Cypriot hierarch: We question the legality of the ordination of Epiphany
His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasius explained that he could not consider OCU members as bishops as they did not repent and Filaret “ordained” them under anathema.
The Holy Synod of the Cyprus Orthodox Church doubts whether it is possible to recognize the ordination performed by the head of the UOC KP Filaret Denisenko, including the chirotony of the “Primate” of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko, the Cypriot hierarch, Metropolitan Athanasios (Nicolaou) of Limassol, said in an interview with the UOC Information and Education Department.
“I will read to you an excerpt from the sixth paragraph of the statement of the Holy Synod of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, which states that the Holy Synod cannot recognize as priests those people who did not receive the canonical ordination. Here the sixth paragraph reads: "The 2000-year history of both the Cyprus Church and the entire Orthodox Church calls into question the possibility of legalizing the ordinations performed by the defrocked hierarchs, who were excommunicated and anathematized." Their punishment was recognized by all Orthodox Churches,” noted Vladyka Athanasios. “We recognized the imposition of an anathema on Filaret, and therefore the Synod of the Church of Cyprus doubts that it is possible to recognize the validity of the ordinations and other sacraments performed by him. Therefore, we, the Church of Cyprus, still have not officially recognized Epiphany as the head of the new Ukrainian Church.”
The bishop of the Church of Cyprus agreed with those representatives of the Local Churches who consider the OCU as an assembly of the laity.
“The Synod of the Cyprus Church says the same: the priesthood cannot be among those who were banned from priesthood, were excommunicated or anathematized,” Metropolitan Athanasios explained.
He also stressed that every sin is forgiven through repentance and confession of sin.
“Unfortunately, in the case of Filaret, we did not see this,” the hierarch of the Church of Cyprus stated.
According to His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios, no one can question what the sacred canons say.
“In the case of Ukraine, some individuals did not have episcopal dignity – this is a group of only so-called bishops who ordained themselves, these are the “bishops” of Makariy (Maletich). There was Filaret, and there was a group of people under the leadership of Makariy, who are essentially self-sacred, they were not ordained,” he noted.
If there was only one group of those who were defrocked but still had ordinations from canonical bishops, the Synod could accept them as ordained through oikonomia, Metropolitan Athanasios added. He stressed that such a thing would be possible only under the condition of repentance.
“Unfortunately, we do not observe this, and we do not see any effective ordination now granted to them,” said the hierarch of the Cypriot Church.
We must seek the will of God, and especially such an approach must be manifested at the level of the Primates of the Churches, he summed up.
Also, the hierarch of the Church of Cyprus noted that the mosaic of autocephalies is a road to a catastrophe. He is sure that the granting of autocephaly cannot be based only on state independence or the existence of separate nationalities, because such logic can have a side effect: if a state loses its political independence, does its Church have to disappear as well?