Limassol, Cypriot, March 4, 2019
As OrthoChristian previously reported, not all of the bishops of the Holy Synod of the Cypriot Orthodox Church signed the statement it issued on the Ukrainian crisis on February 18. A little over a week later, His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol, a respected authority throughout the entire Orthodox Church, spoke openly on the Metropolitan radio station about the fact that he did not sign, reports Romfea.
Answering a question from a caller about the Ukrainian crisis, Met. Athanasios stressed that the issue is hugely important for the Orthodox faithful and that, as all the Orthodox Churches have said, it should be dealt with by a pan-Orthodox council, for the primates to hear, judge, and decide how to proceed.
Regarding the Cypriot Synod’s statement, Met. Athanasius noted that he disagreed with his brother bishops about it and did not sign it, as was recorded in the minutes of the session, and therefore he cannot defend it. However, he does respect and accept it as a decision of the Cypriot Synod.
His Eminence also urged the faithful to pray for the crisis to be overcome, “because the people of God are suffering and being persecuted in Ukraine, the Church must offer them peace and tranquility.” The faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Church have been suffering persecution from both the state and nationalist-schismatic thugs throughout Ukraine in the wake of Constantinople’s invasive creation of a new church there.
Met. Athanasios also noted that he sees the matter as one of canonical order rather than dogma, and thus, should be able to be more easily solved.
Though the Metropolitan of Limassol was the only Cypriot hierarch on the Synod who did not sign, the same day that the statement was issued, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos sent his own statement to be published on Romfea, which is considerably more critical of the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine.
Met. Athansios was also among the several hierarchs who did not sign the controversial “Relations of the Orthodox Church With the Rest of the Christian World” document from 2016’s Crete council.
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