FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians listens during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, file)

Republicans, Pay Attention to What the Orthodox Church Just Did

For 55 years the Orthodox Church, the Eastern stalwart of Christendom, has worked to assemble the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, more commonly referred to as the Pan-Orthodox Council. For 55 years, the various autocephalous churches within the Orthodox Church, including the Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cypress, Greece, and others have slowly worked out a framework for the first great meeting of the Orthodox Church in 1,000 years. Literally, the Orthodox Church has not convened in this fashion since the eighth century in 787. It took them until five months ago to even approve the final agenda.

And after 55 years in the making, the Great Council is being cancelled. A number of of the churches have decided to withdraw, including Russia. There are various reasons for the withdrawals of churches and the Church of Constantinople, whose Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, is considered first among equals, is blaming Russian imperial ambitions. But the reality, according to a dear friend of mine active in the Orthodox Church in America, is that a number of the churches have taken issue with Bartholomew’s leftward drift toward Pope Francis style social justice and environmentalism. There are other subtexts and pretexts too for scuttling the Council, including issues involving the relationships of the various churches.

Republican should pay attention to what is happening. Hiding behind the so-called “will of the people,” which amounts to a minority of Republican voters who cast their vote for Donald Trump, Republicans have set themselves on autopilot for destruction in November. Even with polling showing Hillary Clinton now at a double digit lead despite the events of Orlando, Republicans seem unwilling to change course.

Republicans, however, should not hide behind changeable rules when history itself is on the line. The delegates can unbind themselves. They can decide Donald Trump is a bridge too far. They have the power to do this.

If an organization set up by God himself can take 55 years to reconvene after 1,000 years and then cancel at the last minute, the GOP should be able to do the same thing. Eternal matters are not even on the line, just the politics of the day.

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Erick Erickson

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