Moscow, November 20, 2020
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church met online today under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. The main item on the agenda was to consider how to respond to the recent decision of Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus to recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Noting that the Archbishop’s decision was unilateral, without the approval of the Cypriot Holy Synod, the Russian Synod resolved that Pat. Kirill can no longer commemorate Abp. Chrysostomos in the Divine services, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Abp. Chrysostomos first commemorated Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic OCU on October 24, causing a great scandal in the Cypriot Church. The Russian Synod notes that, by his own admission, Abp. Chrysostomos had not informed the bishops of the Holy Synod of his decision.
The Synod also refers to the letter of the four Cypriot hierarchs—Metropolitans Athanasios of Limassol, Nikiforos of Kykkos, Isaiah of Tamassos, and Bishop Nicholas of Amathountos—in which they emphasize that Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions in Ukraine’s and Abp. Chrysostomos’ unilateral decision to recognize those actions are both gross, anti-canonical violations of the conciliar nature of the Church and of the ecclesiastical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Synodal statement also makes reference to His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou, who reiterated his firm stance that the only canonical hierarch of Kiev is His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The Russian Synod made five resolutions on the matter:
- “To express deep regret over the anti-canonical commemoration of the head of one of the Ukrainian schismatic groups in the diptychs of Orthodox primates by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, which indicates that he entered into communion with schismatics.
- “To emphasize that this decision was made by Archbishop Chrysostomos alone, without the consent of the members of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and, therefore, does not have a conciliar character.
- “To take into account that the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, at a meeting chaired by Archbishop Chrysostomos on February 18, 2019, expressed legitimate “doubts about the possibility of retroactively legalizing ordinations made by defrocked, excommunicated and anathematized bishops,” referring to the “episcopate” of the newly-created schismatic structure in Ukraine.
- “To note that the current decision of Archbishop Chrysostom contradicts his repeated official statements on the Ukrainian issue, in particular, a letter to the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church dated July 26, 2018, in which the Archbishop of Cyprus assured that “the Church of Cyprus will never deviate from its position, which we have repeatedly stated to you, that is, that it will support the position of the Russian Orthodox Church in the issue of the so-called autocephaly in Ukraine,” and noted that “it considers this position fair and justified in everything.”
- “To state the impossibility of commemorating the name of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus in the diptychs, of prayerful and Eucharistic communion with him, as well as concelebration with those hierarchs of the Church of Cyprus who will enter into ecclesiastical communion with representatives of the Ukrainian schism.”