Jad Ganem: Qatar, Ukraine & Double Standards

Arabic original here.

The joint statement issued by the Patriarchs of Antioch and Serbia following the irenic visit by Patriarch John X to the Church of Serbia recalled the “Athens Agreement” regarding to Jerusalem’s violation of Antioch’s territory in Qatar  that was reached under the sponsorship of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The agreement included the following items:

“The Patriarchate of Jerusalem will give another title to the Archbishop of Qatar-elect Makarios.

The Patriarchate of Antioch will accept the presence of an archbishop from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Qatar bearing another title.

From now on, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem will in no way attempt to raise demands of an ecclesiastical presence belonging to it in the Arabian Gulf.

A joint committee will be constituted of delegates from the two patriarchates with the presence and participation of representatives from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in order to define the current status of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s presence in Qatar and to formulate the text of the agreement between the two churches.”

As is well-known, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem did not keep the content of this agreement, which caused the Patriarchate of Antioch to break communion with it. From the beginning of this violation and through the breaking of communion, the Ecumenical Patriarchate continued to affirm to the Patriarchate of Antioch that its position that Qatar depended ecclesiastically on it is the correct position. It did not, however, take any public position, neither during the preparatory meetings for the Great Council nor at any other occasion, indicating the Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s responsibility for the violation or calling it to keep what had been agreed upon with regard to it in Athens. Instead, in May of 2016 its holy synod shockingly adopted a decision, the contents of which Antioch became aware of after its being published on the internet, calling for “forming a committee of representatives from the two concerned patriarchates, which Ecumenical Patriarchate will take responsibility for coordinating so that it will meet immediately following the Great and Holy Council, with the goal of studying the issue and finding a solution acceptable to both parties.” It appears that Constantinople’s zeal for keeping the canons and its devotion to ensuring the unity of the Church are focused only on dealing with schismatics within the territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow and do not include those patriarchates in the Phanar’s orbit. Its actions do not reach the level of confronting the Patriarchate of Jerusalem with the truth and calling on it to implement the agreement reached under the Phanar’s sponsorship.  Hope remains that Constantinople will change and no longer be the Patriarchate that applies double standards.


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