Pano Panagia, Cyprus, October 24, 2020
The hierarchs of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus do not accept Archbishop Chrysostomos’ “papal decision” to commemorate Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” during the Divine Liturgy today, according to information reported to Romfea.
When the Archbishop commemorated the schismatic primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, among the most authoritative hierarchs of the Cypriot Church and a vocal supporter of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, immediately left the Church in protest, without waiting for the end of the service.
His Eminence was present at the Liturgy at Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery in Pano Panagia for the consecration of Bishop Pagkratios of Arsinoe though he was not concelebrating.
Met. Athanasios “could not believe his ears” when he heard the name of the schismatic Epiphany Dumenko. He immediately left the church “in protest of the personal decision” of Abp. Chrysostomos.
Earlier, the Cypriot primate emphasized that unilateral actions or decisions regarding the OCU only threaten greater harm to the Church. Nevertheless, today he chose to commemorate the head of the OCU unilaterally, without the support of the other Local Orthodox Churches or his own Holy Synod.
Met. Athanasios was placed in a similarly awkward position last November when Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria commemorated the schismatic Dumenko in a church in Met. Athanasios’ Limassol Metropolis. The Patriarch had first commemorated Dumenko just days prior in Egypt but promised Met. Athanasios he would not commemorate him in Limassol.
Unfortunately, the Patriarch broke his promise, to Met. Athanasios’ great grief, as the Limassol hierarch revealed in a radio interview soon after.
Another Metropolitan of the Cypriot Church commented to Romfea that the Cypriot bishops are against this “papal decision-making” and do not accept or recognize this act of their primate.
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.