Limassol, Cyprus, November 12, 2019
Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria arrived for a previously arranged visit to Cyprus on Saturday, November 9, the day after he first commemorated Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” in the Divine Liturgy.
Pat. Theodoros took this step on his own, without a conciliar decision of the hierarchs of the Alexandrian throne. The decision caught many by surprise and was the cause for concern among Cypriot hierarchs, who asked him not to commemorate Epiphany Dumenko while serving in Cyprus.
The request to refrain from commemorating Dumenko came especially from His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, where the Patriarch was scheduled to celebrate the feast of St. John the Merciful, the patron saint of Limassol, where there is a significant Russian population.
However, as video from the Liturgy published by the Orthodox journalist Alexander Voznesensky, who was present at the service, shows, Pat. Theodoros ignored this request and commemorated Epiphany anyways:
When the Patriarch commemorated Epiphany, three bishops in the altar immediately ran over to Met. Athanasios and began to tell him something very actively and emotionally.
After the Patriarch commemorated the schismatic, all the bishops and priests were given an envelope with a picture that read: “Onuphry: Metropolitan, Epiphany: schismatic, Theodoros: Judas.” One of the priests in the Patriarch’s entourage tore up the picture and threw it back at the man handing them out, though several Cypriot priests were grateful that the envelopes had been handed out, saying that they did not support Pat. Theodoros’ decision.
While there had been about 50 priests at Vespers, only about 10 came to serve the Liturgy with the Patriarch, though OrthoChristian has been informed that it is typical in Limassol to limit concelebrating priests at the Liturgy to 10.
It is also known that some bishops, including His Eminence Metropolitan Timothy of Bostra, the Exarch of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in Cyprus, did not attend the Liturgy as planned after learning that Pat. Theodoros had begun to commemorate the schismatics.