Greek hierarchs to gather in extraordinary session to consider Archbishop’s proposal on Ukraine

Athens, October 7, 2019

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece announced today an extraordinary convocation of the Bishops’ Council will be held on Saturday, October 12 to discuss the Ukrainian crisis and the issue of whether to recognize the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) created by the Patriarchate of Constantinople last November, reports Romfea and the Orthodoxia News Agency.

The hierarchs will gather in a regular session tomorrow through Friday. It was previously reported that the Ukrainian issue was not on the agenda for the regular session, though it was speculated that His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece would raise the topic outside of the official agenda, which led to debates in Greek media about whether such a thing is even permitted by the statutes of the Greek Church.

However, Abp. Ieronymos decided instead to simply convene an extraordinary session of the hierarchs on Saturday, after the regular session.

The topic on the agenda concerns a recommendation by Abp. Ieronymos entitled, “Information on the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine.”

Recall that in late August, the Greek Holy Synod “recognize[d] the Ecumenical Patriarch’s canonical right to issue the status of Autocephaly,” and also recognized “the privilege of the primate of the Church of Greece to further deal with the question of recognition of the Church of Ukraine.”

The Archbishop’s recommendation is presumably based upon the recommendations of the two commissions set up by the Holy Synod in March to examine the Ukrainian issue. It is believed that both committees recommended recognizing the autocephaly of the OCU, though there have been conflicting reports on the matter. It is known that the hierarchs of the Greek Church are divided on the matter.

It is also known that the Greek hierarchs are under an extreme amount of internal and external pressure to recognize the OCU.

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