The circular issued by Patriarch Theodore regarding the creation of the African Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was subjected to devastating theological criticism. The primate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria was convicted of ignorance of church history and canons. In particular, a critical analysis of the said circular was published on the Greek Internet resource Romfea.
First, Patriarch Theodore’s description of the Pentarchy system in the first centuries of the Church’s existence contains a false comparison between the primacy of the Roman Patriarchate in the West and the primacy of the Church of Constantinople in the East.
The truth is, the author writes, is that before the schism of 1054, as a result of which Rome fell away from the Church and became a heretical and schismatic “synagogue”, all five patriarchates were equal, and primacy was a formal element of order that had nothing to do with the primacy of power over the entire Church (as the popes of Rome imagined then and as the neo-Papists of Constantinople see today).
In fact, Patriarch Theodore perverts the concept of Pentarchy and reduces it to diarchy (Rome in the West, Constantinople in the East), which is a reflection of the heretical theory of Catholics about “two lungs”.
Secondly, the head of the Patriarchate of Alexandria is silent about exactly what territories were included in the jurisdiction of certain patriarchates by the Ecumenical Councils. In particular, the councils never transferred the ENTIRE African continent to the jurisdiction of the Church of Alexandria, limiting its territory to Egypt and Libya.
Thirdly, Patriarch Theodore makes a mistake when he claims that the autocephaly of the ROC was granted by the Patriarch of Constantinople alone in 1589 (as an example of the fact that the head of the Constantinople Church has the right to grant autocephaly without agreement with other Local Churches).
In fact, the autocephalous status of the Russian Church was approved by the Pan-Orthodox Council in 1593 at the request of the then Patriarch of Alexandria (!) Meletius Pigas. As a result, the Russian Church became not just autocephalous, but took its place in the Pentarchy instead of fallen Rome. In this context, the current Patriarch Theodore goes against the traditions of his own predecessors, the author of the article points out.