Nicosia, Cyprus, November 27, 2020
Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus was interviewed on the Cypriot channel RIK last night, addressing the sessions of the Holy Synod held this week concerning the Ukrainian Church scandal.
The Cypriot primate continued his recent streak of emotionally-charged accusations and threats against the hierarchs who disagree with his stance on the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” this time threatening them with the possibility of being defrocked if they do not concelebrate with him.
Previously, he accused them of being selfish, irresponsible, conspiratorial, and factious. He also said he could have killed their families and they would have been nicer to him than they are about the Ukrainian situation. The opposing hierarchs had to remind the Archbishop that such language is not befitting of an Orthodox hierarch.
He also specifically pinpointed His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos, saying that if he does not commemorate the Archbishop in the Divine services, then he will be out of the Church.
Reviewing what caused him to recognize Epiphany Dumenko and his schismatic structure, Abp. Chrysostom repeated his story that when he visited Constantinople in March, he suddenly learned previously unknown information that refutes the view held in common between all Orthodox Churches for the past 330 years, that the Kiev Metropolis was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1686, reports Romfea.
There is neither a schism, nor even a crisis in the Cypriot Church, the Archbishop said. There will be another Synod meeting in 10 days, he said, with His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos, one of his most vocal opponents on the OCU issue, as the Vice President of the Synod, implying that all will go smoothly.
The Cypriot primate also claimed that there was a consensus among the hierarchs after Monday’s session. He doesn’t know what happened between then and Wednesday, when the Synod proved to be split 10 to 7.
Asked what will happen now, given that several hierarchs strongly disagree with recognition of the OCU, the Archbishop said: “They don’t have a say in it. All they can is that they won’t concelebrate with me.”
Traditionally, the hierarchs all concelebrate a few times a year on feast days, Abp. Chrysostomos said, and the bishops have no say in the matter: “If I invite them to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with me, they cannot refuse to do so. When I invite them, the only reason they could not come is if they get sick.”
And there are punishments for not concelebrating: “The punishments provided for range from reprimanding to defrocking. We can’t just all do whatever we want in the Church of Cyprus.”
Recall that Abp. Chrysostomos himself violated the decision of the Holy Synod from February 2019 to remain neutral, and entered into communion with the Ukrainian schismatics completely on his own.
Further, the Archbishop specifically named Met. Isaiah of Tamassos, saying that he if stops commemorating the Archbishop in the Divine services, then he is out of the Church, reports ant1.com.cy.
He also spoke as if this has already come to pass. “He is no longer part of the Church,” he said.
It is unclear what the Archbishop is referring to, given that he was asked to comment on Met. Isaiah’s statement that he will not cease commemorating the Archbishop, though he will not concelebrate with him as long as he recognizes schismatics.
The Cypriot primate continued that if one of the dissenting hierarchs were to request a Synodal meeting for an issue that concerns him, the Synod will tell him, “You are wrong. Learn to obey first.”
All of this will pass, the Archbishop believes—no one will stick to their position.
He also explained that he waited for the dissenting hierarchs to come ask him why he made the unilateral decision to commemorate Epiphany Dumenko, but they did not come. He did not clarify why it was acceptable for him to make a decision without consulting with his brother hierarchs but it was unacceptable for them not to consult with him in person after the fact.
The Archbishop also said that an attempt is being made by the Moscow Patriarchate to penetrate Europe and America, seemingly unaware that it was the Moscow Patriarchate that brought Orthodox to the North American continent, and that the Russian Church’s presence is already well-established in Europe for more than a century.
The Cypriot primate made similarly outlandish accusations in his recent letter to Pat. Bartholomew, claiming that the Russian Church has stolen two dioceses from the Georgian Church and half of the Polish Church. These fabrications have been thoroughly debunked by the Union of Orthodox Journalists here and here.