Ukrainian issue not discussed at all at latest Greek Holy Synod meeting

Athens, March 22, 2019

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The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox ended its three-day meeting in Athens yesterday. At the session, under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, the gathered hierarchs did not discuss the issue of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis with Constantinople’s creation of a new schismatic jurisdiction there.

As reported yesterday, the Synod examined pressing issues facing the Greek Church, including the proposal to remove the clergy of the Church from the state payroll—a proposal that the Synod rejected, and the proposed constitutional reform that would enshrine the secular nature of the state.

The final day of the session was dominated by the election of several new auxiliary hierarchs for various dioceses throughout the Church.

Contrary to expectations, the issue of the Ukrainian crisis was not even raised. The Synod previously authorized two Synodal commissions, on dogmatic and canonical issues, and on inter-Orthodoxy and inter-Christian relations, to study the issue more in-depth.

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. The Bishops’ Council will meet again in October unless an emergency session is called.

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.

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