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Met. Chrysostomos of Dodoni (right) with Pat. Bartholomew (left) Several Moscow Patriarchate hierarchs and clergy went on pilgrimage recently to the Greek Ionian Islands, where they had a chance to meet with the Greek hierarchs of Zakynthos and Dodoni and to discuss current Orthodox events. During the course of the conversation, His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Dodoni expressed his views on the Ukrainian issue, revealing the influence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s particular understanding of the issue on certain hierarchs in the Greek Church. On Sunday, September 15, His Eminence Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk and His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Bobruisk of the Belarusian Exarchate and two accompanying priests were warmly welcomed at the Monastery of Strofades and St. Dionysios in Zakynthos by His Eminence Metropolitan Dionysios II of Zakynthos and His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Dodoni, formerly the hierarch of Zakynthos, reports nyxthimeron.com. After visiting the sepulchral church of St. Dionysius, the guests toured the ecclesiastical museum, exchanged gifts, and were served a rich meal, during which Met. Chrysostomos, who has served as a bishop since 1976, expressed his nostalgic love for the two former Patriarchs of Moscow, with whom he had close ties, as well as several other historical figures of the Russian Church. However, the metropolitan revealed another attitude towards the Russian Church when the guests broached the topic of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. “With the boldness that distinguishes him, [he] pointed out that any problem could have been raised and solved at the Holy and Great Council of Crete (2016) if the Moscow Patriarchate had not refused, with various excuses, to attend, thereby sabotaging unanimity and unity, and even compelling other Churches. This is because Russia always has aspirations of being ‘Third Rome,’” nyxthimeron.com reports. Whether Met. Chrysostomos has simply grown fuzzy on the details in the years since the Council or whether he was intentionally distorting the timeline is unclear. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church announced on June 1, 2016 that it would not attend the Council; the Antiochian Church announced on June 6 that it would not attend; and the Georgian Orthodox Church announced on June 10 that it would not attend. Only after these three Churches had withdrawn did the Russian Church announce that it could not attend. Moreover, the Churches did not simply withdraw, but rather called for the council to be postponed so that their respective issues could be addressed. The Moscow Patriarchate specifically proposed holding an emergency pre-conciliar session for just this purpose, but Patriarch Bartholomew refused to do so, choosing instead to plow ahead with the council without full pan-Orthodox unity. While the Patriarchate of Constantinople blames the Russian Church for influencing the other Churches to withdraw, this has always remained groundless speculation, as are paranoid fears of a “Third Rome” ecclesiology. A position of respect for the other Local Churches allows them to speak for themselves, and each of the Churches expressed their own seriously-considered reasons for withdrawing from the Council. And despite Met. Chrysostomos’ contention, the Ukrainian issue would not have been addressed at Crete even had the Russian Church attended, as Pat. Bartholomew publicly acknowledged already in January of 2016 that it was not on the agenda. The official agenda for the Crete Council was published on January 28, and also did not include the topic of autocephaly and how to grant it. Pat. Bartholomew has referred to the fact that autocephaly was not dealt with at Crete to justify his claim to the right to grant autocephaly whenever to whomever, wherever. Meeting with the Russian hierarchs, the Metropolitan of Dodoni also stated that every nation has the right to self-determination and to Church autocephaly. Recall, however, that the Patriarchate of Constantinople claims large chunks of Greece for itself, thus there are two Local Churches operating within one nation. Met. Chrysostomos also noted that autocephaly is typically given by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as was the case with Russia, Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. It should be noted, however, that those territories were within the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople before they received autocephaly, whereas Ukraine has not been part of Constantinople for more than 300 years. Moreover, the Georgian Church received its ancient autocephaly from the Patriarchate of Antioch. Concerning the Russian clerics disquiet concerning “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko, Met. Chrysostomos again insisted that everything could have been settled if not for the Russian Church’s efforts to “torpedo” any pan-Orthodox council. Recall that His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, and many other primates, hierarchs, and Synods, specifically called upon Pat. Bartholomew to summon a pan-Orthodox council to deal with the Ukrainian issue, and Pat. Bartholomew flatly refused, citing the failure of the Crete council. The Greek hierarch also criticized the Russian Church for ceasing Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, though reports did not mention if he detailed how he thinks a Church should respond to another Local Church non-canonically invading its territory and setting up schismatics as a new church. Met. Chrysostomos concluded with a very revealing remark, noting that the Church of Greece is of the same ethnicity and race as the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and thus it is inconceivable for it not to align itself with Constantinople. The Greek metropolitan is echoing the sentiment of Pat. Bartholomew and the Patriarchate of Constantinople with such remarks. Certain Greek and Ukrainian media outlets have repeatedly framed the Ukrainian issue as “Russia vs. Ukraine” or “Russia vs. Constantinople,” rather than considering it through the lens of Orthodoxy. In October of last year, Pat. Bartholomew himself declared that “Our Slavic brothers cannot tolerate the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our nation in Orthodoxy,” and “Whether our Russian brothers like it or not, sooner or later, they will follow the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarch, because they have no other choice.” A similar attitude was displayed recently when Metropolitan Ephraim of Hydra, Spetses, and Aegina threatened to canonically punish three clerics who had written a letter of support to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. Viewing the matter as one of ethnic enmity rather than one of holy Orthodoxy, the metropolitan interpreted their support for Met. Onuphry as a declaration of loyalty to the Moscow Patriarchate, rather than as the declaration of loyalty to the sacred canons of which they wrote. Such an attitude stands in stark contrast to that of many other hierarchs, including His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who recently spoke of how the Serbian Church is autocephalous and equal to all the other autocephalous Churches, as racial or ethnic superiority has no place in the Church of Christ. Greek hierarch: We are the same race as Constantinople, we must side with the Patriarchate ORTHOCHRISTIAN.COM Several Moscow Patriarchate hierarchs and clergy went on pilgrimage recently to the Greek Ionian Islands, where they had a chance to meet with the Greek hierarchs of Zakynthos and...
Metropolitan Athanasios (Nicolaou) of Limassol His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasius explained that he could not consider OCU members as bishops as they did not repent and Filaret “ordained” them under anathema. The Holy Synod of the Cyprus Orthodox Church doubts whether it is possible to recognize the ordination performed by the head of the UOC KP Filaret Denisenko, including the chirotony of the “Primate” of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko, the Cypriot hierarch, Metropolitan Athanasios (Nicolaou) of Limassol, said in an interview with the UOC Information and Education Department. “I will read to you an excerpt from the sixth paragraph of the statement of the Holy Synod of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, which states that the Holy Synod cannot recognize as priests those people who did not receive the canonical ordination. Here the sixth paragraph reads: "The 2000-year history of both the Cyprus Church and the entire Orthodox Church calls into question the possibility of legalizing the ordinations performed by the defrocked hierarchs, who were excommunicated and anathematized." Their punishment was recognized by all Orthodox Churches,” noted Vladyka Athanasios. “We recognized the imposition of an anathema on Filaret, and therefore the Synod of the Church of Cyprus doubts that it is possible to recognize the validity of the ordinations and other sacraments performed by him. Therefore, we, the Church of Cyprus, still have not officially recognized Epiphany as the head of the new Ukrainian Church.” The bishop of the Church of Cyprus agreed with those representatives of the Local Churches who consider the OCU as an assembly of the laity. “The Synod of the Cyprus Church says the same: the priesthood cannot be among those who were banned from priesthood, were excommunicated or anathematized,” Metropolitan Athanasios explained. He also stressed that every sin is forgiven through repentance and confession of sin. “Unfortunately, in the case of Filaret, we did not see this,” the hierarch of the Church of Cyprus stated. According to His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios, no one can question what the sacred canons say. “In the case of Ukraine, some individuals did not have episcopal dignity – this is a group of only so-called bishops who ordained themselves, these are the “bishops” of Makariy (Maletich). There was Filaret, and there was a group of people under the leadership of Makariy, who are essentially self-sacred, they were not ordained,” he noted. If there was only one group of those who were defrocked but still had ordinations from canonical bishops, the Synod could accept them as ordained through oikonomia, Metropolitan Athanasios added. He stressed that such a thing would be possible only under the condition of repentance. “Unfortunately, we do not observe this, and we do not see any effective ordination now granted to them,” said the hierarch of the Cypriot Church. We must seek the will of God, and especially such an approach must be manifested at the level of the Primates of the Churches, he summed up. Also, the hierarch of the Church of Cyprus noted that the mosaic of autocephalies is a road to a catastrophe. He is sure that the granting of autocephaly cannot be based only on state independence or the existence of separate nationalities, because such logic can have a side effect: if a state loses its political independence, does its Church have to disappear as well? https://spzh.news/en/news/63117-ijerarkh-kiprskoj-cerkvi-my-somnevajemsya-v-zakonnosti-khirotonii-jepifanija?fbclid=IwAR1VuAx_5Wz-xlyAX1iz0R2Wd_4QKSRZLuS3ML7YZA0_1mXbctbw-cL4VDY
Ovruch, Ukraine, February 25, 2019 The Soviet times were a time of totalitarian pressure on the human conscience, just as now there are lying attempts to involve people in the new ‘church,’ said His Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Ovruch and Korosten in a new interview on the diocesan site. “In those days, several teachers and the military Commissar told me: ‘You believing Church people work for the West, America, the CIA.’ Now they tell my team and I another lie: ‘You work for Moscow, the Kremlin,” Met. Vissarion said, showing the similarities between Soviet Ukraine and today’s Ukraine. The hierarch recalled how the KGB threatened to arrest him for distributing morning and evening prayers, and now the authorities harass him for standing firm in his loyalty to the true Church of Christ. The Ovruch Diocese overwhelmingly declared its loyalty to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine on December 10. Among other things, the authorities created a fake Facebook page in his name to spread schismatic propaganda. They also installed a fake billboard in the city with his photo and text claiming that he blessed the creation of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Met. Vissarion also said that only 4 of the 220 clergy in his diocese moved into the schismatic church after its creation on December 15. Vladyka Vissarion suspended them for breaking their priestly oath, after which a new wave of slander crashed upon him. Now, as in the years of Soviet oppression, it is necessary to protect the flock and read special prayers. “We say: Our Church in Ukraine—it’s not Putin’s, not Poroshenko’s, but our Lord Jesus Christ’s; its administrative center is in the Kiev Caves Lavra, headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. And this Church is recognized by Patriarch Theophil of Jerusalem and all the Local Churches,” the Ovruch hierarch explained. He also stressed that the Church’s mission is to help people be purified and grow spiritually. “Through our Church there is the possibility, by God’s grace, to put on Christ and to go into eternity with such joy,” Met. Vissarion said. He also reminded those that have threatened him, including by text message, that God’s judgment awaits us all. “Having received about 10 foul-mouthed text messages, at the end they even wrote: ‘666 is coming soon…’ Let us recall from the Gospel: There will be a Second glorious Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Dread Judgment of the living and the dead,” the canonical hierarch concluded. http://orthochristian.com/119552.html?fbclid=IwAR2EdwzIwklsRLyhXczMI_bqHp9Xt0IOGWjVj_MKgqEQXjckplS9rUoBDU8