Archbishop Theodosy clarifies if sacraments of Phanar and OCU are gracious

03 April 2019 17:02
Vicar of the Kiev Metropolis Archbishop Theodosy of Boyarka Vicar of the Kiev Metropolis Archbishop Theodosy of Boyarka

Archbishop Theodosy commented on how to treat the OCU sacraments and if grace operates in sacraments of Constantinople Patriarchate, including the monasteries of Athos.

After the rupture of Eucharistic communion with Constantinople, the grace of God did not cease to act in its sacraments: the fracture of Eucharistic communion in this case is not a mystical measure but a disciplinary one. However, the OCU sacraments are graceless, since all the “ordinations” of this structure descend from schismatics. This was told to Pravoslavie.Ru by the Vicar of the Kiev Metropolis, Archbishop Theodosy (Snigiriov) of Boyarka .

“The disciplinary measure in this case is a warning to all believers of the Russian Church and the entire Orthodox world that Phanar has violated the canons of Orthodoxy, that the heresy of Eastern papism was openly declared, and this spiritual infection must be localized and cured. Moreover, the rupture of Eucharistic communion is an elementary spiritual protection for our hierarchs and clergymen from joint service with people from the OCU who do not have holy rank. After all, such concelebration is now common practice with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Therefore, it is better for Constantinople to ba under quarantine restrictions,” His Eminence explained.

However, in his words, “to take the sacraments in the Patriarchate of Constantinople contrary to the decision of your Church is the same as to go to a service led by a banned priest who violates this prohibition. Is that right? It is completely wrong and spiritually dangerous for both a person and such a priest. Most recently, our pilgrims asked a famous Athos confessor if they could take the Holy Communion on Athos during this period, because this is the canonical territory of the Constantinople Patriarchate. He answered this way: such Communion will not bring you benefit, since you will disregard the blessing and break the obedience of your Holy Church. ”

“Church communities that are infected with heresy and are moving further and further away from the True Church of Christ and Her teachings, even if they preserve the semblance of church structures, lose the grace in the sacraments. <...> With the removal of such communities from Orthodoxy, from the true Church Tradition, the grace of the Holy Spirit in their sacrament dries out even more until it becomes scanty altogether. Where pride and heresy reign, including papism's heresy, there is no grace there, it is hidden under the concrete layer and can no longer act. May such a thing never happen to our Phanariot brothers! It’s still not too late to remedy everything,” says the hierarch.

According to him, “where pride and heresy reign, there is no grace there, it cannot work there,” however, “such ecclesiological logic is appropriate if it is a community with apostolic succession, but not such structures as Kiev Patriarchate and OCU, for example. In their case, they initially had no power of their sacraments, as there is no apostolic succession.”

Commenting on the apostolic succession of the new church structure, the bishop noted that all its “ordinations” were performed by the two former bishops who had been deprived of the dignity at that time – Filaret (Denisenko) and Jacob (Panchuk), i.e. from simple monks who donned priestly robes: “In June of 1992, they were deprived of their dignity for committing schism by the plenipotentiary body – the Bishops' Council, whose decision was subsequently recognized by all Orthodox Churches of the world. In the aftermath of their excommunication, these schismatics created their new structure and being ordinary monks began to supply new "bishops", naturally, without the grace of apostolic succession. This is how the Kiev Patriarchate, a quasi-church parallel to the UOC, emerged in Ukraine.”

“One may legalize these “bishops” without any rank, grant them whatever “tomos” and protect with state laws – yet this will not add any grace to them. Like in mathematics: any number, multiplied by zero, results in zero. Therefore, now the Local Orthodox Churches, one after another, refuse to recognize these citizens, headed by Epiphany, as priests. None of the world hierarchs who has clear conscience will serve before the throne of God with secular people. Even if they ideologically sympathize with them. Furthermore, it is spiritually dangerous to enter into Eucharistic communion with the OCU because, according to canonical rules, one who enters into communion with the excommunicated is subject to excommunication too,” said Vladyka Theodosy.

Speaking about the concelebration of Patriarch Bartholomew with the head of the OCU Epiphany as a man without any rank, he noted: “I don’t know what his heart was feeling at that service ... To illustrate this absurdity, I suggest that the Academy and Seminary students fancy the following. If I lend my vestments to some of the students at the next Sunday liturgy, let him stand next to me and together we “serve” – will the liturgy be valid? It will be, of course, because the bishop performed it. But will the student become a bishop after this service? No, of course, he will not. How should he and I answer for this "service" at the Last Judgment? It will be difficult to answer. This is the same thing which happened in Istanbul on January 6.”

As the UOJ reported, the Albanian Church earlier spoke in favor of the need to re-ordain the schismatics. The head of the Albanian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Anastasius, wrote a letter to Patriarch Bartholomew in which he pointed out errors and debunked Phanar's historical and canonical position on the Ukrainian church issue. Considering the ecclesiastical points, Archbishop Anastasius singled out three themes “directly related to the traditions and consciousness of the Orthodox Church inspired by the Holy Spirit: a) The Holy Eucharist, b) Apostolic succession, and c) Conciliarity.”

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