UNIA: The Face and the Disguise
It is consequently imperative to place the problem of Unia on its proper basis. It is not about a conflict of a jurisdictional nature with the Vatican - the way the problem of relations between Old and New Rome was, during the time of Photios the Great. The problem therefore is not about the "parishional" actions of the Church of Old Rome within New Rome's boundaries of jurisdiction, as was the case at the time (9th century) in Bulgaria. After the Schism, and more so after it was rendered Frankish, the "Latin Church" had no longer anything in common with Latin-speaking Christianity prior to the Schism and the domination of the Franks. The pre-Schism, Latin-speaking Church of Old Rome was Orthodox, and a sister to the Church of Constantinople (New Rome), despite the occasionally appearing (canonical, not dogmatic) contrasts between the two, especially during the Iconomachy period, when most of the East had been corrupted by the heresy and yet, Old Rome had been saving Orthodoxy. After the Schism and its estrangement, Old Rome is no longer co-religionist and a sister of New Rome. In fact, Old Rome today identifies with the Vatican State. Church and State are both under the same head, the Pope, who appears simultaneously as a religious and a State (political) Leader.
Thus, Unia should not be regarded as a jurisdictional difference and a mere anti-canonical intervention in the Orthodox East by the Vatican. It is the instrument of a secular-political authority, which is focused on expansionism and increasing its influence. As for today's coincidence, which has united ALL the Orthodox in the confronting of the Papist advance with Unia as its vehicle, it is a true, God-sent opportunity to re-examine the problem of the essence (of the ecclesiasticity, that is) of the "Latin Church"-Vatican, so that the theological Dialogue (if the Vatican continues to desire it) might be evaluated anew. We furthermore believe that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with its new, enlightened Leadership, just as the other Leaderships of the Orthodox Churches of other places, would never refuse to address the problem of the ecclesiastic character of the "Roman Catholic Church", but also the theological Dialogue with Rome, on the proper basis. And we should not allow the opportunity to be lost. Already, there have been reports of secret deliberations in both the ecclesiastic and political wings, for the smoothing out of relations with the Vatican - which is striving to hurdle negative impressions. Unia however continues to exist, and damage has already been wreaked within Orthodoxy in Eastern Europe. Therefore, every retreat on the part of the Orthodox will be tantamount to a crime.
Woe betide if the criteria of the Unionists of Byzantine and post-Byzantine years were to prevail once again.
Woe betide if Orthodoxy is - again - left to the expediencies of whichever politics and Eternity sacrificed to endo-cosmic conventionality and utilitarianism.
Our actions are not just recorded in the annals of History; they will also be judged at the end of History, by the Lord of History, Who is concurrently its Saviour and its Judge.
Article published in English on: 20-2-2009.
Last Update: 20-2-2009.