Kiev, May 24, 2019
Updated May 24, 8:30 PM
The press service of the Ukrainian schismatic church confirmed today that its Synod of Bishops has elected Archimandrite Epiphanius (Dimitriou) from the Greek Orthodox Church to serve as a bishop in Ukraine.
With reference to Romfea, OrthoChristian reported on Wednesday that a prominent clergyman of the Greek Church would be elected today, though today’s press release clarifies that he had already been elected at some unspecified point.
He will be consecrated tomorrow as “bishop” of Olbia, serving as a vicar to the primate “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko and working with the Greek-speaking flock in Ukraine.
In his press briefing following the session, Dumenko stated that Fr. Epiphanius received an official release from the Greek Orthodox Church to transfer to the OCU. “Archbishop” Evstraty Zorya later commented on his Facebook page that Archimandrite Epiphanius was officially released by his local hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias and Almyros of the Greek Orthodox Church.
As he was reportedly released neither by the Holy Synod nor by the primate His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, his move to the OCU does not constitute a recognition of the OCU by the Greek Church, though it remains to be seen how Abp. Ieronymos or the Synod will respond to this decision of Met. Ignatius.
To date, the Greek Church has not officially recognized the legitimacy of the OCU.
Epiphany also states that Fr. Epiphanius has long been a friend of Ukrainian schismatics, and that the “Kiev Patriarchate” had considered him to work with their Greek-speaking parishioners as far back as 2010. He also says that Bishop-elect Epiphanius will help the OCU to be recognized as quickly as possible by the other Local Churches.
Epiphany did not specify which bishops from which Churches will consecrate Fr. Epiphanius, noting only that the service will take place in St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kiev with the participation of the “episcopate.”
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