Jerusalem, January 11, 2019
Alexander Drabinko and other “bishops” of the new Ukrainian structure are planning on traveling to Jerusalem for the great feast of Theophany on January 19 and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is under serious pressure to concelebrate with them, according to a source in the Patriarchate.
Drabinko is one of two former hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Church who apostatized and joined the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” at the “unification council” on December 15. It is likely that Drabinko is being sent because as a former hierarch of the canonical Church, he can at least boast of a canonical consecration to the episcopacy, which the majority of the hierarchs of the new structure cannot, and thus they hope he will be more palatable to the hierarchs of the Jerusalem Church.
Thus far, the Patriarchate has not agreed to receive and concelebrate with the schismatic representatives, though it is hard to say for sure what will be decided due to the pressure on the Jerusalem Church coming from multiple sides, including Constantinople, Israel, and America.
However, it can be said that about 80% of the hierarchs of the Jerusalem Patriarchate support the position of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church in principle.
Last night, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre by the Jerusalem hierarch His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina with the concelebration of clergy from the Russian, Romanian, and Georgian Churches. A number of Ukrainian clergymen were present as well, and His Eminence strictly inquired of them all about their jurisdiction, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The Holy Synod of the Jerusalem Patriarchate has made no public statements on the Ukrainian crisis since it was reignited in April though statements coming from the primate, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, and other primates have been supportive of the canonical Ukrainian Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Just before the Ukrainian state appealed to Constantinople for autocephaly in late April, Pat. Theophilos met with a Ukrainian delegation in the Holy Land, expressing his belief that Met. Onuphry is the only one who could cope with the difficult situation the Ukrainian people find themselves in now.
“God chose His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the most suitable person for the difficult situation in which the Ukrainian people find themselves now, and he will have the strength to overcome the schism which has occurred in Ukraine,” he said.
Meeting with another Ukrainian delegation in September, Pat. Theophilos reflected that the interference of one Church in the affairs of another under the influence of politicians is a sign of the tentacles of globalization trying to penetrate into the Church’s Body to destroy it.
In a 2015 meeting with Ukrainian radical politicians, His Beatitude Theophilos spoke of the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” as “our lost brothers headed by Philaret [who have fallen away] from the Mother-Church.” The patriarch again expressed his support for the suffering faithful of the canonical Orthodox Church in an October 2016 meeting with a delegation of the Ukrainian Church, and on Pentecost in 2017, Pat. Theophilos spoke of the Ukrainian schismatic nationalists who seize parishes of the true Church, saying, “We condemn in the most categorical terms those who are committing actions directed against the parishes of the canonical Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. Not in vain do the holy fathers remind us that the violation of the Church’s unity is the gravest sin.”
In late August, His Eminence Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia stated that the Jerusalem Patriarchate views Ukraine as the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, against Constantinople’s revisionist claims to the contrary, and called upon the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to intervene to find a solution with Moscow and Constantinople. He also called on the Ukrainian state to stop interfering in Church affairs.
Abp. Theodosios renewed his call for a pan-Orthodox discussion on the matter in October, following Constantinople’s announcement that it had rehabilitated millions of Ukrainian schismatics and was taking Ukraine as part of its canonical territory.
In July 2017, during a press briefing at the Kiev Caves Lavra with representatives from a number of Local Orthodox Churches, His Eminence Metropolitan Timothy of Bostroi of the Church of Jerusalem said, “We understand that hard times have arrived for Ukraine. We pray for Ukraine’s prosperity and for the union of the people. The Orthodox autonomous Church of Ukraine under the headship of Metropolitan Onuphry is a symbol of the people’s unity.”
In September 2018, Met. Timothy also declared that for the Jerusalem Patriarchate, the canonical Church under Met. Onuphry is the only canonical Church in Ukraine.
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