Kiev, May 14, 2021
Further scandal and strife await Mt. Athos if Epiphany Dumenko, the “Metropolitan” of the nationalist-schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” carries out his intentions.
In an interview with Ukrainian TV’s Channel 5 earlier this month, Dumenko announced that he intends to visit the Holy Mountain sometime in the near future. It is well known that Mt. Athos is deeply divided over the issue of Patriarch Bartholomew’s anti-Orthodox invasion of Ukrainian Church territory and the canonical status of the OCU.
Some Greek monasteries have openly declared that they will shut their gates if Dumenko tries to visit.
Answering a caller’s question about “which of the sketes or monasteries of Mt. Athos Pat. Bartholomew was ready to give the OCU,” Dumenko said: “I plan to visit Mt. Athos in the near future, and then we will talk specifically about where our place for a Ukrainian skete will be.”
The OCU is a highly contentious matter on the Holy Mountain, with some monasteries whole heartedly following Constantinople’s embracing of schism but the majority of them maintaining a firm stance on Orthodox ecclesiology, as several Athonite monks explained in a recent interview. The Sacred Community, which governs the Holy Mountain, was unable to come to a decision about how to treat the OCU, and thus it was left to each monastery to receive visits from the OCU or not.
Some monasteries have welcomed and even concelebrated with the schismatics, while others have turned them away. OCU hierarchs and pilgrims have also caused scandal on the Holy Mountain with their blatant displays of nationalism, which is forbidden for all people by the Athonite charter.
In January 2019, not long after Pat. Bartholomew gave a tomos of autocephaly to the unrepentant schismatics of the OCU, several Greek monasteries, including Philotheou and Karakallou, said they would absolutely refuse him entry.
Pat. Bartholomew himself received a less than stellar reception when he visited the Holy Mountain in October 2019, as the majority of monasteries completely reject his harmful actions in Ukraine, as the Athonite monks recall in the aforementioned interview.