orthodoxy (as did their predecessors) but for the new sources of funding. And this is despite the modest needs of the small quarter in Istanbul! Why they want OCA parishes to fill the Turkish coffers?
The translation is mine.