Athens, December 12, 2019
The Standing Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church issued a statement yesterday, declaring that the decision to recognize the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” was made without haste, on the basis of the sacred canons of the Church, and not under the influence or pressure of any politicians or nationalist movements.
The Synod quickly put out its statement in response to the criticism of its decision voiced by former Greek Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos, who stated that Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and the other hierarchs “became criminals when they recognized the non-canonical Ukrainian Church first before the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Alexandria at the last Bishops’ Council.”
Kammenos stated at an Institute for Political Studies event that he had personally warned Abp. Ieronymos of the dangers involved in recognizing the OCU.
“The decision made to be liked by the Phanar and to give in to the pressure from some American circles has put Russia against us. So they hold full responsibility for whatever happens from now on because everyone has been warned and I wanted to take it publicly because I cannot hide this fact from the Greek people,” Kammenos said, fearing that, “in case of hostility by the Church of Ukraine, Russia would terminate the guarantees on non-occupation of any Greek island based on the accords concluded with Russia.”
The Greek Synod also stated that “our Holy Church fully and substantially respects the freedom and responsibility of each individual, the human rights of the citizens of each country, and the religious ‘belief’ of the faithful of all the Christian Churches of the same denomination, and always wishes ‘for the peace of the whole world.’”
Any statements to the contrary, such as those from Kammenos, are “untimely, incongruous, and based entirely on sly intentions.”
The Bishops’ Council of the Greek Church met on October 12 and resolved to recognize Patriarch Bartholomew’s right to grant autocephaly in the case of Ukraine and Abp. Ieronymos’ authority to further handle the situation on behalf of the Greek Church.