Podgorica, Montenegro, March 6, 2020
The Serbian Athonite Hilandar Monastery recognizes only His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church he heads, Abbot Archimandrite Methodius recently said while in Podgorica, Montenegro, where he concelebrated with Met. Onuphry and His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro.
In his comments to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, Abbot Methodius noted that the Ukrainian problem has caused a division on Mt. Athos itself, and expressed hope that the primates of the Local Churches will soon work together to solve the problem.
Moreover, the presence of Met. Onuphry in Montenegro was a great joy, the Athonite stressed.
“As you know, the Serbian Church supports him and therefore it is important that he is here together with us, that we are severing the Liturgy together and praying together,” Fr. Methodius said.
“On the other hand, his presence is important because a great struggle is underway now to defend the holy sites here, in Montenegro. And he supports this struggle by his prayers and his presence. We, Orthodox Christians, are experiencing great temptations now. But if we’re together, we can defeat them all,” the abbot continued.
According to Fr. Methodius, on Mt. Athos they are aware of the problem that has arisen due to Constantinople’s creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and they pray that the problem would soon be resolved “in the best possible way.”
“We also believe that if the Lord has sent temptations, the He will send us the strength to overcome these temptations,” he added.
While the Patriarchate’s actions have caused some turmoil on Mt. Athos, Fr. Methodius noted, in Hilandar, as in the Serbian Church, they recognize only the canonical Ukrainian Church under Met. Onuphry.
“Some monasteries have recognized [the OCU], some have already served with them. Other monasteries do not recognize them. That is why we hope that the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches will find a solution together. This concerns the Holy Mountain. As for Serbia, we agree with the Council of bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. We do not recognize this new church structure, but only His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. Our monastery has the same opinion as the Serbian Orthodox Church,” said Archimandrite Methodius.
Met. Onuphry visited Montenegro late last month to celebrate the feast of St. Symeon the Myrrh-Gusher and to support and encourage the struggling Church there. In addition to celebrating the Divine services and visiting a number of monasteries, he also led a cross procession against the recently passed anti-Orthodox law and one in honor of St. Symeon, which gathered 100,000 faithful.
Last April, it was reported that Fr. Methodius and the Hilandar brethren categorically reject the Ukrainian schismatics, whether clergy or laity.