Theologians of Cyprus demand convocation of Council on "Ukrainian issue"

Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. Photo:

In the opinion of Cypriot theologians, neither the Synod of the Cypriot Church nor that of any Local Church "can resolve the issue that concerns the whole of Orthodoxy."

On November 11, 2020, two organizations of Cypriot theologians called for the convening of a Pan-Orthodox Council to resolve the issue of “autocephaly” of the OCU, reports.

Christakis Efstathiou, President of the Association of Theologians (Συνδέσμου Θεολόγων (ΟΕΛΜΕ)), said that it is regrettable that the Church at such times and with such challenges it is facing on too many issues, in the crisis that the whole world is experiencing, is affected by division.

He emphasized that the Church is an image of unity and love, instead of which we see hierarchs “revealing the element of separation and self-destruction”.

According to Efstathiou, “we are in a situation where the Holy Synod should meet to address all these issues from the point of view of the Church’s benefit and in order to heal the growing wounds.”

The President of the Cyprus Association of Theologians stated that "the common people are asking the hierarchy of our Church, the Holy Synod, to finally come together and touch this great wound that is being created."

He also believes that in this way the hierarchs will be able to “convey the message outside” and demonstrate not division and selfishness, “which seems to be dominant,” but the ecclesiastical spirit to which one should strive.

“If they cannot get together and discuss these issues, what can they demand from ordinary people,” and how can they “convey a deeper message?” asks the theologian.

In turn, the president of the Pancyprian Association of Greek Theologians (Παγκύπριας Ένωσης Ελλήνων Θεολόγων (ΠΕΕΘ)) George Kyriakou said that the schism in the Church occurred due to the decision of Archbishop Chrysostomos, who arbitrarily commemorated Dumenko. In his opinion, the only "cure" in this situation is a return to canonical life.

Kyriakou emphasized that he fully agrees with Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou, who considers His Beatitude Onuphry to be the canonical Metropolitan of Kyiv "as the one who from the very beginning was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was not removed for canonical transgressions."

At the same time, the theologian asserts, "Epiphaniy, for unknown reasons, is suddenly recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Metropolitan of Kyiv."

He pointed out that this situation does not correspond to the rules of the Orthodox Church, according to which it is impossible to have two metropolitans in the same territory.

According to Kyriakou, “the problem cannot be solved by the synodal decisions of the Local Churches regarding the recognition or non-recognition of the canonical status of the schismatic bishop (Dumenko – Ed.), but has to be solved via the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Council”.

Kyriakou stressed that neither the Holy Synod of the Cypriot Church nor any other Synod of any Local Church "can resolve the issue that concerns the whole of Orthodoxy." 

He also stated that Cypriot theologians "are concerned about the liturgical mention by His Beatitude of the non-canonical Mr. Epiphaniy, bypassing the Synod."

Kyriakou reminded that the normal functioning of the Church "is ensured by the observance of its rules by all Local Churches without exception," whereas "violation of these rules creates friction and unrest in the body of the Church.

Therefore, in this case there is no other remedy than a return to canonical life,” added the theologian.

For this, says Kyriakou, there are church canons, "so that not everyone does whatever he wants." He stressed that "the canons are the Constitution of the Church and were determined by the Holy Spirit, Local and Ecumenical Councils," and those who do not recognize these canons "should be accountable to the Pan-Orthodox Council."

Kyriakou pointed out that the majority of the Local Churches "recognize Onuphry as the canonical bishop, not Epiphany," and unrest over this issue "is caused not only in the Church of Cyprus, it concerns all Local Orthodox Churches."

“The Ukrainian issue” is a big problem from which the Orthodox Church has suffered for many years, maybe decades and centuries,” said another lawyer and theologian Theodoros Kyriakou.

In his opinion, because of the "Ukrainian issue" there is a conflict between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian Church, and after the Moscow Patriarchate did not take part in the Council of Crete, "the Ecumenical Patriarch did not forgive it and for this reason proclaimed Ukrainian autocephaly."

In addition, the theologian is sure that Patriarch Bartholomew was exposed to "pressure from another country," and the "Ukrainian issue" is "part of geopolitical plans".

"The Patriarch granted autocephaly to two groups that were previously considered schismatic," and "now there is essentially a split in the Orthodox Church, since one primate does not mention the other, which leads to the temptation of believers."

“The convening of the Council is necessary so that this issue can be considered in detail,” concluded the theologian.
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the members of the Cypriot Synod would terminate their ministry with Archbishop Chrysostomos.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the members of the Cypriot Synod would terminated their ministry with Archbishop Chrysostomos.

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