The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issued an official statement regarding the Church of Greece

Синод РПЦ опубликовал официальное заявление относительно Элладской Церкви

Members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. Photo: foto.patriarchia.ruthe Russian Orthodox Church cease prayerful communion with recognized ptsu bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church and keeps it with those who opposed such recognition.
17 Oct 2019, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a statement on the situation in the Greek Orthodox Church following the 12 October 2019 the extraordinary Synod of bishops on “the Ukrainian Church question”. This was reported on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The members of the Synod decided to maintain a prayerful communion with the Greek bishops, who opposed the recognition of the DNC, but to stop it from recognizing recently created in Ukraine a new Church structure.

Parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church now is blessed to make a pilgrimage in the diocese, which are managed and drawn from prayerful communion with Greek bishops.

The statement also said that if the Primate of the Greek Church Archbishop Jerome will start to remember at the services of the head of the DNC Dumenko Epiphanius, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill will be forced to cease the commemoration of the Archbishop Hieronymus.

Further, the SPM publishes the full text of the official statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:

October 17, 2019 at the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a statement on the situation in the Greek Orthodox Church (journal No. 125).

Members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church got acquainted with the published in the media documents the extraordinary Council of the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church on October 12, 2019, in particular, to the communiqué from the Cathedral and a report of his Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus “Autocephaly Churches in Ukraine”, which proposes to “… recognize the autocephaly Orthodox Church of the independent Ukrainian Republic.”

As led by the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphrius the self-governing Ukrainian Orthodox Church, uniting 95 bishops, more than 12 thousand parishes, more than 250 monasteries and tens of millions of believers, is in canonical unity with the Russian Orthodox Church, and no one asked for autocephaly, it is obvious that we are talking about the recognition of schismatic communities in the country. Earlier, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has repeatedly stated that the recognition of Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphrius the only canonical Primate of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (the latest such statement was made publicly on the Synaxis of the primates of the local Orthodox Churches in January 2016). However, at the end of 2018 Patriarch Bartholomew changed his former statements and without canonical authority, “restored in Sanaa” without repentance and renunciation of schism those who had him deposed, anathematized, or never had any canonical ordinations, nor even the formal Apostolic succession. The head of the newly formed structure was the man who received his “ordination” from igneous from defrocked and excommunicated former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret. The latter was also “restored” in the “Pontifical dignity,” the Patriarch of Constantinople, but soon after left the newly established “the Church” and declared the restoration of its former schismatic community, which he calls the “Kyivan Patriarchate”.

About the difficult situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church anticanonically after the legalization of the Ukrainian schism with Constantinople, the violence and the persecution of its faithful is deployed by the former authorities of Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church have repeatedly informed the authorities of the Greek Orthodox Church. 9 Oct 2019 — a few days before the above-mentioned extraordinary Council of the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church — Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill addressed to his Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymos with brotherly Epistle, containing a call to refrain from unilateral actions and not to take “hasty decisions until then, until the Holy Spirit does not gather all of the primates of the Holy churches of God and not to make wise of them together on behalf of the entire Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to find a solution that will suit all and will serve to overcome the current crisis.”

It is sad that the need for hasty and unilateral recognition of the non-canonical schismatic community, his Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymus is based on a number of fallacious arguments has been repeatedly disproved not only by bishops, scholars and theologians of the Russian Orthodox Church, but also by many eminent archpastors, pastors and theologians of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Not true Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymus that “the Orthodox Church of Ukraine… were always in the canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Mother Church — the Ecumenical Patriarchate”. In 1686 diplomas of his Holiness Patriarch Dionysius of Constantinople and the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople Metropolitan of Kiev was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. For over 300 years the canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate on Kyiv Metropolitanate was recognized by the entire Orthodox world, including the Greek Orthodox Church. Thus, according to the Holy canons of the Church, disputes about territorial jurisdictions have a limitation period not exceeding thirty years (VI Instill. 25).

All these facts were ignored by the two commissions of the Greek Orthodox Church, which was entrusted with the study of the Ukrainian Church issue. In their conclusions the data of the Commission, according to the Metropolitan Kiverskogo and Antikithira Seraphim, “overlooked more than three hundred years of living tradition of the dependency of the Metropolitanate of Kiev and all Ukraine from the Moscow Patriarchate. And these realities were reflected in all calendars of the Greek Church up to the present year. Perhaps they overlooked the fact that the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew his Patriarchal letters, 1992 and 1997 recognized canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate on Kyiv Metropolitanate and respected the canonical sanctions imposed on the now cleaned and restored deposed from the dignity and schismatic clergy”.

Not true Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymus that “from-for absence of the Moscow Patriarchate” on the Cretan Cathedral, 2016 “‘t had the opportunity of discussing the question of granting autocephaly.” In fact, the autocephaly was excluded from the agenda of the Cathedral much earlier, at the insistence of Patriarch Bartholomew. Now it becomes obvious why. After all, at the meetings of the inter-Orthodox preparatory Commission in 1993 and 2009 by representatives of all local Orthodox Churches decided on the procedure of granting autocephaly, which involves a) the consent of the local Council kirurgiline the Mother Church that her part was the autocephaly; b) identification of the Ecumenical Patriarch of consensus of all the local Orthodox Churches, expressed by the unanimity of their Councils; C) on the basis of the consent of the Mother Church and the pan-Orthodox consensus, the official proclamation of autocephaly by Thomas, which “is signed by the Ecumenical Patriarch and attested to by the signatures in this Beatitude the most Holy primates of the Autocephalous Churches, invited by the Ecumenical Patriarch”. Concerning the last paragraph is not until the end was agreed upon only in the order of signing Thomas, but this fact does not negate the agreements on the remaining items. On Synaxis of the primates of the 2014 and 2016 Moscow Patriarchate delegation, along with representatives of several other sister Churches, insisted on the inclusion of the issue of autocephaly in the agenda of the Council. The Russian Church finally agreed on the exclusion of this topic from the Council’s agenda only after Patriarch Bartholomew in January 2016. in the presence of other primates assured that the Holy Church of Constantinople has no intention to carry out any action relating to Church life in Ukraine, nor in the Holy and Great Council, or after the Cathedral.

Listed in the report of his Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymus has repeatedly refuted arguments exactly follow the position of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, there are doubts, shares the Pleroma of the Greek Orthodox Church. The lack of unanimity between the hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church on this issue and that the voices who disagree with the recognition of the Ukrainian division were ignored, according to Metropolitan Seraphim Kiparsky: “First they said the white haired and very respectable Turisticki metropolitans Seraphim and ili Herman, who with great wisdom and prudence talked about this topical issue, acknowledging that Yes, the Ecumenical Patriarch has canonical right to grant autocephaly under certain conditions, but the current situation is very critical, and therefore required extraordinary diligence and deep research and study all of this complex problem without any hurry. In the same spirit was reflected in the speech of the most Reverend metropolitans Kaisarianis Daniel Masagaskar Nicholas of Piraeus Seraphim… and mine. Most Reverend metropolitans Greenopolis Andrew Kosmas and Kosmas aetolos did not take the word, but joined before speaking to the most Reverend bishops. Absent, but to set down in writing his position to the bishops, metropolitans Novomirskiy Simeon and Corfu Nektarios with the same sensitivity and the same point of view approached this serious Ukrainian question”.

Metropolitan Novomirskiy Simeon in his letter, addressed to the Cathedral hierarchy, and his Beatitude the President, notes that the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine under the conditions in which it was provided, “has nothing to do with the other Autocephalous status, which was previously provided” by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He emphasizes that “… the hasty recognition of the schismatics and the so-called “self-consecrated ones” to bypass the canonical local Church, but also the Moscow Patriarchate, which have been condemned schismatics and the granting of autocephaly new Church structure gives rise to reasonable questions and causes a reaction”. He also pointed out that canonically unacceptable the existence of “two parallel local Churches” in Ukraine and has already happened re the split within the “new Church structures that received autocephaly”. He explicitly mentions the interest of major powers in the hasty granting of “autocephaly” to the dissenters. Comparing today’s situation of Orthodoxy with the events of the Great schism in 1054, he calls the hierarchy of “don’t rush to take a position”. “Violent and hasty approach to the issue, says Metropolitan Simeon — will make us vulnerable and will jeopardize our Church. It is a mistake to assume that this kind of approach to the issue will serve as a support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”.

Metropolitan Nektarios Corfu who were unable to attend the extraordinary Cathedral hierarchy of his Church, addressed the Council with the letter, which urges “to defer action”. He notes that the present “time is inopportune to take a decision on this sensitive issue, including for the reason that the geopolitical conditions in a wide space spaced from the norm, and as a result, whatever decision was likely, it would create hardship for our country.” It also encourages the Church of Greece “to take on the role of a mediator” to start a dialogue between the Ecumenical and the Moscow Patriarchates.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, known as an expert in Church Canon law, not only presented to the Cathedral an exhaustive study which convincingly refuted the reasoning set out in the report of the Primate of the Greek Church, but also in their oral presentations criticized the so-called “unification Council” of dissenters. He stressed that “the so-called “unification Council” is void because it consisted of laymen, and the granting of Autocephalous status to the non-existent “Church” structure also appears to be invalid”. He further noted that all attempts to justify this “canonical lawlessness” anomalous canonical practice, “with reference to Ottoman captivity of the Church” and the difficult period when a number of local Churches depended directly on the Patriarch of Constantinople, “ignore the canonical order of the Church of the Holy Ecumenical Councils”. “I demanded, says Metropolitan Seraphim from the Holy Synod of the Greek Church pan-Orthodox Council to resolve this very complex question to which, unfortunately, is tainted by geopolitics, or even geo-strategy, influencing all the primates of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. At the same time I put on the form of the Synodal Commission for inter-Orthodox relations and inter-Christian relations that she had not submitted to the standing Holy Synod, his Beatitude the President the Hierarchy of the Greek Church, nor any report on the views on this issue other Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, nor assess the possible consequences for the unity of the Church, in case of rupture of communication with the Russian Church and its recognition of the old Calendarists in Greece. At the same time I said to the Chairman of the Commission on ecclesiastical and canonical issues that Metropolitan Onufry had no opportunity to participate in the so-called “unification Council,” as could his Beatitude Archbishop of Athens to participate with self-proclaimed “Archbishop of Athens” Parthenios Desireyou — deacon of the Greek Orthodox Church, deposed from Sana”.

Communiqué of the extraordinary Council hierarchy announced the decision following the discussion of this report. But who exactly made this decision, and in what form — remains unclear. A number of influential bishops drew the attention of the Cathedral on the critical situation of the world of Orthodoxy, the need for extreme caution and thorough examination of the problem — without any haste and pressure from the outside. Several metropolitans, including those absent at the Council, in writing addressed to the Cathedral with an appeal to postpone the decision.

The decision of the Council hierarchy in the Greek Church shall vote of all participants. However, neither the issue of non-canonical recognition of the Ukrainian community, nor on the question of the adoption of the decisions of the standing Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church on Ukraine and the vote of the bishops was not carried out. This, in particular, said Metropolitan Serafim Kiparsky: “As you know, decisions in our Church shall vote either by a show of hands, either open or secret, or by polling all the participants. Maybe in favor of autocephaly would have been served a sufficient number of votes, but a lot would and those who held the opposite point of view, as well as those who by their silence would be joined to the second”.

Free missing official document signed by the Greek bishops, who could be considered evidence of a unified decision of a Local Church. Moreover, very quickly the news was spread that the Greek Orthodox Church recognized the autocephaly of the Ukrainian that corresponds neither to the text of the communiqué, nor the position of many members of the Cathedral. There are serious concerns that the conciliar method of decision-making, sanctified by the Holy apostles ‘ words: “seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (acts. 15:28), and the millennial history of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which in this case was violated.

If the Ukrainian split is really recognized as the Greek Orthodox Church or its head, in the form of joint Ministry, liturgical commemoration of the leader of the division or his / her official credentials — it will be a sad evidence of the deepening division in the family of local Orthodox Churches. The responsibility for this division will fall primarily on Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and those of external political forces, in whose interests was “legalized” Ukrainian split. Instead of admit the mistake and try to fix it by pan-Orthodox discussion, Patriarch Bartholomew block any negotiating initiative in this direction and throughout the year, by many accounts, have put unprecedented pressure on the hierarchs of the Greek Church, requiring the recognition of dissenters. He has repeatedly said the recognition of the Greek Church non-canonical the pseudo-bishops of Ukraine as about business solved, as if it was not about independent decision Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The position of the Greek Orthodox Church, significantly limited in its Autocephalous device is complicated by the double jurisdiction of a considerable part of her bishops, canonically dependent on Constantinople: by this hierarchy, for example, circulars were sent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople to immediately recognize the newly formed pseudo-Church structure. Those who found the courage to openly denounce the misconceptions of the Patriarch of Constantinople and to enter into discussions with him were threatened, they were required to impose disciplinary measures, they were accused of treachery and lack of patriotism.

It is sad that so historical merits of the Greek people in the spread of Orthodoxy exchanged for short-term political gain and support is alien to the Church’s geopolitical interests. But the speculation on the national feelings will not have success. They will not be able to undermine the unity of our faith, bought with the blood of the martyrs and Confessors of our Churches. They will not interrupt the unity of our ascetic tradition, sozidaniya exploits of many Holy fathers and ascetics. They will not destroy the centuries-old friendship of the Greek and Slavic peoples, paid for with the blood of Russian soldiers and tempered in the common struggle for the freedom of the fraternal Greek people.

We value prayerful contact with our counterparts in the Greek Orthodox Church and will keep her alive the prayer, canonical and Eucharistic communication — through all those archpastors and pastors who have already spoken or in the future will oppose the recognition of the Ukrainian division, who will not Sully themselves with the concelebration of the schismatic pseudo-bishops, but I will show an example of Christian courage and hard standing for the truth of Christ. Strengthen them Lord in ascetic deed, the prayers of the saints Mark of Ephesus and Gregory Palamas, St. Maximus the Confessor and all those Greek saints who honored and revered us, in Holy Russia.

However, we remember that the sacred canons of the Church condemned those who enter into prayerful communion and concelebration with the defrocked cast out and excommunicated from the fellowship (Apost. 10, 11, 12; I Instill. 5; Antiochus. 2, etc.). In this regard, stop prayer and Eucharistic communion with the bishops of the Greek Church, who have entered or will enter into such communication with representatives of Ukrainian non-canonical schismatic communities. We also bless the perpetration of pilgrimages in the diocese, managed by the aforesaid bishops. Relevant information will be widely disseminated among the pilgrimage and tourist organizations of the countries in the canonical territory of our Church.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church authorizes his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill to stop the commemoration of the name of his Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece in the diptychs in the case that the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church will begin at the divine services to commemorate the head of one of the Ukrainian schismatic groups, or take other actions testifying to held recognition of the Ukrainian Church split.Source

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