Epiphany Dumenko is looking forward to concelebrating with Abp. Ieronymos in Athens
Kiev, January 25, 2019
Dumenko spoke about his expectations in an interview he recently gave to the Greek site TaNea, with the text posted on his Facebook page in Ukrainian.
“I see good and productive relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the future,” Dumenko commented.
“We are currently awaiting recognition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Greek Orthodox Church. This is the first step that will lead us to productive cooperation. This cooperation will be possible as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will move towards the Greek tradition,” the schismatic head said.
Dumenko did not elaborate on what he means by “moving towards the Greek tradition,” but he spent time studying in Greece and notes that he will make sure that ancient and modern Greek are taught in the seminaries in his “church.”
In late December he commented that the Ukrainians need to soften on LGBT issues in order to move further from the Russian tradition.
“In case of recognition, by tradition, my visit to Athens for a joint Liturgy with the primate of the Church of Greece [His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens—O.C.] will take place. I would also like to visit Athos again–a place of unique importance for the Orthodox World,” Dumenko said, concluding the topic.
Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia, previously Constantinople’s Exarch to Kiev, has also commented that they are expecting the Greek and also Romanian Churches to recognize the Ukrainian structure first, within a month or so, with the other Churches soon to follow in the coming months.
The Greek Synod met on December 8 and discussed Ukraine, but in view of the seriousness of the issue, it decided to refer the issue to the broader Bishops’ Council to get more hierarchs involved in the decision.
It is unclear what decision the hierarchs will make, but the hierarchy of the Greek Church is in a unique situation, with the more than 30 dioceses of the “New Lands” being administered by the Greek Church but officially belonging to the Patriarchate of Constantinople—thus Patriarch Bartholomew could find serious support for his unilateral actions in Ukraine.
Several individual Greek hierarchs have spoken out against the actions of Constantinople and the Ukrainian state over the past several months, including the Metropolitans Seraphim of Piraeus (and here), Nektarios of Corfu, Paxoi, and the Diapontian Islands, Seraphim of Kythira, and Ambrose of Kalavryta.
The Metropolis of Piraeus recently released a statement calling for the Greek Church not to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics.
As for the other Greek Churches, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus rejected a visit from Dumenko and has said he will not commemorate him in the Liturgy, and His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem also rejected a proposal to concelebrate with the schismatics. His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria strongly supports the canonical Ukrainian Church, but the Alexandrian Synod has not yet taken a stance.
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