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Athonites: Hellenism and the EP have the Primacy in Orthodoxy

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“We remain on the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we will not tolerate its humiliation,” the members of the Holy Community of Mount Athos said on Monday on the occasion of the recent developments in Ukraine and the granting of Autocephaly to the local Church.

At the meeting held behind closed doors and without any publicity, much was said about the issue that has sparked controversy among the leaders of the Orthodox Churches.

The Athonites emphasized that this particular issue should make them feel proud. “It has been clear in this case too,” they noted, “that Hellenism and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have the Primacy in Orthodoxy,” while they agreed that everyone should stand by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
https://www.romfea.news/mount-athos-is-in-favor-of-the-patriarchate-on-the-ukrainian-issue/
 

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Hellenism is essential for salvation.  It's why the Creed was written in Greek.
 

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In the epic showdown between panSlavism and Hellenism, who will win? The battle lines have been drawn and Pope Francis lurks in a nearby dark corner.
 

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It seems terribly easy to allege that at a closed door meeting held with no publicity, anyone said anything.

Not that this news would be terribly surprising, but I wonder where the journalist got his information.
 

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Yeah.  A few weeks ago, I read Mt. Athos was divided on the subject.  Now this?  Were all the leaders in the meeting?
 

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This story first appeared on a site that's a known mouthpiece for Ukrainian fasco-Orthodoxy, so I'd take it with a grain of salt.

If it's true, it's horribly disappointing on multiple levels. Without even getting into Phanar's neo-papism, how does Hellenism not fly in the face of the Patriarchate's own condemnation of ethnophyletism?
 

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Saxon said:
This story first appeared on a site that's a known mouthpiece for Ukrainian fasco-Orthodoxy, so I'd take it with a grain of salt.
I assume you mean RISU; if so, their source is actually this Romfea article. Romfea is not especially pro-EP and definitely not pro-Banderadox.

Of course it is reasonable to question an article that does not name its sources and is so far unverifiable. That this opinion would be held by certain high-ranking monks though would fall in line with some other verified facts, e.g. the Tomos for the OCU was made by an Athonite calligrapher and of course the delegation to Met. Epiphany's enthronement.
 

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Iconodule said:
Romfea is not especially pro-EP and definitely not pro-Banderadox.
There's been some recent changes at Romfea related to their expansion into English:

https://www.romfea.news/us-ambassador-geoffrey-pyatt-we-support-romfea-news-new-effort/
 

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Samn! said:
Iconodule said:
Romfea is not especially pro-EP and definitely not pro-Banderadox.
There's been some recent changes at Romfea related to their expansion into English:

https://www.romfea.news/us-ambassador-geoffrey-pyatt-we-support-romfea-news-new-effort/
Ooh, that's disheartening.
 

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Regardless, I'm also inherently suspicious of stories from ambiguous sources, by anonymous authors, citing unidentified individuals, who are allegedly making definitive and contentious statements about controversial issue. "The Holy Community of Mount Athos"? Who exactly? The proverbial "they" doesn't cut it for me.
 

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Is this word hellenism the translation of the word romiosini?  Because the vast majority of Christians today, except for perhaps the Church of the East and perhaps really radical Protestants, are part of Churches who are all ultimately descended from or evangelised by the missionaries from the mother Church of the Roman Empire.  This means that the Christianity we love so dear first became a major world religion dressed in the culture of romanitas.  The philosophical world view of many Christians and the pronouncements of our councils are expressed and enshrined in hellenistic conceptions and many of our Christianised languages borrow heavily from Greek or Latin.  Our vestments are descended from the dress of the upper classes of that empire, and our ecclesiastical poetry is heavily influenced by classicising notions of literary aesthetics.  Many of our ancient Churches are built in the basilica style or, at the very least, have naves inspired by the architectural space of early Roman church buildings.  Russia itself was Christianised due to Byzantine missionaries, and the early Slavic states in that part of the world either consciously modelled themselves on Byzantine culture and monarchy, or reacted to it and distinguished itself in relation to it. 

So I'm willing to grant, if the word hellenism is a translation of romiosini, the large role that hellenistic culture plays in the history of our God-inspired faith, but what exactly does it mean for hellenistic culture (or any other Christianised culture for that matter) to have "primacy?"  I understand how the EP can claim a primacy of honour, but how does a culture have "primacy," and how does this "primacy" affect the daily lives of people who are part of that culture and those people who aren't?  There are no Jews or Levites among Christians.  All tribes and nations that accept baptism and the anointing of Chrism are joined to the same priestly people.  So how does any given culture, nation or tribe even go about, in the day-to-day life, enacting this "primacy?"  Am I suppose to highly venerate or view with some kind of pious trepidation the Greek dude in my office?  Or is it some kind of collective racial infallibility whereby when the majority of Greeks in the Greek Churches believe in something or practice something, that it should be taken as inspired by the rest of the Church?  What does that mean?  I'm very confused.

Do the Fathers ever mention the word "hellenism" or "romiosini" or "romanitas" or any such concepts?  I thought they only played a cultural and socio-historical role in Christianity but did not constitute truly spiritual matters?

I thank anyone in advance for their response.
 

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I read the article, and I must have missed something.  What is it exactly that you find to be so offensive?
 

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Saxon said:
Regardless, I'm also inherently suspicious of stories from ambiguous sources, by anonymous authors, citing unidentified individuals, who are allegedly making definitive and contentious statements about controversial issue. "The Holy Community of Mount Athos"? Who exactly? The proverbial "they" doesn't cut it for me.

The "Holy Community of Mount Athos" is the Kinot, the council of abbots of the ruling monasteries. The source of course is anonymous, but the article itself was written by Aimilios Polygenis, the editor of Romfea who recently met with the US ambassador in the link above...
 

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iohanne said:
Is this word hellenism the translation of the word romiosini?
The Greek in the original is Ελληνισμός : https://www.romfea.gr/agioritika-nea/27033-agion-oros-eimaste-sto-pleuro-tou-patriarxeiou-den-dexomaste-na-tapeinothei-apo-kanenan  But really, potato, potato.

what exactly does it mean for hellenistic culture (or any other Christianised culture for that matter) to have "primacy?" 
In the view of the source quoted, it's clear he believes that Orthodoxy belongs to Greeks and everyone else is, at best, a guest.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
I read the article, and I must have missed something.  What is it exactly that you find to be so offensive?
Hellenism has primacy in Orthodoxy. Do you agree with that?
 

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So, does Greek culture bother you?

I don't care what ethnicity the bishop is. I try to obey him because of Christ.
 

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biro said:
So, does Greek culture bother you?
Any culture asserting its supremacy in the Church should seriously disturb everyone.
 

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There's an attitude among Greek Orthodox both inside and outside of Greece that Orthodoxy is Greek, and that if you really, have to become Orthodox, you better know that you're a xeno and get in line. In essence, non-Greeks are second class. It goes against both scripture, the Fathers, and church tradition, but they're copping out by claiming primacy for the EP, which in turn says Hellenism is ok. It's a rather circular issue.
 

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Liza asked you a similar question.

You should answer.

You are skilled at snarking off rather than giving someone a straight answer.
 

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biro said:
Liza asked you a similar question.

You should answer.

You are skilled at snarking off rather than giving someone a straight answer.
I gave a straight answer. She asked what the problem was. I replied that it was the assertion that Hellenism has primacy in Orthodoxy.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
I read the article, and I must have missed something.  What is it exactly that you find to be so offensive?
The article seems to be saying that you have to be Greek to be Orthodox.
"a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all." -- Colossians 3:11 -- NASB
 

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Saxon said:
There's an attitude among Greek Orthodox both inside and outside of Greece that Orthodoxy is Greek, and that if you really, have to become Orthodox, you better know that you're a xeno and get in line. In essence, non-Greeks are second class. It goes against both scripture, the Fathers, and church tradition, but they're copping out by claiming primacy for the EP, which in turn says Hellenism is ok. It's a rather circular issue.
This would explain a few of the stories I've heard of people who approached Greek Orthodox priests about converting and we're turned away with the line: "Why? You're not Greek?"
 

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I'm not Greek. I converted in a Greek parish.

A lot of Orthodox are Greek. You already know that.
 

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Iconodule said:
LizaSymonenko said:
I read the article, and I must have missed something.  What is it exactly that you find to be so offensive?
Hellenism has primacy in Orthodoxy. Do you agree with that?
It doesn't bother me, at all.  It is a fact that the early Greek Church was pivotal in early Christianity.  We cannot deny that.... anymore than we can deny that Jews played a pivotal role in the Old Testament.

The statement isn't telling us only the Greeks will be saved, or I need to become "Greek" to be saved.

In the end we know there are no Greeks, or Jews, or Europeans, or Americans....



 

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PorphyriosK said:
Saxon said:
There's an attitude among Greek Orthodox both inside and outside of Greece that Orthodoxy is Greek, and that if you really, have to become Orthodox, you better know that you're a xeno and get in line. In essence, non-Greeks are second class. It goes against both scripture, the Fathers, and church tradition, but they're copping out by claiming primacy for the EP, which in turn says Hellenism is ok. It's a rather circular issue.
This would explain a few of the stories I've heard of people who approached Greek Orthodox priests about converting and we're turned away with the line: "Why? You're not Greek?"
I have often read this statement.... and yet, I am surrounded by many Greek parishes, and have visited at least 5 of them, on numerous occasions.  I am not Greek.  I proudly identify myself as Ukrainian when asked by their priest or parishioners... and I've not been shunned or made to feel uncomfortable...
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
Iconodule said:
LizaSymonenko said:
I read the article, and I must have missed something.  What is it exactly that you find to be so offensive?
Hellenism has primacy in Orthodoxy. Do you agree with that?
It doesn't bother me, at all.  It is a fact that the early Greek Church was pivotal in early Christianity.  We cannot deny that.... anymore than we can deny that Jews played a pivotal role in the Old Testament.
The early Church was not Greek. Greek-speaking is not the same as "Hellenism." Telling the early Christians that they were practicing "Hellenism" would be taken as an accusation of paganism. So your history is off.

Second, the statement pertains to the present day. They are saying Hellenism has primacy in Orthodoxy today, and this primacy is somehow tied up with the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. What does that mean, other than simple racism?
 

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biro said:
So, does Greek culture bother you?

I don't care what ethnicity the bishop is. I try to obey him because of Christ.
This is like a Porter ODoran response. I love it!
 

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biro said:
I'm not Greek. I converted in a Greek parish.

A lot of Orthodox are Greek. You already know that.
I have witnessed potential converts being turned away. Also what is alot? Greeks are a numerically small number of Orthodox believers.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
biro said:
So, does Greek culture bother you?
No.  So why does (insert ethnic descriptor) culture bother Greeks?
+1

I've heard stories of laypeople in Greek churches telling non-Greeks that they don't belong there, and while I'm not aware of specific instances of clergy doing the same, I know they certainly haven't taken steps to correct parishioners. Abbot Tryphon has a story about that in a talk he did condemning ethnophyletism.
 

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Can we just all agree that the Bible, the Holy Councils and most of the Fathers of the Church used the Greek language?

Obviously that left a stronger mark on Orthodoxy as a whole than the Russian language did, which received its current form under Lenin. If I recall correctly, ROCOR used tsarist Russian until the 1990s, when they adopted modern Russian in order to account for immigrants from the former USSR.
 

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As for those who doubt the Hellenocentrism of the Greeks, check this recent interview with Met Gerasimos of San Francisco out...

He added that, “if priests cannot say from the pulpit and the podium that we are Greek Orthodox Christians, and this is what it means to be Greeks, that is the point about the significance of the theological school,” adding, “the entire issue of Hellenism is the Church.”
And many other such howlers: https://www.thenationalherald.com/226255/metropolitan-gerasimos-speaks-exclusively-to-tnh-about-youth-the-archdiocese-and-holy-cross/
 

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Some children go and learn Chinese and I ask them ‘why are you studying Chinese when you have the Greek, which is the mother of all languages?

Awesome, awesome, awesome.
 

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There’s a Greek girl at my OCA parish who told us that she didn’t know the Orthodox church performed confessions until she was 19, as no one ever went and church was just a place to hang out with your Greek friends at coffee hour. I wonder if there was baklava… In any case, GOARCH and its Canadian sister churches seem to have no sense of mission beyond acting as incubators of Greek culture. The EP is enabling that and now seems to be trying to cement that globally.
 

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Is it the English edition of the Greek romfea.gr?
If it is I'd take everything it says with a grain of salt, unfortunately they have ceased be trustworthy as of late.
The Holy Community is heavily polarised on the Ukrainian issue, 15 monasteries are against HAH (Panteleimonos (Russian) and Simonopetra are adamantly against him, there was an incident a couple of days ago, when a Ukrainian episcopal delegacy attempted to visit Simonopetra and co-celebrate the divine liturgy, the Simonopetrites only allowed them to venerate the monastery's holy relics and then asked them politely to depart), and only 5 monasteries (Iviron, Stavronikita, Xenofontos, Koutloumousiou and Pantokratoros) are for the Ukrainian autocephaly and condone HAH's actions.
 

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Apostolos said:
Is it the English edition of the Greek romfea.gr?
If it is I'd take everything it says with a grain of salt, unfortunately they have ceased be trustworthy as of late.
The Holy Community is heavily polarised on the Ukrainian issue, 15 monasteries are against HAH (Panteleimonos (Russian) and Simonopetra are adamantly against him, there was an incident a couple of days ago, when a Ukrainian episcopal delegacy attempted to visit Simonopetra and co-celebrate the divine liturgy, the Simonopetrites only allowed them to venerate the monastery's holy relics and then asked them politely to depart), and only 5 monasteries (Iviron, Stavronikita, Xenofontos, Koutloumousiou and Pantokratoros) are for the Ukrainian autocephaly and condone HAH's actions.
Thank you for this information.
 

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Gorazd said:
Can we just all agree that the Bible, the Holy Councils and most of the Fathers of the Church used the Greek language?

Obviously that left a stronger mark on Orthodoxy as a whole than the Russian language did, which received its current form under Lenin. If I recall correctly, ROCOR used tsarist Russian until the 1990s, when they adopted modern Russian in order to account for immigrants from the former USSR.
No one denies the truth of your first comment.  That you felt the need to follow it up with the bit about Russia tells us all we need to know about what this is really all about.
 
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