Volyn, Ukrain, September 15, 2021
Ukrainians should remain faithful to Christ in the canonical Orthodox Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, a visiting cleric of the Church of Cyprus told a group of seminarians recently.
In his visits to Ukraine, he can clearly see what a tragic mistake Patriarch Bartholomew made by invading Ukrainian Church territory and creating a schismatic group there, Archimandrite Nektarios (Bakopoulos) told the students of the Volyn Theological Seminary at a special meeting yesterday, the school’s press service reports.
Fr. Nektarios is the secretary of the Diocese of Tamassos, whose ruling hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, is one of the seven bishops of the Cypriot Church who reject the Archbishop’s anti-canonical unilateral decision to enter into communion with the Ukrainian schismatics, for which he has been threatened many times by Abp. Chrysostomos.
The Cypriot priest also visited Ukraine in 2019 to meet with parishes that lost their church to the violent schismatics of Pat. Bartholomew’s “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” “I truly experienced tenderness, experienced a special grace and saw faith, the strong faith of the believers,” he said at the time. During his recent visit, he took part in the consecration of a church built to replace one violently seized by schismatics.
In his talk with seminarians, he spoke about his life, about how he found his path to monasticism and the priesthood, and he shared his experiences of working with young people.
After the lecture, Fr. Nektarios took questions from the audience. When the question of the Ukrainian schism was raised, he said firmly:
You should know that you are on the right path. Therefore, cling to the true, canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and your primate Metropolitan Onuphry and your bishops… I was in your villages, where people lost their churches. I saw their pain, and it gives the chance to see what a mistake Patriarch Bartholomew made.