Phanar responds to Albanian Church on “Ukrainian issue”
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has responded to His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania concerning the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine.
In his response, Ecumenical Patriarch claims that he has studied in depth the letter of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, issued on January 14 and published on March 7, about the developments in the issue of Ukrainian Church and the call for a Pan-Orthodox Synaxis “so as to prevent the danger of a Schism”, reports the Greek Orthodox resource “Romfea”.
As Patriarch Bartholomew characteristically mentions, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had always had the responsibility –not the privilege- to foresee the need of solving any problem at any local Church, and it openly declares its opinion without causing any kind of concern to the rest of the Patriarchs. Furthermore, Bartholomew highlighted the Canon rights “of the local sister Churches”.
Addressing Mr. Anastasios, Ecumenical Patriarch stresses that the past and present bestowals of the ecclesiastic status of autocephaly have one and only aim: “the orderly functioning of any individual church, and not the production of false impressions and division of the One, Holy, United and Apostolic Church of God”.
In the same spirit, continues to explain Ecumenical Patriarch, he made the decisions on the case of the former Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev and Makariy of Lvov (Macariy has never been a canonical metropolitan – Ed.). Indeed, Bartholomew offered as an example the Schism of the Melitians, which was resolved, and its bishops and presbyters restored their status by a new ordination.
He also stresses that “those who benefit the most” misinterpret the stance of tolerance and forbearance from the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as abandonment of the Church’s further course. “It is worth asking: why do those that agitate against their benefactors accept this bold slander of Mother Church and the Patriarch himself?”
Finally, Ecumenical Patriarch claims that the Ecumenical Patriarchate preaches the words of the inherited ecclesiastic texts and has no self-interest or any other inferior motive and political expediency.
Regarding the question of the non-canonical nature of the ordination of Epiphany and other "hierarchs" of the OCU, the head of the Phanar refers to the study of Metropolitan Angialu and then Basil of Smyrna, compiled in 1887, in which the hierarch allegedly came to the conclusion about the “validity of the chirotonies of the clerics ordained by the excommunicated or defrocked bishops".
‘Therefore”, he concludes, “it is up to you to realize the truths that have been spoken, not to ratify them, since they are already certified by Ecclesiastical Acts, but to restore righteousness according to the precious and authentic experience of the Church Fathers”.
We recall that His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania in his letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, published on March 7, outlines the position of the Synod of the Albanian Orthodox Church on the “Ukrainian issue” and considers that the current situation requires a new approach and inspiring initiatives to promote peace in Ukraine and to safeguard the unity of Orthodoxy.