Patriarch of Alexandria calls on all Local Churches to condemn Russian Church

Alexandria, Egypt, March 6, 2023

Pat. Theodoros (left) serving with the schismatic Epiphany Dumenko (right). Photo: Orthodoxia News Agency Pat. Theodoros (left) serving with the schismatic Epiphany Dumenko (right). Photo: Orthodoxia News Agency     

The Russian Orthodox Church’s rejection of the autocephaly of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and its creation of the African Exarchate must be immediately condemned by all the Local Orthodox Churches, the Patriarch of Alexandria said on Sunday.

Patriarch Theodoros celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the Triumph of Orthodoxy in Alexandria with “Metropolitan” Epiphany of Kiev, the primate of the schismatic OCU, which the Alexandrian primate has recognized since 2019.

Hitting upon issues of Church unity, Pat. Theodoros dedicated the bulk of his address to Epiphany to the issue of the Russian Church and its African Exarchate, which has been operating on the canonical territory of the Patriarchate for Alexandria for over a year now.

Both Pat. Theodoros and the Alexandrian Holy Synod have candidly expressed their views of the Russian Church several times recently.

In his speech on Sunday, Pat. Theodoros argues that in rejecting the OCU and breaking communion with those Churches and primates who do recognize it and in creating the African Exarchate, the Russian Church has forgotten and is ungrateful for the role that Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria of the 16th century played in recognizing its autocephaly and Patriarchal status.

The Patriarch declares:

Today, therefore, the Sunday of Orthodoxy of the salvific year 2023, we give in the most official way our own answer in every direction:

No Synodal decision of a Senior Church gives the right to another Church—and especially a chronologically younger one—to violate the firm sacred canons and commit intrusion into the jurisdiction of the former.

No Synodal decision of a Senior Church gives the right to another Church—and especially a chronologically younger one—to develop innovative ecclesiological-political “theories” about spreading the Russian world around the globe based on nationality, completely unknown in Orthodox ecclesiology, which has already been condemned by the Synod of our Patriarchate.

In addition to condemning “Russian ecclesiology,” the Alexandrian Synod and Synodal Court have also declared Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, the Russian Church’s African Exarchate, and two priests defrocked, and ruled that Pat. Theodoros should cease commemorating Patriarch Kirill in the Divine service (Pat. Kirill stopped commemorating Pat. Theodoros already in 2019).

And calling upon the fullness of global Orthodoxy, Pat. Theodoros continues:

All these ecclesiologically-sensitive issues we place before the responsibility of all the Local Orthodox Churches, expecting their immediate condemnation of these illegal and unholy actions and the unheard of ecclesiological and political “theories” of the Patriarchate of Moscow, which may soon come knocking at their own doors with imaginary accusations, but with dramatic pan-Orthodox consequences.

Already a year ago, the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria were planning to gather the primates of the ancient autocephalous Churches (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus) to condemn the Russian Church, but their plans had to be set aside due to the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem’s unwillingness to participate.

Both Patriarchs have, on the other hand, joined in the calls from throughout the entire Church for a pan-Orthodox council to be held to discuss all the issues of Church unity that presently plague the Church.

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


Pfmd3/22/2023 5:59 pm
Joseph Lipper, David, Dionysis Redington and many other agitators on this site are neither Orthodox, Christian nor “recent converts”. Many of you with godly patients have spent your time and effort to persuade/teach them Orthodoxy without any success. You will never be successful in teaching them Orthodoxy or any other christian values. Tomorrow and the next day and infinitum they will be here repeating the same tropes and criticisms of the Russian Church And Orthodoxy. These Pharisees are not here to learn Orthodoxy, they are here to hate and agitate. They are Satanists/devils that have infiltrated this Orthodox site through lies and deception in an effort to convert you. They aspire to convert you as Orthodox believers firstly into opposition of the Russian Orthodox Church and eventually against Orthodoxy itself. The patristic fathers were fond of saying: “you cannot win an argument against the devil” and to the godly individuals who have given their time to these devils, this is who and what you are dealing with.
Mikhail3/9/2023 4:58 pm
On the contrary...I believe the Exarchate is a very good thing. The Patriarch of Alexandria decided to recognize and concelebrate with schismatic laymen pretending to be clergy. Many of the clergy in Africa were scandalized and could no longer, in good conscience, stay obedient to a Patriarch who has united himself with masquerading schismatics. Thank God Russia took them under their wing.
David3/9/2023 1:25 am
Pfmd: I have criticized the EP as well, here and elsewhere. Nobody's "hands are clean" at this point, as geopolitics has taken over. It isn't the first time this has happened in Church history, and it won't be the last. As Mother Cornelia said, we shall see. However, I'm not going to pretend that this Exarchate is a good thing, even if one can make an argument for its "necessity." The solution to division is not more division. A sectarian mindset is taking hold in some corners of Orthodoxy, and it is unsettling.
Mikhail3/8/2023 4:53 pm
Dear Pfmd, your quote is spot on. Hopefully, it will help to open David's eyes.
m. Cornelia3/8/2023 2:59 pm
David: I was merely offering an answer to you question as to: "What is the difference", and quoting scripture. As I said, time will tell. I am not talking about individuals but the situation as a whole.
Pfmd3/8/2023 8:38 am
The following commentary is By David Sauls. I have included his comment as an answer to David who ad nauseam criticizes the MP: The Russian Exarchate of Africa is not a schismatic act. It is a response TO a schismatic act. It is a refuge for clergy who refuse to violate the Canons of the Holy Orthodox Faith, and they have shown all of us the courage required to be actual Orthodox Christians, and not ecumenists, who dilute the faith and canons. These men should be regarded as heroes and saints. They have defended canonical Orthodoxy at great risk to themselves. Anyone who equates Orthodoxy asserting itself as a savior with schismatics has completely misunderstood the Ressurection. This was not a schismatic act, it was, and is the Resurrection of true Orthodoxy.
David3/8/2023 1:12 am
Mother Cornelia: I would respectfully say that we don't know what will ultimately come from the Ukraine situation either. That the OCU has a sectarian element is beyond dispute (thought some are disputing it anyway), but they are still a significant part of Ukrainian society, and there are good people within it. The Tomos may yet bring about the unity and creation of a Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, although not quite in the way that HAH Bartholomew intended (that the Tomos and subsequent crisis was the catalyst for what will become an authentic autocephalous Church, independent of the EP AND MP). Moscow's violation of Alexandrian territory, as deplorable as it is, exposed the deep problems that exist in some parts of the Alexandrian Church. The parts of Africa that have authentic spiritual fathers (like Bishop Themi of Sierre Leone) don't have a "Russian problem." God's grace can operate in any circumstance. HOWEVER, that doesn't make it "OK," and I don't think it is right to pretend that it is.
Joseph Lipper3/7/2023 8:26 pm
There was no schism in Africa, until the Russian Church created an African Exarchate and accepted clergy from the Alexandrian Patriarchate without canonical release, offering (can I say tempting?) those clergy with much higher salaries and resources than were previously available. While it's great that Russia is providing support to Africans, the way it's being done really is creating a schism. That's the fruit. In Ukraine, the schism dates back to about 1992 when the Russian Church refused to grant the Ukrainians autocephaly, resulting in the present schism. Yes, Patriarch Bartholomew granted autocephaly in 2019, but unfortunately the same schism from 1992 still persists. Now it's up to the Ukrainians to finally overcome the schism. Hopefully they will.
m. Cornelia3/7/2023 5:09 pm
David: I can suggest an answer to your question. "By their fruits ye shall know them". I think it's becoming clear enough what fruits came out of the Ukraine schism. It has yet to be seen what will come of the African situation. So far, one fruit is that a lot more people in Africa are now being baptized. Time will tell.
AncientPreference3/7/2023 4:42 pm
Invasion of one Patriarchate into another Church's territory, getting involved in politics, and caring more about loyalty to their ethnic group than about the proper order of the Church . . . Where have I heard this before?
Alexander 3/7/2023 2:46 pm
Depose Bartholomew the Arch-heretic! Depose these GreeK apostates NOW! THESE GODLESS BETRAYERS OF CHRIST.
Gary3/7/2023 12:26 pm
It's all a mess. Pray for our Patriarchs and Bishops to let God guide them into making the right decisions for us all. I know that for myself ( and possibly others ) it is all way too easy to get caught up in the politics of the world. I have to remind myself that we are in the world but not of the world. Perhaps if we all repented of our sins, all this madness would go away. Let's all pray for our Patriarchs and Bishops.
David3/7/2023 10:36 am
Alexandria's claim to all of Africa as its jurisdiction is universally recognized (even by Moscow before this whole crisis), so I don't understand the attempt to diminish Alexandria's territory to its ancient borders, as that is doing the very thing they accuse the EP of doing----unilaterally redrawing the borders of another Church. That Moscow partisans do this with a straight face shows that it is indeed, in many respects, "politics." All the MP can do in justifying this "Exarchate" is whataboutism and shrill polemics, which they also accuse the EP of doing in Ukraine. How is the solution to division, more division?
m. Cornelia3/7/2023 10:14 am
Dionusius: Shame on you. Bartholomew "cancelled" the entire historical, canonical church, gave the green light to a corrupt government to persecute it in favor of a non-canonical, modernist, nationalist church that has no qualms against seizing the churches under Met. Onuphry, beating up his priests and their parishioners and putting them in jail. And you say it's all the MP's fault because--politics. Shame, shame.
Dionysius Redington3/7/2023 5:07 am
I agree with the opinions of Rdr. Daniel below. However, I would go further. The African situation shows that the Russian state church condemns the Ukrainian nationalist schismatics solely because they are Ukrainian nationalists, not because they are schismatic. Indeed, I now perceive (as I did not four years ago) that the whole breach of communion with Constantinople was not because Constantinople is in heresy (which it is) but because Constantinople's heresy was creating obstacles to Russian Federation foreign policy. In Africa, where the political situation is different, Moscow apparently sees nothing wrong with setting up permanent churches in someone else's territory. Holy martyrs of the Stalinist yoke, pray to God for Russia. --Dionysius Redington
Jason Th3/7/2023 4:38 am
The silence of the other churches on these issues, which are blackmailed by Russia is deafening, one hopes that the Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians, Poles, Georgian don't need the assistance of other churches any time soon, because deaf ears works both ways
A sinner3/7/2023 1:52 am
ANAXIOS Recant, and retire with dignity, Your Holiness. There is still time to obtain God's forgiveness and save your soul. The seat of Constantinople is completely compromised, even to the NEXT qualified candidate (Elpidophoros).
Alex3/7/2023 12:51 am
The Patriarch of Alexandria is a fool. The boomerang has come back to hit him in the head!
Pfmd3/6/2023 8:52 pm
The cabal (Washington neoconservatives, WEF, Soros NGOs, zionist bankers) that control the western mafia conglomerate has chosen Alexandria to call for the cancellation of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the secular segment the same cabal of criminals have called on its vassals to cancel Russian culture, Russian literature, Russian sports and to sanction and cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions on Russia’s oil, gas, steel and other products. In the military segment the same cabal of criminals have utilized NATO (the military arm of US foreign policy) to cripple and destroy the Russian nation through a proxy war in Ukraine. Their primary goal is solely the destruction of Orthodoxy in Russia. Russia is the last remaining sovereign country for Orthodoxy and conservative values.. All the other Orthodox countries are already the vassals of this criminal cabal and accept their liberal values and satanic rituals and practices. For those authentic “recent converts” who hover on this site to spew their satanic hatred of Russia and the Russian MP but claim to be Orthodox are delusional and lack the history and insight to understand that without Russia, the Orthodoxy you converted into and claim to love will cease to exist. What will remain is an empty shell of a church in name only, empty of of history, tradition, lacking in grace and spirit and devoid of Christ himself.
Mikhail3/6/2023 7:58 pm
The condemnation that Theodoros proclaims against the Russian Patriarchate, is the condemnation that belongs on Theodoros himself, along with any other Church/Hierarch which recognizes the schismatic laymen masquerading as Orthodox clergy.
Rdr Daniel3/6/2023 6:31 pm
Is Moscow wrong to establish a permanent presence in sub-Saharan Africa? Yes, as it is to the detriment of local unity, and against the principle of not establishing a bishopric where one already exists. Is it uncanonical because Alexandria has exclusive rights to Africa? No, it has rights only to Egypt, Pentapolis and the surrounding areas. Establishing a presence in Alexandria's canonical territory is another matter, short term it can be argued that it is justified by Alexandria not itself being canonically functional. But anything more than allowing individual priests to commemorate Moscow in place of Alexandria so as to maintain unity with a local church, whilst Alexandria is in communion with schismatics, is uncanonical. However, for Alexandria to react in this way and to call for the condemnation of Moscow is beyond hypocritical. To do so whilst serving with an unordained schismatic whom you have received as the head of a church which in fact the canonical territory of another Patriarch, borders on parody. The nonsense about seniority is novel rubbish: the first see has certain rights granted it for the unity and good estate of the Church, though they do not include volition of the territory of other bishops, there is no second, third place etc... in terms of canonical rights. The order of commemoration is only of honour, only if the first see falls away from the faith, such as with Rome and now Constantinple, would it set out which see was now first amongst equals. There is no canonical seniority or authority derived therefrom. We indeed need an ecumenical council but its second job, after anathematizing ecumenicalism, is to anathematize the heretic Bartholomew and those who stand with him.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required