Archbishop of Cyprus condemns Russian Church’s reaction to Churches that recognize OCU

Nicosia, Cyprus, December 16, 2019

    

The Russian Holy Synod’s decision for His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to cease commemorating Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens for their support of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” is leading towards a schism, and Pat. Kirill will never be the first primate in the Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus said in a recent interview with Politis.

He also leveled serious criticism against several Cypriot hierarchs who have expressed their personal stance on the Ukrainian issue.

It is notable that Politis is the same outlet that recently tried to embroil Abp. Chrysostomos in a financial scandal stemming from events from several years ago, even launching a petition against him addressed to the Prosecutor General of Cyprus.

Representatives of the Russian Church have been sent to speak to Abp. Chrysostomos on Pat. Kirill’s behalf, the Cypriot primate says, but it did not achieve the desired end:

He has sent people to tell me that he supposedly wants me by his side. And I reply, “I do not support what you are doing.” We stop commemorating those who deviate from the Orthodox faith and I ask you, “Are the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop of Athens, and the Patriarch of Alexandria heretics, and thus you stopped commemorating them?” That is simply not possible. You have the right to protest that they shouldn’t have done this. You have the right to disagree, to say you are wrong. Yes, you have the right to say so. But to break communion? Not to concelebrate? We only do not serve with heretics. Your actions are simply unacceptable.

Moreover, Abp. Chrysostomos believes that Pat. Kirill wants to be the First Among Equals, though this will never happen.

“He is leading towards a schism, and schism is the greatest sin. I don’t understand. He wants to be first, but I told him he would not be first: ‘The past 17 centuries have secured the first place in the Orthodox world for Constantinople. That’s it. Don’t deceive. Understand this.’ But his egotism prevents him from doing so,” Abp. Chrysostomos said.

The Cypriot primate also harshly criticized three metropolitans in his own Church for speaking out against Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine:

At the Synod I said that we will not take a position either in favor of Moscow or in favor of Constantinople,” Abp. Chrysostomos noted. “I want us to stay neutral so we can help. They both need help. They are egotists and can hardly reconcile themselves… Therefore, I told all the clerics not to make any statements. Sit still, because statements that concern the Church, which is immortal, will remain forever if they are mistaken… The Metropolitan of Kykkos, and the Metropolitan of Tamassos, and the Metropolitan of Limassol spoke in vain. Brothers, be still. Once the Synod has made a decision, respect it.

“Although the Holy Synod was convened and decided to remain neutral on the Ukrainian autocephaly issue, now they organize a conference with the Russians and they speak to the conference and take a position against the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” Abp. Chrysostomos added, referring to the recent conference, “Monasticism and the Contemporary World,” held in Kykkos, at which Metropolitan Nikephoros spoke about the actions of Pat. Bartholomew in Ukraine as “non-canonical” and leading towards a schism.

In July, the three Metropolitans mentioned by Abp. Chrysostomos issued a joint communiqué refuting Ukrainian fake news that they and the Cypriot Church had recognized the OCU schismatics. Rather, they clarified, they respect the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate but are deeply concerned about what it has done in Ukraine.

The Holy Synod of the Cypriot Church issued a statement on the Ukrainian crisis in February which, while not recognizing the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” did not offer any substantial critiques of Pat. Bartholomew’s actions.

The same day, Met. Nikephoros published his own statement on Romfea that was of a markedly different tone and character. In it, he strongly asserted that it is impermissible to have Eucharist communion with the unordained schismatics of the OCU, which contrasts with Abp. Chrysostomos’ statement that we refrain from serving only with heretics.

It was later revealed that Met. Athanasius had not signed the Synodal statement as he disagreed with it in several points, though he does respect it as a position of the Synod. The three Metropolitans have not presented their positions as being in any way an official position of the Cypriot Church.

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12/16/2019

See also
Archbishop of Cyprus: We disagree with actions of Constantinople and Athens, disagree with Moscow’s response Archbishop of Cyprus: We disagree with actions of Constantinople and Athens, disagree with Moscow’s response Archbishop of Cyprus: We disagree with actions of Constantinople and Athens, disagree with Moscow’s response Archbishop of Cyprus: We disagree with actions of Constantinople and Athens, disagree with Moscow’s response
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.
Archbishop of Cyprus: Any unilateral decision on Ukraine would harm the Church Archbishop of Cyprus: Any unilateral decision on Ukraine would harm the Church Archbishop of Cyprus: Any unilateral decision on Ukraine would harm the Church Archbishop of Cyprus: Any unilateral decision on Ukraine would harm the Church
All parties involved need to think only about the good of the Church, not about personal interests, the Cypriot primate emphasized. “The Church is one, and we must all help to raise it up. We must cherish Orthodoxy as the apple of our eye,” he said.
It is Unacceptable to Have Eucharistic Communion with Unordained Schismatics It is Unacceptable to Have Eucharistic Communion with Unordained Schismatics
Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos and Tellyria
It is Unacceptable to Have Eucharistic Communion with Unordained Schismatics It is Unacceptable to Have Eucharistic Communion with Unordained Schismatics
Commentary on the Ukrainian Issue for the Cypriot Holy Synod
Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos and Tellyria
I can draw only one conclusion. Sadly enough, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s granting of autocephalous status to the schismatic community of Philaret and Epiphany not only did not heal the existing schism in Ukraine, but on the contrary, aggravated it.
Comments
Pietro C.12/17/2019 1:47 pm
In the Church there are objective rules, established over time and become tradition. In the face of conflicts we must resort to them, not to capricious and misleading speeches. Whenever, in some Greeks, I see misleading speeches, I realize that, most likely, they have no real arguments. A Church hierarch cannot speak in the style of a tavern man! There is a method that a hierarch must follow: canonical, historical references, established practices over the centuries, not disconnected phrases, weird with logics that do not stand up and serve only to make further confusion.
JEinCA12/17/2019 12:29 pm
This is my response to the Archbishop of Cyprus as a Right Believing Orthodox Christian in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. Matthew 7:15-20 King James Version (KJV) 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. ------ Must we have to remind the EP and his fellow travelers like the Archbishop of Cyprus that the very notion of an Ukrainian Orthodox Church (independent of the Moscow Patriarchate) was the brainchild of secular Western Political figures (both heretics and unbelievers) who view the influence of the Moscow Patriarchate in the Orthodox World to be problematic to their Geopolitical goals in the lands of the former Soviet Union? The Ukrainian Schismatics and the Patriarch of Constantinople (and his loyalists like the Archbishop of Cyprus) are just useful tools in the New Great Game. Those Western Political Elite are using ego, pride, arrogance and misplaced nationalism within the Orthodox World to divide and conquer us. The Archbishop of Cyprus is baselessly accusing Patriarch Kirill of the same things that his superior (the Patriarch of Constantinople) is doing himself.
Gary Cox12/17/2019 6:42 am
I take it that he is saying we have the right to disagree but that is all . We have to bow down before the mighty bartholomew. Ain't gonna happen.
Mark Betts12/17/2019 3:29 am
"..and Pat. Kirill will never be the first primate in the Orthodox Church." This is just rubbish. It's "Third Rome" stuff. I know Moscow doesn't propose any such thing, there's no point in saying anything if you don't care about facts. Is this what it's come to?
Theodoros 12/16/2019 7:24 pm
Do my fellow Greeks really believe the things they are accusing the Russians of? When have the Russians ever asked to change the ranking in the diptychs? This is insane. It was the phanar that invaded the Territory of the Russian church. Does the archbishop Of cyprus not see how weak and dependent the church of greece has become as a result of surrendering to the phanar? The church of cyprus will Fare no better. It is to the interests of all Orthodox that the Russian church actively fights pope bartholomew.
Renato12/16/2019 7:16 pm
Le ambiguità espresse nelle dichiarazione dell'Arcivescovo creano confusione tra i fedeli e probabilmente preparano la strada da parte della Chiesa cipriota al riconoscimento dell'autocefalia ucraina, infatti nei suoi ragionamenti non sono espressi giudizi religiosi, ma di potere dove si condanna Sua Santità il Patriarca Cirillo di voler usurpare la primazia gerarchica di Costantinopoli. Tali affermazioni sono false e generano sconcerto. anche in questo caso prevale l'etnos sulle regole canoniche.
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