Kykkos, Cyprus, March 20, 2019
Global Orthodoxy is represented by a cracked unity due to Constantinople’s granting of autocephaly to the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos of the Cypriot Orthodox Church said in his word following the festive Divine Liturgy on Sunday’s feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy in the Kykkos Monastery.
“The issue of granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has caused serious, difficult side effects, poisoning inter-Orthodox relations and harming the Body of Universal Orthodoxy. The crisis situation that has arisen is rapidly deteriorating and threatens that if it isn’t resolved in time, then there will be a schism that will significantly strike the unity of Orthodoxy and lead to unexpected consequences,” the Cypriot hierarch said, reports the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Recall that Met. Nikiforos was among the hierarchs that signed the Cypriot Synodal statement that, while it did not criticize Constantinople’s actions, did not recognize the Ukrainian schismatic church. That same day, Met. NIkiforos sent his own letter to be published on Romfea, which spoke much more directly about the errors made by Constantinople.
In Met. Nikiforos’ view, none of the Local Churches have the right to remain silent in the face of the present crisis, because all the Churches together constitute one Body, and therefore, whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it (1 Cor. 12:26).
To date, the Alexandrian, Jerusalem, Georgian, Greek, and Bulgarian Churches have yet to make any official statements on the matter.
The Church has faced many crises throughout its history, made up as it is of imperfect men, and, “The main root of every crisis is the spirit of pride, egotism, and ambition of our bishops. Was not the terrible schism between the East and West, between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which took place in 1054, not connected with such causes?” Met. Nikiforos pondered.
“In my humble opinion,” he continued, “the solution to the problem that now concerns Orthodoxy is at once simple and yet difficult to achieve—it is the fulfillment of the commandment of love and humility. ‘Without the holy law of Christ,’ Dostoevsky says, ‘brotherhood will never reign,’ and the law of Christ is humility and love... Therefore, we, Orthodox hierarchs and, above all, the primates of the Orthodox Churches, especially those who bear the heavy title of Patriarch, must live every day of our lives in the same spirit of Christ's love and humility that we experience in our Divine services, if we want to avoid conflicts and divisions and let unity and unanimity reign among us,” the Cypriot hierarch stressed.
All hierarchs must go beyond their own self-interests and act in the spirit of love in order to resolve the present crisis, Met. Nikiforos underlined. In his view, the only way to move forward is to convene a pan-Orthodox council or a Synaxis of the Primates as soon as possible. Those outside the sphere of political pressure should speak prudently on the matter to preserve Church unity in the face of the present threat.
The Cypriot Synodal statement also called for a pan-Orthodox council or Synaxis of Primates in the event that the desired unity in Ukraine is not achieved.
Met. Nikiforos also stressed that the Church has always faced problems conciliarly, whether in Local or Ecumenical Councils, as was explicitly proclaimed at Constantinople’s Crete Council in 2016.
In his letter, published on the same day as the Synodal statement, Met. Nikiforos strongly stated: “The biggest mistake made by the Ecumenical Patriarch, from my humble point of view, is the contemptuous disregard for Metropolitan Onuphry, the Metropolitan of the only Ukrainian Orthodox Church having general canonical recognition, and also the recognition, instead of him, of Epiphany, having no canonical ordination, as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, and also the handing of a tomos of autocephaly to him while concelebrating with him.”
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