Fr. Cyril (Hovorun), supporter of schismatics, suspended by Patriarch Kirill

Moscow, September 26, 2023

Fr. Cyril concelebrating with Bp. Mikhail, the Constantinople Exarch in Kiev. Photo: Fr. Cyril concelebrating with Bp. Mikhail, the Constantinople Exarch in Kiev. Photo:     

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow issued a decree yesterday suspending Archimandrite Cyril (Hovorun) from priestly service.

Though formally a cleric of the Moscow Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, Fr. Cyril has long been known as a supporter of the Ukrainian schismatics and has concelebrated with them a number of times since the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” in 2018. He was even considered a candidate for the primatial throne of the schismatic OCU.

Fr. Cyril is best known in the English-speaking world for his work in liberal academia and for his frequent statements to media outlets that present him as an expert on Church matters. He was formerly a cleric of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, even serving as the head of its Department for External Church Relations, though he was later transferred back to the Russian Church.

Interestingly, it was Pat. Kirill who ordained him to both the diaconate and the priesthood when he was Metropolitan of Kaliningrad and Smolensk. Since 2017, he has been a research fellow at the Catholic Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Fr. Cyril (center) serving with schismatics. Photo: Fr. Cyril (center) serving with schismatics. Photo:     

Though he has served with the schismatics many times, it seems it was his concelebration with the Constantinople Exarch-hierarch in Kiev in August that caught the eye of Russian Church officials, given that the Russian Church broke communion with Constantinople back in October 2018.

The decree from Pat. Kirill in which he suspends Fr. Cyril mentions specifically refers to concelebration with the Constantinople hierarch, but not to concelebration with the schismatics. It reads:

You have repeatedly violated your written commitment to the Russian Orthodox Church, which was expressed, among other things, in your concelebration with the bishops and clergy of the Church of Constantinople, with which the Holy Synod interrupted Eucharistic communion due to the gross invasion of the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In this regard, you, as having violated the priestly oath given by you, according to rule 25 of the Holy Apostles, are hereby prohibited from the priesthood without the right to wear a cassock and a priestly cross and to give a priestly blessing during the consideration of your case in the diocesan court of the Moscow Diocese.

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