Abbot of Vatopedi: Athos can do nothing about Phanar-ROC conflict
Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of the Vatopedi monastery, said he could not interfere in the conflict between Phanar and the ROC on the "Ukrainian issue".
The Abbot of the Vatopedi monastery, Archimandrite Ephraim (Kutsu), answering questions during a live broadcast organized on December 10 on the YouTube Tsar's Cross channel at the initiative of Pemptousia channel, said that Athos cannot assist in resolving the conflict between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian Orthodox Church, which occurred because of the Ukrainian issue. In his opinion, the monks of Mount Athos can only pray for the return of church unity.
Answering the question of Alexander Tuzenko, Chairman of the Sons of Athos Brotherhhood about the embarrassment of the believing people by the position of the Athosites over the Ukrainian crisis, Archimandrite Ephraim replied that "Athos is for all" and criticized the Russian Church, which does not bless pilgrims to receive the Holy Communion in Athos except for the Panteleimon Monastery.
"This is strange, because the Russian (Panteleimonov – Ed.) Monastery is also under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and they commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew as well as in other monasteries of the Holy Mountain," said the archimandrite. “It remains unclear to us why people can go to this monastery but not to others, while the Liturgy is the same everywhere. This is wrong both from the point of view of ecclesiology or dogmatics."
The governor of the Vatopedi monastery urged not to forget the fact that "officially the Holy Mountain is part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate" and to ask themselves a question: "if any of the bishops of the ROC went against the Moscow Patriarch, how would he react?"
Building on that, the archimandrite declared that they are “also subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and must be loyal to it. But this does not mean that we no longer love the Russians."
"Unfortunately, we cannot help solving this problem, this is a different level, this is a conflict between two Synods, two Churches – Moscow and Ecumenical. We pray that unity returns, we are doing everything we can," said Archimandrite Ephraim.
Despite the church schism that has affected the Universal Orthodoxy, all Local Orthodox Churches need Athos, according to the abbot of Vatopedi.
"Hierarchically, Athos is subordinate to the Ecumenical Patriarchate but belongs to the entire Orthodoxy, and the Local Churches must understand this. I communicate with spiritual fathers of all levels and I know how contact with Athos helps them, and how they have changed dramatically thanks to this,” said Archimandrite Ephraim.
It will be recalled that Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of the Vatopedi monastery, was going to take part in the "enthronement" of the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko on February 3, 2019, but on February 1 he was hospitalized in one of Kyiv hospitals due to heart problems. On February 10, 2019, it became known that the monks of Mount Athos moved to St. Panteleimon Monastery after Vatopedi had received "bishop" Paul Yuristy and a delegation of the OCU.
As previously reported, the leadership in Mount Athos was reassigned to the new Epistasia.