Does Constantinople move to New York?

  • Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • 10.Oct ‘20
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  • 1937
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Since the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Turkish authorities are getting worse and till now there are no reasons for reconciliation.

Moreover, Turkey intends to strengthen its role in the Mediterranean, which will inevitably lead to a conflict with Greece, and this definitely will only worsen the position of Phanar. The more Turkey becomes concentrated on Islam, the more difficult the situation becomes for the Christians living in this country.

In 1914 Christians accounted for about 20% of the inhabitants of Turkey, though by 2014 their number decreased to 0.2%. And only 3-4 thousand out of 200 – 320 thousand of Turkish Christians are members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is only a statistical error on a national scale. Moreover, Patriarch Bartholomew is now 80 years old, and although he has done many things in the world arena during his life, it is difficult to say that he strengthened the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.

The most likely successor of Patr. Bartholomew is the head of the Constantinople Patriarchate in America, Archbishop Elpidophoros Lambrinidis.

Lambrinidis is more often mentioned in the media, than all other bishops of Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is not afraid to use modern social networks in order to convey his point of view to the masses, and also actively participates in social and political processes in the United States. However, there is one remarkable moment in his biography that most of his official biographies are silent about. His mother, Nantia Lambrinidis, is from the Syrian city of Aleppo, and many of his relatives live in Afrin. Therefore, the archbishop’s nationality is never mentioned in his biographies. All this suggests that, most likely, Elpidophoros Lambrinidis is an ethnic Kurd. So far, it is impossible to imagine the Kurd as the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.

Therefore, it is possible that after the death of Bartholomew, the patriarchal residence will simply be transferred to the United States. Since according to statistical estimates, the most of the members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate live in United States (and from 400 thousand to 2 million parishioners, according to various estimates). Thus, Archbishop Elpidophoros will not have to leave his apartments in the luxurious Archdiocese building in New York.

However, if the administrative center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate still moves to the United States, this will cause a great deal of distress for the entire Orthodox community worldwide. And it is not about sacred places and ancient shrines, after all, Constantinople has already turned into a “phantom empire”. The danger is that in such scenario, the Ecumenical Patriarchy will become entirely dependent on US policy and will be used as a weapon in a new Cold War. In 1948, Stalin wanted to move the center of world Orthodoxy to Moscow, but due to the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s protests his plan failed. One can only imagine what the Orthodox Church would have become if its administrative center were in the Soviet state. However, if the Greek episcopate wants to transfer Constantinople to New York, no protests from other churches will prevent them from doing so. But the pressure on the church from the Washington will be equally strong as the pressure from the Council for Religious Affairs.

Greatly, the fate of this project will depend on the upcoming US elections. Archbishop Elpidophoros clearly sympathizes J. Biden and the Democratic Party program in general.

What is not surprising, because back in 2015 Biden received “the Patriarch Atheonagoras Human Rights Prize” from the hand of the American Archdiocese for “strong support and friendly attitude towards the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” So the victory of the Democrats will only strengthen the chances of Archbishop Elpidophoros to become the new Ecumenical Patriarch and move his residence to the United States. Though, unfortunately, it will further increase the disunity in the Orthodoxy world.

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