As it was said in a post about Koran, without the Patriarchate Constantinople today would be just an overcrowded Turkish habitation, a city essentially similar to any other Turkish city, with nothing comparable even a little with the significance of Byzantium.
The Patriarchate faces three options: first, Turkey enters the European Union and freedom reigns everywhere; second, Turkey decides or is obliged to respect Orthodoxy, even without entering the EU; third, the Patriarchate moves to a friendly country, most probably Greece.
The second option can not be excluded, but the Orthodox community in Constantinople has already suffered much, and is now going to disappear entirely, i.e., the Patriarchate has no time to experiment with Turkey’s intentions or wait for the interest of the international community, already proven weak.
Between the remaining two options, Patriarch Vartholomeos chose the first, thinking, I suppose, that away from Constantinople the Patriarchate would suffer a loss of its esteem and Orthodoxy would be in danger of losing to some degree its memory and identity.
The important question then is: Orthodoxy and Christianity in general will lose less in a multicultural European Union than in a European Union where the Patriarchate is at Thessaloniki? Of course the European nations can choose the multicultural kind of ‘life’ anyway, but now we focus on the Patriarchate’s decision to support this kind of ‘life’.
I wonder: if Europe’s memory weakens enough to create a faceless mixture instead of a European Union, how will the Patriarchate be able to strengthen the Christian memory just by being in Constantinople? There is some paradox here, to support Christianity by going against it, to want the strengthening of an identity that we advise to be lost!
The Ecumenical centre of Orthodoxy is where truth is, not in a city, and as regards political power, the Orthodox centre is where the most powerful Orthodox people is, i.e. in Russia.
If Russia comes to the point of forgetting her Byzantine origins, what Patriarchate in what Constantinople will be able to remind her of those origins? If Russia does not come to that point, then the Ecumenical Patriarchate, wherever its Seat might be, can become our spiritual centre to the degree that it participates in truth. If the Patriarchate can not become our political centre in any case, then why all this persistence in staying at Constantinople?