Kiev, November 21, 2019
Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) of Šumperk of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia concelebrated with hierarchs of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” yesterday.
The service was held at St. Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, celebrated by Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the scandalous OCU. Bp. Isaiah was noticed in photos of the event, and the Union of Orthodox Journalists confirmed through its own sources that it was in fact Bp. Isaiah of the Czech-Slovak Church.
Bp. Isaiah was consecrated in 2015 by decision of Constantinople hierarchs Emmanuel of Gaul and Arsenios of Austria, without the blessing or recognition of His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav or the Czech-Slovak Holy Synod, in order to create an “alternative Synod” in the Church. The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia was granted full and total autocephaly by its Mother Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, in the 1950s, but the tomos of autocephaly forced upon it by Constantinople in 1998 allows for such interference from Constantinople hierarchs.
See the article “The Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Role in the Crisis Period of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia,” for more details on the events following the 2013 retirement of Metropolitan Christopher.
Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, commented that this event will be trumpeted as a beginning to the Czech-Slovak Church’s recognition of the OCU, though this is false.
As Fr. Nikolai was informed by the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Bp. Isaiah acted arbitrarily, without the blessing of his primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav, and contrary to the stance his Church has taken regarding the OCU.
Bp. Isaiah “is a Trojan horse within the Czech-Slovak Church. It is know that he has long sympathized with our schismatics and even met with Philaret while still an archimandrite, even before all the stories with the tomos,” Fr. Nikolai said.
The Czech-Slovak Church’s representation church in Moscow then published Met. Rostislav’s warning to Bp. Isaiah that he would be canonically sanctioned if he concelebrates with the schismatics.
His message reads:
Inasmuch as the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia has not recognized the autocephaly of the Orthodox church of Ukraine, I am forced to recognize your “notification” of participating in feasts in Kiev as a manifestation of gross disregard for the Chairman of the Holy Synod and a lack of respect and solidarity for the other members of the Holy Synod.
You, as well as the other bishops of our Local Church, signed a decision on our restrained position until such a time that a pan-Orthodox consensus is reached on the issues of the Ukrainian schism and autocephaly.
If you still take part in the mentioned celebrations, the Holy Synod of our Local Church will act in accordance with the sacred canons on the violation of a bishop’s obedience to his metropolitan.
I very much hope that, taking into account the facts laid out above, you will reconsider your intention to participate in celebrations in Kiev on November 21.
With love in Christ,
Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia
Bp. Isaiah ignored this warning and served with the schismatics yesterday, and presumably today as well, as Fr. Nikolai Danilevich notes.
Several hierarchs of the Czech-Slovak Church have shown their support and love for the canonical Ukrainian Church many times, and while visiting Moscow in January, Met. Rostislav reported that the Holy Synod had charged him with the duty of appealing to all Orthodox primates to convene a pan-Orthodox council on the Ukrainian issue.
Bp. Isaiah is also the Deputy Chairman of the monastery/”Association” that the Patriarchate of Constantinople registered in Vilemov, Czech Republic on October 1. The Chairman is the same Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria who was responsible for having Bp. Isaiah consecrated as a hierarch.
Met. Arsenios has claimed to Romfea that the “Association” is simply a representation of Constantinople in the Czech Republic, not a parallel Church structure, and that it was established with the blessing of Met. Rostislav, though OrthoChristian has been informed by a hierarch of the Czech-Slovak Church that this is a blatant lie.