Morphou, Cyprus, December 2, 2019
His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou addressed the Ukrainian issue recently, confirming that the Cypriot Church recognizes only His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine as the canonical primate in Ukraine.
The “thorny issue,” as he called is, was addressed during a spiritual dialogue on November 26, reports Romfea.
“As the Church of Cyprus, we have the right to not recognize Epiphany and the recognition made by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of our race, as well as the Church of Greece and the Patriarch of Alexandria. We have not done it and I will not do it,” Met. Neophytos stressed.
Elsewhere, Met. Neophytos stressed: “We must say that a local Church is represented by a canonical metropolitan. Here, in Morphou, there is Neophtyos, Metropolitan of Morphou, in Tamassos, there is Isaiah of Tamassos, and in Constantia there is Vasilios of Constantia.”
“We, as the Church of Cyprus, and I, as the Metropolitan of Morphou, recognize Metropolitan Onuphry as the canonical bishop of Kiev. He was and remains the Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine,” the Cypriot hierarch said.
“Who have we known for so many years as the canonical Bishop of Kiev? Metropolitan Onuphry. He remains the canonical Metropolitan of Ukraine,” the Cypriot hierarch said.
At the end of his speech, Met. Neophytos emphasized that a pan-Orthodox council is needed to clarify the situation in Ukraine.
Interestingly, Met. Vasilios of Constantia, whom Met. Neophytos mentions, recently concelebrated with Ukrainian schismatics in Ukraine, despite the fact that the Cypriot Church is not in canonical communion with the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
While Ukrainian and Greek media have attempted to portray Met. Vasilios’ actions as a sign of the Cypriot Church moving towards recognition of the OCU, Met. Neophytos’ statement shows that the situation is not so clear.
While the Cypriot Church as a whole has neither recognized nor firmly rejected the OCU, several hierarchs have strongly come out against recognition, including Metropolitans Athanasios of Limassol, Isaiah of Tamassos, and Nikephoros of Kykkos.
In the spring, Met. Nikephoros issued a strong statement that it is impossible to have communion with the unordained schismatics of the OCU, and speaking to the participants of an international monastic conference a few days ago, he reiterated his position that the Patriarchate of Constantinople made a serious error in Ukraine, threatening deep and long-lasting divisions in the Orthodox Church.