Jerusalem, August 11, 2022
On August 4, His Eminence Archbishop Theodosius of Sebastia of the Jerusalem Patriarchate made a personal statement in which he shared his thoughts on the true meaning and significance of the letter from “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” calling on Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to condemn and dethrone Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
His statement is published by the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations.
Abp. Theodosius believes that Dumenko’s letter contains false accusations against Pat. Kirill, and presents several theses of his own on the matter, accusing the OCU of being a political structure.
Dumenko failed to mention that it is “he and the schismatics under his leadership who are the main problem,” the Archbishop writes. They are the cause of the schism in the Church and have no authority to initiate its resolution.
The primates of the Local Churches should note that this “poisonous” letter is aimed only at deepening the current crisis, as “its resolution can be achieved only through dialogue,” including with the Patriarch of Moscow, asserts Abp. Theodosius.
“Epiphany’s letter is of a very suspicious nature. Most likely, there are forces hostile to the Orthodox Church behind it, which resist the healing of the Church schism, but only want to aggravate it,” believes the Jerusalem hierarch.
He calls on Pat. Bartholomew and all primates to begin canonically based discussions to heal the present crisis. Those who ignore and attack the Russian Church only show that they don’t actually desire a resolution to the conflict, writes Abp. Theodosius.
The rupture in communion caused by the Ukrainian schism is very upsetting and “must be healed by love, wisdom, mutual forgiveness, mutual understanding, and a common dialogue with the help of the Church canons.”
“We offer prayers for an end to the war in Ukraine. We are not supporters of war, violence and murder, but we promote brotherly love and peace,” His Eminence continues. May political conflicts be solved through peaceful means, dialogue, and mutual trust, he adds.
All trust is in the Lord, and may He heal the schism and restore communion between all Local Churches, the Archbishop wishes.
The Orthodox “in the Holy City” hope for a solution to the Ukrainian Church issue, through peaceful negotiations. “To do this, it’s necessary to steadfastly resist the political pressure exerted by hostile forces pursuing the goal of aggravating divisions within the united body of the Church of Christ.”
“We don’t despair, but we hope in the Lord and pray to Him to strengthen the primates of our Orthodox Church” to bring healing to the schism.
In conclusion, Abp. Theodosius writes: “Don’t pay any attention to the attacks of Epiphany and his supporters, who in themselves are a problem, not its solution. They are all ministers of political forces hostile to our Church, which have unleashed the current crisis, which requires a speedy resolution.”
Abp. Theodosius has also spoken out against sanctions against Pat. Kirill, calling them a provocation against the entire Orthodox Church.