Kiev, June 7, 2019
The Greek Orthodox Church could address the Ukrainian Church crisis at its next Bishops’ Council in October, says Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations.
Moreover, even were the Council to vote to officially recognize the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), several bishops have told Fr. Nikolai personally that they would still refuse to have anything to do with them and would forbid their clergy from serving with them, the Deputy Chairman said in a recent interview with First Cossack.
A few metropolitans have made public statements in support of the canonical Ukrainian Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and against the schismatic OCU, including Metropolitans Seraphim of Piraeus (and here) Nektarios of Corfu, Paxoi, and the Diapontian Islands, Seraphim of Kythira, and Ambrose of Kalavryta. The Metropolis of Piraeus has also called upon the Synod not to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics.
The schismatics are confident that the Greek Church will be the first to recognize them, besides the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and a recent report in the Greek media states that the Synodal commissions tasked with examining the Ukrainian issue have recommended that the Greek Church recognize the OCU.
However, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece is in no rush to recognize the OCU, as it would bring internal problems in the Greek Church, and there is no determination in the Greek Church to recognize the OCU, Fr. Nikolai believes.
“It must be understood that in the Greek Church, every metropolitan has a large share of freedom… They have a synodal, horizontal system of authority, not vertical, that is, not patriarchal… Helping Constantinople to resolve its mistake or somehow standing on the side of Constantinople, the Greek Church risks having problems inside its own Church,” Archpriest Nikolai explained.
Therefore, the Greek Church is wise to postpone any decision, Fr. Nikolai believes.
It was earlier reported that the Greek Church is under serious economic, political, and diplomatic pressure to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics. The American Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt has been making the rounds, sometimes with Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, meeting with Abp. Ieronymos and other influential leaders in the Greek Church and on Mt. Athos to push them to recognize the OCU as a supposed strike against the Kremlin.
Follow us on Facebook!