Kiev, May 22, 2019
The schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) headed by “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, is planning to elect and consecrate a prestigious cleric from the Church of Greece as bishop in the coming days, according to exclusive information reported by Romfea.
The unnamed archimandrite is reported to be an eminent priest and preacher from a major metropolis of the Greek Church and will serve as a contact point between Constantinople and Kiev. The schismatic church will reportedly elect him on Friday and consecrate him the next day with notable representatives from the Patriarchate of Constantinople in attendance.
This would be a major and provocative move, given that the Church of Greece has yet to recognize the OCU and thus is not in Eucharistic and liturgical communion with it, though the schismatics have often expressed the hope that the Church of Greece will be among the first to recognize them.
It is unclear how the given cleric will move from the Church of Greece to the Ukrainian nationalist-schismatic church, given that the two are not in communion and thus he could not be canonically released from the former to the latter.
It is possible that he could be released to Constantinople and from Constantinople to the schismatics.
On the eve of the “unification council” in Kiev on December 15, Patriarch Bartholomew received two bishops from the canonical Ukrainian Church into his jurisdiction without them having secured a canonical release from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The two, Simeon Shostatsky and Alexander Drabinko then joined the newly-created schismatic church.
“Met.” Epiphany reportedly also intends to elect other Greek clerics as bishops in an effort to promote closer relations with the Greek-speaking Churches of the Orthodox world, and to give the Ukrainian nationalist church a more ecumenical status.
To date, none of the Greek-speaking Churches besides Constantinople have recognized the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” as a legitimate Orthodox Church. The Churches of Cyprus and Albania have voiced serious concerns about the creation of a new church out of graceless “clergy” from two schismatic jurisdictions, with His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania objecting especially strongly in two letters to Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Greece have made no official statements on the matter, though His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria stands firmly with the canonical Ukrainian Church, and the Ukrainian schismatics have been strictly forbidden from serving in the Holy Land.
The Church of Greece remains a wild card. His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus met with His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens yesterday to discuss the Ukrainian issue. Though reports offer no concrete details on what transpired in their meeting, it was earlier reported that Abp. Chrysostomos is attempting to mediate between various Local Churches and will propose that the Moscow Patriarchate grant autocephaly to the canonical Ukrainian Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Abp. Ieronymos will also meet with Pat. Bartholomew today and it is expected that they will discuss the Ukrainian issue.
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