20 December 2007

The Jerusalem Patriarchate: the drama continues

It seems we assumed too quickly that the status of Theophilos as Patriarch of Jerusalem had been definitively settled. A new difficulty has now arisen: Court freezes recognition of Greek Patriarch. If the achilles' heel of Anglicanism has long been its establishmentarian tendency to affirm the spiritual direction of the larger society, that of Orthodoxy is its historic proclivity for too easily accepting government interference in what should be internal ecclesiastical affairs. Orthodox leaders, including the beleaguered Ecumenical Patriarch whose very title Turkey is attempting to extinguish, would do well to read Abraham Kuyper and his followers on what the Dutch call soevereiniteit in eigen kring (sovereignty in its own sphere) and I myself label the pluriformity of authority. It might not keep governments out of their affairs, but it would give them a weapon with which to fight back.

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