Archbishop of Cyprus warns dissident bishops, as dissident bishop publishes book on Ukraine

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PARSIPPANY, NJ – Archbishop Chrysostomos, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, has issued a statement that he will implement methods to establish Synod members of the Church of Cyprus who are not from accord with the decision to recognize autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) which was granted by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in January 2019.

Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol, neophyte of Morphia, Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos, Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamasos, as well as Bishop Nicolas d’Amafunt and Bishop Epiphanius of Ledera, who do not recognize OCU autocephaly , refused to participate in the conciliar service appointed by the Synod of the Archdiocese of Cyprus on July 10.

Archbishop Chrysostomos said that the hierarchs’ refusal to perform conciliar service indicates a lack of respect for the decisions of the Synod and an attempt to “bypass the primate”. “I am not dead. I am still alive,” said the Archbishop.

Archbishop Chrysostomos has said that the hierarchs who refuse to serve him are wrong, and if he begins to restore order, the Metropolitans will cease to be members of the synod. “This is why I keep silent, so as not to harm the Church,” he said.

When asked if this crisis would lead to a breakdown of Eucharistic communion within the Archdiocese of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos replied: “I have the means to put them. [bishops] in their place, but I will not start now.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Nikiforos on July 1 published a book, “The Church Crisis in Ukraine and Its Solution According to Sacred Canons,” by Holy Trinity Publications (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) in Jordanville, NY. The website, including by Metropolitan Timothy of Bostra (Patriarchate of Jerusalem), criticizes Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision to grant autocephaly to the OCU, calling OCU worshipers “schismatic groups.” Other Orthodox bishops from various jurisdictions also posted comments on the book.

A description of the book notes, “All this [the process of granting autocephaly to the OCU] without any attempt by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to seek a consensus of all the Orthodox Churches before embarking on this path.

This is however false, because all the Orthodox Churches in communion with Constantinople were invited to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in 2016 in Crete, in which the Russian Orthodox Church (whose delegation was to include the Metropolitan Onufriy, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, as well as other UOC-MP bishops in Ukraine), the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Orthodox Church of America.

However, the 2016 Council included representatives from the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Church of Romania, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Greece, the Church of Poland, the Church of Albania and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

The description of the book on the Holy Trinity Publications website continues: “In this concise text he [Metropolitan Nikiforos] eloquently explains why the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have created a schism in the Orthodox Church worldwide and how they in turn reflect the promotion of a new ecclesiology that distorts the traditional understanding of the Orthodox Church as ruled only by Christ himself. It is clear that the only way to cure and end the schism is a return to a form of inter-Orthodox relations which respects both conciliarity and hierarchy. In doing so, he underlines his greatest respect for the historic place of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the hope that he will turn away from the path he is currently on to regain his rightful place in the plurality of the Orthodox Church.

The table of contents of the book also asks some strange questions, such as: “Ukraine belongs to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of which patriarchate? The answer, however, is clear. When Kyivan-Rus was baptized into Christianity in 988 by the Byzantine bishops of Constantinople, the lands today known as Ukraine and beyond were placed under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Church of Constantinople) , because the Moscow Patriarchate did not exist at the time.

Patriarch Bartholomew underlined this on July 26, 2008, during his visit to Ukraine for the 1,020th anniversary of the Christianization of Kyivan-Rus.
” This initiative [to celebrate the 1,020th anniversary] is an obligation insofar as all the great nations must guard with the most zeal their historical memory, in particular of those events which sealed indelibly the own spiritual identity of their national consciousness and determined, more or less, their contribution lasting to the community of nations. It is also and particularly important today, because the depth of the history of the great people constitutes an inexhaustible resource of strength and influence for those who are near and far ”, declared Patriarch Bartholomew.

Patriarch Bartholomew is due to visit Ukraine in August for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the country’s renewed independence.


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