Alexandrian Synod: Russian Synod distorts ecclesiology and evangelical love

Alexandria, Egypt, January 12, 2022

Romfea Romfea     

The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria held a three-day session this week. One of the main items on its agenda was to formulate a response to the Russian Holy Synod’s recent creation of an African Exarchate and the reception of 102 African priests into its jurisdiction.

The Alexandrian Synod’s statement on the matter is published on Romfea and other outlets.

The hierarchs refer to the “non-canonical and anti-ecclesiastical invasion of the Patriarchate of Russia, creating new ‘church forms in Africa.’”

The Synod declares that such a move from the Russian Church was “unexpected.” Soon after Patriarch Theodoros changed his principled position and began commemorating the Ukrainian schismatics in the Divine services in 2019, he stated that he thought his decision would lead to healing rather than more division.

The Alexandrian hierarchs also state that the creation of the Russian Exarchate is “direct retaliation” and “blackmail or revenge against us,” and that its initial priests include some who were either in schism or who never belonged to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Fr. George Maximov, a Russian priest who is personally acquainted with many of the priests who have joined the Russian Exarchate, has said that this is not true, and that all the priests are from the Alexandrian Patriarchate. OrthoChristian has been informed by its own contacts in Africa that all the priests are canonical, though some had poor relations with their hierarchs.

The Russian Synod is attempting to change Orthodox ecclesiology, motivated by the “virus of ethnophyletism,” the Alexandrian hierarchs state.

They also accuse the Russian Synod of a “secular spirit,” a desire for “neocolonialism,” and “a claim to global primacy on the poor African continent.”

Thus, the Alexandrian Synod expresses its “great displeasure” with Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Synod.

The borders of each Local Church are clear, the Alexandrian hierarchs state, and they “have never invaded the borders of any Local Sister Church, especially the Russian Church.” The creation of the Russian Exarchate is a “disgusting blow” that “distorts evangelical love.”

“These methods grossly violate the essence of our Orthodox faith, especially in such a sensitive area as the mission in Africa,” the Alexandrian Synod writes.

Thus, the Patriarchate will inform Constantinople and the primates of the Local Churches about “the painful confusion occurring among the ‘children born of us in Christ,’ faithful Africans, as a result of the visible and invisible actions of authorized persons of the Russian Church.”

The Synod also states that it will apply canonical penalties to those who violate the canons.

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Steve1/15/2022 6:00 pm
According to a report (in Greek) on, the African Exarchate is offering priests a salary that is nearly FOUR TIMES what they are receiving from the Alexandrian Patriarchate, PLUS BONUSES! It's a good thing that the African Exarchate makes sure that their priests swear an oath that they are not joining for any monetary reasons.
Mikhail1/15/2022 5:28 pm
See if you can follow this Merkuriy. The EP gathered together a group of unrepentant defrocked laymen, and declared that they were a "church" in Ukraine. The newly created "church" proceeded to raid the canonical Churches in Ukraine...confiscating their Churches while beating clergy, women, and the elderly. The Patriarch of Alexandria promised he would never recognize the imposters...and then abruptly changed his mind after receiving pressure from Constantinople. This scandalized many clergy and laity within the Patriarchate of Alexandria. In good conscience, they could no longer follow their corrupted Patriarch. They reached out to Russia for a new home. Got it?
Alexandru1/15/2022 3:04 pm
The Orthodox Church must recognize the roots of the problems between Russia and Constantinople. The Ottoman Empire, as much as the Soviet Union, were bad trees. Bad trees can not bear good fruits. This is why we have seen all the conflicts, the Bosnian war, the schism over Ukraine in 2018 and the schism over Estonia in 1996. The Orthodox Church must recognize the root of the contemporary problems. The roots of the problems are the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union which have their bad fruits lying all around Orthodox nations. Both the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union were created by the devil to cause suffering and confusions in Orthodox lands. God already knows how He will truly resolve all these problems created by these two empires which did not have God's blessings. The solution lies in the prophecies of Saint Paisios and the prophecies of Saint Porphyrios. According to Saint Paisios the Russians will fight the Turks and the Russians will occupy Constantinople and will give the Hagia Sophia [which again is a mosque since 2020] back to the Greeks and it will become Orthodox again. According to Saint Porphyrios, after this great war, God will change the 'crew of the Ship' and replace every bad patriarch, abbot, priest and deacon whom is not doing his job well.
Jesse Dominick1/15/2022 11:40 am
Mikhail, Met. Seraphim is whom I spoke with. He said actually 12 hierarchs were absent because based on the country they were coming from, they would have had to isolate in Egypt for 10 days.
Mikhail1/15/2022 7:00 am
We shall see about that, Jesse.
Merkuriy1/15/2022 12:15 am

What? So let me understand this correctly, the Russian church (slavs) goes and accepts Black and Arabic Africans into their church, because they didn't want to be under a Greek heirarch who accepts schismatics who are also slavic, and they're the ethnophyletists?

Are they just flinging **** to the wall and hoping it sticks?
Jesse Dominick1/14/2022 3:23 pm
Mikhail, the reporting that 6 bishops want to join the ROC is based on a bad misreading of an article from the Orthodox Times from about a month or two ago. They name there 6 bishops who they say are more sympathetic to the Russian Church (though this was before the Exarchate was created), and some Russian outlets picked it up and reported that Orthodox Times actually said 6 bishops want to join the ROC! But the OT article says nothing about that at all. I've personally spoken with one of the 6 bishops and he said neither he nor any of the others have any intentions of leaving the Alexandrian Patriarchate.
Mikhail1/14/2022 6:15 am
I have seen that perhaps six Hierarchs from the Patriarchate of Alexandria will move to the ROC. Bravo!
David1/13/2022 2:23 pm
How is it the Russian church that's infected with the "virus of ethnophyletism"?? Constantinople and Alexandria go on about nothing but Hellenism, and the Ukranian schismatics they recognised are ethnophyletist to the core. How can they accuse the MP of it - what has Russia done to fit that definition that they haven't done a thousand times worse?
Ioann1/13/2022 11:30 am
Common sense: You have the common sense of a true Jesuit.
Common Sense1/13/2022 9:34 am
At least Constantinople had an historic and canonical claim to Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchate has nothing to do with Africa.
Steve1/13/2022 4:00 am
It's about time that somebody finally sent Orthodox missionaries to Africa.
Alex1/13/2022 12:52 am
Interesting that Pat. Theodoros thought, "...his decision would lead to healing rather than more division..." in Ukraine. How does one heal divisions by recognizing schismatic and deposed clergy...and those also whom are self-ordained?! Pat. Theodoros, you really need to stop drinking the's wake up time!
Boris 1/12/2022 10:23 pm
I'm starting to lose my faith admist all that self-centered behaviour from all those orthodoxes churches. Each one failed in his particular way, and no one is willing to humble themselves. Orthodox churches are in danger to fall into a collective (ethnocentered) pride, although it teaches the most wonderful way of humility. What a shame, even muslims from different nationalities have a strong common identity. We orthodox should be ashamed by their example.
Mikhail1/12/2022 10:22 pm
The Alexandrian Synod is in complete denial and delusion. All they have left is to hurl insults at the Russian Patriarchate. The scenario is quite simple. The Alexandrian Patriarch, being a sycophant to Constantinople, decided to recognize a group of defrocked layman, who EP Bartholomew transformed into a "church". This scandalized countless clergy and laity within the jurisdiction of Alexandria. Feeling betrayed with nowhere to turn, Russia has offered them a home. Patriarch Theodoros can end this very quickly by recanting his recognition of the schismatics and repenting for his actions. I won't hold my breath. Instead, I think many more clergy and laity will seek shelter with the Russian Church.
Stan Minor1/12/2022 10:09 pm
What does Alexandria expect after voicing support for a sect of schismatics who burn Orthodox churches and persecute the faithful?
Demetrius1/12/2022 9:56 pm
"non-canonical and anti-ecclesiastical invasion of the Patriarchate of Russia" Given that the Alexandrian Church recognises Constantinople's actions in Ukraine, that statement is delusional.
Theodoros 1/12/2022 9:41 pm
The hypocrisy of Patriarch Theodore is astounding. Patriarch Bartholomew has taught him to be a hypocrite very well. The Russian church has a right to be angry and frustrated because the hierarchy in Alexandria and Constantinople cannot be reasoned with. The Russians have been left with no options other than to proceed. Patriarch Theodoros does not wish to reverse himself and so he and his synod will suffer the consequences. It is time to convene a council and to proceed to depose Bartholomew and Theodore outright. If the Archbishops of Athens and Cyprus do not repent they need to be gone also.
Michael1/12/2022 8:40 pm
How is this Russian 'invasion' of Africa any different that what has been happening with Constantinople in Ukraine?
Alexander Leitner1/12/2022 7:46 pm
Such horrible nonsense! Unexpected? Oh, really? Till now they do not reslize thst they are schismatics. Outside the Holy Orthodox Church.
Nina1/12/2022 6:56 pm
This fighting among Christians is so embarrassing. The world is going to hell in a hand basket and the only hope for it is the Church but it can't seem to practice what it preaches (love, humility, sacrifice, servanthood, etc.) Just embarrassing.
Katherine1/12/2022 5:59 pm
I don't know what goes on in the rest of the continent, but this African was painfully confused when our Patriarch went back on his word to support the legitimate Church in Ukraine. I pray for him at every liturgy, but we have eyes and see that those in power here care nothing for the indigenous population, as long as the immigrant Greeks are happy. We remain Orthodox because we have nowhere else to go. Orthodoxy is life.
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