Russian Church publishes list of Greek dioceses its faithful are not blessed to visit

Moscow, November 5, 2019

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The pilgrimage center of the Moscow Patriarchate has published a preliminary list of dioceses that the Church does not bless its faithful to visit on pilgrimage.

Following the Bishops’ Council of the Greek Orthodox Church on October 12, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it would maintain communion with those hierarchs of the Greek Church who maintain an Orthodox stance regarding the Ukrainian crisis and who continue to stand for the truth. Further:

In this regard, we cease prayerful and Eucharistic communication with those bishops of the Greek Church who have entered or will enter into such communication with representatives of the Ukrainian non-canonical schismatic communities. We also do not bless pilgrimages in dioceses managed by the aforesaid bishops. The relevant information will be widely distributed among the pilgrimage and tourist organizations of the countries that make up the canonical territory of our Church.

At the Greek Bishops’ Council, the hierarchs voted to recognize Constantinople’s right to grant autocephaly in Ukraine and to entrust the matter of whether to recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” to Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens. On October 21, Abp. Ieronymos sent an irenic letter to Epiphany Dumenko, officially recognizing the OCU and his position as primate of the structure.

Thus, while the Russian Church is not forbidding anyone to go anywhere in Greece, it has published a list of 6 dioceses that it does not bless the faithful to visit:

  • Athens, under Abp. Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece
  • Langadas, under Metropolitan Ioannis
  • Veria, under Metropolitan Panteleimon
  • Arta, under Metropolitan Kallinikos
  • Trikala, under Metropolitan Chrysostomos
  • Demetrias, under Metropolitan Ignatius

While there are more hierarchs in the Greek Church who support Constantinople’s claim to be able to grant autocephaly to whomever, wherever, whenever and who support the OCU, the listed hierarchs are those who have already especially cooperated with the schismatics, even before they were recognized by Abp. Ieronymos.

Met. Ioannis of Langadas served with the schismatics in Kiev in July, claiming he did so in his “academic capacity” as a professor at a western Ukrainian university. In late July, a schismatic delegation visited Greece and celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Langadas together with Mets. Panteleimon, Kallinikos, and Chrysostomos.

In May, Met. Ignatius of Demetrias made the shocking move of releasing an archimandrite to the schismatic OCU to be consecrated as a “bishop” for them. Met. Ignatius later oversaw the development of a summer training program for seminarians from the schismatic OCU, hosted at the Volos Academy of Theological Studies in his diocese.

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