Orthodox Studies – IAHR 2015, Erfurt, Germany

August 28, 2015, Panel on: « Current Dynamics within Orthodox Christianity – between Tradition, Innovation and Realpolitik »

My paper: « The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Jurisdiction and Power: The Stakes of a Pan-Orthodox Council »

The starting point of this paper is a paradox that the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople faces today. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, which has been the first Church within the community of Orthodox Churches for centuries, is the ecclesiastical institution which has lost the most territory and members during the 20th century. The forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council is seen as a chance for the Orthodox Church to fundamentally adapt itself to the exigencies of the modern world, and the local weakness of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has pushed it towards a strategic redeployment of its global power through the forthcoming Council. Although the Patriarchate serves as the guarantor of unity and communion among the numerous autocephalous Orthodox Churches, it is marginalised by the rise of the national Orthodox Churches, particularly of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Using various theoretical perspectives, this paper will highlight and analyse the efforts of the primate of the Orthodox Church to organise this Council as a form of resilience. In other words, how is the Pan-Orthodox Council a question of power for the Ecumenical Patriarchate? What does this say about its views on modernity, nationalisation and globalisation?

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