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For reprisal against the “Moscow priest”, aggressive supporters of the OCU, whom even their “pastor” could not calm down, called for help from a neighboring village.
On Sunday, September 1, 2019, representatives of the OCU community tried by force to expel the vicar of theRovno Eparchy of the UOC, Bishop Pimen of Dubno from the church in honor of St. John the Theologian having been grabbed by them before in the village of Kopytov, Korets district, Rovno region. This was reported by the UOJ correspondent.
The vicar came to his native village to visit his parents.
“It's the fifth month that the church I used to go to as a child has been in the hands of the OCU proponents,” said Bishop Pimen. “The entrance to the temple for me and other believers, who have chained our hearts to the temple, is prohibited. So I decided to approach their "priest", who now lives in the same village, and ask for permission to go inside. "He kindly agreed, led me to the temple, but on having seen this, the activists who live nearby came and started to kick me out, call me names – my subdeacon partially recorded this on video."
Vladyka noted that the men behaved extremely inadequately, and even the “priest” of the new religious structure failed to bring them to senses. The verbal skirmish lasted for 20 minutes, the former villagers threatened and cursed, and in the end even called for help from the neighboring village.
“I did not intend to inflame this conflict – I just wanted to enter the temple. I believe that I have the right to do so. I tried to talk, to explain it, but in vain: I had to leave the church, no matter how heart-tearing it might have been. As I was leaving, I saw the cyclists from the neighboring village out of the car, who were probably going to expel the “Moscow priest”. I recalled the words of the Gospel: ‘Forgive them, Lord, for they do not know what they are doing’,” added Bishop Pimen.
Recall, on April 13, 2019, activists of the new church structure, with the support of the SBU and the police, seized the church of St. John the Theologian in the village of Kopytov. During the raider attack, they brutally beat the rector of the temple and his parishioners, after which one believer was hospitalized and the ambulance was called to help the rector.
OCU activists expel Bishop Pimen from the temple in his native village - UOJ - the Union of Orthodox Journalists
The Orthodox Church in America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its autocephaly next year, with several events dedicated to the anniversary throughout America. Its tomos of autocephaly, granted by the Moscow Patriarchate, was signed by His Holiness Patriarch Alexei I and the 14 hierarchs of the Holy Synod in Moscow on April 10, 1970.
However, rumors and reports of the OCA’s plans to forfeit its autocephaly have been fairly commonplace in the past few years. While all Local Churches recognize the OCA as a true Orthodox Church, currently only the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, Serbian, and Czech and Slovak Churches recognize its autocephaly. Thus, there are those who believe the OCA would give up its autocephaly to “normalize” its situation.
Most notably, the Patriarchate of Constantinople refuses to recognize the OCA’s independence, arguing that it alone has the authority to grant autocephaly. Thus, the OCA was not invited to participate in 2016’s “Great and Holy Council” on the island of Crete.
More recently, the primate of the OCA, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of America and All Canada concelebrated with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in Cappadocia on the Sunday of All Saints in June this year, which, along with the OCA’s stance against the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” led to accusations of “back room deals,” though, as OrthoChristian reported, sources involved in the trip denied these rumors.
Having been in Cappadocia when Archbishop Elpidophoros was enthroned in New York as head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Met. Tikhon instead paid his first visit to the new Archbishop at the Archdiocesan headquarters on Wednesday.
The next day, a report appeared on the blog Monomakhos entitled, “Breaking: The OCA to go under EP!” with reference to two sources claiming that the OCA “has been in negotiations to cede its autocephaly and go under Istanbul.”
“One source says that this is ‘a done deal,’ the other says that negotiations are ‘ongoing,’” the report reads, adding that the OCA could either become a vicariate of the Greek Archdiocese or America, or receive an impaired form of autocephaly, such as the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” received from Constantinople in January.
However, as with the rumors surrounding His Beatitude’s trip to Cappadocia, OrthoChristian has been assured by multiple sources within the OCA administration that the Church has no such plans to give up its autocephaly.
One such source, His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, the Secretary of the OCA Holy Synod, assured: “The OCA is not giving up its autocephaly— it will be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of getting it next year ... a number of times and in a number of places: May (South Canaan), August (Alaska), and November (Washington DC). There will be symposia on the history of it, the meaning of it and the future of it, etc.”
“As the Secretary of the OCA Synod of Bishops, I know of no such movement ... and I know of no such intention by His Beatitude (or any of our hierarchs),” His Eminence added.
Moreover, the OCA’s administrative organization would seem to effectively preclude any such secret deals. The Statute of the OCA defines the Church as autocephalous: “The Orthodox Church in America is an autocephalous Church with territorial jurisdiction in the United States of America and in Canada.” And while the Holy Synod of the OCA holds competency over “All matters involving doctrine, canonical order, morals, and liturgical practice,” it is the All-American Council that possesses the authority to “Adopt and amend the Statute.”
The All-American Council is convened periodically, normally at intervals of three years, as per the Statute. Its members include the hierarchs, clergy, and lay representatives. The last All-American Council was held in St. Louis, Missouri last year.
Update: His Grace Bishop David Mahaffey of Alaska has also responded to the rumors, on his Facebook page, stating: “Beloved in the Lord. There is a very vicious rumor being circulated ... concerning the status of the OCA that is completely false. I will not even mention the rumor here because I will not be fuel it any further, but suffice it to say, IT IS COMPLETELY FALSE.”
Reports of OCA giving up its autocephaly are unfounded, say OCA hierarchs
ORTHOCHRISTIAN.COM The Orthodox Church in America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its autocephaly next year, with several events dedicated to the anniversary throughout America.
CONSTANTINOPLE OFFERS TO CREATE FRENCH VICARIATE WITH REDUCED RIGHTS FOR RUSSIAN ARCHDIOCESE, RUSSIAN CHURCH OFFERS TO RECEIVE ENTIRE ARCHDIOCESE AS ISОд Ромејац,
The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople unexpectedly decided to remove the exarchate status of the Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe, telling the parishes that they had to become part of the Patriarchate’s Greek metropolises.
However, the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese then overwhelmingly voted to remain together as an ecclesiastical body. They are actively considering several options for their future, the most likely being to join the Moscow Patriarchate, which has the backing of the Archdiocese’s hierarch, Archbishop John of Chariopoulis, though there are certainly those members who actively oppose returning to the Russian Church.
On August 9, the parishes of the former Exarchate received two documents, one with a proposal from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the other with a proposal from the Moscow Patriarchate. The clergy and parishioners have until September 7 to consider the two proposals, when the Archdiocese’s next General Assembly will be held to take a vote, “either to preserve its identity, specificity, and traditions under the Patriarchal omophorion of Moscow,” or “to abandon the past, becoming a vicariate without a future,” Abp. John wrote in his address accompanying the letters, reports the Independent Gazette.
The 24-page document from Constantinople is, “in fact, the same statutes that the parishes of the Russian tradition live by today, but with all the references to the Archdiocese as a territorial and legal entity replaced with ‘vicariate,’ with the addition of ‘the Gallic Orthodox Metropolis, in the canonical jurisdiction of the Constantinople (Ecumenical ) Patriarchate.”
Whereas the statutes previously proclaimed the independence of the Exarchate, they now note that decisions can be made only with the “consultation” or “approval” of Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul.
Metropolitan Emmanuel previously sent a letter with a proposal for the churches within his territory to become a vicariate to the priests of the Archdiocese. His letter stipulated the “the preservation of the existing association, which will continue to manage the property belonging to it, and to function according to its own statutes, probably with some necessary adaptations.” The new Constantinople letter makes clear that the “necessary adaptations” are to strip the Archdiocese of its former freedom, as Abp. John comments.
Moreover, both Met. Emmanuel’s letter and the present proposal apply only to the churches in France. No offer has been made for the parishes throughout the rest of Western Europe. “We are not talking about the preservation of the Archdiocese, but only about the preservation of its French part,” Deacon Alexander Zanemonets explained to the Gazette.
Noting that Abp. John would be able to take actions only with the consent of Met. Emmanuel, Dcn. Alexander commented that “the proposal of the Russian Orthodox Church should be considered both in the context of the Romanian refusal and in the context of this Constantinople option.”
As Dcn. Alexander explained, the Romanian Patriarchate offered the Archdiocese to join it only temporarily, and required a canonical release from Constantinople. “But since the Archdiocese is no longer part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, there cannot be any canonical release,” the clergyman explained.
Meanwhile, as he notes, the Moscow Patriarchate’s latest offer “corresponds to what was originally discussed.” That is, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s winter letter and the final proposal are identical, with all the features of the entire Archdiocese being preserved, including the independence of the Archdiocese in all internal decisions. “That is, in fact, the only change is that the Patriarch of Moscow will be commemorated instead of the Patriarch of Constantinople, while the structure of the internal life of the Archdiocese remains the same,” Dcn. Alexander explained.
And, importantly, the Moscow proposal allows the Archdiocese to quickly elect diocesan and vicar bishops. Abp. John’s age has been a point of concern for the Archdiocese, but there has been no hope of electing successor bishops under Constantinople.
The Russian Church has even offered to amend its own statutes to accommodate the traditions of the Archdiocese of Russian Churches.
While Patriarch Bartholomew and other representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have repeatedly stated that politics played no part in the decision to create the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) and grant it a tomos of autocephaly, Makary Maletich, the head of one of the two schismatic bodies that united into the OCU, contradicts this assertion, confirming the decisive role played by the U.S. and other Western secular powers.
In a new interview with the Ukrainian outlet Channel 24, Makary Maletich states that were it not for the support of the U.S. along with Germany, France, and the UK, Pat. Bartholomew would never have dared to give the tomos.
Maletich was once a priest of the canonical Ukrainian Church but went into schism in the late 1980s, joining the so-called “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” a group of self-consecrated “bishops” wholly lacking of any claim to Apostolic Succession, where he eventually became the presiding “metropolitan.”
He was received into the Patriarchate of Constantinople on October 11 as a preliminary step towards Constantinople’s creation of the OCU in December. At that time, the Synod declared that it was lifting the anathemas from Philaret Denisenko, the head of the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP), and Maletich, although the latter had never been placed under anathema in the first place.
In the run-up to the creation of the OCU in December and the granting of the tomos in January, Makary several times voiced his doubts that the unification between the KP and the UAOC would happen, given Philaret Denisenko’s unwavering self-interest. In this latest interview, he also notes that he specifically warned the initiators of “Ukrainian autocephaly” that “the union of all the churches into one Local Church is risky business.”
As he notes, there were those supporters of a new Ukrainian church, but also many opponents. “Therefore, Poroshenko paid for it in the elections, when supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate voted against him,” Makary said.
Besides those Ukrainians who have remained loyal to the Orthodox Church, several Local Churches had already expressed their disapproval of Constantinople’s unilateral interference in Ukraine, even before the rehabilitation of Philaret and Makary and the creation of the OCU.
While Makary gives much credit to Poroshenko, he clarifies: “It is not only the merit of Poroshenko, but also the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainians themselves, and the diplomats of the U.S.A., Great Britain, France, and Germany, who were interested in the church.”
Maletich is certain “that if the Ecumenical Patriarch had not seen the support in the leading states of the world, he wouldn’t have done this. Then neither Poroshenko, nor the Rada, nor Philaret, nor I would have done anything.”
He spoke of the influence of foreign diplomats in December, on the eve of the “unification council” as well, though at that time he mentioned only that they had spoken with him and Philaret to discern if they were ready to receive a tomos.
The new head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Elpidophoros, received U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback in his office recently, thanking him for the U.S.’s support for the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Ambassador Brownback and Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt (former Ambassador to Ukraine) have been actively meeting with religious figures in the Greek Orthodox world, trying to shore up support for the OCU, which is thus far entirely lacking in the Orthodox world.
As for Philaret and his recent actions—reviving the KP and rejecting the tomos—Makary stated: “Let him go, build and restore the Kiev Patriarchate… When he goes and again forms a schism, then Philaret will die in schism.”
The former UAOC head also repeats that both the KP and the UAOC continue to exist from a legal standpoint, “but in fact, they no longer exist because a single Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been created.”
The Primate of the Alexandrian Church, Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa, in his interview to the newspaper “Ethnos”, for the first time takes a stand on the issue of granting Autocephaly to Ukraine.
Speaking about the attitude of the Archdiocese of Alexandria on the issue of the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, the Patriarch of Alexandria has clearly pointed out that he has lived the pain and schism of the Ukrainian Church, but he knows very well “the Russian Church as well, because I was nurtured there for ten years and the Patriarchate of Alexandria has emotional bonds with it”.
He acknowledges, however, that there is a huge problem, that of the Autocephaly, which “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had the right to grant” but he clarifies that what has divided the Churches is the people who took the status of Autocephaly.
He revealed the initiative of Archbishop of Cyprus to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch so as to ask for a meeting between Bartholomew, himself and the Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow. “Every problem has its solution. Our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the Patriarch of Romiosyne, who we all respect and love. Do not forget that this issue is not a dogmatic one. There is a solution to the issue of Autocephaly”.
He also added that there will soon be a new meeting in Nicosia with the participation of the Patriarchates of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and the Church of Cyprus.
“I think a solution can be found, if we let aside our personal issues and consider the interest of the Church” he characteristically said.
For the new Archbishop of Australia, Makarios, he stresses that “I know him since a kid, I love and appreciate him. I am glad that Elpidophoros is going to America, and that in France there is another Archpriest from Crete, Emmanuel”.
With regard to his work on the African continent, Theodoros stresses that the biggest challenge he faces in performing his duties is poverty: “Man is no longer happy; there are no smiles and joy anymore. Today affluence is an end in itself, so I see sad faces. However, in my own field of action, which is mainly Black Continent, I do meet happy people”.