Greek Synod appoints two commissions to study Ukrainian issue

Athens, March 11, 2019

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The permanent Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church met under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece from March 5-7, discussing various issues, including relations between the Church and state, and the Ukrainian crisis. As OrthoChristian previously reported, no final decision was made about whether or not to recognize the Ukrainian schismatic church.

The hierarchs of the Greek Church are still considering the issue and have authorized two Synodal commissions, on dogmatic and canonical issues, and on inter-Orthodoxy and inter-Christian relations, to study the issue more in-depth, reports Romfea.

The commissions will then submit their recommendations to the entire episcopate of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod also previously resolved to pass the issue onto the Bishops’ Council, which includes all bishops of the Greek Church.

Patriarch Bartholomew sent a letter to Abp. Ieronymos in December, as he did to all primates, asking him to recognize the newly-created Ukrainian nationalist church and to begin commemorating “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko at the Divine Liturgy. However, as notes, Abp. Ieronymos is not planning to sign a document of recognition, preferring instead a synodal decision.

As the Greek agency writes, given that two commissions have been charged with studying the Ukrainian issue, it is clear that all of the decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople will be considered, in terms of creating a new jurisdiction in Ukraine and in terms of the canonicity of the clergy of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”—an issue that several Local Churches have expressed concern about.

Further, given the size of their tasks, the commissions most likely will not have time to draw up a conclusion and recommendation in the next two weeks before the hierarchy meets again. Thus, unless an extraordinary session is called, the decision will be postponed until October.

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