Ermilov Pavel, диакон

The Universal Primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople: The Origin of the Theory

Ermilov Pavel (2014) "The Universal Primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople: The Origin of the Theory ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2014, vol. 51, pp. 36-53 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201451.36-53


This article is the first in a series of publications dealing with the problem of wider leadership in the Orthodox Church. The opposing positions of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Constantinople in this regard have emerged during animated discussions. This divergence begs for a reassessment of already existing models of leadership, which obviously cannot serve as a basis for the agreement, and for a search to discover new approaches. The author studies the way in which the Patriarchate of Constantinople succeeded in theorizing the idea of a universal primacy and the concept’s theological foundations. The author opines that contemporary scholars do not thoroughly assess the significance of the historical evolution of the doctrine. Neither do they give sufficient thought to a careful study of the process surrounding the debates on the primacy. Careful study of both these issues would explain current contradictions and offer a way of solving the contemporary crisis. The article highlights those factors which influenced the Patriarchate of Constantinople during the nineteen-twenties of the last century to significantly alter its ecclesiastical politics. Sources indicate that Constantinople was swayed by the Greek national political program and that many of its actions were not determined exclusively by ecclesiastical concerns. Theorizing the position of Constantinople as the center of world-wide Orthodoxy during these years stemmed from the strategy of preserving the headquarters of the Patriarchate on Turkish soil. The theory of the primacy in the Orthodox Church likewise served as a way to increase the canonical territory of the Patriarchate, not least since the Patriarchate had lost significant funding for its continued existence.


Patriarchate of Constantinople, Phanar, Turkey, Center of the Orthodox Church, Primacy, Leadership, Pan-Orthodox Initiatives, Meletios Metaxakis, Venize-los, Lausan


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Ermilov Pavel, диакон