WHAT ARE THE LOCAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES SAYING ABOUT THE SITUATION IN THE UKRAINE?
[HT: Micke Stensson]
What is the “body of global Orthodoxy” that Metr. Hilarion says would be split? We have to read the statements made by heads of Local Churches to really understand the full impact:
Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem: “The unity of the Church is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are called to preserve and strengthen it. The destruction of this unity is a serious crime.”
“We condemn in the most categorical terms those who are committing actions directed against the parishes of the canonical Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. Not in vain do the holy fathers remind us that the violation of the Church’s unity is the gravest sin.
Archbishop Theodosius of Sebastia of the Jerusalem Patriarchate: “The Orthodox Churches of the world, including Jerusalem, only recognize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, that it is headed by Metropolitan Onuphry; he is a member of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. We support all efforts to end the schism in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—the Church is a place of love, unity, and peace, and not hatred and schism.”
“The schism in Ukraine is very unfortunate, and I hope that the Patriarch of Constantinople and the other heads of the Orthodox Churches of the world will coordinate with the Russian Orthodox Church to advance initiatives for ending this unhealthy, unacceptable, and unjustified situation.”
Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa: “Let us pray to God, Who does all for our good, that He would instruct us all for a solution to these problems. If the schismatic Denisenko [the self-proclaimed “patriarch” of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate”—O.C.] wants to return to the bosom of the Church, then he must turn to where he left from. That which has fallen away must return to where it fell from. God is merciful to those who repent, and the Church forgives and receives in its motherly embrace all who repent.”
Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East: “The Antiochian Church stands together with the Russian Church, speaking against the Church schism in Ukraine.”
Patriarch Ilya of Georgia: “His Beatitude disagrees with the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning Ukraine, as he recognizes only the legitimate Church headed by Metropolitan Onuphry.”
Patriarch Irenej of Serbia: Referring to the Ukraine, the patriarch of Serbia characterizes as “very perilous or even catastrophic, probably as fatal for the unity of Holy Orthodoxy”, the act “of exonerating and of restoring schismatics to the rank of bishops, especially the arch-schismatic ones, such as ‘patriarch’ Filaret Denysenko of Kyiv, and of bringing schismatics back into liturgical and canonical communion, without their repentance and their return to the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church from which they detached themselves. And all without the consent of the Moscow Patriarchate and without coordination with him.”
Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church: “[T]he Assembly expresses full solidarity, in co-suffering brotherly love, with the martyred sister Church in Ukraine, exposed to the harshest persecution by the current regime in Kiev.”
Holy Synod of the Polish Orthodox Church: “We express the clear position of the Polish Orthodox Church, namely that the ecclesiastical life of the canonical Orthodox Church should be based on the principles of dogma and the holy canons of the Orthodox Church. Violation of this principle leads to chaos in the life of the Church.
“There are certain schismatic groups in Ukraine which must first repent and return to the canonical Church. Only then can we discuss the issue of providing autocephaly.
“We must not be led by the political climate in questions of dogma and the canons.”
Met. Rostislav of Czech Lands and Slovakia: “A schism, caused by man’s egotism, can be healed only through repentance and returning to the Church,” the primate noted. “The new autocephaly must be the result of a consensus.”
Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria: “I have always had a very good relationship with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry [head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—MP.—O.C.]. We know that he loves the Ukrainian people and humbly labors for the good of Ukraine and all Orthodox Christians. We will be praying that the Lord grant him health and strength to successfully bear the obedience he was given by the Lord, and which he bears with dignity.”
And from another source: “His Holiness said that the relevant issues had been repeatedly discussed at sessions of the Holy Synod of the BOC and he had repeatedly stated his position on the matter.
“General Secretary of the Holy Synod Bishop Gerasim of Melnik stressed that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is well acquainted with the Ukrainian situation and its complexity, but it is necessary to strictly observe the ecclesiastical canons, which the Orthodox Church has been following for many centuries.”
Metr. Gabriel of Lovech, Bulgarian Orthodox Church: “There is no grace of God in schism. And without the grace of God there can be no Church. People must return to the canonical Church, where there is the grace of God and where man can be saved. Schism is a very harmful and pernicious phenomenon.
“The basis of any split is pride. This is the only way—there can be no other, in my opinion.”
Metropolitan George of Kitros, Katerini, and Platamon (Church of Greece): “The Greek Orthodox Church and all other Orthodox Churches of the world recognize only one canonical Church of Ukraine—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.”
Metr. Athanasios of Limassol (Church of Cyprus): “First and foremost, this question should be resolved by the Patriarch of Moscow, in whose jurisdiction the Ukrainian Church is located, then—the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and then all the Orthodox Churches under the chairmanship of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” Met. Anathasios stated.
“But first of all, the first word is for the Mother Church of the Ukrainian Church, which is the Moscow Patriarchate. To it belongs the first word in this process.
“What relationship does the Ecumenical Church have to the Philaret schism in Ukraine? How can it be overcome?
“We desire that our brothers who are in schism would return to the Church under the leadership of Metropolitan Onuphry—it is the sole canonical Church in Ukraine, having communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, and with all canonical Orthodox Churches… We pray for this.”
Statement of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in Support of the Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church: “With this statement, we express our complete support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, together with his brother-archpastors, clergy, monastics and the faithful flock of the sole canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and with love we bow before their confessor-like struggles. No alteration to the life of the Church can be initiated or imposed upon her by secular authorities. The present attempts to influence the life of the Church from the outside reveal only the fundamentally non-ecclesial motives and goals of those attempting to implement them.”
Does this look global enough? The statements made by these primates and representatives of eleven Local Orthodox Churches are unanimous and unambiguous. ”