Mt. Athos, August 20, 2021
The recent statements about the Patriarchate of Constantinople, against the background of the Ukrainian crisis, from a monk who formerly lived at Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos do not reflect the views of the monastery itself.
On August 16, the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church published a video interview with Archimandrite Nilos (Adezi), a disciple of Elder Joseph of Vatopedi, who now serves in Italy. Fr. Nilos spoke of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine as God’s gift to Ukraine and as a hierarch greatly beloved on Mt. Athos, and also criticized the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s self-understanding and its misguided actions in Ukraine.
However, Vatopedi Monastery announced yesterday that Fr. Nilos has not been a monk of Vatopedi for a long time and is no longer counted as a monk of the monastery.
Further, “His recent statements to the media, which we condemn, do not in any way reflect the views and positions of the Holy Monastery.”
The monastery is under the spiritual oversight of the Holy Synod of Constantinople, the statement reminds, and it “supports and respects the canonical prerogatives and actions of the institution of the Mother Church of Constantinople and the venerable person of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.”
Recall that Abbot Ephraim of Vatopedi was among those selected to represent the Patriarchate at the enthronement of the schismatic “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko in Kiev in February 2019, though under severe pressure. Arriving in Kiev, he suffered a heart attack and did not participate in the service, though another hieromonk of Vatopedi still concelebrated.
A delegation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” visited Mt. Athos later that month, where it was turned away by several monasteries, and received by others, including Vatopedi, where they were allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy.
In a talk in December, Abbot Ephraim declared that Mt. Athos is powerless to influence the Ukrainian conflict, for which he was severely criticized by His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who said the abbot has chosen comfort over Christ.