Cyprus, December 3, 2019
As OrthoChristian reported yesterday, Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia and Ammochostos of the Cypriot Orthodox Church concelebrated with Patriarchs Bartholomew of Constantinople and Theodoros of Alexandria and Evstraty Zorya of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” on the feast of St. Andrew in Constantinople on November 30.
As a former member of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” headed by the defrocked, excommunicated, and anathematized Philaret Denisenko, Evstraty Zorya has never been canonically ordained.
The participation of Met. Vasilios is noteworthy in that the Holy Synod of the Cypriot Church has not decided to recognize the OCU, thus the Cypriot hierarch concelebrated with a “bishop” with whom he has no Eucharistic communion.
As has happened many times, schismatic and Constantinople-friendly media hailed Met. Vasilios’ participation as a step towards recognition by the Cypriot Church. Recall that Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic church, declared that the Greek Church de-facto recognized his OCU after one Greek hierarch concelebrated with schismatics in Ukraine. The Metropolis of Langadas was forced to refute his characterization, though Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens did later choose to recognize the schismatics.
Orthodox Times, formerly the English edition of Romfea, which openly works with the U.S. State Department, wrote in an article entitled, “Co-liturgy at the Phanar sends a message to Moscow,” that “the fact that one bishop from the Church of Cyprus, Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia and Ammochostos, attended the commemoration was of particular importance.”
As Orthodox journalist Alexander Vosnesensky writes, Met. Vasilios is known in Cyprus as the most fervently pro-Constantinople hierarch.
Vosnesenky earlier personally reported from the Liturgy in Limassol where Pat. Theodoros of Alexandria commemorated Epiphany Dumenko despite the request of the local hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol.
The day after Met. Vasilios concelebrated with the schismatics, Vosnesensky contacted representatives of several Cypriot metropolitans who told him that the hierarchs hope that Met. Vasilios’ actions will be evaluated by the Holy Synod or by the primate, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The representatives also affirmed that Met. Vasilios’ actions in no way indicate the Cypriot Church’s move towards recognition of the schismatic OCU.
Three other Cypriot Metropolitans—Athanasios of Limassol, Nikephoros of Kykkos, and Neophytos of Morphou—have recently made statements in which they clearly reject the Ukrainian schismatics and recognize only the canonical Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
A hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk, led the Divine Liturgy on the feast of St. Andrew in Nicosia, Cyprus, on November 30.
A hierarch of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) of Šumperk, also faces canonical penalties from his Church’s Holy Synod after recently concelebrating with schismatics in Ukraine.