Englewood, New Jersey, October 24, 2019
Hierarchs of the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates met yesterday, perhaps for the first time since the Russian Church broke communion with Constantinople last October.
At the invitation of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese of America, reports the press service of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
The three hierarchs met over a lunch offered by Met. Joseph, and then in a private meeting where they exchanged views on the current crisis in inter-Orthodox relations, after which Met. Hilarion and Abp. Elpidophoros exchanged gifts.
It is noteworthy that two such public and outspoken figures from the Moscow and Constantinople Churches could meet, especially given their history.
In an interview given in May, not long after Abp. Elpidophoros was announced as the new Greek primate for America, Met. Hilarion noted that he has been acquainted with Abp. Elpidophoros for many years, and participated in his episcopal consecration in 2011.
However, the Russian hierarch also stated that Abp. Elpidophoros played an active role in the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s anti-canonical activities in Ukraine, and thus he did not believe Abp. Elpidophoros’ appointment would be for the good of Church unity.
Abp. Elpidophoros is known as the author of “First Without Equals,” which proclaims the problematic theory of primacy that Constantinople leaned upon to justify its actions in Ukraine. He also takes a swipe at Met. Hilarion in the footnotes.