The Ecumenical Patriarchate as a global actor: Between the end of the Cold War and the Ukrainian ecclesiastical crisis
Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the advent of republican Turkey, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has struggled to maintain its existence and its ecumenical role, despite the obstacles that the Republic of Turkey has set before it. Yet, challenges have abounded within the Orthodox world as well. The Patriarchate has viewed Russian involvement in Orthodox ecclesiastical affairs with suspicion, if not outright opposition. This is like its former stance regarding Russian involvement in Orthodox religious affairs in the Balkans and the Middle East throughout the nineteenth century. This competition has been rekindled since the end of the Cold War, as the Patriarchate has grown in importance as a global actor. The Ukrainian ecclesiastical crisis, which brought the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate to loggerheads, provides an additional opportunity to measure the extent of Russian influence on the Orthodox Church. This article explores the history of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the republican Turkish era and the challenges it has faced. It also examines the dynamics that have developed since the end of the Cold War in its relations with Russia and Turkey through its confrontation with the Moscow Patriarchate particularly in light of the Ukrainian ecclesiastical crisis. This study aspires to shed light on the extent of Russian influence on Orthodox ecclesiastical affairs and explore the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the global era.