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Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession. On January 5-6, 2019, the official delegation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) at the ceremony of the Tomos bestowal at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul included Metropolitan Andriy Abramchuk of Galicia who concelebrated with Patriarch Bartholomew and the other Phanar bishops. In 1990, the Metropolitan was ordained by the notorious Victor (Vikenty) Chekalin, a pedophile and swindler who now serves a sentence in Australian jail for document forgery and fraud. At the anniversary of the Tomos bestowal this year, Patriarch Bartholomew led a divine service together with the now former Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC, the one “restored” by Vikenty Chekalin) Makary Maletich. The latter was ordained by the hierarchs of the “Chekalin succession” – Dimitry Yarema, Ihor Isichenko and the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) bishop Methodius Kudryakov. Part of UAOC bishops who in 2018 joined the OCU also got to the “Chekalin succession” through priestly and episcopal consecrations from Andriy Abramchuk, Makary Maletich and others. Even within the OCU the attitude toward this succession is ambiguous. Taking into consideration the necessity of discussing the issue of Apostolic succession of this part of the OCU hierarchy, Serhii Shumylo, Director of the International Institute of the Athonite Legacy in Ukraine, presented his new report titled “The self-avowed “bishop” Vikenty Chekalin and his participation in the first UAOC ordinations in March of 1990”. With the blessing of Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia this work was submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch. The documents, evidence and facts presented in the study – including the ones from previously unknown archival sources – confirm that the first UAOC ordination on March 31, 1990 in Mikhailevychi village in Lviv Oblast was carried out by only two persons: Ioann Bodnarchuk, defrocked on November 13, 1989 because of his voluntary secession from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), and fraudster Victor Chekalin. Besides, according to the published certificate, this “ordination” was led by Chekalin, who has never been ordained not only as a bishop but even monk or priest. In his research, Shumylo also studies publications that appeared at the Ukrainian site Cerkvarium.org by Dmytro Horevoy and Greek sites Phanarion.blogspot.com and Romfea.gr in August-September 2019, which stated that the bishopric ordination of Vikenty Chekalin was authentic. Studying various versions of Chekalin’s admission to monastic vows and ordination, and attempting to understand the motives of the main parties, the historian compares the remembrance of Archbishop Eulogius Smirnov, Abbot of Danilov Monastery in Moscow, and archival documents and correspondence according to which, Chekalin wasn’t even ordained as a monk. Also compared are the testimonies by Ioann Bodnarchuk and Victor Chekalin of various periods concerning the latter’s bishopric ordination. Thus, Chekalin’s own testimony before the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) Synod in July 1989 – January 1990 shows that Ioann Bodnarchuk didn’t take part in his ordination. The other two bishops who allegedly ordained Chekalin – Metropolitan Alexei Konoplev of Kalinin and Kashin and bishop of the Catacomb Church Vladimir Abramov – had already passed away by that moment and no confirmation of their participation in the ordination was found. As for the first UAOC ordination of 31 March 1990, it should be mentioned that the signature of Archbishop Varlaam (Ilyushchenko) of Simferopol and Crimea of the ROC was added to Vasyl Bodnarchuk’s Certificate of Ordination after the Archbishop’s death. According to the written testimonies of Archbishop Varlaam’s driver and archdeacon, the hierarch didn’t leave his diocese and held divine services in the Simferopol Cathedral on that day. Moreover, being a member of the ROC Synod, Varlaam personally signed the Moscow Synod’s resolution of November 14, 1989 on depriving Ioann Bodnarchuk of his episcopal rank, and “no way could secretly ordain new bishops with him four months later,” Shumylo writes. This situation, with archival documents signed by Ioann Bodnarchuk, was covered in detail in a piece by Fr. Rostislav Yarema (an English translation was published by the Orthodox Cognate PAGE). Thus, Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession. This was the violation of the first Apostolic Canon (“Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops”). The historian reminds that both Mstyslav Skrypnyk and Filaret Denisenko didn’t recognize the authenticity of the ordinations of the “Chekalin succession” hierarchs. However, many of those ordained this way were convinced in the legitimacy of their dignity and refused to be reordained, so the “Chekalin succession” still partly exists in the UAOC and UOC-KP. And in that status, many of the clergymen and hierarchs were accepted into communion by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Considering that copies of the Certificate of Ordination and the evidence mentioned in the media were provided to the Phanar and could become a basis for the Patriarchate Synod to recognize in October 2018 the UAOC hierarchy in their “current dignity” without reordination, Serhii Shumylo expresses his concern about the Ecumenical Patriarchate taking decision on the grounds of bogus documents and advocates that a detailed study of this issue should be made. Historian Finds New Evidence to Prove Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church’s Initial Ordination was Illegitimate THEDURAN.COM Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession.
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