Sebastia, Israel, October 17, 2018
While the Holy Synod of the Jerusalem Patriarchate has not made an official statement on the situation in Ukraine and the division between the Moscow and Ecumenical Patriarchates following Constantinople’s statement last Thursday, the hierarchy and faithful of the Church are following and concerned about the recent developments.
Against this background, one Jerusalem hierarch, His Eminence Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia, has called on the primates of the world’s Orthodox Churches to immediately join in the settlement of the current dispute, which is, according to him, fraught with disaster for the entire Orthodox world.
“We feel pain and sorrow from what happened between our two sister Churches in Moscow and Constantinople. We urge to as soon as possible begin some positive initiatives, a wide dialogue to find a resolution to this crisis, the consequences of which will be catastrophic for our Orthodox Church,” Abp. Theodosios told RIA-Novosti yesterday.
“We ask the leaders of the Christian Churches of the world to intervene… We believe that this dispute between two Churches requires the positive intervention of the other Orthodox Churches. I would like to see the patriarchs of the Orthodox world in Constantinople, Antioch, and the other Churches intervene quickly to stop the escalation of this dispute, which has become a threat to the real unity of the Church,” the hierarch added.
This echoes an earlier statement from the same bishop in late August: “The schism in Ukraine is very unfortunate, and I hope that the Patriarch of Constantinople and the other heads of the Orthodox Churches of the world will coordinate with the Russian Orthodox Church to advance initiatives for ending this unhealthy, unacceptable, and unjustified situation.”
It is not impossible to solve the situation as long as there is a “sincere intention and desire to find a solution,” Abp. Theoodosios added in yesterday’s comments.
The Jerusalem hierarch previously attested that the Jerusalem Church recognizes Ukraine as the canonical territory of the Russian Church, which Constantinople is now denying.
“The Orthodox Churches of the world, including Jerusalem, only recognize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, that it is headed by Metropolitan Onuphry; he is a member of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. We support all efforts to end the schism in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—the Church is a place of love, unity, and peace, and not hatred and schism,” he explained.
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