UOC hierarch: The decision of Cyprus Archbishop cannot "serve Orthodoxy"

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka. Photo: instagram.com/victor_kotsaba

Inter-Orthodox relations are going through perhaps the toughest period of turbulence since the Great Schism in 1054, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) noted.

The decision of Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus on the OCU cannot “serve” the fullness of Orthodoxy, because it was made not in the spirit of love and conciliarity, but for the sake of defending one's own interests. Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Head of the UOC Representation to European International Organizations, wrote about this on October 25, 2020, in the blog "I am a Correspondent".

The hierarch recalled that the sole decision of the Primate of the Cypriot Orthodox Church to commemorate the name of the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko during the Divine Liturgy caused a backlash on the part of the Cypriot episcopate, and four metropolitans have already made an open protest.

“It is obvious that such an act of Archbishop Chrysostomos has already provoked certain troubles within the Church of Cyprus and is going to entail the exacerbation of the current crisis in the family of the Orthodox Churches of the world,” he added.

Bishop Victor noted that Archbishop Chrysostomos himself explained his actions by the fact that they should "serve the Church".

“The interests of the Church cannot depend on personal convictions of individuals,” explained the hierarch of the UOC. “In other words, everything that serves the Church should be good for Her, which, in turn, will contribute to the growth and consolidation of the Church. At the same time, the Orthodox Church has a conciliar character, therefore, all momentous decisions in the Church are made by the conciliar mind, i.e. jointly, rather than individually."

The most important things that can serve the Church are the love and unity of the children of God, the bishop emphasized.

“When this unity is violated and love is sacrificed to one's own, often erroneous, vision of modern realities, it cannot be affirmed that such actions ‘serve’ God and His Church,” he added.

The hierarch stated that the Church today, unfortunately, "has a lot going on".

“Inter-Orthodox relations are going through perhaps the most serious period of turbulence since the Great Schism in 1054,” he said. “In addition, believers and humanity as a whole are faced with the challenges of an increasingly evident rejection of the world from Christian values alongside digitalization, global control, epidemics, famine and others. Instead of seeking joint efforts for ways of unity, division and discord are growing. The Church can and should address all these issues, but it can only do so when the words of Christ dominate the convictions of individuals. The solution to the global problems of today lies through the regulation of our own internal challenges, the crisis in inter-Orthodox relations being the biggest one among them."

Evidently, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) explained, the decision of Archbishop Chrysostomos "cannot" serve "the entire Church, because it was taken not in the spirit of love and conciliarity, but for the sake of defending his own interests."

“We can only hope that the Church of Cyprus will find enough strength to correct the crisis situation that has developed as a result of the sole decision of the Primate. We pray about this, because we know that ‘what is impossible with man is possible with God’ (Luke 18:27)," the hierarch summed up.

As reported by the UOJ, on October 24, 2020, Archbishop Chrysostomos II for the first time commemorated the name of the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko during the Divine Liturgy. The Primate of the Church of Cyprus claimed that his position on the OCU "will serve Orthodoxy".

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