Kythira, Greece, December 24, 2020
The tomos of autocephaly was granted to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) and several primates have recognized the schismatics under constant pressure from U.S. and Ukrainian authorities, acknowledges His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira of the Orthodox Church of Greece.
“The acute and complex Ukrainian issue unfortunately arose from persistent and severe pressure from the political actors (the U.S. and the Ukrainian leadership) on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on Greece, and other countries,” His Eminence said in a recent interview with Pentapostgamma.
Of course, the Metropolitan is not the first Orthodox hierarch to recognize this fact, nor is Ukraine the only situation the U.S. is inserting itself into.
As Met. Seraphim has emphasized several times before, the autocephaly was ultimately given anti-canonically, overlooking and disdaining the true hierarch of Kiev, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.
He also emphasized that “similarly, the Ecumenical Patriarch is trying to obtain consent and recognition of this fait accompli from the 11 Orthodox Churches that, citing ecclesiological and canonical principles, resist the recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly.”
The Greek hierarch also notes that he is “certainly worried” about recent events in Cyprus, where the primate Archbishop Chrysostomos recognized the schismatics, and the Holy Synod timidly accepted his unilateral and self-willed decision.
The division that has arisen in the Church of Cyprus is “painful and sad,” Met. Seraphim emphasizes, adding that events transpired similarly in the Church of Greece, where the hierarchs never voted directly on the matter of recognizing the schismatics, but simply left it up to their primate Archbishop Ieronymos.
How many evils have sprung up, and now there is “the raging and burning wound of the anti-canonical and anti-ecclesiological ‘autocephaly’ in Ukraine!” His Eminence laments.
And unfortunately, this deep wound will not heal unless the hierarchs involved humble themselves and remember death, ever mindful that their departure to stand before Christ could happen at any moment. The issue needs to be resolved on the pan-Orthodox level, otherwise the Church will suffer a formal schism that, to the joy and delight of the ungodly.
Met. Seraphim has called for a pan-Orthodox council to address the Ukrainian issue several times before, including in a pastoral appeal in February of this year, and in November 2019 together with three other metropolitans of the Greek Church.
In September 2018, before the OCU was created, Met. Seraphim called upon Pat. Bartholomew to repent and to cease communication with the schismatics.
In November 2019, a source within the Jerusalem Patriarchate spoke about pressure coming from Joe Biden and other Democrats to recognize the schismatics, a fact which Abp. Chrysostomos of Cyprus himself recognized in December of last year, before he himself recognized the schismatics. The Patriarch of Jerusalem has also been pressured by Constantinople hierarchs.
In January 2019, the head of the Georgian Patriarchate’s press service also publicly spoke about the pressure on the Church to recognize the schismatics.
U.S. authorities, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have also met with and pledged their support to hierarchs of the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church,” which is currently in negotiations for autocephaly with Constantinople.
The U.S. was also involved in the creation of ROCOR-A, a schismatic breakaway from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia that is now causing problems in Cyprus, among other places.