His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye is one of the most outspoken and authoritative hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today. He has issued a number of open letters concerning the Ukrainian schism and the anti-canonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In 2018, he addressed Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, “loyal subject of the Turkish Republic, Mr. Bartholomew!” as he calls him, concerning the invitations he was sending out to the “unification council” where the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” was created. In that letter, he thanked the Patriarch for contributing to the discrimination and persecution against the Ukrainian faithful, thereby aiding them in attaining the Kingdom of Heaven.
He also addressed an open letter to His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, calling on him to remain firm in Orthodoxy despite the pressure to recognize the schismatics, and in August of last year, he addressed an open letter to Athonite monks, calling on them to also remain firm in Orthodoxy during the then-upcoming visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to the Holy Mountain. The Patriarch is “a man whom the devil struck with a terrible disease—pride,” His Eminence wrote to the monks.
In this present letter, addressed to Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, Met. Luke calls him to repentance for the grave error of recognizing the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” while also thanking him for contributing to the spiritual trials that will be brought upon the faithful of Ukraine, thereby strengthening the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
My hierarchical conscience no longer allows me to address you as a bishop and minister of the altar, because you have taken the path of betrayal of Christ—the Head of our Mother the Church!
I am sure that the clergy of the Church of Cyprus who are faithful to Orthodoxy can no longer pronounce your name as primate in the Divine services.
First of all, I want to thank you for becoming an instrument of God’s providence, thanks to which Christ grants our Ukrainian flock crowns of confession, and perhaps martyrdom.
With your recognition [of the Ukrainian schismatics—Trans.], you support blasphemers dressed-up in priestly vestments and contribute to the fact that their followers will arm themselves with saws and hammers and seize our churches, while they terrorize and beat the clergy and the faithful.
You will bring yet more tears, sorrow and suffering to the families of the faithful children of our Orthodox Church.
But I am sure that none of us will be shaken in these afflictions, because we know that we are appointed thereunto (1 Thess. 3:3), and if we suffer with Him (Christ), then we will be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17).
I would like to ask you: “What was the real reason for your betrayal?” Some compromising material concerning your life and piety?1 But there is only one God Who is without sin, and He knows all our weaknesses and falls like none other. If you have sin, will not the loving God forgive them if you repent?
I have a sincere desire in my heart to say to you, “Christ is in our midst,” but you have deprived me of this opportunity.
The Gospel teaches us not to be afraid to admit that we are sinners, but it also tells us that there is no more terrible fall than the betrayal of God.
I testify before the Lord that if you repent, I am ready to embrace you warmly and call you brother, because Christ was crucified for you and me!
But if you, together with the enemies of the Church, crucify our beloved Savior, then my words to you will be: Get thee behind me, Satan (Mt. 16:23), for you seek not what is pleasing to God, but what is beneficial to the devil!
My dear brother in Christ, repent, for the judgment of God is not far off, and we will give an account for everything!