After Alexandrian Patriarch serves with schismatic Dumenko, Russian Church to consider appeals from African clergy

Moscow, September 28, 2021

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The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has decided to consider the appeals of numerous African clerics to be received into the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, given Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria’s refusal to repent of his recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics.

At its session last week, the Synod instructed His Eminence Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alan to submit proposals to the Holy Synod after a thorough study of the more than 100 appeals from African clergy, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Despite having lived and served in Ukraine for many years and having presented himself as a friend and defender of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, on November 8, 2019, Pat. Theodoros capitulated to pressure from Greece and the U.S. and liturgically commemorated “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” during the Divine Liturgy.

A month later, 27 priests from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia issued a letter of protest, for which they were threatened by the Greek hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

A year later, in November 2020, it was reported that by that time more than 100 African clergy had appealed to be accepted into the Moscow Patriarchate, as they could not abide being in communion with the graceless schismatics of the OCU.

“The Russian Orthodox Church refrained from responding positively to such petitions in the hope that Pat. Theodoros would change his decision, and the bishops of the Church of Alexandria would not support the legalization of the Ukrainian schism,” reads the Synodal report.

“Unfortunately, this did not happen,” it continues.

On August 13 of this year, Pat. Theodoros concelebrated with Pat. Bartholomew and the unordained Epiphany Dumenko in Turkey, assuring the schismatic of his strong support. And, as the Russian Synod notes, not a single hierarch of the Patriarchate of Alexandria has expressed disagreement with the Patriarch’s decision to enter into communion with schismatics.

The Alexandrian Patriarch had already concelebrated with two schismatic “hierarchs” at the Phanar in November 2019, though never with the schismatic primate, until August.

“The members of the Synod expressed deep sorrow over the fact that Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria concelebrated with the head of the schismatic structure operating in Ukraine, which further deepens the schism between our Churches,” the report continues.

“Taking these facts into account and taking into account the numerous appeals of the clergy of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with a request to accept them under the omophorion of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alan was instructed to submit proposals to the Holy Synod after a thorough study of the received appeals.”

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Alexander Leitner9/30/2021 2:28 pm
@Ioan: This is not about "Ukraine" but about Orthodoxy. Ukrainian people can do what they want but they can not call themselves orthodox if they do not keep the orthodox faith or the Holy Canons.
Alexander Leitner9/30/2021 2:14 pm
@David: Ofcourse they have to repent! But they will not. Gid will punish Constantinople horrible. Do you really think the Hagia Sophia turning into a mosque was an accident? Also many greek Elders foretold, the Panhagia asked: "My beloved Hellas, who took away Holy Orthodoxy from you?" Bartholomew is a heteric and a schismatic!
David9/30/2021 11:50 am
Ioan: I would love that SO much, if Ukrainians would keep it in house. Unfortunately, all of this mess is being published into English, and we are being dragged into their blood feud. If they want to keep outsiders out, perhaps UOJ could keep their articles in Russian and Ukrainian (that would be a great relief to me). As for the Ukrainian point of view, which point of view would that be? I think that is part of the issue here. Different chunks of Ukraine have different historical and cultural points of view. The EP has more or less already brushed their hands of the OCU, considering the matter "over and done with." You might see that as the height of hubris and arrogance, but the EP's visit to Ukraine disappointed everybody, for different reasons. The EP is not going to give the hardliners on this issue what they want. It isn't just the Russians who can play chess. American power is waning globally, so that will cease to be a bogeyman in the not too distant future. Anti-Catholic rhetoric will also be exhausted as a credible thing ("those darn Uniates!"). Eventually, the Ukrainians will have to "figure it out." A completely independent UOC-MP would make anti-Russian epithets less credible. It isn't simple or easy, nor am I idly speculating, fully aware of the raw feelings that exist on both sides. It truly is up to them, and the EP said as much during his visit. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has made it clear: They are done with the whole thing. In the Church at large, the issue of schism is fully in Moscow's hands now.
Ioann9/30/2021 7:45 am
David: Let the Ukrainians decide for themselves what to do. It's your typical Western meddling that causes all the problems. You obviously know nothing about the situation from the Ukrainian point of view.
David9/30/2021 1:18 am
The Ecumenical Patriarch is not going to "repent." This is the same nonsense with the OCU, that they need to "repent." Akrevia has not worked and will never work. I don't understand the MP's hardness here. If the MP had shown the same patience and tenderness with the OCU as they did with ROCOR, none of this would have happened. Why are the OCU angry and alienated from the Church? Summing it up: Patriarch Kyrill's picture is on the wall. Take his picture down and make the UOC-MP 100% independent, and you remove the main appeal of the OCU. Of course there are outside forces trying to separate Ukraine from Russia. It was the same with Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. If you read the history, the whole latter part of the 19th Century the EP was angry and saying many of the same things the MP is saying right now. The Council of 1872 was a direct reaction to the Bulgarians (who got their "tomos" from the Sultan---hardly canonical either). Was Russia at that Council? I think we have to acknowledge the complexity of the situation then and now. As for the Tomos for Ukraine, of course the EP won't recognize it. However, its effect in Ukraine will be significant and have a big impact. The OCU would be forced on the defensive, and the Ukrainian government would have to change its stance towards the UOC-MP (it might even warm relations, as it gives a way for everyone to save face). The "canonicity" of the UOC-MP, combined with its complete independence would be compelling for those who weary of Church conflict. The change in the OCU's position could trigger its collapse or a schism within, if the fragility of the structure is to be believed. As I said, a true Ukrainian Church could "naturally" come from the end result. An MP Tomos would also "put the ball" back in the EP's court (to continue that analogy), and force a Council.
Joshua9/29/2021 8:20 pm
David and Antiochene: And by the way, what makes you think that Constantinople would even recognize an autocephaly granted by Moscow? They think that only Constantinople can grant autocephaly. They have not recognized the autocephaly that Moscow granted to the OCA. Moreover the damage CP has done by granting a psuedo-autocephaly to schismatics is already too great to be overcome by any such moves. Constantinople has to repent of its papist pretentions--it's the only way.
Juan9/29/2021 8:12 pm
David: The only way to prevent a full-scale rupture in Orthodoxy is if Patriarch Bartholomew and everyone with him repents of his unlawful deed.
Joshua9/29/2021 5:31 pm
David and Antiochene son: Of course this spells trouble. But you have to understand that autocephaly may not be desirous for the Ukrainian Church right now. There is strength in unity, and such things are not for us to decide. Can't you see that geopolitical forces are trying to separate Ukraine from Russia in every way they can? Why? Historically, Moscow always had Kiev's back when it came to aggression from the Poles and their Uniate devices.
Antiochene Son9/29/2021 4:47 pm
David: I agree. While Moscow is clearly in the right, the situation can only deteriorate from here. It would be better to call the EP's bluff and give autocephaly to the canonical Ukrainian Church.
David9/29/2021 8:05 am
The Moscow Patriarchate would be wise to not do such a thing. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has not escalated the situation any further (as many partisans expected---his visit to Ukraine was just the standard EP fair, with no condemnation of Metropolitan Onuphry), and the OCU and UOC-MP are currently in a state of uneasy co-existence. The EP has not broken communion with the MP despite what has happened. By not reacting and carrying on as if everything is fine, it has forced the MP into a position where the question of a rupture in the Church is firmly in their court. If the MP condemns the Ecumenical Patriarch formally, they would have to break Communion with the rest of the Church, as they all commune with the EP. Additionally, while many non-Russian Bishops are sympathetic to Moscow, that sympathy may quickly evaporate if the MP sets up a parallel Jurisdiction in Africa. There is a solution: The MP has to let Ukraine go. Give Metropolitan Onuphry a Tomos. I think if the MP did that, many Churches would jump at the chance to recognize it, and it would peel away the moderate autocephalists in the OCU. The OCU could very well collapse as a result, with the EP Tomos a dead letter. The situation would "sort itself naturally". It would also be a way to save face for those who initially supported the OCU (and still support it "officially"), but have soured on the whole thing due to how events have unfolded. MP partisans can go on about "them not wanting it," But I think that opinion will quickly change if they see that the UOC-MP accepting a Tomos is the only way to prevent a full scale rupture in Orthodoxy.
慕容飞羽9/28/2021 4:55 pm
Both the patriarch of Constantinople and patriarch of Alexandria are heresy and schismatics! Kick them out of Orthodox Church! How can these fake leader save our souls? They are just the pawns of America! Now Pat.Bartholomew seek to become a new Eastern Pope? What a mess! I even think they are actually anti-Christ Muslims disguised as Christians, all they do is ugly things. Kick these schismatics out of our HOLY CHURCH!!!
Steve9/28/2021 4:50 pm
Setting up a parallel jurisdiction in Africa can only spell disaster for Moscow. How do you spell "papist?"
Peter 9/28/2021 4:05 pm
Is the Church of Russia going to set up a parallel patriarchate of Alexandria? If Theodoros is formally in schism, shouldn’t he be replaced?
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