Mariupol, Ukraine, May 23, 2019
OrthoChristian reported yesterday that an unnamed archimandrite from the Greek Church would be elected and consecrated as bishop for the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) this coming weekend.
The Ukrainian agency the Union of Orthodox Journalists (UOJ) later learned that the archimandrite in question is Epiphanius (Dimitriou), a cleric of the Demetrias and Almyros Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Referring to its own sources, the UOJ reports that Fr. Epiphanius will become the “bishop” of Mariupol, though it is unknown if he will become a vicar bishop to the current “Archbishop” Sergei of Donetsk and Mariupol or if he will receive part of his diocese as his own.
Archimandrite Epiphanius is a cleric of the Greek Church but is known for his active cooperation with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He was awarded by Patriarch Bartholomew for his active participation in the revival of the Halki theological school.
According to reports, he will be elected tomorrow and consecrated on Saturday.
As OrthoChristian previously wrote, it is unclear how Fr. Epiphanius will become a cleric of the schismatic-nationalist Ukrainian church, given that his current jurisdiction, the Church of Greece, does not recognize and has no liturgical and Eucharistic communion with the Ukrainians under “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko. To grant him a release to the OCU would seem to be an implicit recognition of the legitimacy of the structure.
It is also possible though seems unlikely that Fr. Epiphanius could simply leave the Greek Church without a release, perhaps counting on Constantinople to protect him. It is more likely that he will first be released to Constantinople and from Constantinople to the OCU. It is also possible that Constantinople could simply take him from the Greek Church, as it took Simeon Shostatsky and Alexander Drabinko from the Ukrainian Church without any communication with the relevant ecclesiastical authorities, and then transfer him to the OCU.
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