Mt. Athos, February 11, 2019
Two more monasteries on Mt. Athos have closed their gates to the Ukrainian schismatic delegation that is currently visiting the Holy Mountain, reports Interfax-Religion.
A meeting of the Sacred Community of Mt. Athos is expected today, to discuss the contentious Ukrainian issue.
The delegation, headed by “Bishop” Paul of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian schismatic church, was denied entry to the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Saturday, and yesterday Dochariou and the Bulgarian Zographou Monastery also closed their gates to the “bishop” and his entourage.
“On Sunday, the group of representatives of the ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine,’ headed by ‘Bishop’ Paul Yurist, continuing going around to the Athonite monasteries, but they closed their doors to the unwanted guests,” a source in the Moscow Patriarchate reported to Interfax.
At Simenopetra, they were allowed to venerate the relics and then were immediately escorted out, not allowed to enter the monastery yard.
This information was also confirmed to OrthoChristian by Fr. Alvian Tkhelidze of the Akhtubinsk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, with reference to his contact from one of the monasteries on Mt. Athos, and the information about Dochariou and Simenopetra is also reported by the Ukrainian site Strana with reference to its own sources.
The delegation has thus far been received at Pantocrator Monastery, where the false hierarch celebrated Vespers and the Divine Liturgy, at New Esphigmenou, and at Vatopedi, where they stayed for the night after being denied entry to St. Panteleimon’s.
A source within the Moscow Patriarchate also reported to Interfax that seven monks decided to leave Vatopedi after the delegation was received there, though it is currently unclear if they were brothers of Vatopedi or only visitors.
The Sacred Community of Mt. Athos officially voted against sending a delegation to Epiphany Dumenko’s delegation, with 13 monasteries voting against it, and 5 voting in favor of going: Iveron, Stavronikita, Xenophontos, Koutloumousiou, and Pantocrator. The Athonites who did attend and concelebrate did so as part of the delegation representing the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Thus, 7 Athonite monasteries have thus far shown support for the Ukrainian schismatics, whether by voting to attend their primate’s enthronement, attending the enthronement, or receiving them at their monasteries: Iveron, Stavronikita, Xenophontos, Koutloumousiou, Pantocrator, Vatopedi, and New Esphigmenou.
Three monasteries, St. Panteleimon’s, Dochariou, and Zographou completely refused to allow them to enter their monasteries, and a fourth, Simenopetra, allowed them only to venerate the monastery’s relics.
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