Jerusalem Patriarchate strictly verifying visiting clergy after Ukrainian schismatics try to serve at Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem, April 8, 2019

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The Church of Jerusalem has introduced a strict check on all documents for clergy from Ukraine after representatives of the schismatic so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) tried to participate in a service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Photo: Facebook Photo: Facebook “The Jerusalem Church is concerned about that real clergy would participate in the Liturgy. Representatives of the new formation of the OCU have already tried to get in and serve at the Holy Sepulchre. Now all documents are carefully rechecked,” Archimandrite Alipy (Svetlichny) of the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul wrote on his Facebook page, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has been under heavy pressure to recognize and concelebrate with the Ukrainian schismatics. Several bishops of the OCU were hoping to concelebrate in Jerusalem on the feast of Theophany, though in the end, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem and the other hierarchs were able to withstand the pressure.

A few days later, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko traveled to Israel with a delegation that included clergy from the OCU. Pat. Theophilos canceled his meeting with Poroshenko last minute, citing health reasons, but ended up meeting with a delegation from the canonical Ukrainian Church the next day. It was later revealed that the Patriarch had agreed to meet with Poroshenko only if no schismatics were present.

While the Holy Synod of the Jerusalem Patriarchate has made no official statements about the Ukrainian issue, several hierarchs, including Pat. Theophilos have made personal statements. In August, His Eminence Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia stated that the Patriarchate views Ukraine as the canonical territory of Russia, not Constantinople; in September, Pat. Theophilos spoke about how the tentacles of globalization are working to destroy Orthodoxy in Ukraine; in October, Abp. Theodosios called on the Orthodox primates to intervene in the Russia-Constantinople dispute; and later in October, a representative from the Patriarchate said they are looking to dialogue between the Local Churches to solve the issue.

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