The Patriarch goes further and states that similar action be taken also against two well-known bishops, the Metropolitans of Piraeus, Seraphim, and Kalavryta and Agialeias, Ambrose (or Amvrosios), for their exposure of the Cretan "Council" as innovative and unorthodox in its decisions. If the Church of Greece refuses to act accordingly, the Patriarch informs the Archbishop, he and his synod will "sever ecclesiastical and sacramental communion with them." This last statement is perhaps the most significant aspect of the Patriarchal letter, for it would be unprecedented for the Holy Synod of a Local Church to cease communion with particular hierarchs of another Local Orthodox Church. It would raise serious questions as to status of communion between the two Local Churches and the reach of the canonical authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Furthermore, it may also actually serve to isolate not only the two hierarchs in question but rather the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself, depending on the reaction of the Church of Greece and other Local Orthodox Churches. If early reports are indicative, which has the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece deciding not to respond at all to the Patriarch's demands, resistance to these Papal pretensions, and the Patriarch's further isolation, have already begun. Read it all here. . . and the letter. . .
Could this be the undoing of the Orthodox Church? It has long been accused that Orthodoxy is less a Church than a collection of national churches and that there has long been suspicion and contempt between these national churches. It has all been magnified since the recent Council of Crete which some bishops chose not to attend. This has brought all the cracks in the unity to light and created a situation ripe for breaking of communion. Will it happen? Who knows! What we do know is that Orthodoxy has struggled with an Ecumenical Patriarchate whose life is controlled by the Turkish government, a Russian Church that was once nearly an entity of the Communist government and now is still allied with the government, and a jurisdictional chaos in the USA that begs for resolution but none has come forth. The letter went out November 18, 2016. I have yet to see responses.
Wow. And we thought Lutherans had problems. Wait and see. . .