Abp. of Cyprus: I can’t believe they’re attacking me this way, I don’t deserve it, but I forgive them

Nicosia, Cyprus, November 13, 2020

churchofcyprus.org.cy churchofcyprus.org.cy     

Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has announced that the Holy Synod will meet on November 23 to discuss the present scandal in the Cypriot Church surrounding his unilateral decision to commemorate the schismatic Epiphany Dumenko in the Divine Liturgy.

The Cypriot primate also expressed his dismay and hurt over the fact that four of his brother bishops have responded to his decision, according to their hierarchical conscience, as they have said. He earlier accused them of forming a “parasynagogue” in the Church by coming together to address him in an open letter.

But although it wounds him to receive a response to his decision, the Archbishop nevertheless forgives the bishops, he states.

In an interview with Alpha Cyprus, the text of which is published on the official Church of Cyprus website, the Archbishop explains that he is summoning the Synod himself, even though, as he says, no bishops requested it. Since no request came, he was planning to travel to Greece for treatment of his bad leg, but his doctor advised him against it due to the pandemic. Since he wasn’t going to Greece, he decided to convene the Synod, so the issue wouldn’t remain during the Nativity and Theophany season.

However, the Archbishop also clarifies that he has no intention of putting the issue of commemorating Epiphany Dumenko up to a Synodal vote. Rather, he will continue with his unilateral decision, but wants the opportunity to explain his decision to the bishops.

Recall that the Archbishop earlier stated that he intentionally avoided telling his brother hierarchs about his decision so as to avoid a fight.

Despite his poor health, he met to discuss the Ukrainian issue with 9 of the Orthodox primates, and he knows the views of all the primates on the matter, he states.

And, “If anyone carefully studies my letter to His All-Holiness, if everyone would listen to me, then Orthodoxy would have no problems, and it could become an example for other confessions to follow. And the Church of Cyprus would stand very high,” the Archbishop confidently states.

The Cypriot primate often mentions that he represented the Church of Cyprus at pan-Orthodox conferences and councils for 30 years and thus has a good understanding of where all the Local Churches stand on the Ukrainian and autocephaly issues. Nevertheless, he also states that it was only after visiting Constantinople in March “that I learned the whole truth about this issue, because before that I only knew half of it, and His All-Holiness explained to me that Ukraine belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which handed it over to the Moscow Patriarchate only to temporarily manage it, because of Moscow’s proximity to Ukraine.”

This take on history is disputed by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, and most Local Churches, but Pat. Bartholomew refused Moscow’s proposal to formally discuss the history of the Kiev Metropolis’ transfer to the Russian Church and the relevant documents.

According to Abp. Chrysostomos, “at the beginning of the 17th century, moving from Constantinople to Ukraine was difficult. Since 1917, with the beginning of communism in Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarch was no longer commemorated. But when communism fell, the Ecumenical Patriarch wanted to restore the original order in Ukraine, but the Russians refused.”

And there are many other details that he cannot tell now, the Archbishop said.

The Archbishop crystallized his position on the matter after visiting Constantinople in March, but, as he claims, there was no time to discuss the matter with the Holy Synod, so he simply went ahead and started commemorating Epiphany Dumenko. However, as other bishops have revealed, the matter was, in fact, discussed by the Holy Synod in both September and October, resulting in the Archbishop promising his brother hierarchs that he would not commemorate Dumenko.

While the Archbishop revealed his decision publicly at a Divine Liturgy, he states that he was shocked that the four bishops—Metropolitans Athanasios of Limassol, Nikiforos of Kykkos, and Isaiah of Tamassos, and Bishop Nicholas of Amathountos—issued statements to the public. “They knew that my door was open… I would have apologized to them for the trouble I caused and would have explained to them in detail.”

The Archbishop characterizes the bishops’ open letter as an “attack,” saying they came after him “for no reason.”

“If I had killed their parents or siblings, they wouldn't have done this to me. They poured out acid and bile. I haven't done anything to them to justify this hostility,” Abp. Chrysostomos states.

However, after characterizing the bishops as a selfish and conspiratorial parasynagogue, he remains the merciful archpastor: “In any case, I forgive them. I have nothing against them, and I am at their disposal.”

While the other bishops serve their own selfishness and foreign interests, he believes, the same cannot be said of him, he assures: “No one can accuse me of coming here for fun. I had everything; I wasn’t look for anything when I came to the Archdiocese. I had it much better in Paphos.”

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Fr. James Rosselli11/17/2020 4:40 am
It seems that the more wrong we are, the more arrogant and combative we become in order to try to justify it. The anti-synodical "lone-rangerish" decision, followed by his airy dismissal of the perfectly legitimate response of his bishops, is appalling. And his sycophancy with which he addresses Bartholomew is downright embarrassing. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.
Steve11/14/2020 5:21 am
The "Solution According to the Divine and Sacred Canons" will solve everything. It is literally an ocean of grace for the problems in Ukraine. I'm so excited about this book. The Truth is out there for us to discover through the timeless wisdom dripping from it's pages. I'm convinced the Divine and Sacred Canons can solve anything, if we pay heed and read the book.
Allen 11/13/2020 8:56 pm
To make one thing clear from the beginning, I have noticed that there are translations from one language to another and the context can change. Having said that, I will take the English in this article as what he said and what he meant is correct. If Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus did indeed say these words, I would ask him to rethink his words. The Primate and the Holy Synod should be together in word and deed. The present conflict is not showing the Primate and the Holy Synod in unity. For Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus to say, "No one can accuse me of coming here for fun. I had everything; I wasn’t look for anything when I came to the Archdiocese. I had it much better in Paphos." And "If anyone carefully studies my letter to His All-Holiness, if everyone would listen to me, then Orthodoxy would have no problems, and it could become an example for other confessions to follow. And the Church of Cyprus would stand very high,”. "If everyone would listen to me, Orthodoxy would have no problems"? Did he really say that? In English, that is a statement of Pride and Ego. He is asking us to just listen to him and do what he says and everything will be alright. And Paphos? What about service to Jesus Christ and his Church? Why is he comparing serving in Cyprus to Paphos? It would seem to me that he is comparing earthly pleasures about where he is living, not where he is serving. These statements appear to be repeats of history. How many heretics are there in the Orthodox Church? Make no mistake, I am NOT calling Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus a heretic! I am not! But the road that his words mean could lead down the road to heresy because of pride and arrogance. We must be vigilant! We must follow the Canons and Traditions of the Church to defeat the evil one. The words of the Primate appear to mean that he is the boss and he has the final word. It also appears that the Primate is in essence saying, "I have decided the issue on my own and you will follow and obey me"! The Holy Synod is not obligated to listen, (without hearing), and see (without seeing) and speak (without speaking) to what the Primate does. The Primate and his Holy Synod should be together. The one who started the conflict should be the one to humble himself and help resolve the conflict. If Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus does not wish to help resolve the conflict, then it is up to the Holy Synod to decide what to do next, according to the traditions and the Canons of the Orthodox Church.
Mikhail11/13/2020 8:14 pm
Depose the Archbishop! Anaxios!
Strve11/13/2020 7:01 pm
Just wait until the Archbishop reads the paradigm-shifting new book published by the Metropolitan of Kykkos, "The Modern Ukrainian Question and its Solution According to the Divine and Sacred Canons". That is such an awesome book. If the Archbishop reads the book, then I am sure he will change his mind. Hopefully the book will be a topic for discussion at the upcoming Holy Synod meeting.
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