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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 Only after these three Churches had withdrawn did the Russian Church announce that it could not attend.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...
On June 3, Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and “Honorary Patriarch” of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), met with rectors of the parishes of the OCU’s Kiev Diocese, where the possibility of convening a Local Council of the KP was discussed. At today’s “For the Ukrainian Orthodox Church! For the Kiev Patriarchate!” forum, Philaret announced that a Local Council of the KP will indeed be held, on June 20, reports BBC News Ukraine. Philaret thus intends to fully restore the KP that he had nominally agreed to liquidate on December 15 before the start of the “unification council” that created the OCU out of the KP and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC). The Patriarchate of Constantinople had previously lifted the Moscow Patriarchate’s anathema placed upon Philaret for his schismatic actions and received him into its jurisdiction on October 11, claiming that the sanction had been placed upon him unjustly, though Patriarch Bartholomew had previously recognized the anathema. “We are convening a Local Council that will not approve the decision of this council on December 15, 2018. That means it is not mandatory for us. We will thereby show that the Kiev Patriarchate was, is, and will be. We are convening the council on June 20,” Philaret announced during today’s forum, stressing that it will be a Local Council of the KP, not the OCU, which is headed by “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko. “There was no Local Council of the Kiev Patriarchate on December 15, but a collection of signatures under the resolution of the local council. We will reject this resolution at the Local Council and it will be invalid for us,” Philaret further explained. The Patriarchate of Constantinople insisted that both the KP and the UAOC vote to liquidate themselves before the “unification council” on December 15 in order to unite into a new structure. Amidst Philaret’s loud statements about restoring the KP, Makary Maletich, the primate of the UAOC, announced that his structure also continues to officially, legally exist. Given that Constantinople’s pre-conciliar stipulations were not met, the status of the OCU is unclear. The OCU is legally registered with the state, and thus, as OrthoChristian has previously reported, the “unification council” resulted in two schismatic structures becoming three, rather than one. Moreover, Philaret repeated that had he known the contents of the tomos of autocephaly written by Constantinople, that leave the OCU dependent upon Constantinople in important ways, he would not have accepted it. However, he went further this time, declaring that “We do not accept this tomos… Had we known the contents, we would not have voted for autocephaly on December 15, because we don’t need to go from one dependence to another,” reports Gromadske. “The Moscow Patriarchate serves the interests of Moscow, the OCU serves the Greeks, and who will serve Ukraine?” Philaret asked. “Epiphany is a servant of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He established a Greek vicar bishop to watch and transmit information to the Ecumenical Patriarch, to transmit through him instructions on what to do,” Philaret said, referring to Archimandrite Epiphanius (Dimitriou), formerly of the Greek Orthodox Church, who was “consecrated” as a “bishop” of the OCU. With references to its sources in the OCU, BBC reports that the Local Council could be attended by “Metropolitan” Joasaph of Belgorod, who has also publicly criticized Epiphany Dumenko, and perhaps another “bishop” of the former KP parishes in Russia, and a small part of the clergy of the Kiev Diocese of the OCU, which is headed by Philaret himself. However, Philaret remains undeterred. The Local Council, he says, will allow them to “preserve the Kiev Patriarchate. Though it will be small, it will grow into a large church.” The participants in today’s forum also intend to address President Vladimir Zelensky and ask him to “support the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate against any encroachment.” http://orthochristian.com/121774.html?fbclid=IwAR1jeZMQNxzx69uWtw9LDcksiBHDYn1fdKUb-h9nkouN3mUbGnj7BXZyTug
Philaret Denisenko’s “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) does not and has never existed, Patriarch Bartholomew told a group of Ukrainian journalists in Istanbul last week. “As for [Ph]ilaret, he was restored to his episcopal dignity as former Metropolitan of Kiev. The so-called ‘Patriarchate of Kiev’ does not exist and never existed,” the Patriarch told the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. The head of the Union, Sergei Tomilenko, wrote about the meeting on his Facebook page and published the full text of Pat. Bartholomew’s English speech. The declaration comes against the background of Philaret Denisenko’s active attempts to garner support for the revival of the KP, which he loudly proclaims never ceased to exist, despite his promise to liquidate it on the morning of the “unification council” in Kiev on December 15. The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the KP was never liquidated and continues to exist, at least in the eyes of the state. Moreover, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” which united with the KP to create the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), was also not liquidated before the council. Thus, there are now three schismatic bodies in Ukraine, rather than the two that existed before the “unification council.” A battle has begun between Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the KP, considered the “Honorary Patriarch” of the OCU, and the primate of the OCU “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, that only further delegitimizes the OCU in the eyes of the Orthodox world and threatens to tear apart Pat. Bartholomew’s personal creation. While the Orthodox world has never recognized the legitimacy of the KP, it does not deny its existence. Moreover, in the same speech, Pat. Bartholomew himself speaks of the separation of Ukrainian Orthodoxy into “three separate entities,” and states that “This reality, the existence of two schismatic groups, was a real agony.” The rest of Pat. Bartholomew’s speech is largely a reiteration of the same points he and other Constantinople representatives have been making since the summer. He states that the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine was a purely pastoral matter on the part of Constantinople, to free Ukraine from the oppression of being part of the Russian Church and to create unity within Ukraine. The Synods, primates, and hierarchs of other Local Churches have, however, noted that Ukrainian Orthodoxy is only less unified since Constantinople’s interference there. He also repeats the historical claim that the Kiev Metropolis never transferred to the Russian Church—an assertion that only the Patriarchate of Constantinople accepts. Further, he states that “The issue in Ukraine was timely. That is, the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not suddenly decide to intervene,” although he had denied numerous appeals from schismatic clergy and state authorities over the preceding three decades, changing his mind only after the unsuccessful Crete council in 2016. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has tied Constantinople’s interference in Ukraine to Pat. Bartholomew’s disappointment that the Russian Church did not participate in the Crete Council. Pat. Bartholomew further states: “As we have maintained, there are no more schismatics in Ukraine because they have been restored to communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” However, to date, the OCU is in communion only with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, not with the Orthodox Church as a whole. They have been explicitly rejected as schismatics by several Local Churches. http://orthochristian.com/121591.html?fbclid=IwAR12vr6wJNpNvByH8txIEr8X_vQXe-kVpv516GgsNGD1zDILzsNqiZ7tAgg
His Eminence Metropolitan Cornelius of Tallinn, the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, has reposed in the Lord, Sputnik reports. He was 94 years old. Met. Cornelius (Vyacheslav Vasilievich Jacobs in the world) was born on June 19, 1924 in Tallinn into the family of a Royal Army colonel. He graduated from high school in 1943 and preserved as a chanter in the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in the Estonian capital. He was ordained as a deacon on August 19, 1945, and as a priest on February 8, 1948, being appointed as the rector of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Haapsalu. He graduated from the Leningrad Theological Seminary by correspondence in 1951. He was arrested by the Vologda Region KGB on February 27, 1957 for “anti-Soviet agitation,” and was sentenced to 10 years in political camps in Mordovia. The sentence was later reduced to 5 years, and on September 7, 1960 he was released early on parole. He returned to Estonia in November 1960 and was appointed as the rector of St. John the Baptist in Tallinn. He was appointed as the bishop of Tallinn and vicar to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II on July 20, 1990. He was tonsured as a monk at the Pskov Caves Monastery on August 21, 1990 with the name of Cornelius. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on September 6 and consecrated as a bishop on September 15 at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. He thereby became the primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church which was simultaneously granted autonomy by the Moscow Patriarchate. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop in 1995, and to that of metropolitan on November 6, 2000. Before his death he was the oldest bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. May his memory be eternal! http://orthochristian.com/112373.html