Greek theologian to GOC Primate: I cannot possibly take Communion with you

20 October 2019 23:01
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos. Photo: His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos. Photo:

A Greek scholar and theologian spoke out against injustice towards His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and the UOC.

The Greek scientist and theologian (Doctor of Physics and a certified Theologian of the University of Athens), Basil Eustathiou, in his letter to the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, said that he would no longer pray and receive communion in churches where the head of the GOC will serve. Basil Eustathiou’s letter was fully published by the Greek edition “Romfea”.

In particular, the theologian writes that he deeply regrets the “Ukrainian ecclesiastical issue, which employs the pan-Orthodox Christ-loving fullness”, especially after the participation of His Beatitude Ieronymos in a liturgy in Thessaloniki with Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during which Epiphany Dumenko was also commemorated among the Primates of the Local Churches.

He reminded His Beatitude Ieronymos that “so far, no other predecessor has commemorated Dumenko, not any of those who precede you in diptychs, and even more so none of those who follow you”.

Basil Eustathiou emphasized that “no vote was taken on this important issue, and the right to decide this issue was granted to Archbishop Jerome in a press release as a decision of the Council of Bishops,” and, as the theologian notes, “many hierarchs learnt about the “decision”, already leaving the Council."

The Greek theologian believes that such actions were "anti-canonical and anti-synodal by nature".

In addition, he points out that “the Commission on Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian Issues did not provide any conclusions at all”, and “there was not the slightest analysis of the problem associated with the priesthood and apostolic succession of the excommunicated and self-ordained schismatics to whom the Tomos of Autocephaly was granted”.

He also highlighted that “the canonical Ukrainian Church of Metropolitan Onuphry was completely ignored, the canonicity of which is still recognized by the pan-Orthodox majority, and which is undergoing painful persecution in many regions of Ukraine by the flock of ‘Metropolitan Epiphany’, whom you commemorated today.”

At the same time, Basil Eustathiou reminded Archbishop Ieronymos that the “decisions of the Russian Church, which, wishing to protect the canonical flock in Ukraine, had warned you about the cessation of ecclesiastical communion with you, and the subsequent enlargement and shifting the schism already to the pan-Orthodox level, were not taken into account".

That is why, the theologian says, “after all these sad and painful events for our Church and its unity, I ended up that for reasons of conscience, from an ecclesiastical or human point of view, I cannot possibly take Communion with you or in the area (diocese – Ed.) of your jurisdiction in Athens or elsewhere you happen to serve or during pontifical common liturgy, where you will be commemorated along with Metropolitan Epiphany”.

Basil Eustathiou will keep this position "until universal Orthodoxy resolves the ‘Ukrainian issue’ and communion between the Orthodox Churches will no longer suffer obstacles <...> and be fully restored".

This way, the professor says, “I protest as a faithful child of the Church against injustice against Metropolitan Onuphry and the suffered under the canonical Church in Ukraine, whom the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate declassified with its decision of October 11, 2018, which you have contributed to with your latest actions".

Moreover, according to Basil Eustathiou, if the situation worsens, which he doesn’t want to, but, unfortunately, after Epiphanius’s commemoration at the joint liturgy, this is going to happen, and if this deterioration leads to serious difficulties within the Greek hierarchy, he will faithfully follow any initiatives of ten venerable hierarchs who, during an extraordinary Bishops' Council on October 12, 2019, supported and expressed ecclesiastical truth, holy canon law and the synodal structure of the Orthodox Church but were fully ignored. It is their morale that should be considered Orthodox and patristic. 

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that Epiphany was commemorated at the liturgy of the Greek Church in Thessaloniki.


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