Istanbul, February 25, 2021
Pat. Bartholomew (center), with Abp. Ieronymos of Greece (left) and Pat. Theodoros of Alexandria (right), who together with Abp. Chrysostomos of Cyprus are the four primates who recognize the Ukrainian schismatics. Photo: rua.gr
Patriarch Bartholomew was invited to visit Ukraine by Vladimir Zelensky when the head of state visited him in Istanbul in October. During his subsequent meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in late November, he formally accepted the invitation and announced that he would visit in late August for the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence.
Since then, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine has been spiritually preparing for the increased pressure and persecution that has already begun in preparation for the patriarchal visit.
And according to information from informed sources, Patriarch Bartholomew isn’t planning to travel alone, but is looking to bring the other primates who have recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” with him, reports the Ukrainian outlet Pravblog.
The idea is to emphasize the leading status of the Patriarch of Constantinople in the Orthodox world and demonstrate that the OCU has support outside of just Constantinople.
The OCU is also recognized by Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece, and Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus.
Abp. Ieronymos officially recognized the schismatics via an “irenic letter” to Epiphany Dumenko dated October 21, 2019, after the Bishops’ Council of the Greek Church voted to leave the matter in his hands; Pat. Theodoros suddenly began to commemorate the schismatic Dumenko in the Divine Liturgy on November 8, 2019, without the support of his Holy Synod; and Abp. Chrysostomos suddenly began to commemorate Dumenko on October 24 of last year, thereby breaking his promise to the Holy Synod that he would not.
Pat. Theodoros last visited Ukraine in September 2018 to support the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and urge the faithful to remain loyal to Christ in His canonical Church as Constantinople was then gearing up to create the schismatic OCU. The upcoming visit would be his first since betraying the millions of Orthodox Christians of the canonical Church whom he once stood by and supported.
If this plan is finally approved in Constantinople, they are confident they will be able to agree with the Ukrainian authorities and work out all the necessary logistics for the four primates to visit. However, there could be other issues preventing their arrival, including the state of health of some of them, Pravblog reports.