Synod of Patriarchate of Alexandria to discuss Ukraine at session beginning today

Alexandria, November 26, 2018

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The latest meeting of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria opens today, running through Friday, and the issue of the Ukrainian Church crisis is expected to be one of the main topics of discussion.

The session will be chaired by His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, who will present to the Synod on the situation in Ukraine, having personally visited Ukraine in September, as well as on his efforts to inform the primates of the fraternal Local Churches about the situation there, reports

His Beatitude first visited Poland, where he signed a joint statement with the primate of the Polish Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, calling for all involved in the Ukrainian issue to do everything possible to preserve peace and Church unity.

The Alexandrian primate then traveled to Odessa in a show of solidarity with the suffering faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Church. Pat. Theodoros has a great love for the Ukrainian people, having served in Odessa as a representative of the Alexandrian Patriarchal throne from 1985 to 1990. He urged all the faithful to remain loyal to the true, canonical Church and to its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. He also pledged to do all he could to inform the primates of all the Local Orthodox Churches about the truth of the situation in Ukraine and to preserve truth and unity, about which he will report to the Synod.

It is assumed that the bishops will adopt a statement on Ukraine, as have the Synods of the Serbian and Polish Churches. Though His Beatitude has been very vocal about the Ukrainian situation, no other bishops from the Alexandrian Patriarchate have publicly spoken out, thus it is as yet unknown what the Synod could decide, though it is expected that His Eminence Metropolitan Makarios of Nairobi will make a recommendation on the Ukrainian issue.

The bishops of the Serbian and Polish Churches officially refused to accept the rehabilitation of the two groups of Ukrainian schismatics which Constantinople announced on October 11.

Pat. Theodoros himself has expressed a similar view in the past, insisting that if the Ukrainian schismatics, who broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate, want to return to the Church, then they must do so via the Moscow Patriarchate, not Constantinople.

He also expressed agreement with the Russian Church in July during the celebrations for the Baptism of Rus’: “The Church should be governed according to the sacred canons. Politicians have their own ideas, instructions, and orders, but politicians come and go; the Church has been unshakable for 2,000 years. In this sense, the Patriarchate of Alexandria agrees with the view of the Russian Church that political pressure should not be allowed. When States are divided, and then the Church—this is wrong.”

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