Tbilisi, February 21, 2019
The chancellor of the canonical Ukrainian Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, met with His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia in Tbilisi yesterday, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Met. Anthony was accompanied by Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Chairman of the UOC’s Department for External Church Relations. The meeting was also attended by five other hierarchs of the Georgian Orthodox Church, including the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal throne His Eminence Metropolitan Shio of Senaki and Chkhorotsqu, and three archpriests.
The meeting concerned the crisis in the life of the Ukrainian Church and the situation in world Orthodoxy.
Pat. Ilia and the other Georgian hierarchs were keenly interested in the situation in Ukraine and sympathize with the much-suffering canonical Church, Fr. Nikolai explains in a video published on Met. Anthony’s YouTube page.
“Everyone empathizes. They’re all praying to God and hoping that the difficulties that have arisen in the life of the Church will sooner or later be resolved with God’s help,” Fr. Nikolai says.
A statement on the Georgian Patriarchate’s site notes that Pat. Ilia expressed his grief over the situation that has arisen in Ukraine and noted that he calls all to pray about it.
Pat. Ilia also spoke very warmly about the primate of the Ukrainian Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and asked the Ukrainian delegation to give him a bow from him.
“The Church is a big family. And this family is now undergoing a test of strength. From the communication we have, we see that all the Local Churches support us,” Fr. Nikolai said, adding that he hopes that those who have fallen away from the Truth would think again and stop tearing the robe of Christ.
Pat. Ilia also met with a delegation from the Patriarchate of Constantinople on January 30, though it was announced after that meeting that the Holy Synod of the Georgian Church will meet sometime in the spring, and that no decision about whether or not to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics will be made before then.
His Eminence Metropolitan Andria of Gori, who participated in the meeting with the Ukrainian delegation, earlier commented that a request for autocephaly can only come from the fullness of a local Church body. His Eminence Metropolitan Nikoloz (Pachuashvili) of Akhalkalaki, Kumurdo and Kari, also recently stated that while the Georgian Church is in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly in principle, they cannot serve with anathematized and self-consecrated bishops. His Eminence Metropolitan John of Rustavi of the Georgian Orthodox Church has noted that “The unity of the Orthodox Church is based not on the sole, Papist principle, but on conciliarity, which is reflected in the Nicene Creed.”
The Georgian Church also posted a statement in late September saying that the situation in Ukraine is very delicate and thus it needed to be worked out between the Patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople. While the Georgian Synod has not taken a formal stance on the issue, it is known that His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II strongly opposes Constantinople’s interference in Ukraine.
His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye recently issued an open letter to Pat. Ilia, imploring him to stand with the canonical Church in Ukraine, and in late January, Schema-Archimandrite John of the Zverinets Monastery of the Archangel Michael in Kiev made a similar appeal to the entire Georgian Church.
Follow us on Facebook!