Archbishop Anastasios: The principle of the unity of Orthodoxy is Council
The Primate of the Albanian Church believes that procedures to overcome schism were developed in Orthodoxy long ago, in particular at Ecumenical Councils.
Archbishop Anastasios, Primate of the Albanian Orthodox Church, explained his position regarding the support of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly to resolve the “Ukrainian issue”, reports the Greek outlet “Democracy”.
In particular, in response to a critical publication on “Democracy” devoted to the analysis of his letter of November 20, 2019, the archbishop emphasizes that his intervention is not in favor of Moscow or against the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and this is a “cry of agony in favor of reconciliation, in favor of the unity of Orthodoxy ".
In addition, Archbishop Anastasios writes that his text “has nothing to do with the initiative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem” since it was written shortly before the Nativity Lent “in a period of anxiety over the emerging new dangerous reality”.
He emphasized, “I have never questioned the established rights or privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Having always been a responsible participant in the life of Orthodoxy, I have been steadfast in the creative efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarch.” But regarding the OCU, Archbishop Anastasios expresses “anxiety, appraisals, and suggestions, solely seeking to find a solution to the complex current reality, which is obviously different from the situation in 2018”.
Archbishop Anastasios writes that the situation in Ukraine, provoked by Patriarch Bartholomew, resembles the "Melitian schism", to overcome which the Church sets out different procedures and that “the final solution was given by the First Ecumenical Council".
Vladyka emphasized that in all previous cases of receiving autocephaly, including autocephaly of the Albanian Church, “autocephaly was granted to the regular Metropolises of each country, and not to small parts of them composed of schismatics".
On the other hand, says Archbishop Anastasios, “the process of granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, on the other hand, caused turmoil and divisions, not only in that country but throughout the Orthodox world. The result is a prolonged confusion and divisions”.
At the same time, the Primate of the Albanian Church noted that “we do not forget that the Canonical Law of the Orthodox Church is mainly based on decisions of the Ecumenical and other important Orthodox Synods and that the Synod is the fundamental principle of the cohesion of Orthodoxy”.
Therefore, the bishop believes, the convocation of the Orthodox Council on the "Ukrainian issue" cannot be of a dubious nature, especially since the majority of Orthodox primates have repeatedly called for it "responsibly and publicly since the beginning of the year”.
The archbishop claims that he has always stressed the need to convene the Pan-Orthodox Council on the "Ukrainian issue" " for the sole purpose of finding a peaceful settlement commonly accepted by the whole Orthodox Church".
At the same time, Archbishop Anastasios writes that he did not appoint himself a mediator in the dialogue between the Russian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
He also urged not to affix ethnic-inspired labels, with inscriptions such as "Slavophiles", "Russophiles" and the like and not to use lies and slander to defend their views on both sides, because it “destroys Orthodox dialogue in a critical time for Orthodoxy”.