Archbishop of Cyprus visits primates of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece to discuss Ukrainian problem

Cyprus, May 22, 2019

Abp. Chrysostomos (left), Pat. Neofit (right). Photo: bg-patriarshia.bg Abp. Chrysostomos (left), Pat. Neofit (right). Photo: bg-patriarshia.bg     

His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos, the primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, visited the primates of the Serbian, Bulgarian, and Greek Churches from May 17 to 21 to discuss the ongoing Ukrainian Church crisis with them.

The Cypriot primate has often expressed his willingness and desire to serve as a mediator in the present unity-threatening conflict. He also met with the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem on April 18 to discuss the issue with them.

Abp. Chrysostomos first met with His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and the other hierarchs of the Serbian Church during their recent session of the Council of Bishops in Belgrade on May 17.

No details of their discussions were reported, though the Serbian bishops then reaffirmed that they recognize only the canonical Ukrainian Church led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

The Cypriot primate then met with His Holiness Patriarch Neofit and other hierarchs of the Bulgarian Church in Sofia on May 20. The Bulgarian Church has yet to take a stance on the Ukrainian issue.

His Beatitude then met with His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece in Athens yesterday. Abp. Chrysostomos informed Abp. Ieronymos about the results of his meetings with the Serbian and Bulgarian Patriarchs during their two-hour meeting, reports the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Greek Church also has yet to take a stance on the Ukrainian issue.

“We must be careful not to make a mistake for the Church, because it is a sin before God. That is why the guiding principle of all our efforts must be careful adherence to the interests of the Church, despite any individuals. No matter who they are, we must be primarily interested in the good of the Church,” Abp. Chrysostomos said.

Abp. Ieronymos agreed and noted the need to discuss the Ukrainian Church problem. “Each of us, in the place where he has been appointed to serve, should examine this question responsibly, seriously, and without hypocrisy,” he said.

The Greek primate likewise emphasized the need to seek the benefit of the Church and its unity, and expressed the hope that although we as humans make mistakes, we will be able to overcome them with the help of God’s grace.

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5/22/2019

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