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Churches of Greece & Cyprus on Moscow-Constantinople relations & Orth. inUkraine

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rakovsky

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Eastern Orthodoxy has not had a major schism since the Eastern patriarchs separated from the pope, the bishop of Rome, almost a thousand years ago, when Eastern patriarchs accused the pope of interfering in the affairs of other patriarchs and overstepping his authority. Bartholomew’s decision to overrule Kirill in Ukraine is reminiscent of that schism. After the schism, Eastern Orthodox Christians recognized the patriarch of Constantinople as first among equals, an honor they had once given the bishop of Rome, but the patriarch was not deemed to have authority in the affairs of other autocephalous churches.

In violation of that understanding, Bartholomew has now intervened in a church outside his jurisdiction, exposing himself to the accusation that he is attempting to be an Orthodox pope. Apart from the Ukrainian controversy, Bartholomew has faced criticism for his handling of the Holy and Great Council in Crete, which was meant to be attended by all Orthodox churches but was rejected by Moscow and some others. Instead of saying that the council was not binding on non-participants, Bartholomew doubled down and insisted that all churches accept it. He then demanded the autocephalous Church of Greece to punish any clergy who dissented. If the tensions between Constantinople and Moscow are not resolved, questions as to the scope of the authority of the patriarch of Constantinople are sure to arise, as the other autocephalous churches will have to ask to whom they owe allegiance, leaving the world to wonder what the Eastern Orthodoxy of the future will look like.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/orthodox-church-ukraine-political-clash/

How could the Ecumenical Patriarch demand that the Church of Greece punish dissenters from the Council in Crete if the Council is supposed to be nonbinding and the Church of Greece is autocephalous? Did the Church of Greece accept his authority over them and did they comply with his demands?


Orthodox Church of Cyprus

On July 21, 2017 a letter from His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostom II of New Justinian and the whole of Cyprus arrived...: "Whenever the state and especially the parliament interfere in the issues of the Church, the harm is obvious. The actions of the parliament will lead to the creation of a certain schismatic church, while the holy fathers view schism as the deepest wound on the sacred body of the Church. The Church is a feeding Mother, and it strives for unity in the love of all the people of the Ukrainian state. Laws are always compulsory, causing division among the people. The Ukrainian people have suffered enough and continue to be in distress, so there is no need for additional misfortunes and torments. The Church of Cyprus expresses its discontent with this interference," Archbishop Chrysostom said.

Having assured His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of his support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church "in this troubled and difficult time," the Primate of the Church of Cyprus noted, "Our Church prays to the Organizer of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, to enlighten the political leaders of Ukraine so that they could persuade the schismatics to return to the Church headed by Your Holiness."

Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, Protopriest Nikolai Danilevich, [wrote]: "I had talks with the priests from Cyprus. They asked me about the situation around our ecclesiastic issue. They said, "We communicate with our bishops. All of them are against it. No one supports (the idea of giving Tomos in circumvention of the UOC). Everyone says, “We do not know what it will result in, but we will not recognize this new structure. We will be with the Church of Metropolitan Onufry."
http://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/54524-chto-dumajut-pomestnyje-pravoslavnyje-cerkvi-ob-ukrainskoj-avtokefalii

Kiev, July 24, 2017
A press briefing was held on July 23 before the Divine Liturgy at the Kiev Caves Lavra with several representatives of various Local Orthodox Churches, who had arrived to honor the memory of St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves
...
Metropolitan George of Kitros, Katerini, and Platamon (Greece) noted, “Our presence here is symbolic. During the Liturgy which we will serve today, together with representatives of other local Orthodox Churches and bishops of the UOC, our pan-Orthodox unity around the Chalice of Christ and in the Holy Spirit will be testified to,” and he continued, “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.”

http://orthochristian.com/105312.html
The Church of Greece could also be shaken, as a number of Greek clergymen may support Moscow against Bartholomew. ... Many monks in northern Greece’s self-governing monastic community of Mount Athos — regarded as the jewel in the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s crown — have pro-Russian tendencies. ... One of Athos’s 20 monasteries, Agios Panteleimon, is home to some 60 Ukrainian and Russian monks, with a Russian abbot. There was no immediate response from Mount Athos following the break in ties between Moscow and Constantinople, but having to choose sides would be a problem for many monks. A representative of the Moscow church has said that Russian pilgrims to Mount Athos will not be able to receive communion there.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/opinion/konstandaras-orthodox-church-russia-ukraine.html

Bishops of Local Orthodox Churches Express Support to Lvov Diocese of Ukrainian Orthodox Church Over Arson Attack on Church of St. Vladimir in Lvov


Following an arson attack on the Church of St. Vladimir in Lvov, which occurred on February 3, 2018, Archbishop Philaret of Lvov and Galich keeps receiving letters from hierarchs of the Local Orthodox Churches.
...
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Veroia, Naousa and Kampania (Orthodox Church of Greece) called the arson a sacrilegious act, regardless of who had committed it, as well as a shameful and mean manifestation of religious intolerance, and also assured Archbishop Philaret of his support.
http://www.pravmir.com/bishops-local-orthodox-churches-express-support-lvov-diocese-ukrainian-orthodox-church-arson-attack-church-st-vladimir-lvov/
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, gave an interview to Romfea Greek news agency.

– Your Eminence, the Bishops’ Council of the Orthodox Church of Greece begins its work today. As expected, discussed at the Council among other topics will be the ecclesial situation in Ukraine and the crisis it caused in the relationships between the Russian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
– The Ukrainian autocephaly was the main topic of the letter sent yesterday by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to His Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
...
– Were not the similar actions taken at a time when the autocephalies of the Church of Greece, the Romanian Church and other Churches that received autocephaly from Constantinople in the 19th century were proclaimed?
– In the case of Greece, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria it did not involve the establishment of a consisting of schismatics, parallel autocephalous structure in circumvention of the existing canonical Church. However, this is what they are planning to do in Ukraine. Therefore, the granting of the tomos to the Ukrainian schismatics – should it be granted after all – will in fact mean not the autocephaly, but the legalization of the schism. We know that there are different approaches as to who in the Orthodox Church is authorized to grant autocephaly. However, it is obvious to everyone that the sacred canons do not confer on anyone the right to legalize a schism.
...
I am acquainted with many hierarchs of the Orthodox Church of Greece and believe that most of them take to heart what is going on in regard to the so-called ‘Ukrainian autocephaly.’ Many of these hierarchs have been to Ukraine and to Russia; many of them have received pilgrims from the Moscow Patriarchate – from both Russia and Ukraine.
http://www.pravmir.com/metropolitan-hilarion-of-volokolamsk-gives-interview-to-romfea/
 

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If you're practicing Orthodox.
 

rakovsky

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Ukraine is the Canonical Territory of the Russian Church

Fr. Theodore Zisis
...
Soon we will publish a scholarly article and present to the public some of the other documents that are being concealed by Constantinople, and also speak on the incorrect interpretation of the two documents provided by the Phanar.
...
If guided by the precedent of granting autocephaly to territories which have gained political independence, those dioceses which continue to be under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, but de facto became a part of Greece in 1912, must then become a part of the Church of Greece, including the semi-autonomous Church of Crete, the Dodecanese Metropolises6, as well as Holy Mount Athos…

The USA is also an independent and unified state, yet talk about the autocephaly of the American Church triggers anger and threats from Constantinople.7
http://orthochristian.com/116938.html
(The author is a professor of the School of Theology at Thessalonika University)
I wonder what documents are being "concealed"?
 

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Greek metropolitan calls on Constantinople to repent and cease communication with Ukrainian schismatics

“The Patriarchate of Constantinople’s persistence in granting autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics has led to these sad and unfortunate results,” the Greek hierarch believes.

Kythira, Greece, September 17, 2018


His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira of the Greek Orthodox Church has appealed to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew... The metropolitan reminded the patriarch of the words of the holy hierarch St. John Chrysostom: “The sin of schism is not purged even by martyr’s blood,” calling on him to offer repentance for his actions. “Now, for his own personal reasons, he is giving autocephaly to the schismatics of Ukraine and revising the sacred order and canonical Orthodox Archdiocese of Ukraine, which is recognized not only by the Russian Orthodox Church, but also by all other local Orthodox churches,” the hierarch’s document reads.

“Schismatics, as we know, are not the Church, and communion with them is forbidden by the Divine and holy canons and the Apostolic and Ecumenical Councils. Why then this persistence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in recognizing schismatics as an autocephalous Church? To provoke schisms and divisions in the one universal and Apostolic Church of Christ?” Met. Seraphim writes in his statement.

http://www.monomakhos.com/another-blunder-by-patriarch-bartholomew/
What are the EP's "personal reasons"?
 

rakovsky

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Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus on the schism between Constantinople and Moscow:

The Greek hierarch writes that Constantinople has the right to grant autocephaly or autonomy at the request of the canonical Church structure, having in view its approval at a future Ecumenical Council. He notes that the debate about the procedure for granting autocephaly has been going on for 50 years, and this point, the agreed upon principle he refers to includes three elements: the petition of a canonical Church, the agreement of the Mother Church, and the approval of the other autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches. The Ecumenical Patriarchate previously agreed to these principles in its official position on autocephaly and autonomy, and in the 1993 pre-conciliar agreement of Chambésy, Switzerland, November 1993.

The above principles do not give Constantinople the right to grant autocephaly in the case of Ukraine, Met. Seraphim writes, as the Kiev Metropolia was transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686, and thus the Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine is the only canonical structure in Ukraine today, and it does not want autocephaly.
...
He also argues that Constantinople’s actions—sending two Exarchs to Kiev and deciding to grant autocephaly without specifying who the recipient of the tomos will be, ignores the position of the canonical Ukrainian Church. Met. Onuphry and the Ukrainian Church strongly protested Constantinople’s sending of Exarchs into its canonical territory; the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not listen, but only insisted on its right to act in Ukraine as it pleases.
https://russophile.org/greek-orthodox-bishop-says-patriarch-of-constantinople-has-no-right-meddling-in-ukraine/

Met. Seraphim of Piraeus: Ukraine is playing a geopolitical game between Russia and NATO

Piraeus, Greece, September 17, 2018

Interestingly, Met. Seraphim, who is not afraid to criticize the Ecumenical Patriarchate, also says in the interview, contrary to the view of the Russian and Ukrainain Churches and several other Synods and hierarchs, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has the canonical right to grant autocephaly in Ukraine until an Ecumenical Council can be called to grant formal autocehpaly. However, he also repeatedly notes that autocephaly can only be granted to the canonical Church, which is headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and which has not petitioined for autocephaly. Rather, autocephaly has been requested by President Poroshenko and "Patriarch" Philaret of the "Kiev Patriarchate," whom Met. Seraphim refers to as schismatic and excommunicated.
http://orthochristian.com/115808.html
These reviews of his speech that he made in Greece say two different things, although the practical conclusion is the same. According to the "russophile.com" essay, Met. Seraphim says that the mother church can give autocephaly with the other autocephalous churches' approval, and that this means Constantinople can't give Ukraine autocephaly because Constantinople transferred Kiev to Moscow and today, the canonical church (the UOC-MP) is not requesting autocephaly. Doesn't this transferance to Moscow make Moscow the latest "mother church" of Kiev?

According to the Orthochristian website, on the other hand, Constantinople could give autocephaly, but it can't at present because the UOC-MP isn't requesting autocephaly.

Met. Seraphim of Piraeus: Church shouldn’t be an instrument of geopolitics

20 September 2018,

His Eminence believes that the ongoing controversy between Phanar and Moscow on Ukraine is "a complex, multifaceted issue that concerns the entire Orthodox Church", reports Romfea. ( https://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/23908-peiraios-serafeim-i-ekklisia-den-prepei-na-ergaleiopoieitai-meso-geopolitikon-sxedion )

Earlier, the Church of Greece called on the Patriarchate of Constantinople to break communication with the schismatics in Ukraine "in order to avoid new schisms".
https://spzh.news/en/news/55988-cerkovy-ne-dolzhna-byty-instrumentom-geopolitiki--ijerarkh-elladskoj-cerkvi

Is there more information online on the Church of Greece asking the EP to stop communicating with the UOC-KP?

He has a 41 minute interview in Greek here:
(TV show Contra, 12th of  September, 2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=468&v=eQjJ7UPEly0

He wrote an essay on October 18 that can be found here, unfortunately also in Greek:
https://www.romfea.gr/katigories/10-apopseis/24454-o-mitropolitis-peiraios-gia-to-oukraniko-zitima

Met. Seraphim also rejected the ability of the EP to reinstate the schismatic UOC-KP and UAOC hierarchs because they were deposed by another autocephalous church. For support, he points to a case where even the Pope did not have enough authority to reinstate other churches' schismatic bishops:
He writes of an historical case, where Pope Zosimus of Rome (reigned from March 18, 417 to Dec. 26, 418), referring to Canons 3, 4, and 5 of the Council of Sardica, tried to justify his right to be the supreme judge for the Church of North Africa and restore the priest Apiarius of Sicca who had been excommunicated by Bishop Urban. The African bishops strongly rejected Pope Zosimus’ claims, with their rejection then being confirmed in the resolutions of the Council of Carthage.

“The undivided Church recognized that the Canons 3, 4, and 5 of the Council of Sardica, which Pope Zosimus relied on, gave the Pope of Rome the right to judge only over those bishops subordinated to him. Thus, the Church rejected the claims of the Pope’s right of supreme Church-wide arbitration,” Met. Seraphim argues.
https://russophile.org/greek-orthodox-bishop-says-patriarch-of-constantinople-has-no-right-meddling-in-ukraine/

He noted that in 1992, Patriarch Bartholomew accepted Met. Philaret's deposal in his letter, which stated the following:
our Holy Great Church of Christ, recognizing the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church’s exclusive competence on this issue, synodally accepts the decisions regarding the one in question, not desiring to bring any trouble to Your Church.
 

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The October 4-5th 2018 Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church refused to discuss the question of autocephaly in Ukraine:
04.10.2018

«The question of the autocephaly of the Greek Church is concerned. Officially on the agenda no, it is discussed informally, that is, in between meetings. Some bishops tried to make it to the agenda. Proposed by the Metropolitan [Kithyros and by the Metropolitan of Navpaktos]. But the Archbishop did not consider it acceptable to introduce it in the agenda» ... «The Greek Church is very concerned about the crisis that erupted in connection with the intention to grant autocephaly to Ukraine. The issue is discussed, but not at the meeting,» he added.

A number of Greek bishops opposed the intentions of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople granting autocephaly to Ukraine. The Metropolitan of Kithiros and of Antikifiros, Seraphim, in his statement in connection with the statements of the Phanar noted that the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew lead to the division of Orthodoxy, and urged him to repent and cease to provoke the schism. Criticism of Patriarch Bartholomew and a warning against further schisms in the Orthodox Church was made in an address by the Metropolitan of Kalavrita and Aigialeia, Ambrose. ... The Russian Orthodox Church noted that none of the Local Churches supports the project of Ukrainian autocephaly.

https://chelorg.com/2018/10/04/the-synod-of-the-greek-orthodox-church-refused-to-discuss-the-question-of-autocephaly-in-ukraine/
Russian original: https://ria.ru/religion/20181004/1529969031.html

The article in bold about Met. Ambrose is linked to below:
(Митрополит Калавритский Амвросий... назвал ошибочными действия Патриарха Варфоломея в отношении Украины ) Article in Russian: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/5276777.html
 

rakovsky

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Metropolitan of Kalavrita and Aigialeia, Ambrose, on the new schism:
"The canonical Ukrainian Church maintains spiritual bonds with and has autonomy in the structure of Moscow Patriarchate while the Constantinople Patriarchate plans to recognize a schismatic church in Ukraine," he said. "Thus a new Church split is knocking on our doors," Metropolitan Ambrosius said. "And if you add to it the internal strife that broke out after the pseudo council in Kolymbari. This makes the current situation very tragic."

http://tass.com/society/1023854
Here is his appeal letter in Greek that this "is no time for further schisms and divisions":
https://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/24136-kalabruton-se-oikoumeniko-panagiotate-den-einai-ora-gia-peraitero-sxismata-kai-diaireseis

In the appeal, he made the same point that Met. Seraphim did about the irony whereby the Ecumenical Patriarch is suggesting every nation and state should match an autocephalous church, yet the nation state of Greece has several territories that are under the EP, who is in Turkey; and so if the EP's rules and logic were to hold, the conclusion would be that the EP himself is in violation of the church rules and principles that it is imposing on Ukraine in separating it from the MP.
 

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GOARCH is under the EP, not under the GOC, but I still find this announcement relevant:

GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLIS OF NEW JERSEY

Since the 10th century, a vibrant Orthodox community in what is known as present day Ukraine
existed and the people of this area were known as the Kievan Rus’. The Orthodox Kievan Rus’, with
their ecclesiastical center being the Metropolis of Kiev, was and remains under the canonical
jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This Metropolis had been the
ecclesiastical center of the local Ukrainian Church for several centuries and, even with the establishment
of the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1589, the Metropolis of Kiev remained under the canonical jurisdiction
of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Due to exigent historical circumstances, in 1686 the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted the Patriarch of Moscow the ability to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev providing he had the canonical permission of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, would retain the right to elect the Metropolitan of Kiev who would also serve as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as “among the first” at the celebration of every Divine Liturgy and other Sacraments. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has never ceded jurisdictional authority of the Metropolis of Kiev and present day Ukraine to the Patriarchate of Moscow.
http://www.saintgeorgecathedral.org/assets/files/Ukraine.pdf
Wasn't Kiev part of the Russian church when Moscow asserted its autocephaly from Uniate-run Constantinople in the 15th and 16th centuries?
In what year did the other patriarchs recognize the MP's autocephaly?
In what years in the 15th-17th centuries did Constantinople and Moscow each ordain and control Kiev's metropolia?

If Russia achieved autocephaly or recognition of its autocephaly at a time when it was controlling Kiev, then it looks like Russia should hold the right to jurisdiction over Kiev.

The announcement by the GOARCH metropolitan continues below. Isn't it a major overgeneralization to say that the Ukrainian people (both "those within the fold" - i.e. the canonical UOC-MP? - and those outside it) are requesting autocephaly from the EP, since the UOC-MP and its people are deliberately not requesting it from the EP?:
The Ecumenical Patriarchate my beloved faithful will [bold in original] grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. ... The Ukrainian people, all children of the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, those within the fold and those who have over the decades have fallen out of it, have expressed the desire to end this division with their brothers by repeatedly petitioning for the Ecumenical Patriarchate to take the necessary steps, which would end the ecclesiastical colonialism which had been imposed on them.

...
Further, let us pray for those who for reasons, known to them and the rest of the world, are being openly defiant. May they too see with the eyes of their soul, come to the knowledge of and acknowledge the truth, by embracing the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and His All Holiness...

E V A N G E L O S
Metropolitan of New Jersey
To be read from the pulpit on Sunday, October 7, 2018,
http://www.saintgeorgecathedral.org/assets/files/Ukraine.pdf
The italicized part, in keeping with how it is "to be read from the pulpit", reminds me of the high-handed style of rhetoric that the Papacy used in medieval times to deal with its opponents.
 

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Mt. Athos, September 22, 2018

The Ukrainian Church should, as far as possible, preserve its unity with the Moscow Patriarchate, Archimandrite Parthenios (Murelatos), the abbot of the Athonite Monastery of St. Paul, believes. At 87 years old, Fr. Parthenios is one of the oldest inhabitants of the Holy Mountain. He settled on Mt. Athos in 1954 and has served as the abbot of St. Paul’s for 40 years. ... “I think that ecclesiastical self-rule in the form of autocephaly is a good thing in and of itself, but when there is peace, when this issue does not become a question of dividing people—the flock.”

“Therefore, wisdom probably suggests how far it is possible to preserve unity with the Moscow Patriarchate. In my opinion, all the countries of the former Union should be united in the Russian Orthodox Church,” Archimandrite Parthenios added. Highlighting the universal character of the Ukrainian question, the Athonite elder stressed, “If Ukraine enters Europe, worse things will befall it than did Greece. Therefore, we must be very careful. We must pray to God, to the Most Holy Theotokos, to the saints. Only the Lord can deliver us from this difficult situation in which we now find ourselves.”
http://orthochristian.com/115931.html
 

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rakovsky said:
In my opinion, all the countries of the former Union should be united in the Russian Orthodox Church,” Archimandrite Parthenios added.
Really? Including the Church of Georgia? Why? What is so sacred about the Soviet Union?

Highlighting the universal character of the Ukrainian question, the Athonite elder stressed, “If Ukraine enters Europe, worse things will befall it than did Greece.
And so, like the Ukrainian and Russian nationalists, he ties the ecclesial question to the geopolitical one.
 

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Corfu, Greece, December 25, 2018
What is happening in Ukraine is regrettable and threatens to trigger greater divisions in the Orthodox world, believes His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu, Paxoi, and the Diapontian Islands. ...
Met. Hilarion characterized Constantinople’s holding of the “unification council” on December 15 and the creation of the new nationalist church as a scandal for the entire Orthodox world, noting that the only Church in Ukraine recognized by the Orthodox world is that headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. Furthermore, Met. Onuphry is recognized as spiritual head by the majority of Ukrainians.  For his part, Met. Nektarios expressed his regret and concern about everything that has recently occurred in Ukraine.

In his view, such a major decision as granting autocephaly to a newly-created church should be made only after studying the apostolic succession and canonicity of the new church and the groups that make it up, so that “these decisions do not contradict the truth and, first of all, do not divide or bring scandals and embarrassment to the people of God.”
Text in Greek by Met. Nektarios: https://imcorfu.gr/the-bishop-of-volokolamsk-mr-ilarion-in-corfu-2/?lang=en
 

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Iconodule said:
rakovsky said:
In my opinion, all the countries of the former Union should be united in the Russian Orthodox Church,” Archimandrite Parthenios added.
Really? Including the Church of Georgia? Why? What is so sacred about the Soviet Union?

Highlighting the universal character of the Ukrainian question, the Athonite elder stressed, “If Ukraine enters Europe, worse things will befall it than did Greece.
And so, like the Ukrainian and Russian nationalists, he ties the ecclesial question to the geopolitical one.
I think Fr. Parthenios's comment has to be placed in context: the deep distrust for anything EU-related (or just generally "European," as used as a pejorative in Greece) among clerics in Greece.  They see a move to W European values as  a degradation of the moral foundation of the Eastern (Orthodox) nations, and probably sees the countries that just happened to be united under the USSR once upon a time as having at least the common Russo-slavic heritage and culture as a bulwark against it.  I'm reading a lot into his reaction, but that's based on the numerous conversations I've had with Greeks about their view toward Europe, the EU, European and Western culture, etc.
 

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Fr. Theodore Zisis, whom I mentioned earlier in this thread, talked to RIA News on Jan. 6. The English translation of the relevant parts of the RIAN article are on OrthoChristian.com:
Granting autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics was an “unlawful, anti-canonical, and divisive” action on the part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, done under “pressure from Western non-Church circles,” the Greek theologian Fr. Theodore Zisis commented to RIA-Novosti on January 6. ...  The granting of the tomos was done “improperly,” with Constantinople “having no right” to do so, Fr. Theodore said. “The Ukrainian Church has been in the Russian Church for three centuries already. The Ecumenical (Constantinople) Patriarchate had no right to invade if there was no request about it from the Ukrainian Church,” Fr. Theodore explained... “The canonical Ukrainian Church, led by [Metropolitan] Onuphry, did not ask for such independence to be granted,” the popular Greek theologian continued.

http://orthochristian.com/118528.html
Archbishop Chrysostomos, the head of the Church of Cyprus, is not recognizing the new OCU Church.
Finding himself in a position where he again had to refute misinformation coming from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus stressed that he rejected a proposed visit from “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the new Ukrainian schismatic structure, and that he had not and will not commemorate him at the Divine Liturgy. ...  He emphasized that “every state has the right to autocephaly, and it depends on the Ukrainian people, but, nevertheless, at the moment I see that the Ukrainian people have not aroused themselves to such actions.” He also noted that “while it is not of paramount importance to provide autocephaly, it is important that there be no division in Orthodoxy.”
http://orthochristian.com/118512.html
 

Antonis

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The standing Synod of the Church of Greece has deferred the decision to a common meeting of all of her metropolitans which will take place in February.
 

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Antonis said:
The standing Synod of the Church of Greece has deferred the decision to a common meeting of all of her metropolitans which will take place in February.
I don't know how the Church of Greece operates- is it normal for decisions to be deferred to a bigger council like this?
 

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Not very common, no, but also not particularly surprising for a decision of this magnitude. If the Standing Synod made a decision either way, there would be a lot of complaining from the metropolitans who are not currently occupying a spot, and probably defiance. Even after they meet and presumably decide in February, defiance would not surprise me.
 

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So, no one besides the ukrainian diaspora, ukrainian nationalists, the US state department and clergy under submission of the EP are supporting this basically.
 

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I suspect a great many Ukrainians who desire political independence from Russia are opposed to the creation of a schismatic entity under Constantinople to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Also, for that matter, at some point the members of the UOC-KP and UAOC are going to realize the extent to which this situation has failed to improve the standing of their churches but has rather subordinated them to Constantinople.

I read a very interesting opinion piece on dw.com regarding the relation of this with the elections in Ukraine and the effective politicization of this issue by Poroshenko: https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-ukrainian-orthodox-church-independence-is-a-mistake/a-47033350
 

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Alpha60 said:
I suspect a great many Ukrainians who desire political independence from Russia are opposed to the creation of a schismatic entity under Constantinople to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Also, for that matter, at some point the members of the UOC-KP and UAOC are going to realize the extent to which this situation has failed to improve the standing of their churches but has rather subordinated them to Constantinople.
Ukraine is a relatively large country, and you could find a "great many" people adhering to any random position. That said, I highly suspect you're wrong. On both counts.
 

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Alpha60 said:
Also, for that matter, at some point the members of the UOC-KP and UAOC are going to realize the extent to which this situation has failed to improve the standing of their churches but has rather subordinated them to Constantinople.
Either that or EP revocating autocephaly because Ukrainians won't adhere to it's prerequisites.
 

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Alpha60 said:
I suspect a great many Ukrainians who desire political independence from Russia are opposed to the creation of a schismatic entity under Constantinople to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Any examples for that? I am not aware of any. Yes, there were people "who desire political independence from Russia" and who used to stay in the UOC-MP because they didn't want to be in an uncanonical church. But they are the ones joining OCU now. The old argument of "sticking with the MP because it's the canonical church" has lost ground. Nowadays, the MP is a church body that has broken communion with the EP.
 

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Alpha60 said:
I suspect a great many Ukrainians who desire political independence from Russia are opposed to the creation of a schismatic entity under Constantinople to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Also, for that matter, at some point the members of the UOC-KP and UAOC are going to realize the extent to which this situation has failed to improve the standing of their churches but has rather subordinated them to Constantinople.

I read a very interesting opinion piece on dw.com regarding the relation of this with the elections in Ukraine and the effective politicization of this issue by Poroshenko: https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-ukrainian-orthodox-church-independence-is-a-mistake/a-47033350
Including the only successors to the Apostles in the country.
 

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Gorazd said:
Alpha60 said:
I suspect a great many Ukrainians who desire political independence from Russia are opposed to the creation of a schismatic entity under Constantinople to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Any examples for that? I am not aware of any. Yes, there were people "who desire political independence from Russia" and who used to stay in the UOC-MP because they didn't want to be in an uncanonical church. But they are the ones joining OCU now. The old argument of "sticking with the MP because it's the canonical church" has lost ground. Nowadays, the MP is a church body that has broken communion with the EP.
that is how the MP is staying both canonical and Orthodox.
 

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    “We remain on the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we will not tolerate its humiliation,” the members of the Holy Community of Mount Athos said on Monday on the occasion of the recent developments in Ukraine and the granting of Autocephaly to the local Church.
... “It has been clear in this case too,” they noted, “that Hellenism and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have the Primacy in Orthodoxy,” while they agreed that everyone should stand by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
https://www.romfea.news/mount-athos-is-in-favor-of-the-patriarchate-on-the-ukrainian-issue/
 

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These Orthodox Churches are overseas from North America.
 

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Gorazd said:
Alpha60 said:
I suspect a great many Ukrainians who desire political independence from Russia are opposed to the creation of a schismatic entity under Constantinople to replace the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Any examples for that? I am not aware of any. Yes, there were people "who desire political independence from Russia" and who used to stay in the UOC-MP because they didn't want to be in an uncanonical church. But they are the ones joining OCU now. The old argument of "sticking with the MP because it's the canonical church" has lost ground. Nowadays, the MP is a church body that has broken communion with the EP.
Most Ukrainians continue to attend the UOC, and I think its fair to say after Euromaidan, Crimea and Donetsk most Ukrainians desire autonomy from Russia.  The “OCU” remains a minority religion.

What is more, its canonical status is disputed; the actions taken by Patriarch Bartholomew to create it as pointed out by many violate the ancient principle of non-interference in another bishop’s territory.  Under ordinary conditions, as a simple matter of fact, even in the EP, if a bishop pulled a stunt like that he would be deposed (this is actually the basis for the canonical justification the EP is using for their bizarre and unprovoked attempt to shut down Rue Daru, which has already caused some parishes to join ROCOR).

In the event, communion with Constantinople is not required for canonicity; the OCA is canonical and always has been, yet has never been recognized as canonical by the EP.  The Oriental Orthodox have been out of communion with Constantinople since the illegal violation of the anathemas of St. Cyril by Archbishop Leo at Chalcedon, and the dubious deposition of Pope St. Dioscorus, but are nonetheless canonical.

An example of an uncanonical church would be the unfortunate situation of the Church of Macedonia. 

~

Furthermore, I don’t believe the OCU is per se autocephalous, given the Tomos granting it autocephaly reserved for the EP the rigjt to revoke this “autocephaly”, which is contrary to the historic understanding of what autocephaly is.  Furthermore the EP was involved in the selection of Metropolitan Epiphany.  These two attributes are common to autonomous churches, which exist owing to the permission of a parent church, which can in theory be shut down (in practice, they can usually find another jurisdiction to take them on if the property is in their name, or become uncanonically autocephalous) and whose Primate is elected by the holy synod of the Mother Church.  The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Belarusian Orthodox Church, the Latvian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Japan are autonomous churches under the MP; the Jerusalem Patriarchate has the Church of Sinai; the Syriac Orthodox Church has the Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church in Malankara under the Maphrian, the Coptic Church used to have the British Orthodox Church, and the EP has a diverse portfolio of autonomous churches including those of Finland, ACROD, the UOC in North America, formerly Rue Daru, the schismatic Estonian Orthodox Church*, and de facto, the OCU.

* The establishment of thie church caused the MP to boycott the Balamand Conference and caused a 50/50 schism among the Estonians; the same canonical issues attach to this church as to Ukraine, except for the fact that in the case of Estonia, the EP directly initiated the schism, whereas in Ukraine, they received MP-deposed clergy leading the UAOC and UOC-KP.

I am hopeful the Ukrainian churches will see what is happening with Rue Daru and become aware of the poison pill in the Tomos, and attempt to back out of the OCU while there is still time.  What would work well would be if the Ukrainian churches joined the Macedonian Orthodox Church and then entered into communion with the Old Calendarists, because this would provide a canonical rationale for their existence and ensure their continued autonomy.  The other major issue I have with the EP, and the Church of Greece, is the mistreatment of Old Calendarists in Greek during the military junta, and the abuse of the elderly monks in Esphigmenou.  The CoG has improved quite a bit however, and if the EP stays on its present course, I expect that some of the Greek diaspora will join the CoG; a synod could potentially award the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Archbishop of Athens, and Erdogan might allow this to happen for various geopolitical reasons.
 

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Alpo said:
Alpha60 said:
Also, for that matter, at some point the members of the UOC-KP and UAOC are going to realize the extent to which this situation has failed to improve the standing of their churches but has rather subordinated them to Constantinople.
Either that or EP revocating autocephaly because Ukrainians won't adhere to it's prerequisites.
Indeed.  I think the Church of Finland is not yet ready for autocephaly, but should seek to change its mother church to, say, Antioch.  There would be one benefit however to embracing the MP as a mother church, and that would be the potential for the ROCOR parishes in Finland to be integrated into the Finnish church.  This would be highly desirable for canonical union.

Also there is no history of the MP attempting to welch on a Tomos of Autocephaly; the example of the OCA shows us that the MP will respect the rights of churches to which it grants autocephaly.  Antioch has less experience managing autonomous churches, but would also be less likely to object to the Gregorian Calendar.  I think the AOCNA is autonomous; its website has at times called it “Self-Ruled”, and I doubt Antioch had much direct coercive power over Metropolitan Philip Saliba, who was a dynamic and positive force in the church (this also explains why the AOCNA does not follow the Ecumenical agreement between the Greek and Syriac Orthodox Patriarchates of Antioch but continues to receive Syriac Orthodox in violation of ancient canons and the agreement, at least in Fr. Andrew S. Damick’s diocese).

So Antioch is more poltically tolerable, but the MP is a safe bet in terms of a Finnish trajectory to autocephaly, because once autocephaly is granted, the Tomos will be respected, and such a union could also facilitate integration of ROCOR parishes into the Church of Finland, which I think would be very good for the Church of Finland, which has in the past on occasion been accused, with some justification in the case of Metropolitan Ambrosius, of being a bit too liberal. 

Also, lest anyone mention the illegal and uncanonical annexation of the Church of Georgia by the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 18th century, this did not occur under the Moscow Patriarchate but during the period where the MP had been uncanoncially deposed and replaced by a Holy Synod of four bishops controlled by a Tsar-appointed Procurator, and thus was directly under state control.  I would argue on this basis the ROC was at least somewhat uncanonical during the period of Peter the Great until the installation of His Holiness St. Tikhon as Moscow Patriarch.  This lack of canonical regularity is based both on the illegal abrogation of the Patriarchy and the illegal annexation of the Church of Georgia, an offense very similiar to what the EP is doing in Ukraine.

It should also be remembered that on the whole, the period of the 18th and 19th century was a period of stagnation and Westernization of the ROC, and most of the spiritual dynamism of the Russian church during that time resulted from exceptional Saints like Seraphim of Sarov, Ignatius Brianchaninov, and John of Kronstadt.
 

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Alpha60 said:
the ROCOR parishes in Finland
You really shouldn't believe everything you read on internets.
 

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Alpha60 said:
Most Ukrainians continue to attend the UOC
What the heck? Actually, most Ukrainians don't attend any church. Estimates are that in Kyiv, of 4 million residents, about 100 000 attend liturgy on a typical Sunday, and that includes OCU, UOC-MP and UGCC.

But according to polls, three times as many see the OCU as their church than the UOC-MP.

Also, the OCA IS in communion with the EP. It is just not recognised as autocephalous by the EP.
And as for North Macedonia, I am actually optimistic that they will enter in communion with the Bulgarian Patriarchate as well as the EP and OCU* soon.

*Or are they already in communion with OCU? IIRCS they were with the UOC-KP.
 

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Gorazd said:
Alpha60 said:
Most Ukrainians continue to attend the UOC
What the heck? Actually, most Ukrainians don't attend any church. Estimates are that in Kyiv, of 4 million residents, about 100 000 attend liturgy on a typical Sunday, and that includes OCU, UOC-MP and UGCC.

But according to polls, three times as many see the OCU as their church than the UOC-MP.

Also, the OCA IS in communion with the EP. It is just not recognised as autocephalous by the EP.
And as for North Macedonia, I am actually optimistic that they will enter in communion with the Bulgarian Patriarchate as well as the EP and OCU* soon.

*Or are they already in communion with OCU? IIRCS they were with the UOC-KP.
Ummm no.  The polls Ive seen indicate that the OCU is getting about a quarter of the attendance of the UOC.

Also the proof is in the pudding; consider the emptiness of the square surrounding the cathedral during the enthronement of Metropolitan Epiphany. 

The KP and UOAC were smaller combined than the UOC, and this trend has continued despite their temporary merger.  And indeed in some parts of Ukraine, the OCU is non-existant, for example, Donbass and Crimea.

What the KP and UAOC should do to obtain legitmacy is depose Metropolitan Epiphany, enter into communion with ROCA and the Greek Old Calendarists, and attempt to get the Macedonians to do likewise.  This would set them up as a protest against Russian abuses, as a protest against EP abuses, and ensure that they retain their autocephaly, and provide them with a spiritual raison d’etre beyond mere objections to Russia.

Because right now, the elephant in the room is the complete lack of any heresy or theological error in the Russian church justifying a schism, and conversely, the presence of a novel theological error in the EP in the form of this “First without equals” nonsense.  The EP never had that power and even said as much in the 1990s.  The EP is literally contradicting in some cases statements made in the past decade.
 

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The OCA does not recognize the EP Exarchate in Ukraine.
 

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hecma925 said:
The OCA does not recognize the EP Exarchate in Ukraine.
More specifically, for anyone who hasn't read the Synod's letter:
Archpastoral Letter on Ukraine said:
With respect to the Church in Ukraine, the Holy Synod of Bishops has determined at this time:

To continue to recognize and support Metropolitan Onufry as the canonical head and Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church;
To withhold, with several of our sister Churches, recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine;
That no changes be made to the diptychs, noting that the Orthodox Church in America has not been formally requested to make such changes;
That communion between clergy and faithful of all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in North America be maintained and that any specific questions concerning the concelebration of clergy be directed to the local diocesan bishop; and
That our clergy and faithful preserve an attitude of sobriety and restraint in any public discussions of these matters.
 

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Alpha60 said:
What the KP and UAOC should do to obtain legitmacy is depose Metropolitan Epiphany, enter into communion with ROCA and the Greek Old Calendarists, and attempt to get the Macedonians to do likewise.  This would set them up as a protest against Russian abuses, as a protest against EP abuses, and ensure that they retain their autocephaly, and provide them with a spiritual raison d’etre beyond mere objections to Russia.
What do you think about this point of view: in order to get legitimacy, the members of the "OCU" should bring repentance and join the UOC-MP? I just do not understand where the Macedonians came from, and why communication with them will make schismatics - Orthodox Christians.
 

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By the way Rakovsky, I have to say you hit a home run with this thread and redeemed yourself in my view at least from the unpleasant discussions you used to have with the OOs.  I always knew you had good apologetic talents for Orthodoxy, and it pleases me to see you using them in this thread.  God bless you.
 

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Alpha60 said:
Because right now, the elephant in the room is the complete lack of any heresy or theological error in the Russian church justifying a schism, and conversely, the presence of a novel theological error in the EP in the form of this “First without equals” nonsense.  The EP never had that power and even said as much in the 1990s.  The EP is literally contradicting in some cases statements made in the past decade.
This is completely wrong. Reason: neither OCU, nor EP, nor UOC-KP, nor UAOC broke communion with ROC. It was the other way around. The elephant in the room is how people swallow the conceit that trying to free oneself from the Moscow Caesar is tantamount to "abandoning Holy Orthodoxy". Or ignoring the fact that MP operates as the arm of the Kremlin.

As for the theological error: Met. Luke of ROCinU teaches about the "hereditary curse" for leaving his jurisdiction. More entertainingly, Met. Pavel of ROCinU teaches (and appears to believe) that his Episcopacy grants him power to cast Avada Kedavra on business rivals, and curse pregnant women to cause miscarriage. He claims he successfully did it - look for videos on YouTube. Permanent member of Met. Onufry's Holy Synod, too.
 

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I challenge OCU&EP critics to propose a way to resolve an impasse. It seems that many advocate for either throwing OCU back into schism (and it's bigger than most autocephalous Churches, no matter how you count 'em), or forcing it to submit to Russian Pope Patriarch (the only practical way for that is full-blown Russian military might and gigantic bloodshed). Rejecting these two, we're left with finding some way that leads to an autocephalous Ukrainian church and with current members of OCU members of it. Situation equivalent to recognizing the OCU.
 

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StanislavU said:
I challenge OCU&EP critics to propose a way to resolve an impasse. It seems that many advocate for either throwing OCU back into schism
Unless you take the EP's POV, the OCU is still in schism from Orthodoxy and the EP is in communion with schismatics. There have been a couple times in history when the EP went into communion with schismatics.
 

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rakovsky said:
StanislavU said:
I challenge OCU&EP critics to propose a way to resolve an impasse. It seems that many advocate for either throwing OCU back into schism
Unless you take the EP's POV, the OCU is still in schism from Orthodoxy and the EP is in communion with schismatics. There have been a couple times in history when the EP went into communion with schismatics.
...and leaving millions of people in schism doesn't bother you at all. Yep, sounds about right. There's Christian love, and then there's "brotherly" love Russians have for Ukrainians. I don't understand how they hypnotize others tho they see this as normal.

And, of course, I take the POV of my Patriarch. Because he is absolutely correct, in law and praxis.
 

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Alpha60 said:
The polls Ive seen indicate that the OCU is getting about a quarter of the attendance of the UOC.
Show me these polls, please. Also, the process of transferring UOC-MP parishes to OCU is still ongoing.

Alpha60 said:
And indeed in some parts of Ukraine, the OCU is non-existant, for example, Donbass and Crimea.
Are you doing this intentionally? There have been six UOC-KP parishes in Crimea for a long time already. Now they have become part of OCU, and Russia is doing its best to close them down. See https://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/ukraine_and_world/international_relations/74728/
 

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Gorazd said:
Show me these polls, please. Also, the process of transferring UOC-MP parishes to OCU is still ongoing.
Here's what people living in Ukraine write about the" transfer process " (machine translation):

- Dmitry, the story of Tomos and the newly created "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" (OCU) is developing now in the form of seizures of Orthodox churches in Ukraine. What is the situation, is there a danger of a large-scale conflict?

- Conflict in the classical sense of the word is when there are two sides, approximately equal in strength. There will be no such conflict. There is a threat of slaughter, in fact, " beating babies." Because on the one hand we have paramilitary fascist formations that are armed to the teeth — from cold and small arms and ending with grenade launchers. They have transport (either donated by sponsors, the owners of these pocket armies, or squeezed from the civilian population in the Donbass) and means of communication. And the main thing - they have a coordination center in the form of power structures of Ukraine. Neo-Nazi organizations do not hide that they cooperate with the SBU, and some of them are officially special forces of law enforcement agencies.

To confront them grandmothers, priests indeed not can. In the best case, the parish has some broken "Moskvich", which can be reached, for example, to the neighboring village to support the co-religionists.
...
So far they declare about two-three hundred captures of temples. Can this be called a large-scale conflict, given the fact that more than 12 thousand parishes of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine? I don't know. But at least it is clear that there are 200-300 hotspots in the country, where the temple is either captured or under threat of capture, and there are fights of local significance around it... this suggests that the threat exists.

https://ukraina.ru/interview/20190213/1022664982.html
 
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