Mt. Athos, August 16, 2021
Photo: Facebook A blasphemous fresco has appeared on Mt. Athos, depicting an ancient saint with the so-called tomos of “autocephaly” given by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” in January 2019.
The fresco of St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves can be found at New Esphigmenou Monastery, which was founded by Patriarch Bartholomew in 2005 and is among the few Athonite monasteries that recognizes the schismatic OCU.
One comment on the post reads: “A new mythology?” to which Dudchenko responds: “A new reality.”
Besides the historical anachronism, the fresco bastardizes the memory of St. Anthony, who labored in asceticism on Mt. Athos before founding the famous Kiev Caves Lavra, and thus serves as a bridge between Greek and Slavic Orthodoxy, while the OCU and its tomos has served only to drive a deep wedge between Greek Churches loyal to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the rest of the Orthodox world, which remains loyal to Orthodoxy in Ukraine.
Moreover, the scroll in St. Anthony’s hand contains a specific portion of the OCU’s tomos that has proven quite controversial: “We declare that the Autocephalous Church in Ukraine knows as its head the most holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne, just as the rest of the Patriarchs and Primates also do.”