“The Ecumenical Patriarchate has committed many errors, and this causes us pain!”

An interview with Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary with Romfea

The Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church published the translation from Greek of an interview with Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspol and Brovary to the Greek church news agency “Romfea”, which was posted on the twelfth of September, 2018.1

The Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony, in his interview, spoke about the feelings triggered by the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to appoint two exarchs to Kiev, in the bosom of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, about the consequences that will arise in Ukraine as a result of the possible granting of autocephaly to the schismatics, and on the creation of a parallel Church, as well as what actions could help to avoid these dangers.

    

What kind of feelings in the bosom of your Church arose, because of the recent decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to appoint the two exarchs to Ukraine?

—Sadness and indignation at the same time. I hope, that you have read the official statements of our Church. In the bosom of our Church, the believing people and clergy are worried, they have very serious forebodings, and are not at peace in heart. We expect the worst.

Once, in the past year or two, the Ecumenical Patriarch said in a private conversation with a Hierarch of our Church: “Do not worry, the Mother Church will never hurt her daughter!” And then, we were very thankful to the Ecumenical Patriarch, when we heard such words from him.

Now however, we are confounded, as for what reason the Patriarch changed his mind, and by his own actions wounded the body of the canonical Church in Ukraine!

Usually the Patriarch speaks very little, but every word from the Patriarchate causes a storm in the Ukrainian media. In every article, statement, comment, our Church is accused by heretics, politicians, and radicals. You must understand, that our church is under great pressure, and the Mother-Church, instead of trying to protection her daughter, is pouring gasoline2 on the fire, and by her statements and actions, promotes the enemies of the canonical Church.

It seems that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has decided to grant autocephaly, obviously hoping to resolve the problem of schism in this way. Your Eminence, how do you see this?

—I do not know why the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided that the granting of autocephaly would heal the schism. Who told them that? We know that before treating any disease, the doctor must make the correct diagnosis. In our situation, the movement of autocephaly was the very issue that caused the schism in the early 1990s. And I don’t think it would be right to heal the disease by the cause that gave birth to it.

In our case, it seems to me that Patriarch Bartholomew has made a misdiagnosis, and continues to apply the wrong course of treatment. The persistent and stubborn attempts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to heal the split in Ukraine, through the provision of granting autocephaly is not a cure, but poison for both the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the entire body of Ecumenical (Universal) Orthodoxy.

It is not a mystery what will happen if Patriarch Bartholomew takes this to the end, and does not reconsider his decisions. The consequence of this step will be the poisoning of inter-Orthodox relations, as well as all of Orthodoxy. This is because, as far as we understand, the Phanar is trying to create a new, parallel “church” in Ukraine, which will consist of the current schismatics, and they, no doubt, will be the first to come to this organization, which will be declared as the future “autocephalous church”. Above all, I want to say that without exaggeration, this very idea is of a schismatic character from the very beginning.

Why?

—Because there already exists in our country a canonical Church!3 If it did not exist, then this would be a different matter, or if we were heading into heresy, this is understandable. But so long as there is a canonical Archbishop in Kiev—this is [in our times.—Trans.] Metropolitan Onufry—and someone from the outside wants to create a parallel hierarchy, and proclaim it autocephalous, then and there he creates a schism.

The creation and existence of a parallel hierarchy is a distinctive characteristic of the schism. We already experienced and saw such a thing in Ukraine, as when Philaret did this, when he left our [canonical] Church, and created a parallel church hierarchy in relation to ours. In every city, where there is already one of our bishops, he goes and sets up one of his schismatics. If we do not call this a schism, then what is schism?

I want to give another example: the pragmatic (real/factual)4 schism between the East and the West, that is, between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church did not take place in 10545, when then-Patriarch Michael quarreled with Cardinal Humbert; the true schism took place during the First Crusade (1096-1099), when the Latin crusaders began to expel Orthodox Bishops in Antioch, and the Middle East in general, and put Latin Bishops in their place. It was during this period that the pragmatic6 schism happened.7

Our great bitterness, is in that Patriarch Bartholomew, with his recent actions, seems to be doing the same. He already set out on the path of schism, sending two exarchs without the permission of the local bishop—that is to say: Metropolitan Onufry—obviously [The Phanar is] possessing a readiness to create a new “church” in Ukraine; to put a new archbishop, or metropolitan, or patriarch, and a new hierarchy, and this new organization is to provide autocephaly. But this is strictly forbidden by the sacred canons!8

In order to better understand what the Ecumenical Patriarchate may want to do with us now, I will now give a comparison. Of course, comparisons are not always perfect, but they help us to better understand reality.

You have in Greece the Old Calendarists9 schism for around one hundred years. It is still not resolved. Imagine if someone from one of the Patriarchates said to you [The Church of Greece]: “If you cannot resolve it yourselves, then we will do it. So, we recognize the Old Calendarists as being the canonical church, and we will call them the Church of Greece, taking again the old style of calendar, and you—the real Church of Greece—must join them, and abandon your calendar. If you do not want this, so be it as it may, but we will give your church a new name.”

This is the very same thing they want to do with us here. Politicians, with the help of schismatics, want to rename us from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which we are, to the “Russian Church in Ukraine”; they want to make us out to be a foreign element. They want everything to be the opposite. The schismatics become canonical, and the canonical church to be schismatic, or at least, foreign unto its people. And the Ecumenical Patriarchate is playing on the side of the enemies of our church—and this causes us pain!

As I understand, if this really happens, then it will create a massive scandal in Orthodoxy.

—Of course—the consequences of this step of the Ecumenical Patriarch will affect all Orthodoxy, because if one Patriarch can invade the canonical territory of a different Church, then why can’t it do this to another? [What is stopping it from doing this to another church.—Trans.] It’s no secret that there exist some dioceses between certain Local Churches that historically belonged to a [different] neighboring church, but now, with this precedent, everyone could do what he wants. Where would we go with this kind of logic? It would be a catastrophe!

When you went to the Phanar on the 23rd of June, together with other members of the Holy Synod, were you warned by the Ecumenical Patriarch that he would act in this way?

—Not at all. This is why we were confounded, as to why Patriarch Bartholomew found the time and method to speak with the President, through whom he asked for the appeals and the signatures of heretics, but yet he did not find an opportunity to communicate with the canonical Church? As if we did not exist; as if we are the schismatics, and the canonical church is schismatic.

In addition, I know that the Local Orthodox Churches watch these unfolding events with perplexity, to see what the Ecumenical Patriarch will come to [what he will do/how far he will go.—Trans.] The Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot neglect the position of the canonical Church.

Didn’t Constantinople recently host the Synaxis of the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, where the “Ukrainian Question” was one of the main issues? How do you assess the discussion of your [Ukrainian] question in the Phanar?

—I do not know all the details of what they spoke about on this question. We can evaluate this only from what we read in the media. However, we were surprised by the fact that regarding the decision on the Ukrainian question in the Phanar, the majority of the hierarchs who spoke were among those who have never been to Ukraine, and do not have a full understanding of what is happening in our country. As we learned, the main report on the Ukrainian issue was made by a bishop from Crete, who lives in Estonia. I am referring to Vladika Marakrios of Christoupolis, and, if memory serves, if he ever even came to Ukraine it was once, a long time ago.

This lack of good knowledge and awareness of the actual [and pragmatic10] ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine was also noted by Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from Finland, who spoke in their interview, saying that they lacked the point of view of Ukrainian bishops, three of whom took part in the synaxis.

What will happen in Ukraine with your Church, in the event of the granting of autocephaly to the schismatics, and what would it appear that the Phanar would do?

—Everything will be the other way around. Today’s schismatics would become an autocephalous church, and they will try to make our canonical church a foreigner for our country. Here, the Ecumenical Patriarch is compromised in the eyes of our believing people, our clergy, and our Hierarchs.

Our Church does not recognize this action, and will not serve with this new “church”. The Church is in fact a large spiritual family, which means that the majority of our believers and parishes will remain in the bosom of the canonical church, and they will not betray their pastors whom they love and follow. Some will leave, but not many, mainly just the problematic ones. Disputes will begin again in the families of Ukrainians, they will again seize our churches, brother will go against his brother, there will be conflicts. We already experienced such events in the beginning of the 1990s, when the schism occurred.

What way out do you see from this situation; what do you suggest?

—I realize the fact that I spoke to you about very severe things. But the time of diplomacy has already passed, and we must speak openly and frankly, because this danger threatens all of Orthodoxy. In this situation, none of the Local Orthodox Churches can sit on the sidelines, reasoning and hoping that the above-mentioned events do not concern them. All Local Churches constitute the Body of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. As the Apostle Paul teaches us: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

It is therefore essential that all Local Churches raise their voices. It is necessary to gather the Primates, so that via dialog we can all find an answer. As the Ecumenical Patriarch said at the beginning of his meeting with Patriarch Kirill, if political leaders can solve problems amongst themselves through dialogue, how much more, then, must Church leaders use opportunities for dialogue. Moreover, our Church has a synodical [council-based.—Trans.] decision-making system.

In the history of the Church, we see that as soon as any kind of problem, heresy, or schism arose, both Local and Ecumenical Councils were convened. Therefore, in our Ukrainian case, it is necessary that we are gathered in the grace of the Holy Spirit, as we sing on Palm Sunday, and also at the time of our councils and synods. Only everyone together with prayer, having care for the good of the Church, under the guidance and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, will we surely find a solution to the problems, and escape the great problems in the bosom of our beloved Church of Christ, where the Lord: “made you overseers11 [made us Bishops]12, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

2 Oil in Russian – trans.

3 See also, in this same light, prior to all of this, when Archbishop Theodosy gave an interview saying “Ukraine already has her own church; absolutely autonomous, and the most populous—this is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” –Trans.

4 The Greek word used here is πραγματικό σχίσμα (pragmatic schism). Pragmatic in this case is used in the classic Greek meaning, as in factual, based in practical situations, not theoretical. See also footnote 10. – trans.

5 To help clarify for those more removed from the ancient conflicts between Orthodox and Catholics in the homelands, Metropolitan Anthony is NOT denying the Roman Catholic church entered into schism in 1054. Rather, he is speaking to the effect that in practice, the schism did not begin in one single concrete moment, but rather developed over a series of events. Communications in those days were not instantaneous, and obviously in the microscale, there was a delay between the mutual excommunications between East and West, and all parishes universally hearing about this. Likewise, in the macroscale, the schism was the result of slow differences that emerged over centuries. In many ways, these differences emerged especially in the 8th-9th Centuries, with the appointment of the Frankish King Charlemagne as “Holy Roman Emperor” and creation of that title and empire – and insult to the current (Eastern) Roman Empire. Charlemagne had a vested interest to sew disunion with the universal church, and promote the power of the Roman (Western) church over the other (Eastern) patriarchates, because this would indirectly result in the increasing power of his new western empire. So differences began to slowly emerge since then. For example, Saint Vladimir of Kiev’s envoys, less than 100 years before 1054, noticed major differences between churches under the see of Rome, and those in Constantinople, even though the church was nominally one. Likewise, in the coming years after the schism in 1054, certain actions, especially in the Crusades, widened it, to the point where after the Forth Crusade (1204) and Sack of Constantinople, the final point of no return was passed, all notions of brotherhood was lost after the Catholic attack, and for centuries unto recent memories, East and West would not longer speak. – Trans.

6 See footnotes 4 and 10. The Greek word pragmatic has the meaning of factual/realistic/practical. – trans.

7 See footnote 5

8 The Second Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council states, among other things, that “…bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds…” [without the permission of the bishop of the that territory] https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.ix.viii.iii.html.—Trans.

9 This refers to specific churches with broke communion with universal Orthodoxy over the calendars, not those on the Old Calendar, obviously. For example, these churches are also effectively not in communion with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is on the Old Calendar, but is not Old Calandarist.—Trans.

10 In Russian, the word used was “factual” (фактической) i.e. based on the real factual situation (in Ukraine). The word used in the Greek interview was πραγματικής (pragmatikis) which in its modern Greek meaning can simply mean real, practical, or factual, however is also connected to the classical meaning of the Greek word pragmatic as used in English i.e. “relating to fact, or reality”. This distinction is important because with Russia and Ukraine, many people (almost always those who don’t know the country) base their position towards it based on their feelings and predetermined biases. Very few outside of these lands understand the practical, realistic situation on the ground, especially in the West – where the majority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s flock now come from. – Trans.

11 Episcopes means “Overseer” or Bishop.

12 Vladyka Anthony is referring to the bishops coming together here in a council, as only bishops are the “overseers” God placed in charge of the Church. While we all have a role to play, according to our stations, only our hierarchs can be the ones to formally and canonically solve the problems or make the decisions through the Grace of the Holy Spirit.—Trans.

See also
What moved Patriarch Bartholomew to lay to ruin Ukrainian Orthodoxy? What moved Patriarch Bartholomew to lay to ruin Ukrainian Orthodoxy? What moved Patriarch Bartholomew to lay to ruin Ukrainian Orthodoxy? What moved Patriarch Bartholomew to lay to ruin Ukrainian Orthodoxy?
Kirill Alexandrov
Dubious initiatives by the Phanar in Ukraine are becoming increasingly puzzling; but is Patriarch Bartholomew really free in his actions?
Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics
Met. Seraphim of Kythira
Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics
Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythera
We now present here the full text of Met. Seraphim’s interview with Alexander Stefanopoulos, a Greek journalist in New York, for his “Greek American News Agency.”
Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the uncanonical intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the uncanonical intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the uncanonical intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the uncanonical intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Statement was adopted at an extraordinary session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 14 September 2018 (Minutes No. 69).
Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism
Alexander Shchipkov
Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism "Patriarch Bartholomew will be remembered as a teacher of schism"
Alexander Shchipkov
The 7th of September will go down in history as a lamentable date. On this day, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew proclaimed and signaled a schism in Universal Orthodoxy, along the liberal and conservative lines. And he is officially headed in a liberal direction.
The current situation creates a threat of schism for Universal Orthodoxy The current situation creates a threat of schism for Universal Orthodoxy
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)
The current situation creates a threat of schism for Universal Orthodoxy Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev): The Current situation creates a threat of schism for Universal Orthodoxy
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)
We have made this statement today in the hope that they will reconsider their decision, that no exarchs will go to Kiev. However, in the event that the decision is not reconsidered, we will be forced to think of retaliatory measures. At the moment, such measures are being discussed by our Holy Synod.
Address of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Faithful on the Possibility of Granting a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine Address of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Faithful on the Possibility of Granting a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine Address of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Faithful on the Possibility of Granting a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine Address of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Faithful on the Possibility of Granting a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine
At its session on May 25 at the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church adopted an address to the bishops, clergy, monastics, and laity regarding the initiative for “providing a tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
Comments
Pavlos Dams9/26/2018 2:21 pm
Anthony,
congrats on your comments. I'm liking them a lot :-)
anthony9/25/2018 2:56 pm
Hi. His eminence shouldn't be perplexed or confounded by the phanar's dastardly deeds. The reasons are two-fold. One is Amerika pulling the phanar's strings in the background. They control his actions. The other is the phanar's own neo papist ambitions and delusions of grandeur. Embittered by the failure of his filthy council in Crete, he seeks to get his own back against the Russian Church who refused to bow to his wim and attend or accept his delusional heretical documents. The good thing about this is the mask has now finally fallen which is what I have been warning about for years. Now it time for true Orthodox Hierarchs to make their allegiance known. Christ or antichrist.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

Subscribe
to our mailing list

* indicates required
×