Paphos, Cyprus, March 16, 2023
At least two hierarchs of the Cypriot Orthodox Church continue to protest the recognition of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and its primate “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko.
On Sunday, Archimandrite Tychikos (Vyronis) was consecrated as Metropolitan of Paphos. The service, led by Archbishop Georgios of Paphos, was held in the St. Barbara Cathedral in Paphos. The Metropolis of Paphos is considered the second-most important diocese in the Church of Cyprus. Both the current primate and his predecessor, Archbishop Chrysostomos, served as Metropolitans of Paphos before their elections to the primatial throne.
However, while 12 members of the Holy Synod concelebrated in the service, there was one noticeable absence—His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou.
The official site of the Church of Cyprus specifically notes that he was absent because he “disagrees with the commemoration of Metropolitan Epiphany of Kiev and All Ukraine.”
His Eminence also abstained from the enthronement of Abp. Georgios in January because he preferred to “remain in his humble cell, praying, both for His Beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus, and for the persecuted His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.”
Further, while a dozen hierarchs concelebrated, the official report also mentions that His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos was present but didn’t serve, which was also due to his stance against the Ukrainian schismatics, according to Ekklisia Online.
After Abp. Chrysostomos began commemorating the schismatic Dumenko in the fall of 2020, four Cypriots—Met. Nikiforos of Kykkos, Met. Athanasios of Limassol, Met. Isaiah of Tamassos, and Bp. Nicholas of Amathountos—issued a very strong joint statement against this unilateral and anti-canonical decision. They endured much abuse from Abp. Chrysostomos for their stance.
The Metropolitan of Kykkos even wrote a detailed canonical examination, demonstrating that Constantinople acted beyond the realm of its authority in interfering in Ukraine, and that the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” consists of unordained and graceless schismatics (the book is available in English from Holy Trinity Publications).
However, the Cypriot Synod voted “not to oppose” the primate’s decision, and several of the hierarchs have taken a softer stance or changed their stance altogether recently.
Whereas Met. Athanasios of Limassol left early from the Liturgy when Abp. Chrysostomos first commemorated Dumenko three years ago, he later concelebrated with him and has concelebrated with Abp. Georgios, who also fervently supports the schismatics.
In November, as the Cypriot Church was preparing to elect a new primate, Met. Athanasios said that whoever is chosen should continue to commemorate Dumenko, thus honoring the decision of the Synod. In another statement he specifically clarified that he himself would commemorate Dumenko if elected, though he gave no indication that his personal position on the matter has changed.
Met. Isaiah of Tamassos, on the other hand, has completely changed his stance. Whereas he also initially refused to concelebrate with Abp. Chrysostomos as long as he commemorated the schismatics, the hierarch of Tamassos now fully supports the schismatics and Constantinople’s interference in Ukraine. He even concelebrated with schismatics in Constantinople in November.