Orthodox the week: pan-Orthodox Council, Ukraine and Africa

Православная неделя: Созыв Всеправославного собора, Украина и Африка

In the temple of the most Holy lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary (December 4). Illustration: pravlife.orgWeek 25 after Pentecost

Last week, a number of hierarchs of the local Orthodox churches made a proposal to convene Vsepravoslavnogo Cathedral on the “Ukrainian question”, thus supporting the initiative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, who proposed to all the primates of local Orthodox churches to meet in Jordan to discuss the issue of preservation of pan-Orthodox unity.

November 28 speech on the occasion of the opening in the capital, Nicosia, Cyprus international conference on “Monasticism and the modern world” Metropolitan of Kykkos and Stillirise Nicephorus said that Patriarch Bartholomew recognized the Orthodox Church of Kiev and gave “autocephaly” is acting within canonical traditions and Church practices. In particular, he said that Orthodoxy is experiencing a disturbing and unnecessary crisis because of the non-canonical decisions of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and stressed that “only if there be a principle of unification, which has always relied Orthodox Church can be found out from the current situation.”

29, four of the Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church Seraphim of Piraeus, Seraphim Kiparsky, Kosmas Kosmas aetolos and Andrew Konicki sent a letter to the heads of all local Orthodox churches to convene a pan-Orthodox Council on the issues of Ukrainian autocephaly.
All the latest important events in the Orthodox world, one way or another, linked to the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (PCU).

The situation of the local Orthodox churches

Constantinople, Alexandria and the Church of Greece

Three churches recognized ptsu, last week showed a joint activity.

November 30, the Ecumenical Patriarchate celebrated the day of its patron Saint, the Apostle Andrew the Apostle (whose memory the Church celebrates on novoyulianskomu calendar). The service was attended by the head of the Church of Alexandria Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Theodore with a number of bishops of his Church, as well as representatives of the Greek and Cypriot churches. In addition, worship in Istanbul was visited by a delegation of the PCU headed by an eminent representative of the Ukrainian division head of the DECR ptsu “Archbishop of Chernigov and Nijinsky” by Age (the dawn), and by the President of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian unity of the Catholic Church, cardinal Kurt Koch. Of course, the celebration was commemorated by the head of the DNC Epiphany (Dumenko). Addressing the delegation, the DNC, the Patriarch of Alexandria said:

“Few people can understand Ukraine, as I see it. The mother Church of Constantinople and the Church of Alexandria have been through hardships, and saw the martyrs of Ukraine. How can ancient Church not to feel your pulse? Send Ukraine greetings ancient Patriarchates. For centuries, our churches are not asking for proof from history, because the Church itself is the history of the Church itself”.During this visit the Church of Alexandria along the way, solve geopolitical problems in favor of their masters. It should be noted that after the Russian-African forum in Sochi, when Russia announced a qualitatively new relations on the continent, on the part of the Patriarchate of Alexandria was followed by the recognition of the ptsu. The US state Department has relied on this structure and related to her Greek Orthodox Church, fearing the growing influence of Russia in Africa. Metropolitan Zambia John, who was accompanied by the representative of the Greek-African chamber of Commerce and industry, met with Deputy foreign Minister of Greece Miltiadis Varvitsiotis. Thus in Greece through the Alexandrian Patriarchate intends to strengthen its presence in Africa. 1 December visit to Egypt was made by the foreign Minister of this country, and referred to Varvitsiotis from 1 to 6 December, went on a business trip to Zambia and Tanzania, where it is scheduled and a meeting with representatives of the Greek Diaspora, the main congregation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
This week Bartholomew and Theodore paid attention and unity with Catholics. Bartholomew and Theodore visited the Orthodox Athos, where during a visit to the Greek monastery of the Pantokrator Bartholomew convinced the monks that the unification of Orthodox and Catholics is inevitable. None of the brethren objected Bartholomew.

30 November Pope Francis on the occasion of the day of St. Andrew the Apostle sent a message to Bartholomew, stressing that a delegation of the Catholic Church, he expressed “confidence in the unwavering commitment of the Catholic Church, as well as my own, to continue our commitment to restoring full communion between Christians of East and West”.

The head of the Greek Church, recognize the ptsu, the condition was not present at the gathering in Istanbul and on mount Athos, going for treatment to Germany.

An active supporter of unity with the Russian Orthodox Church, a critic of Ecumenical contacts, “the conscience of the Orthodox Greek Church” Metropolitan of Piraeus Seraphim, or rather his residence was attacked. 26 November, unknown persons pelted the facade of the building with stones and bottles. Suffered as a result of located on the facade of the premises, the image of Jesus Christ. The perpetrators are neither hot nor cold traces were not found. Unlike the attackers in Turkey, which a week earlier had entered the house Patriarch Bartholomew.

The Church Of Cyprus

Dependent from the Russian capital of Cyprus the Church is trying to maintain a balance between Moscow and Constantinople. The majority of bishops of this Church in the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly supports Moscow. But the part of Greek Cypriots — on the side of Bartholomew. On 30 November the Bishop of the Church of Cyprus, Metropolitan Konstanski and Amakhosi Vasily participated in service in Istanbul. What is it — malice or misunderstanding? Private initiative or official visit? Probing the soil, how it will react to the Orthodox world, which does not recognize Raskolnikov? The exception only proves the rule. Can we expect the official steps of the Church of Cyprus for the recognition of the DNC? Anyway, we see the intensification of the US to reduce the Russian presence in Cyprus, and the role of the Church of Cyprus is very significant.

The Cypriot government faces great pressure. About TASS said the official representative of the Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska. He noted that Cyprus, obviously, is subject to unprecedented pressure from the United States to create difficulties for Russian business, this “fact outrageous and should be of serious concern of the world community.” This is also indirectly referred to the country’s President Nikos Anastasiadis. At a gala dinner in Limassol with the participation of living on the island representatives of the Russian business community, he said
“On behalf of the government I would like most emphatically to say that, contrary to unfounded rumors, common in certain areas, the business community of the Russian Federation in Cyprus and abroad, can rest assured that Cyprus will remain a reliable partner”.

Georgian, Bulgarian, Romanian Church

Back in Kiev after the celebrations in Istanbul, the head of the DECR ptsu Eustratius Zorya in an interview with “Policywhat” December 1 said that “the last Church that recognizes our autocephaly, the ROC will be. And accordingly several churches before it, are closely connected”.

He believes that before the end of the year some of the local churches recognized by the PCU. In his opinion “There is sympathy in the Georgian Church, but there things get complicated internal circumstances, because the Patriarch Elijah, on the one hand, very poor health, with another — has enjoyed great respect and authority, and the internal problems there were very complicated, they are not up to the Ukrainian question.”

According to the statement of age dawns, “in the Bulgarian Church thought equally divided, and the Patriarch on the side of the part that is on the side of recognition of the Tomos. But the other half is very closely linked with the Russian influence.”

“The Constantinople party” in the Bulgarian Church is headed by Plovdiv Metropolitan Nikolai, who this week called for the canonical territory of the Church of Greece, thereby giving the signal that he was ready to start a fight in a Church on the side of Constantinople. The service in the Greek city of Langada on November 27, the deacon read out the local diptychs (liturgical order of appearance of the primates), which included the head of the DNC. The Bulgarian Metropolitan was co-served by three hierarchs Greek Church. Whether he acted alone, or with the approval of the Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte, is unclear.

The other side led by the Metropolitan Lovchanski Gabriel in the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Lord in January 2019 spoke about the pan-Orthodox Council as the way to resolve an emerging split in the Orthodox world.

The recognition of the Bulgarian Patriarchate DNC will likely split itself the Bulgarian Church into supporters and opponents of the actions of Constantinople.

The Romanian Church is rather silent, having problems with the parishes on the territory of Moldova, and the temples of the UOC-KP on the territory of Romania. Last week a group of pilgrims from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church visited Romania. They received Patriarchal vicar, Secretary of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Hilarion of the Romanian Orthodox Church Bishop Varlaam. In conversation with the delegation he said:
“We know your problem. Undoubtedly, ptsu is a great political act, it is sad that it was confirmed by some Church people. The echo of the troubles felt in Romania. There we have a problem. At the time, Filaret put there their pseudocarcharias that create big problems. We welcome the position of the Albanian and the Jerusalem Churches. The Romanian Church supports her and believes that the current problem of Ukraine had to be solved on a pan-Orthodox level prior to Thomas. Pray that the Lord give you the courage and patience to defend the Church.”

The Polish Church, the Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia

The representative of the Czech Church, the Archbishop of Prague Michael was on a visit in Ukraine on December 1, has served in Kiev, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onufry, and after the service, presented on behalf of his Church, the order of the Hierarch of the UOC. This is a landmark event in the background fanning Russophobia in the Czech Republic. We will remind that on 25 November the mayor of one of the districts of Prague said that he intends to establish there a monument to the head of the Russian liberation army, General Vlasov, as alleged Vlasov helped guide the Prague uprising to liberate the city in 1945. It is obvious that the state Department will promote events around Czech Church with the schismatic activities of the Bishop Shumerskogo Isaiah (the Slaninka). He has already indicated participation in the joint service with Epiphany (Dumenko), for which he was warned about a possible suspension “for disobedience to the Synod of the Church”. Besides his consecration Isaiah was obliged to Constantinople.

On the background of these events the Czech and the Polish Church with official visit the head of the DECR of the Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion.

Overseas, in the Diaspora, the agitation of the Church question went to former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. During a lecture for teachers and students of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, he urged the world to support and defend ptsu:

“Help spiritually to save Ukraine. It is another battlefield for Ukraine. This struggle is more fundamental than the other. Ukrainians around the world should strengthen the level of support the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. I’m asking you to help us protect one of the milestones of Ukrainian sovereignty. The decision of the Patriarch of Constantinople on the granting of the Tomos — it was a historic decision. It was grace in prayer to free Ukraine, for the fallen heroes. The very existence of the ptsu is a severe blow to Russian spiritual expansion. And now we see how the Russian government is attacking our Church, those who support us. They want to do with our Church the same as they did with Crimea and Donbas. And it is the task of every Ukrainian — to defend. But for the Diaspora it is important to maintain international recognition of our Church.”
Since the events surrounding “the Ukrainian Orthodox subjects” relate directly to the ROC, then the agenda should be determined by the Moscow Patriarchate. So says the head of the DECR of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion. In the broadcast of “the Church and the world” on 30 November he said:

“In a situation when the Patriarch of Constantinople is the culprit of the discord and schism, any meeting which he will convene, there will inevitably be directed to legitimize his actions. We do not agree with his actions that he committed in Ukraine.”The only way in convening a pan-Orthodox Council — revision of the archaic canons regarding the rule of the Patriarch of Constantinople. This theoretically should be of interest to a non-Greek Orthodox churches, which constitute the numerical majority in the modern Orthodox world.

Sergei Fists

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