An article titled ”If We Want to Survive, We Must Look For Our Place in the Russian Political-Clerical Vaarwater” by a journalist Davit Mkheidze was published in an online-edition Georgia and World’s webpage. The article mentions that the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I (aka World Patriarch) is funded by the USA and Turkey, therefore, these countries control the Constantinople Church.
The article disseminated by Georgia and World is a disinformation, as Turkey does not fund the Constantinople Church. Its main source of income is connected to the Western European countries’ and the United States’ dioceses.
1. Information About Turkey Funding the Constantinople Church is a Lie
Shota Kintsurashvili, a Master student at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, notes in an interview with the Myth Detector that the information about the alleged funding provided by Turkey to the Constantinople Church is false, which is confirmed by the following facts:
- The Government of Turkey does not recognize the title of Bartholomew – “World Patriarch” and considers him only as the head of a small orthodox community living on the territory of Turkey.
- In 1971, the Government of Turkey closed down the Orthodox Theological Center of Halki, which was bearing a worldwide importance, and the Patriarch Bartholomew I has been fighting to re-open it ever since. In addition, the church has been deprived of movable and immovable property. The Patriarchate of Constantinople does not have any preparatory schools for the priests on the territory of Turkey and is not allowed to open one.
2. Council in Crete and the Finances
- The World Patriarchate covers the costs of the universal orthodox conferences by itself.
- The funds of the Constantinople Church itself are associated with Western countries, which is due to the fact that most of the followers of the Church as well as the overwhelming majority of its churches and monasteries are in the Western Europe or the USA.
- Each church contributes between 100,000$ and 200,000$ for the church assemblies. The reason of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s refusal to participate in the assembly was precisely the “big and unjustified” costs needed to be born for the assembly.
3. Georgian Orthodox Church’s Refusal to the Cretan Assembly
According to Shota Kintsurashvili’s assessment, Georgian Church’s unexpected refusal to participate in the assembly created reasonable doubts of it being influenced by the Russian Church: “Attending the Cretan Assembly would have been a symbolic act from the Georgian Orthodox Church and would demonstrate that it does not play by the Russian political orthodox rules and is self-sustainable, independent and strong in making in its own decisions, on the contrary.”
4. The Role of the World Patriarchate of Constantinople and of Its Leader
As Shota Kintsurashvili said, the role of the World Patriarchate of Constantinople and of its leader are obscure and unclear for the Georgian public. He also added that the Constantinople Church is not unfamiliar with Western values, as this Church is based precisely on the fundamental human rights.