Mt. Athos, May 26, 2021
Earlier this month, OrthoChristian reported that “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” intends to visit Mt. Athos in the near future.
Now, two Athonite abbots have specifically invited Dumenko to visit and serve on the Holy Mountain.
“Archbishop” Evstraty Zorya, the speaker for the unrecognized organization, published a video of Archimandrite Gabriel of Pantocrator Monastery in which he says that he knows of and rejoices in Dumenko’s and the OCU’s “achievements,” and states that Dumenko is “very loved” on Mt. Athos. He thus invites him to visit, “to meet in person, to concelebrate and rejoice together.”
“May the Most Holy Theotokos give you the strength and enlightenment to lead the holy Church of Kiev, which Christ entrusted to you,” Abbot Gabriel said.
Pantocrator was the first Athonite monastery to receive a delegation from the schismatic OCU, allowing “Bishop” Paul of Odessa to serve in the monastery in February 2019.
In turn, Archimandrite Alexios of Xenophontos Monastery also invites the unordained Dumenko to the Holy Mountain.
According to Fr. Alexios, the OCU “has a great history, although you have only just received autocephaly.”
Recall that the OCU was, in fact, created by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and then-President Petro Poroshenko in December 2018. It is a “gift from God” that the Ukrainian church has become canonical, the abbot states.
Fr. Alexios also emphasizes that he is glad to have attended the enthronement of Dumenko in Kiev in January 2019, and that they “constantly pray that peace would come to the Church of Ukraine, that love would reign, and that there would be a true Orthodox spirit that characterizes us all.”
As OrthoChristian earlier reported, the OCU and the person of Dumenko are highly contentious topics on the Holy Mountain, and visit from Dumenko is sure to create further strife in the Garden of the Theotokos.