Greek Church still discussing Ukrainian issue

Athens, March 7, 2019

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The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church met yesterday under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens.

Among the issues discussed was the ongoing Ukrainian autocephaly crisis, reports Romfea, though the Synod did not come to any final conclusions.

“We also discussed the Ukrainian issue today, but we have not yet come to an end. The competent committees are meeting on this matter too,” said Abp. Ieronymos.

The Synod previously discussed the issue on January 8, deciding at that time to refer the issue onto the broader Bishops’ Council. “The Holy Synod decided to refer the issue of the Greek Orthodox Church recognizing the new autocephalous church of Ukraine to the consideration of the holy Bishops’ Council of the Greek Church,” the January statement reads.

Like other Local Churches, the Greek Church is under great pressure on this issue. Hierarchs and other Church representatives who know the Ukrainian issue firsthand say that there is great pressure on the Church, as there has been great interest in the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly shown from within the political, economic, and diplomatic fields.

Though the Synod or Bishops’ Council has not yet made a decision about whether to recognize the Ukrainian schismatic church, a few metropolitans of the Greek Church have expressed a public position on the issue. Among those who have made statements are Metropolitans Seraphim of Piraeus (and here) Nektarios of Corfu, Paxoi, and the Diapontian Islands, Seraphim of Kythira, and Ambrose of Kalavryta. The Metropolis of Piraeushas also called upon the Synod not to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics.

Though relations between the Greek Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople are poor right now, due to Pat. Bartholomew’s interference in the election of bishops for the Greek Church and his decision to open a representation in Greece with the Greek Church’s blessing, it remains unclear how much this will factor into the Church’s eventual decision.

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