Nicosia, November 5, 2019
The Cypriot Church continues to stand against the anti-canonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine, and it does not agree with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athen’s decision to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics, though it also does not agree with the Moscow Patriarchate’s decision to break communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople and with the Greek primate.
In a statement from February, the Cypriot Holy Synod noted that the creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the granting to it of a tomos of autocephaly did not heal the wounds of schism in Ukraine as promised, and it rejected the creation of a new church on the basis of un-ordained schismatics who are under the universally-recognized anathema of the Russian Church.
Speaking after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 3, Archbishop Chrysostomos explained that he does not agree with the Russian Church’s decision to break communion with supporters of the schismatics; he views it as an unjust measure, since there is no reason, in his eyes, to consider Patriarch Bartholomew or Abp. Ieronymos to be heretics, reports Romfea.
“I consider the stance of the Patriarch of Moscow unacceptable,” he said. “We do not cut off commemoration of another primate because we disagree with a position of theirs. Only if they become heretics do we cut off communion with them. And what I know is that neither the Ecumenical Patriarch nor the Archbishop of Athens is a heretic.”
“This, of course, does not mean I agree with them,” he added.
Patriarch Kirill has not commemorated Pat. Bartholomew since last September, and he did not commemorate Abp. Ieronymos for the first time on Sunday.
Such criticism of the Russian Church’s response has been voiced by other hierarchs, including Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who also strongly rejects Constantinople’s invasion of Ukraine. It is unclear, however, how the hierarchs believe the Moscow Patriarchate should react in order to protect itself from coming into communion with anathematized schismatics and in defense of its persecuted faithful.
The Cypriot primate also recalled that he attempted to build a pan-Orthodox consensus among the primates, though his initiative angered Pat. Bartholomew: “Although we tried to mediate a meeting to find a solution, it did not find approval, so we did not persist.”
Abp. Chrysostomos earlier revealed that it was Pat. Bartholomew who did not approve of his labors.
“But neither the Ecumenical Patriarch wants to meet with Moscow, nor does Moscow want to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch. This is why, as the Church of Cyprus, we also take a neutral stand because we do not agree with the stand of either of them and have not gone on to commemorate any new primate,” he concluded.