Questions on Phyletism

Technically speaking, phyletism is the heresy that a church should be formed along ethnic lines.  Yeah, that sounds bad.  But when you get down to both (a) the history behind it and (b) modern chanters of phyletism, you will see that (a) the anti-phyletists were pimping their congregations and (b) the most phyletist churches today are in the loudest denouncers of anti-phyletism.

(1) Did Turkokratia sell the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the highest bidder, yes or no?
(2) Would that not mean that the EP bishops would have to come up with income to secure their spots?
(3) Would not this income have come from the taxed laymen in the Balkans?
(4) When the Bulgarians kicked out the foreign Phanariot bishops (many of whom were ranking Freemasons), did this not mean that the Phanar could no longer pay off their Turkish and Jewish creditors?

Answering yes to any of the above questions gives the lie to the “phyletist” charge.  Some more questions:

(5) To so-called phyletists today actually forbid different ethnicities from joining? (No)

Bourgeois Orthodox will point out that the Council of 1872 that condemned “phyletism” was a valid council.  Yeah, what of it?  You see, since I am not Eastern Orthodox I can easily say that said council is “wrong” because (1)-(4).



About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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2 Responses to Questions on Phyletism

  1. cal says:

    I do find supporters of the Ecumenical Patriarch to be psuedo-Romanists, desiring a Pope of their own, and very willing to turn a blind-eye to all the shady connections etc. involved in the Patriarchate.

    The United States is going to be the ultimate test case on whether or not Orthodoxy can actually be Orthodox. The solutions of a Freemason Pope, ethnic enclavings, or Russian dominance are all terrible. The East has so much to offer, and it has a much richer theology than what is present in Western Germano-Latin theology, but from fusion to the Nation and anemic ecclesiology, I’m not sure any alternatives. Perhaps Russia can lead the way to a kind of kenotic leadership, allowing Orthodoxy to take root in truly ‘other’ contexts. But I doubt it.


    • cal says:

      I should say that the East provides answers and/or reframes questions that are better than the ruts Western theology has been stuck in. I think people like Bulgakov and DB Hart, in their own way, take the best of modern philosophy and enter it into a dialog with Eastern theological currents.



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