On the Privileges of the See of Constantinople

Note: Of course, all the privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarch described below are contingent upon the Orthodoxy of his faith. 

Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky 1863-1936

According to the doctrine of Christ’s Church as expressed in the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the See of Constantinople is not only one of the Ecclesiastical Provinces but is considered as a constant element of the Orthodox Church in all its fullness, as an authority linked not only with its own diocese but likewise with the whole Orthodox Church throughout the world. This is why since the fifth century the Patriarch of Constantinople as Bishop of New Rome was recognized by the Ecumenical Councils as the equal in power and honor of the Bishop of Old Rome (Canon II of the Second Ecumenical Council and Canons XXVIII and XXXVI of the Fourth Ecumenical Council). And what is especially important, it was recognized that he had the right to receive the appeals of Bishops who were not satisfied with the decisions of regional councils (Canon XVII of the Fourth Ecumenical Council). In this latter sense the Patriarch of Constantinople is, in the eyes of Orthodox Christians in every country, the supreme judge. (Message to the Statesmen Assembled at the Lausanne Political Conference Dec. 1922-Jan. 1923. Fouyas, Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism pp. 128-129)

In his response of February 20, 1925, to [a] query as to whether an Ecumenical Patriarch may, according to canonical regulations, reside outside Constantinople, [Met.] Antony comments:

Of course he can, and the inhabitants of the Capital are bound to continue to count him as their Chief Pastor, and are bound to obey him as are we our Holy Patriarch… (Metropolitan Antonii (Khrapovitskii), Archpastor of the Russian Diaspora: Conference Proceedings. Edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, p. 101)

St. John Maximovitch 1896-1966

Such an outward abasement of the hierarch of the city of St. Constantine, which was once the capital of the ecumene, has not caused reverence toward him to be shaken among Orthodox Christians, who revere the See of Sts. Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian. From the height of this See the successor of Sts. John and Gregory could spiritually guide the whole Orthodox world, if only he possessed their firmness in the defense of righteousness and truth… (On the Decline of the Ecumenical Patriarch)

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