Two Greek hierarchs call the Council’s decisions on OCU invalid

16 October 2019 00:21
Council of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church. Photo: Romfea Council of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church. Photo: Romfea

The hierarchs of the Church of Greece call for a pan-Orthodox discussion of the "complex and incendiary canonical and ecclesiological problem".

Following the outcome of the Bishops’ Council of the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens on October 12, two Greek metropolitans – Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythera and Seraphim of Piraeus – made statements on the "Ukrainian issue", naming the decisions of the Council regarding the OCU invalid. It is reported by RIA Novosti.

On Saturday, Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythera issued a statement in which he emphasized that despite the official communiqué following the results of the Council, the decision to recognize autocephaly of the OCU was not made.

“Unfortunately, the public received inaccurate news and information that only seven metropolitans did not agree with the recognition of the new ‘autocephaly’, while all the others supported it,” wrote the hierarch on the website of his metropolis. “This is a big mistake and I want to believe that it was not purposeful but because of an oversight. Because most of those present did not speak up, however, this does not mean that they support the new ‘autocephaly’.”

He specified that “since the urgent demand of Metropolitan Daniel of Caesarea to hold an open vote was rejected, so if we want to have a positive decision for autocephaly – such a decision was not made.”

"Maybe there were enough votes for autocephaly but the number of those who opposed, as well as those who tacitly supported the latter, was significant," said the Metropolitan of Kythira, urging Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece not to create a critical situation and not to make a premature liturgical mention of the OCU’s "primate" until a general Orthodox discussion of this "complex and incendiary canonical and ecclesiological problem" takes place.

At the same time, he emphasized that the Patriarch of Constantinople has the right to grant autocephaly only to those dioceses that are under his jurisdiction, while Ukraine has been the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church for 300 years and this is recorded in all documents and diptychs of the Greek Church. The hierarch is convinced that the Local Churches do not recognize the OCU, since they recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, the only canonical Church in Ukraine.

A statement on the “Ukrainian issue” was also made by Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus who believes that all decisions of Constantinople regarding the former clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church are invalid, so both the “Unification Council” and the bestowal of autocephaly to the newly formed church structure are invalid.

"I replied to the chairman of the synodal commission on canonical issues that Metropolitan Onuphry had no opportunity to attend the ‘Unification Council’ just like His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens could not serve together with the self-proclaimed ‘Archbishop of Athens Parthenios Vezireas’, an excommunicated deacon of the Greek Church," wrote the hierarch in an open letter based on the results of the Bishops' Council of the Hellenic Church.

According to the hierarch, while making decisions on Ukraine, the Bishops' Council of the GOC should have considered the opinions of other Local Orthodox Churches and assessed possible effects for the unity of the Church, including the termination of communion with the Russian Church and its possible recognition of the old-style Greek Church. In the context of the foregoing, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus stressed the need for a broad discussion of the Ukrainian issue and proposed the convening of an All-Orthodox Council in order to “establish peace on the long-suffering land” of Ukraine.

Recall, the media previously reported that a group of Greek metropolitans, who disagree with the decision of the Bishops' Council of the GOC on the issue of the OCU, is preparing a joint statement.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl+Enter or Submit an error to report it to the editors.
Read also