The Asia News website reports today (March 3, 2011) that representatives of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches -- at a meeting in Chambesy, Switzerland last week -- failed to reach an agreement on the rules for granting autocephalous status to churches, as Moscow has said it will not recognize any kind of primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
At the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion -- the representative of Moscow -- strongly disagreed with Constantinople's proposed formula of the Ecumenical Patriarch signing the recognition of autocephalous status of a church, because he felt that doing so, in effect, recognizes the supremacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
With respect to last week's meeting, a high priest of Slavic language -- who asked not to reveal his name -- said, "We really cut a very unchristian figure. The time has come for us to regain the lost spirituality of the great Fathers of the Church, and together re-examine our life, currently characterized by a rampant secularization, which finds its highest expression in the building of luxurious archbishops' residences."
All I can say to this hierarchical bickering is grow up church hierarchs, and stop acting like little children. Have you forgotten the true purpose and responsibility of your Christian role? It is to glorify Christ, not to worship yourself or your own territory.
The Patriarch of Constantinople is regarded as "first among EQUALS" -- not an infallible Pope -- in the Orthodox Church. This ranking is primarily a symbolic or honorary title, NOT a title of supremacy or authority. Whether or not the Patriarch of Constantinople is required to sign for a church to become autocephalous is not the goal here. The goal is for the Orthodox hierarchs to work together with harmony, with love, and with humility -- critical attributes of Jesus -- to support and strengthen the Body of Christ.