Letter handed to Pat. Theodore: Onuphry – Metropolitan, Theodore – Judas

A picture received by the Patriarch and hierarchs of the Alexandrian and Cypriot Churches

After commemoration of Epiphany, all the bishops were given an envelope with a picture that read: “Onuphry – Metropolitan, Epiphany – schismatic, Theodore – Judas.”

On November 12, 2019, after the liturgy in Cyprus Limassol, where Patriarch Theodore commemorated Sergey Dumenko (Epiphany) as the head of the Church, the primate, as well as the bishops of the Churches of Alexandria and Cyprus received envelopes. Inside were letters, which depicted Patriarch Theodore with His Beatitude Onuphry and a fragment of the fresco “Kiss of Judah”, as well as the text: “Onuphry – Metropolitan, Epiphany – schismatic, Theodore – Judas.” The information about the event was posted on its Facebook page by the Orthodox blogger Alexander Voznesensky.

“The situation is the following: Theodore, despite the requests of the Cypriot priesthood, personally commemorated Epiphany at the Liturgy in Limassol. After that, all the bishops and priests received an envelope with this picture printed,” the blogger writes.

Speaking about the reaction of the bishops and the priesthood, Alexander reports that one of the priests in the Patriarch’s entourage tore up the picture and threw it back at the man handing them out, though several Cypriot priests were grateful that the envelopes had been handed out, saying that they did not support Pat. Theodore’s decision.

Letters handed out to priests and bishops

According to Alexander Voznesensky, “first, the pictures were shown to one of the clerics of the Limassol Metropolis and the intention was stated to hand them out to all the clergy and bishops. He said that all this was correct, and he did not mind ... Of the 30 pictures, 25 were given to the clergy.”

The request to refrain from commemorating Dumenko came especially from His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, where the Patriarch was scheduled to celebrate the feast of St. John the Merciful, the patron saint of Limassol.

However, Pat. Theodore ignored this request and commemorated Epiphany anyways. 

Speaking about the very moment of remembrance, Alexander claims that Metropolitan Athanasius until the last moment did not know that Patriarch Theodore would still pronounce the name of Dumenko: “When the Patriarch commemorated Epiphany, three bishops in the altar immediately ran over to Met. Athanasios and began to tell him something very actively and emotionally - I suspect that Athanasios was not informed until the last moment.”

While there had been about 50 priests at Vespers, only about 10 came to serve the Liturgy with the Patriarch, though OrthoChristian has been informed that it is typical in Limassol to limit concelebrating priests at the Liturgy to 10.

It is also known that some bishops, including His Eminence Metropolitan Timothy of Bostra, the Exarch of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in Cyprus, did not attend the Liturgy as planned after learning that Pat. Theodoros had begun to commemorate the schismatics.

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