Metropolitans of the Church of Cyprus explain their stance on Ukraine

12 July 2019 21:25
Three Cypriot metropolitans have published a joint communique. Photo: Romfea Three Cypriot metropolitans have published a joint communique. Photo: Romfea

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos and Tillyria and Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos have published a joint communique.

The three metropolitans of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus made a joint statement explaining their stance on the Ukrainian church crisis caused by the Tomos granted to the OCU by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The communiqué, published by the Greek resource "Romfea", was a reaction to a series of “malicious” manipulative publications, in which the words of the bishops were deliberately distorted “for extraneous purposes”.

In their statement, the hierarchs stressed that they respect the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its historical role but as bishops they are concerned about the development of events since the Ukrainian issue negatively affects the unity of the Church.

“As the bishops of the Church of Christ, we are aware of our mission and are interested in this regard because we are interested in the unity of the Church, which because of the Ukrainian question is faced with an apparent and threatened schism, within the bosom of the Orthodox Church, and which we warned about in due time. We still hold the opinion that granting the Tomos of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine should be based on the ecclesiastical order and practice and to be in accordance with the sacred Canons and the Church's tradition…This ecclesiastical order is the only one that can solve the resulting problem and prevents the risk of schism”, noted the hierarchs of the Cyprus Church and called upon the authors of manipulative articles, misleading readers, to restore “the full truth after consulting our legal advisers”, otherwise they will have to go to court.

According to the expert and blogger Alexander Voznesensky, the published communique testifies to the tremendous pressure being put on the Cypriot hierarchs who openly support the canonical UOC.

“On the one hand, the message gives an understanding that Cypriot bishops, who have taken a bright position on the Ukrainian issue, are under great pressure, some articles are created that intentionally distort their words in order to set them up <...> On the other hand, they state that the tomos does not comply with the canons and traditions of the Church. And now only by restoring order one can avoid a schism,” the expert wrote on his Facebook page.

We recall that Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos and Tillyria and Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos openly speak in support of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

Thus, Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol has repeatedly stressed that "Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev is the canonical Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church", urging Ukrainian believers to remain under his omophorion and be faithful to the UOC.

Metropolitan Nikephoros (Kykkotis) of Kykkos and Tillyria also has a firm stance on Ukraine, stating that canonical autocephaly should be provided "only by the Pan-Orthodox Ecumenical Council or by the unanimous consent of all Primates of Orthodox Autocephalous Churches".

Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos (Kykkotis), who came to Ukraine to celebrate the namesake day of the Primate of the UOC, calls His Beatitude Onuphry "an example of the Primate for the entire Orthodox world" and one of the most spiritual personalities of the Orthodox world. The hierarch also appealed to the Ukrainian authorities with a request “that the government should do everything possible to return temples taken from the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the believers whom His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry spiritually oversees”.

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