Limassol, Cypus, November 11, 2019
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.