Head of ROC DECR: US exerted tremendous pressure on Archbishop Ieronymos
Greek sources testify to the facts of pressure from the USA, said Metropolitan Hilarion.
While considering the decision on the “Ukrainian church issue”, the Primate of the Hellenic Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Hellas was under tremendous pressure from the US Embassy in Athens, the chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk said in an interview with the “Komsomolskaya Pravda” online edition.
“It is known (Greek sources testify to this) that the US Embassy in Athens also exerted unprecedented pressure on the Archbishop of Athens,” he said.
According to Metropolitan Hilarion, the Phanar also exerted pressure on the Greek Church, which is not autocephalous in the full sense. Constantinople made every effort to gain recognition of the OCU by this Church and announced it a few weeks before it actually happened, said the head of the ROC DECR.
“Half of the bishops of this Church are simultaneously bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Constantinople, as you know, threatened to take these dioceses from the Hellenic Church if it disobeys the recognition of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” he added.
Metropolitan Hilarion also recalled that the Russian Orthodox Church broke the Eucharistic communion with those hierarchs of the Church of Greece who in one form or another recognize the OCU.
“We will maintain full Eucharistic communion with those bishops who do not recognize and will not recognize (the OCU – Ed.), and it is through them that we will carry out our connection with the Greek Church,” he added.
The head of the ROC DECR commented on the reunification of the Archdiocese of Russian tradition in Western Europe with the Moscow Patriarchate.
“The Archdiocese of Russian tradition in Western Europe existed as part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but for some unknown reason, it needed to abolish it,” he explained. “The Archdiocese did not want to be abolished, and after negotiations, by a majority vote, it decided to return to the Russian Church. Initially, it was part of the Russian Church. In fact, this act completed the reunification of the Russian diaspora under the omophorion of the Moscow Patriarch.”
Metropolitan Hilarion also said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Bishop an hour before the appointed time.