Piraeus, Greece, December 23, 2020
The bishops of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus who reject Patriarch Bartholomew’s invasion of Ukrainian Church territory and consequently reject their primate’s recognition of the schismatic church created by Patriarch Bartholomew have been accused of not being Greek enough and not loving the Greek nation.
“We don’t have to give credentials of our Greekness to anyone. We are not only Greeks, we are also Hellenophiles,” His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos said in response to the ethnophyletistic accusations.
Now, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus of the Greek Orthodox Church has also been forced to defend the truth of his statements about the Ukrainian crisis and to reject the accusation that he is a “contractor” working on behalf of Russia.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople and its supporters have routinely attempted to frame the Ukrainian Church crisis as a racial divide, of Russians vs. Greeks and Russians vs. Ukrainians, rather than as a spiritual, theological, and canonical issue.
On December 21, Met. Seraphim addressed a letter to Panagiotis Andriopoulos, the administrator of the Light of the Phanar blog, which is dedicated to glorifying the person of Pat. Bartholomew and the Patriarchate of Constantinople and denigrating anyone who does not agree with Constantinople in all things.
Met. Seraphim reminds Andriopoulos that he is, in fact, in debt to and very grateful to Pat. Bartholomew and the Patriarchate, which defended him against false accusations and elected him as a vicar bishop in Australia in 2000. “My personal debt of love and honor to the person of His Holiness is eternal,” Met. Seraphim writes, and he remembers the Patriarch’s love and protection daily.
“But,” His Eminence continues, “as a man and as a bishop. I owe absolute devotion to my Creator and to His work,” and thus he must always speak the truth.
“Therefore, no matter how dear His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch is to me, I cannot, as a bishop of the Church, conceal the truth of the faith,” Met. Seraphim emphasizes.
He notes that he accepts criticism of his words and deeds, “but not slander that distorts the truth that I am trying to preach."
In particular, Met. Seraphim recalls that in his blogs, Andriopoulos has publicly accused him of “taking on the role of defending the Russian positions on the issue of the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine,” thus following Constantinople’s emphasis on ethnicity above the canonical order of the Church.
Such an accusation offends Met. Seraphim as a man and as a bishop, he writes.
Moreover, this accusation is very serious, and Andriopoulos must be willing to prove it and to take responsibility for his words, “because I intend to resort to ordinary and criminal justice,” the Piraeus prelate stresses.
The blogger’s accusations are slanderous, the Metropolitan emphasizes, noting that Andriopoulos ignored the fact that he, a supposed Russian “contractor,” refused to accept the visit of the Russian ambassador to Athens, protesting against the unacceptable statements coming from the Kremlin about the conversion of Agia Sophia into a mosque.
Moreover, Met. Seraphim reminds the Phanariot blogger that in his texts and in public statements, he has publicly denounced the attitude of the Russian Church and state towards Constantinople and its unacceptable failure to support Constantinople against the geopolitical plans of the Euro-Atlanticists in the fascist Islamic Turkish regime.
In July, Met. Seraphim said it was lamentable that Constantinople got involved in Ukraine at the behest of the Euro-Atlanticists. The resulting lack of unity in the Orthodox Church is one of the reasons that Turkey was able to convert Agia Sophia, he argued.
The Metropolitan of Piraeus then addresses the canonical issues at play in the Ukrainian Church crisis, about which he has written before. He argues that the canons of the Ecumenical Councils do not grant Constantinople universal jurisdiction for hearing appeals, which Pat. Bartholomew himself once well knew, as evidenced by his letters to His Holiness Patriarch Alexiy II of Russia in which he acknowledged the canonical sanctions against Philaret Denisenko and the Russian Church’s exclusive competency in the matter.
Met. Seraphim also rejects Constantinople’s and the Light of the Phanar blog’s argument that the Russian Church cannot protest the creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” since it accepted the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia back in to communion without reordaining its hierarchs and clergy. ROCOR’s hierarchy derives from legitimate bishops who were persecuted by the atheistic authorities, Met. Seraphim recalls, and they always maintained communion with the Serbian Church, and thus they cannot be called schismatic. Moreover, the relics of St. John (Maximovitch) and Metropolitan Philaret of ROCOR remain incorrupt and fragrant, Met. Seraphim emphasizes.
Thus, it is impossible to compare ROCOR with the ecclesiastical structure in Ukraine that traces its hierarchy to the deposed and anathematized Philaret Denisenko and the “self-ordained psychopath and pedophile Deacon Vincent/Viktor Chekalin,” Met. Seraphim stresses.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Anastasios of Albania has also addressed the ROCOR issue in depth in a letter to Pat. Bartholomew.
In conclusion, the Metropolitan calls upon Andriopoulos to retract the slanderous accusation that he is a Russian “contractor” working for Russian interests in the Greek Church and state. Otherwise, he will have to resort to legal means, which he hopes to avoid.
Met. Seraphim recently wrote that Constantinople created the most tragic event in recent Orthodox history when it granted “autocephaly” to the Ukrainian schismatics.