UOC hierarch: Position of Greek Church caused rejection in Orthodox world
Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) believes the decision of Archbishop Ieronymos on OCU will activate response of the Local Churches to the anti-canonical actions of Fanar.
The decision of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church regarding the recognition of the newly formed church structure caused fierce criticism and rejection in the Orthodox community. Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Borispol and Brovary, Chancellor of the UOC, said this in a commentary to Vesti.
In his opinion, the decision of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos to enter into communion with the OCU may cause tectonic shifts within the Orthodox world.
“Moreover, this is not about a further “parade” of recognitions following the OCU, a Ukrainian brainchild of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. A much more likely scenario is the Local Churches being compelled to an active response to the anti-canonical actions of Phanar,” the hierarch emphasized.
He noted that until recently the idea prevailed among the Orthodox community that the process could be reversible and that Constantinople would rectify its error of granting autocephaly to the schismatic structure, that’s why “the general response on the whole did not go beyond open disapproval and refusal to support the policy of Patriarch Bartholomew with respect to Ukraine.”
“However, reality has witnessed inefficiency of such a position. Unfortunately, instead of rectifying the situation Phanar aggravated it further. Now not one but two Churches (the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of Greece) began to fall into the abyss of schism. And this fact cannot be simply ignored,” added the UOC Chancellor.
His Eminence cited the recent Statement of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church, which "became a cold shower for those who counted on a softened position of the Local Churches regarding the ‘OCU’ after it had been recognized by the Primate of the Church of Greece." Recall that according to this Statement, the members of the OCU are officially referred to as schismatics, whereas shattered eucharistic unity of all Orthodoxy is said to be caused by the actions of Phanar.
Metropolitan Anthony also emphasized that the decision of Archbishop Ieronymos had provoked fierce criticism and aversion of certain hierarchs and priests in the Greek Church itself, and recalled a joint letter of appeal from Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus and Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythera, in which the hierarchs announced their intention to initiate a church discussion of the “issue” of a Pan-Orthodox Council even without the participation of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
“If a member of the body stricken with spiritual gangrene persists in its unwillingness to be treated and even wants to transmit the infection further, then healthy members of this body must put aside hesitation and begin to adequately respond to the threat. After all, if this is not done, it will kill the whole body. The words of the holy martyr Ignatius the God-bearer clearly testify in favor of this thesis: “Do not flatter yourself, my brothers! Whoever follows the dissenter does not inherit the Kingdom of God,” the hierarch summed up.
Recall, on November 3, 2019, at the liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Kirill, for the first time ever did not commemorate Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece among the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.
The cessation of liturgical mention of Archbishop Ieronymos means a break in the Eucharistic communion with him, however, earlier the Russian Orthodox Church reported it would maintain prayer communion with those Greek hierarchs who did not recognize the OCU.