Arabic original here.
The Glory of Antioch
Biased parties are not hesitating to suggest that the positions of the Holy Synod of Antioch with regard to recent developments in the Orthodox world are driven by political motives that this church has to take into consideration “for well-known reasons”, hinting to the relationship between Syria and Russia. Antiochians have certainly become accustomed to this cheap propaganda that strips all issues in the Church of their theological aspect and reduces them to political considerations. Because they are immersed in politics, these biased parties are incapable of realizing that the church of Antioch of Patriarch John X and his Holy Synod, even if she is suffering from the horrors of wars in her land, remains a church free from political pressure and the influence of politicians. Her decision comes only from her trust in in the Gospel and holy tradition. Antioch did not participate in the “Council of Crete” because she believes that the Eucharist is the foundation of conciliarity. Antioch did not support the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s recent decisions because she does not want to violate the Church’s canons, reward schism, deny the role of the autocephalous churches, and establish a papacy that is foreign to the Orthodox mindset. Let the critics of Antioch’s position tell us where they stand with regard to the principles set by Patriarch Athenagoras! What is the canonical status of the schismatic groups that Constantinople has recognized? What is the canonical status of Filaret? Is he a patriarch? Over what church? Or is he a metropolitan? Over what metropolis? What is the canonical status of the head of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”? What is his diocese? Is it the same as Filaret’s diocese? How can a patriarch be placed over a non-existent local church? How can bishops who do not meet the condition of apostolic succession be accepted into the episcopate? Those who criticize the akribeia of the Church of Antioch in preserving the Church’s unity, tradition and canons in order to cover their own faults and the crimes they have committed against the Universal Church, her canons and her unity must realize that the glory of Antioch lies in her trust in the tradition that they are working to marginalize and that this glory will not be snatched away by calumniators nor by oppressors.