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Correcting 60 Minutes about the Orthodox Church

This is a wonderful video. In addition to an excellent interview with his All-Holiness, there is a spectacular hot-air baloon-view of the Cappadocian caves.
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No, "worshipers throughout the Orthodox Christian world" do NOT see the Patriarch of Constantinople as "their Pope." There is no "bishop of bishops" for the Orthodox Church as a whole. But then, the term is used in a limited way, so there is still an Orthodox "pope," but only for the Orthodox Church in Africa. Even today, the Orthodox bishop of Alexandria, Patriarch Theodore II, is called "Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria. In fact, the bishop of Alexandria was called a "pope" before the bishop of Rome was called a pope! But there is no "pope" of the whole church. All Orthodox bishops are equal as bishops.

In the ancient Church, "papa" -- "pope," was given as a title to those bishops where some center of pastoral guidance was needed. This was the case in North Eastern Africa from very early on, due to the small numbers of major cities there. Bishops in such areas needed the pastoral guidance of a bishop located in some large central Christian community -- the one unique city in a large geographical area.

Just as that had been the case in North Eastern Africa, it also became the case in the area surrounding Rome. In ancient times, while there were many great cities in the East that became Christian centers, including Jerusalem, Antioch, and Constantinople; in the Western Mediterranean region, as was the case in North Eastern Africa, there was only one central city:  Rome.

Surrounding Rome, for hundreds and hundreds of miles North and West of that great city, in what would one day become Germany and France, there were only villages and Roman military garrisons. Paris, London, and Vienna, would not arise for centuries. So, like North Eastern Africa, there was need for a central bishop that bishops of smaller Christian communities could look to for guidance. For this reason, the bishop of Rome, like the bishop Alexandria before him, was also called the "papa" -- the "pope" of that entire region.

But as for "universal authority," that was unknown in the ancient Church, and it remains unknown among Orthodox Christian churches today. Among Orthodox, there has always been a living witness in common among the faithful to the incarnate truth, Jesus Christ Himself. This truth, and the vision of life that depends upon it, stands authoritative on it's own and has always been proclaimed "everywhere by everyone, at all times." Claims for a new and different kind of authority was left to the rise of the Roman Popes of the Middle Ages. And in this video, Bob Simon claims such authority for His Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople today.

In fact, the Patriarch of Constantinople is not nor ever has been any kind of a "pope;" certainly not in the Western Christian sense, and not even in the Eastern Christian and Orthodox sense. Bob Simon ought to have done some research as there is no controversy involved here among Orthodox Christians.

Fr. Jacob Visits Toccoa Falls class studying the Orthodox Christian faith
Sincere thanks for the opportunity to discuss Orthodoxy 
and engage in discussion with some of the students of Toccoa Falls College.

An MP3 of the presentation at TFC is available, along with an updated version of t
he PowerPoint & Audio, Do This in Remembrance of Me, which served as an online context for my visit to TFC.

To the PowerPoint & Audio >