Pano Panagia, Cyprus, October 24, 2020
During the Divine Liturgy this morning, Archbishop Chrysostomos, the primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, commemorated Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), for the first time, according to a number of Greek outlets, including Romfea and the Orthodoxia News Agency.
Last year, the Archbishop was actively meeting with the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, urging them not to take any unilateral actions in regard to the OCU, declaring that this would only do further damage to the Church.
This morning, he decided to commemorate Epiphany not only without the support of the other Local Churches, but even without the consent of his own Holy Synod.
In February of last year, the Cypriot Holy Synod noted that the OCU failed to achieve the hoped-for unity in Ukraine and that it is made up of illegitimate hierarchs and clergy. It must be clarified how unordained people can be the foundation for a new Church, the Synod stated.
Besides the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which created the OCU together with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, 3 Orthodox primates have now recognized Epiphany. Both Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens also began to commemorate him last year, also without a Synodal vote on the direct matter of recognizing the OCU.
Last November, after Abp. Ieronymos officially recognized the schismatics, Abp. Chrysostomos of Cyprus declared that he did not agree with Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine or the Greek Archbishop’s decision to recognize the schismatics. In December, he even praised His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem for resisting the pressure to recognize the OCU.
The commemoration came during a Liturgy in which a new bishop, Pagkratios of Arsinoe, was consecrated at Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery in Pano Panagia, 25 miles northeast of Paphos.
Several hierarchs of the Cypriot Church, including His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos, His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos, and His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou have taken strong stands against recognizing the Ukrainian schismatics.