A Synergy of the One and the Many:
Governance in the Eastern Catholic Patriarchal Churches
by Chorbishop John D. Faris
In the election of a bishop for a specific office, an absolute majority is required for the first three ballotings; the fourth balloting votes are cast only for the two candidates who had received the most votes in the third balloting (c. 183).
If the one elected has already received the assent of the Roman pontiff and accepts the election, the Apostolic See is to be notified of the election and proclamation (c. 184). If the one elected has not received the assent of the Roman pontiff, the patriarch is to seek the assent from the Roman pontiff (c. 185).
The Code of Canons provides for the possibility of the election of a bishop by letter after consultation with the Apostolic See (c. 186).
Election of Candidates for Office
In the case of an eparchial, coadjutor or auxiliary bishop outside the territorial boundaries of the patriarchal church, the synod of bishops, observing the procedures for the election of bishops, elects at least three candidates. The patriarch submits this list to the Roman pontiff for appointment (c. 149). It should be noted that the Roman pontiff is not restricted to choosing one of the proposed candidates for the appointment.
In the civil sphere, all this is treated in terms of a “balance of power” or “checks and balances,” an appropriate context to prevent the abuse of power and the protection of minorities. Any discussion of the use of power in the church must take place within the context of “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)