Mt. Athos, April 19, 2019
The Ukrainian issue has plagued and divided the Holy Mountain since the February enthronement of “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko as the head of the schismatic church. The Sacred Community, composed of one representative from each of the 20 ruling monasteries on Mt. Athos, decided not to send a delegation to the enthronement, though several Athonite fathers, including Abbot Alexios of Xenophontos Monastery, participated as members of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s delegation.
In March, a delegation from the schismatic church visited Mt. Athos which revealed the split in opinions on Mt. Athos. The Sacred Community has discussed the Ukrainian issue several times but has been unable to come to a solid resolution on the matter, deciding only to allow each monastery to choose how to relate to representatives from the schismatic church.
Another delegation recently finished a visit to the Holy Mountain. Over the course of the two trips, the schismatics served Liturgy in three monasteries and communed in a fourth. On the other hand, several monasteries have categorically refused to accept the delegations, which is significant given that the Holy Mountain is under the Patriarchate of Constnatinople, the only Local Church to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics. It is known that the first delegation was told it wasn’t welcome at the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery. The Greek monasteries of Philotheou and Karakallou had also announced that they would shut their gates to any schismatic representatives.
Among the latter is the Serbian Hilandar Monastery, which categorically does not accept representatives from the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” whether clergy or laity, according to His Eminence Archbishop Jonah of Obukhov, a frequent visitor to Mt. Athos who is currently on the Holy Mountain.
“I just left the beautiful Hilandar. The abbot of the monastery, Fr. Methodius, asked me to bow to Metropolitan Onuphry and all the faithful children of our Church. The Serbs categorically do not accept the schismatics, whether ‘clergy,’ or laity, into the monastery; they inquire of all Ukrainians who their metropolitan is. The gatekeeper even forbade the monastery bus drivers to bring the schismatics from the pier to the monastery,” Abp. Jonah writes.
It was recently reported that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is also strictly checking the documents of all clergy coming from Ukraine, so that representatives of the schismatic church cannot serve.
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