Epiphany: My visit to Phanar was not announced in advance
Speaking to Archbishop Ieronymos and Phanar hierarchs, Epiphany said that his visit to Istanbul had not been announced in advance.
Speaking at Phanar on June 10, the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko said in his welcoming speech in honor of Patriarch Bartholomew that his visit to Istanbul to celebrate the namesday of the head of the Church of Constantinople had not been planned and announced in advance.
“My visit to Constantinople, although it was not planned and not announced in advance, was determined by the intention to once again express gratitude on behalf of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and mine personally for all the good deeds of your holiness for the pious Ukrainian people,” Epiphany said.
The head of the OCU pronounced this, having previously turned to the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos.
It was the meeting of Epiphany with Archbishop Ieronymos that became the main intrigue of the celebration at Phanar, since Epiphany had repeatedly declared that the OCU would be recognized by the Hellas Church soon.
A number of Ukrainian media have spread information about the service of Archbishop Ieronymos with Epiphany, which would mean recognition of Dumenko as bishop. Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, a spokesman of the UOC, wrote about this meeting: “Everyone in the Church is agitated by the fact of joint presence at the vespers in Istanbul of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens with the head of the breakaway OCU on the occasion of the Angel day of Patriarch Bartholomew. Definitely, there is nothing good about it.”
However, the Primate of the Church of Hellas did not stay in Istanbul at the festive liturgy, which took place on June 11, and suddenly flew to Athens immediately after the meeting on June 10.
Epiphany Dumenko’s admitting his impromptu visit may mean that the meeting with him at Phanar was a “bolt from the blue” for Archbishop Ieronymos.
Recall that on June 11, 2019, on the day of memory of the Apostle Bartholomew, a liturgy took place in Istanbul which, apart from the hierarchs of Phanar, was attended by Epiphany Dumenko.