Kalavryta, Greece, September 20, 2019
In a new open letter, the former ruling hierarch of the Metropolis of Kalavryta, His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrose, calls on the hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church to reject the schismatic so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), stating that the Patriarch of Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine are only causing further divisions in the Church.
The letter has been republished by the Greek outlet vimaorthodoxias.gr.
Met. Ambrose addressed his letter to Professor Demetrios Tselengidis of the University of Thessaloniki, who himself recently published an open letter to the Greek Holy Synod about the Ukrainian issue, laying out the dogmatic issues involved in recognizing such a group.
The Greek Church has continually delayed a decision on the Ukrainian issue, while it is under heavy pressure to recognize the OCU. The Synod created two commissions to investigate the issue, and there have been conflicting reports about the commissions’ conclusions and recommendations, though more reliable information suggests that they have argued in favor of recognizing Constantinople’s pet project in Ukraine.
On the other hand, various hierarchs, clergy, and laymen have spoken out against such a lawless decision, calling on the hierarchy to remain faithful to Orthodoxy. In addition to Dr. Tselengidis’ letter, a group of clergy and laity recently published an open letter on the issue, which has been signed by more than 1,000 people as of date.
In his letter, published on September 17, Met. Ambrose thanks Dr. Tselengidis “from the bottom of our hearts” for his “heroic action” of publishing his open letter.
“Without reservation, we endorse the honorable professor’s declaration and we declare without any hesitation: THE DECISION OF OUR ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH, HIS ALL-HOLINESS BARTHOLOMEW, with mathematical precision, IS LEADING OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH TO SCHISM! After the heretical decisions of the Kolymbari Council [Crete council—Ed.], the granting of autocephaly to the schismatic church of Ukraine is the FINAL BLOW to the holy body of the Orthodox Church” (capitals in original).
Met. Ambrose therefore republished Dr. Tselengidis’ letter on his own site, with the hope that the hierarchs of the Greek Church would reject the autocephaly of the OCU, despite the pressure from the Patriarch of Constantinople.
“Lord, save Orthodoxy!” His Eminence concludes.
The fiery hierarch had appealed Pat. Bartholomew in October of last year, calling on him to return to his responsibility of uniting the Church, and to cease going down a path towards schism.
“We have only few such problems,” Met. Ambrose added at that time, “and now our patriarch is on the verge of an ecclesiastical clash between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the great Russian Church!”
“There’s a new Church schism at our door! If we add to this the internal disputes that arose after the Council in Kolymbari, then the state of Church affairs in our times becomes extremely tragic,” the Greek metropolitan lamented.
His Eminence retired last month after 41 years of episcopal service.