Moscow, January 4, 2021
In a recent letter to Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia emphasized that by recognizing the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the Archbishop had willingly entered into communion with schismatics, and he called upon him to reconsider this un-Orthodox decision.
Responding to the Archbishop’s greetings for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Pat. Kirill writes that “this year, the joy of the Nativity is marred by the sad news of your commemoration of the leader of one of the Ukrainian schismatic groups among the assembly of the primates of the holy Churches of God. I am deeply saddened by your decision,” reports Romfea.
And in recognizing the schismatics, the Archbishop has despised “the canonical Church of Ukraine, a martyric Church, by proclaiming an unlawful gathering of schismatics that is at war with her to be your brothers and concelebrants.”
Recall that the Archbishop’s unilateral decision to break his promise to his Holy Synod and recognize the schismatics has not only deepened inter-Orthodox divisions, but has also caused a division in his own Cypriot Church. While several stalwart hierarchs continue to commemorate Abp. Chrysostomos in an effort to preserve Cypriot Church unity, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos has stressed that if the Archbishop actually concelebrates with schismatic hierarchs, then there will be a real schism in the Cypriot Church.
Further in his letter, the Russian primate notes that “in recognizing Sergei Dumenko (‘Metropolitan’ Epiphany) as the ‘primate of the Church of Ukraine,’ as stated in the communique of the Holy Synod of the Cypriot Church from November 25, you, to our great chagrin, received schismatics into communion. Moreover, you are well acquainted with the true primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.”
Pat. Kirill also recalls that the bishops of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” have never been ordained in the Orthodox Church, as was acknowledged by Abp. Chrysostomos’ own Holy Synod in February 2019.
Not a few of the OCU bishops even trace their “consecrations” not to just anathematized former hierarchs, but to self-consecrated hierarchs, the Russian primate emphasizes, including the “opportunist former Deacon Viktor Chekalin, who has been convicted of molesting minors, who was never consecrated as a bishop by anyone.”
“With a strained heart, I think that now you are in communion with such people,” His Holiness laments.
Pat. Kirill also stressed that there cannot be two metropolitans of Ukraine, just as there cannot be two archbishops of Cyprus.
“Your Beatitude, on these days of the bright feast of the Nativity of Christ, I appeal to you reconsider your decision or to postpone it until a pan-Orthodox decision is made on the Ukrainian issue,” Pat. Kirill concludes.
Thus far, like Patriarch Bartholomew, Abp. Chrysostomos has shown himself deaf to the calls of his fellow hierarchs, but has only sought to justify his unilateral and self-willed decision. He has attacked those hierarchs who oppose his decision and publicly accused them of disloyalty to the Cypriot Church, to the Greek people, and to Orthodoxy as a whole.
He has even threatened to defrock his fellow Cypriot hierarchs who resist his decision, while accepting communion with people who were never ordained in the first place.
He has also argued that Constantinople’s takeover of the Ukrainian Church is justifiable because the Russian Church has supposedly done the same to the Georgian, Polish, and Romanian Churches. His anti-historical claims have been thoroughly debunked by the Union of Orthodox Journalists here, here, and here.
Most recently he claimed that while Pat. Bartholomew promised not to raise the Ukrainian issue at the Council of Crete in 2016, at the same time, he gave the Moscow Patriarchate four years to resolve the Ukrainian schism. This claim has never been put forth by anyone before, not even representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
And in any case, Pat. Bartholomew began his anti-canonical interference in Ukraine in 2018, only two years later.