Corfu, Greece, February 26, 2020
Patriarch Bartholomew is upset and dissatisfied that the Metropolitan of Corfu of the Greek Orthodox Church does not simply follow Constantinople’s position on the Ukrainian issue, but rather holds his own position and continues to support His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In a recent meeting with His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye of the Ukrainian Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu of the Greek Church related that although the Phanar is dissatisfied with his position, he is firm in his beliefs and support for the UOC.
Met. Luke reported about the meeting on his Telegram channel.
“I was told that Patriarch Bartholomew is very upset and was dissatisfied with my position, but I act as our faith and my conscience instruct me,” Met. Nektarios told the Ukrainian hierarch.
“I know that some bishops went to the OCU, but I am certain that the Church did not lose anything from that, but only gained, because it is being cleansed of impurity. Our hierarchs are also divided in their views, but I am firm in my conviction and I support the canonical Church under the primacy of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry,” the Greek Metropolitan assured.
“I personally know His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and many hierarchs of the UOC. Therefore, my heart is grieving today because the Mother Church [Constantinople—Ed.] is trying to tear it apart,” the Greek hierarch said sorrowfully.
Met. Nektarios has voiced his view on the matter of Constantinople’s invasion of Ukrainian Church territory many times.
In December 2018, after the “unification council” that created the schismatic OCU, the Metropolitan of Corfu emphasized that what is happening in Ukraine is regrettable and warned that it threatens to trigger greater divisions in the Orthodox world. With the recognition of the OCU by the Alexandrian and Greek primates, Met. Nektarios’ fear came true.
In September 2019, he assured a visiting Ukrainian delegation that he recognizes and supports only the canonical Ukrainian Church under Met. Onuphry.
In October 2019, he stated in an interview that there must have been interference and pressure from Pat. Bartholomew that caused Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens to support the OCU.
He also emphasized in the interview that everyone wants to have dialogue on the Ukrainian matter except Patriarch Bartholomew. Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has also publicly stated that Pat. Bartholomew pressured him to give up his efforts to bring the primates together to discuss the Ukrainian problem.
Met. Nektarios also stressed that there is serious friction on the matter even within the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
To date, only His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), a retired hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has dared to publicly speak against the Patriarchate’s actions in Ukraine.
The hierarchs also discussed the fraternal gathering in Amman that began today. According to the Metropolitan of Corfu, the most important thing is not the number of primates in Amman, but the fact that the majority of the primates support holding a pan-Orthodox council. While he had hoped for the presence of more primates, “it turned out as is pleasing to God.”
Met. Nektarios also assured Met. Luke that he closely follows religious events in Ukraine and that he prays that the Lord, as a Wise Physician, would heal the schism and cleanse the Church of the tares. He also said that he would like to visit Ukraine and categorically stated he would visit only Met. Onuphry, and not the head of any other religious organization.