Patriarch of Alexandria: Decision to commemorate OCU will lead to solution, not a schism

Limassol, Cypus, November 11, 2019

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Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria believes that his sudden decision to commemorate Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” will not lead to any divisions in the Church, but in fact to a solution to the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

He also expressed the conviction that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will not stop commemorating him at the Divine services, as he has stopped commemorating Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, according to the Greek outlet Romfea.

Pat. Theodoros noted that in recognizing the OCU, “we made a difficult decision, very difficult.” “Pat. Theodoros could not stand the pressure from the Phanar, the Greek authorities, and the United States,” commented Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the canonical Ukrainian Church.

Surprisingly, the Alexandrian Patriarch also expressed the conviction the Pat. Kirill will not cease commemorating him, because “as the wise Archbishop of Cyprus says, that’s not a measure” that can solve the problem.

Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, announced on Friday that Pat. Kirill would cease commemorating Pat. Theodoros, though OrthoChristian has not yet been able to confirm that he did in fact stop commemorating him.

Pat. Theodoros also emphasized, as he did in the press release announcing his decision to commemorate Epiphany, that the Church has a “conciliar character” and that “the decision to recognize the OCU came after long prayers and reflections, and was discussed with all the bishops of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.”

The Archbishop of Cyprus himself, Archbishop Chrysostomos, had emphasized in his meeting with other primates, including Pat. Theodoros, that the Church is conciliar and thus no Local Church should make a unilateral decision. However, both Abp. Ieronymos of Athens and Pat. Theodoros later decided, and Pat. Theodoros on his own, without a decision of his Synod of Bishops, to recognize the OCU.

After “the Patriarch of Alexandria recognized the OCU, that is, the tomos, which our Ecumenical Patriarch gave, the solution to this problem will begin—a problem that troubles our Church,” Pat. Theodoros commented.

Responding to a journalists’ remark that his position could lead to a split, not to healing, Pat. Theodoros said: “No, there will be no schism! I believe that after my intervention, other Churches will follow our Ecumenical Patriarchate. In the end, we will be united, fearing God and solving the problem in love.”

And while Pat. Theodoros earlier encouraged the faithful of the canonical Church to stand firm in their faith and position, he is now confident that “a Church that wants autocephaly should receive it, and everyone else will see that it is no different from them.”

Asked what he thinks about the request not to commemorate Epiphany while serving in Limassol, Pat. Theodoros declined to answer, saying he had to discuss the issue with Abp. Chrysostomos first.

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Ortho-Ellinas11/22/2019 7:55 pm
He seems in his actions and eyes(look at some pictures/photos lately of him and other schismatics ) as if under a some cases their eyes give them away,even in photos.These Orthodox Patriarchs/Bishops/priests have been exposed/immersed in the True Christianity/Church(liturgical,spiritual,biblical,church fathers,saints etc...) yet they make anti-ortho christian decisions.....Do they not fear God?......unless they where corrupt,compromised from the beginning of entering priesthood?...unlikely in my opinion....Do they not see the far reaching consequences of these decisions? many will walk away from Orthodox churches because of the "politics" involved? ...they will be held accountable because of their position and decisions thereof, God is long suffering and patient , and in the end we are ALL responsible for ourselves and the decisions we make at a minimum(depending on what God has given you responsibility of).....Maybe the Orthodox church was due for another big catharsis...burn off some more chaff?
Joseph Lipper11/18/2019 4:57 pm
Yes, Metropolitan Onuphrey is still fully recognized as an Orthodox bishop by Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Theodoros II, and Archbishop Hieronymos. These Primates have not broken communion with Metropolitan Onuphrey or his flock. Patriarch Bartholomew has said that those Ukrainians who wish to remain with Moscow should be respected. This points to his willingness to accept a jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. We have the same situation here in North America with the OCA. Furthermore, Patriarch Bartholomew even said that all Orthodox Christians in Ukraine are now canonical.
Archimandrite Gregory 11/12/2019 4:40 pm
Judging from the stunt he pulled in Cyprus maybe something else is at play here. God will judge him in righteousness, in Truth.
nun Cornelia11/12/2019 1:34 pm
You have put you finger on a glaring problem that has left all of us wondering. When Patriarch Bartholomew was forming that false church known as the OCU, he sent a letter to Met. Onuphry "informing" him that he is not a canonical Metropolitan. That is how Bartholomew is framing it in his "first without equals" ecclesiological delusion, and justifying the creation of another church on the canonical territory of another Local Church. But as anyone with common sense can see, you can't just poof away a whole canonical Local Church, especially if they don't want to disappear. So, that is what is so shocking about Patriarch Theodoros's recognition of the OCU--he had always been one of Met. Onuphry's staunch supporters and encouraged the flock of the canonical (and by far, majority) Ukrainian Church to "stay with Met. Onuphry" and stand firm in the truth. This of course leads us to believe that Patriarch Theodoros, like Met. Hierotheos of Greece (and anyone else who follows suit) are acting out of either pressure from secular authorities, Hellenic solidarity, or both--but not out of respect for the canons and truths of the Orthodox Church. So, the short answer is--no, it doesn't make sense and, no it won't work.
Renato ortodosso Italia 11/12/2019 1:21 pm
È un uomo di poca fede crede di più agli uomini che a Dio. Il Signore abbia pietà di lui
Renato 11/12/2019 12:58 pm
Un uomo di poca fede in Dio e molta negli uomini
John11/12/2019 9:15 am
Perhaps the editors or someone could please help me understand something - I am a bit confused about how this works. If Patriarch Theodoros commemorates Epiphany, but continues to also commemorate Patriarch Kirill, does this mean that Alexandria still recognizes and considers themselves to be in communion with Metropolitan Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Church, in addition to the schismatic one? What does Patriarch Theodoros expect Metropolitan Onuphry to do? What is his solution - that all Ukrainian parishes and monasteries defect from communion with the Russian Church and place themselves under Epiphany? It doesn't make any sense.
Gary11/12/2019 4:40 am
The Patriarchs and Bishops of 1054 were Godly men who stood for what was right and rebuked the evil. Unity in error is not a desirable thing. Pray for our remaining Patriarchs to stay true!!!
Haeul11/12/2019 4:22 am
We already have a schism, Yout Holiness, and your actions have only served to deepen it. Those who fear God cannot follow Bartholomew, for to follow Bartholomew, in this and many other matters, is to go against God. I thought you a wise man once, Yout Holiness. Now, I see a hypocrite and a coward. May God deliver us from this evil!
Antiochene Son11/11/2019 10:38 pm
Has he lost his mind? Very unbecoming of the successor of Sts. Athanasius and Cyril!
Archimandrite Gregory11/11/2019 9:33 pm
Perhaps what you see is a holy man who is trying to protect his flock from unscrupulous politicians.
Mikhail11/11/2019 5:46 pm
These are very bizarre statements. I can only conclude that he is either delusional...or suffering from extreme dimentia.
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