Mt. Athos, January 26, 2023
Pantocrator Monastery, the first of the 20 ruling monasteries of Mt. Athos to open its doors to the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” has now given them a dilapidated cell for their own use.
Just a month after Patriarch Bartholomew handed a tomos of autocephaly to the schismatics in January 2019, they made a pilgrimage to Mt. Athos, where “Bishop” Paul of Odessa of the OCU celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Pantocrator.
In 2020, a monk of Pantocrator penned a widely distributed pamphlet accusing the Russian Church of causing a schism in 1992, which is when Philaret Denisenko chose to leave the Moscow Patriarchate in protest over not being chosen as Patriarch of Moscow.
And now, according to Vasil, Rudnitsky, the press secretary of the OCU’s Rivne Diocese, Pantocrator has given the abandoned cell of the Holy Archangels to the OCU, and “Hieroschemamonk” Paisy Kril has been appointed abbot.
“In such difficult times, the Lord gives Ukrainians strength to start a big good deed—to develop a Ukrainian house on Holy Mt. Athos,” the press secretary writes.
The OCU intends to restore the cell, after which it will begin receiving pilgrims.
“Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian soldiers, volunteers, and pilgrims from all over the world will come to this cell for spiritual purification and restoration,” Rudnitsky writes.
In February 2019, the Sacred Community of Mt. Athos decided that each monastery can decide for itself whether to recognize the schismatics or not. The schismatics have served in several monasteries now, though several others continue to hold to Orthodox ecclesiology.