Cypriot Church’s stance remains unclear after vote “not to oppose” Archbishop’s recognition of schismatics

Nicosia, Cyprus, November 25, 2020

Romfea Romfea     

The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus held its second session today to discuss Archbishop Chrysostomos’ unilateral decision to recognize and enter into communion with the Ukrainian schismatics, which caused a serious scandal in the Cypriot Church.

After thoroughly discussing the issue on Monday and today, the Synod issued a weakly-worded statement dealing only with the Archbishop’s actions. The stance of the Church of Cyprus as a whole towards the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” remains unclear, based on the current reporting.

The Synod’s communique reads:

At its meetings on November 23 and 25, 2020, the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus discussed in detail the Ukrainian Church issue and the problematic situation that arose with the commemoration Epiphany as primate of the Church of Ukraine by His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos, and decided not to oppose this decision of His Beatitude.

At the same time, the Holy Synod expects a broader discussion in which all will participate to overcome the current crisis, which threatens to split the Church of Christ.

The official statement seems to indicate that the Synod essentially voted to allow the Archbishop personally to do as he will, although it continues to threaten a schism in the Church.

However, His Eminence Nikiforos of Kykkos reports that the Synod in fact voted 10-7 in favor of the proposal of Metropolitan George of Paphos on recognizing Epiphany Dumenko as the hierarch of Kiev and All Ukraine, whereas his own compromise proposal was rejected.

The Metropolitan maintains, however, that the vote is not binding, because this is not merely an administrative matter, but a matter of faith.

“The decision does not bind us. We have examples in Orthodoxy where only one disagreed and was acquitted afterwards: St. Mark Evgenikos. He disagreed and did not sign the minutes of the council, although everyone else signed. History justified him and in 1484 the Ferrara-Florence Synod was annulled and Mark Evgenikos emerged as a saint of our Church,” said the Metropolitan.

However, Met. George of Paphos then responded that this is not a matter of faith, and the Synod’s decision is in fact binding.

In his own presentation during the Synod sessions, His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos stated that he could not accept any solution that involved recognizing Epiphany Dumenko and his schismatic OCU.

Greek media is already reporting on the outcome of the Synod sessions as a “schism,” which could explain the non-committal official communique. Surely the Archbishop does not want “to go down in the history of his Church as a person who, in order to recognize the schism in Ukraine, brought his own Church to a state of schism,” comments Orthodox analyst Alexander Voznesensky.

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Alexander Leitner11/26/2020 2:19 pm
I also think that the vision of Elder Ephraim was a warning to the Greek Church. Otherwise the vision makes no sense. There are many countries that are more evil or which have less love for one another. America was also mentioned. Because they are the real reason behind all this. Bartholomew is their Agent. Depose him
Nicole11/26/2020 4:33 am
Amen, Alex. I am beginning to understand the content of Elder Ephraim’s appearance. May God grant enlightenment to the many hierarchs who have lost their way and betray both Christ and His faithful who need them to be strong and true. God bless Metropolitan Athanasium of Limassol and Metropolitan Onouphry and all their hierarchical, monastic and lay supporters. Lord have mercy, what dreadful news. As it seems good to the Lord, so it has come to pass.
Bob 11/25/2020 8:21 pm
Anybody confused?
Mikhail11/25/2020 7:05 pm
Bartholomew once again proves himself as the great creator of schisms. Lord protect us from this scourge.
Archpriest Nectarios 11/25/2020 6:37 pm
When does a “de facto” schism become a “de jure” schism?
Theodoros 11/25/2020 6:35 pm
At this point it is better for the Church of Cyprus to suffer schism than to fall into line with the uncanonical actions of Archbishop Chysostomos. At least in schism, the true Church will still exist because of the bishops who adhere to Orthodoxy and will carry on as the authentic Church. If the Bishops in Greece who oppose Patriarch Bartholomews actions in Ukraine had chosen to break with the Bishops who recognized the Ukrainian schismatics the damage to the universal Church would have ended there. As one Church after another falls into line with the Phanar's dictation the danger remains that other Churches will succumb to pressure. The principled Bishops of the Church of Cyprus can break this pattern by choosing to break communion with the Archbishop and maintain their own synod. There really is no other alternative at this point. They can break communion now and work to restore those Bishops falling into error once a universal council from the whole of Orthodoxy is held to depose Patriarch Bartholomew. If Patriarch Bartholomew is formally deposed, most of the damage that has taken place will be repaired.
Alex11/25/2020 4:57 pm
May God give strength to those faithful Cypriot bishops that are working behind the scenes to keep our faith intact!
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