Nicosia, Cyprus, February 8, 2019
The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus discussed the issues surrounding the creation of and granting of a tomos of autocephaly to a new church in Ukraine, reports Romfea News.
At the session, chaired by His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, the hierarchs exchanged their views on the matter, and it was decided to continue the debate in an extraordinary session on February 18.
The Holy Synod of the Cypriot Church has not made any statement on the Ukrainian issue since it began in April with Poroshenko’s appeal for autocephaly to Constantinople, and it is unclear where Abp. Chrysostomos stands.
While visiting Moscow in July for the celebration of the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’, His Eminence Metropolitan Georgios of Paphos of the Cypriot Orthodox Church told His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: “I convey the words of His Beatitude, who assures that the Cypriot Orthodox Church will always support the position of your Church in relation to the provision of autocephaly in Ukraine.”
At a meeting in September with the Ukrainian ambassador to Cyprus, His Beatitude expressed concern for the possibility of a split in world Orthodoxy and offered the Church of Cyprus as a mediator in the discussion. At a meeting in October with former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, the Archbishop stressed the importance of unity, supported the idea of holding a pan-Orthodox discussion on the matter, and spoke against political interference in the affairs of the Ukrainian Church.
Abp. Chrysostomos met with the Ukrainian ambassador again in early January, after which Ukrainian media reported that he had expressed support for the new church. The primate denied such reports, emphasizing that while every state has the right to autocephaly, the Ukrainian people have not shown such a desire. He also noted that he had been contacted about the possibility of “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the Ukrainian schismatic church, visiting Cyprus, which the Archbishop flatly refused, saying that he has not and will not commemorate Epiphany in the Divine Liturgy.
Constantinople then sent Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa to Cyprus to discuss the issue with Abp. Chrysostmos. Asked by a journalist at that time to comment on Epiphany’s desire to visit Cyprus, His Beatitude said that the time will come when he will concelebrate with him, though stressing it will happen at the invitation of the Cypriot Church. He added that it will not cause any harm if they don’t invited him immediately.
Addressing the issue of granting autocephaly to Ukraine in January 2018, another Cypriot hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, noted that it is first a question for the Ukrainian Church’s Mother Church—the Moscow Patriarchate.
“First and foremost, this question should be resolved by the Patriarch of Moscow, in whose jurisdiction the Ukrainian Church is located, then—the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and then all the Orthodox Churches under the chairmanship of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” Met. Anathasios stated.
“But first of all, the first word is for the Mother Church of the Ukrainian Church, which is the Moscow Patriarchate. To it belongs the first word in this process,” His Eminence added.
He also said that the schismatics should return to the canonical Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
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