Washington, D.C., July 18, 2019
The American government’s support for, and further, its role in the creation of the new schismatic church in Ukraine has been openly acknowledged on both the American and Ukrainian side, though the Patriarchate of Constantinople continues to deny that there was any political influence on its decision to create it and grant it a tomos of autocephaly.
As OrthoChristian reported yesterday, Archbishop Elpidophoros, the new head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, a jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, met with President Trump and Vice President Pence on Tuesday.
The relation between the U.S. government and the OCU continued earlier the same day, as Abp. Elpidophoros also attended a State Department conference on religious freedom with two bishops of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) in tow.
According to a press release from the OCU, the speaker of its Kiev Metropolis and Deputy Head of its Department for External Church Relations “Archbishop” Evstraty Zorya of Chernigov and Nizhyn and “Archbishop” Clement of Crimea also took part in the conference, with the blessing of the schismatic primate, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko.
The OCU hierarchs personally congratulated Abp. Elpidophoros on his recent enthronement and, at the invitation of the Abp. Elpidophoros and the archons of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Order of St. Andrew, attended a reception organized by the Order on the occasion of the Archbishop’s first visit to Washington.
The OCU reports that during the reception, the schismatic bishops also had the opportunity to greet the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III. Recall that in January, Pat. Theophilos dodged a meeting with ex-Ukrainian President Poroshenko who wanted to bring representatives of the schismatic OCU with him. He has also resisted pressure to concelebrate with the schismatics and the Patriarchate now strictly verifies the jurisdictional allegiance of all clergy from Ukraine.
The day after the conference and reception, the Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S. reported that the U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a resolution on the 5th anniversary of the “Revolution of Dignity” in Ukraine, in which it praised the creation of the OCU, calling it “an important milestone in building Ukraine’s own future free from Russian influence.”
A number of statements showing such support have come from various bodies within the U.S. government both before and after the creation of the OCU. In January, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published a message on the “momentous occasion” of the granting of a tomos of autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics. In June, Makary Maletich, formerly the head of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” openly acknowledged that Patriarch Bartholomew decided to move ahead with the Ukrainian autocephaly project because he had the support of the U.S. and the other great Western powers.
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