Answer: when it’s the so-called Kyiv Patriarchate.
Sorry for the snark, but I should have seen this one coming from a mile away. I actually believed that the Ecumenical Patriarch was going to grant a clean bill of autocephaly to the schismatic sect known as the Kyiv Patriarchate.
I mean really: is Michael Denysenko the “patriarch” or not? Looks like the answer is “not”. He is however the “former Metropolitan of Kiev”. Sooooo, apropos of nothing at all, just who is the patriarch of this brand, spanking new “autocephalous” church? Just speculating here.
Admittedly, this was irregular on so many levels. First of all, because there’s already a canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine. One recognized by all canonical Orthodox Churches throughout the world, the Patriarchate of Constantinople included.
Second, there’s the fact that no hierarch can enter the territory of a canonical Church unless he’s invited –even the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Third, there’s the geopolitical situation which even a blind man can see is a disaster in the making. Why any sane man would want to intrude into the middle of a civil war or poke the Russian bear in the eye is a bewilderment. That one stands on its own.
Fourth, that the involvement of the State Department and the European Union is neck-deep in this debacle is transparent. In his dealings with the schismatics, Patriarch Bartholomew looks like a defeated man, or at least one who is forced to do something disastrous.
Lastly, there’s the sticky situation of the defrocked man who leads it. The less said on this front, the better.
And to top it off with a bright red cherry on top, there’s the glaring fact that not one Orthodox Church is on board with this suicidal action.
So why did Bartholomew embark on this disastrous course?
Well, as we remarked before: follow the money. However, we were wrong as to the flow of the money. The simony paid by Poroshenko (to the tune of $25 million) was not to ease the chronic financial distress of the Phanar, but to bail out the GOA.
The GOA is in a world of hurt. Unfortunately, it’s the jewel-in-the-crown of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Think of it as a long term investment; a bridge loan to get a corporate division solvent once again.
That’s the subtext. And if the Ukrainians have to have the rug pulled out from them, who cares? As long as the fiction of the New Rome is maintained, that’s all that matters.
There is an irony here though: Bartholomew has done the one thing that the Cretan Robber Council couldn’t do and that is unite all the Orthodox Churches into a solid bloc. One unfortunately arrayed against Istanbul.
Ironic. And tragic. And not a little comedic, all at the same time.