US Ambassador to Greece accuses ROC of splitting World Orthodoxy
Jeffrey Payette said that Greece and the United States are strategic partners that must respond to the challenge that Russia poses to "democratic values".
On December 9, 2020, US Ambassador to Greece Jeffrey Payette said that the Russian Orthodox Church is trying to split the World Orthodoxy, according to the official website of the US Embassy in Greece.
During an online conference on religious diplomacy, Jeffrey Payette said that "for the United States, the right to freedom of religion is fundamental to our national identity."
According to Payette, "Greece and the United States work as strategic partners to respond to the challenge that Russia poses to our democratic values and specifically to the freedom of religious expression here in Europe."
The US official stressed that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom "called Russia" a country of particular concern "for engaging in systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom."
“Not only does Russia challenge the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch, but it has continued seeking to break the unity of the Orthodox Church by fomenting instability and undermining the sovereignty of independent Orthodox-majority nations," Payette said.
He reminded that “last year, when the Ecumenical Patriarch granted autocephaly to the OCU according to the wishes of the Ukrainian people, Russia responded by breaking ties with His All Holiness. The Russian Orthodox Church then proceeded to cut ties or threatened to cut ties with other churches that have followed the Ecumenical Patriarch’s lead."
“This growing group now includes the Church of Greece, the Church of Alexandria and All of Africa, and very recently, the Church of Cyprus. The list will continue to grow,” Payette assumed.
He was also outraged that "literally this month, Metropolitan Hilarion, on behalf of the Russian Church, falsely calimed that the Ecumenical Patriarch had initiated a schism."
"We commend the Church of Greece and Archbishop Ieronymos for bravely supporting the Ecumenical Patriarch’s decision, and we hope that over time, other Orthodox churches will follow this lead in accordance with canon law. Eventually, we hope the Russian Church will reconcile with the Church of Ukraine, recognizing the sovereign right of the Ukrainian people to choose their own future and own means of worship," the US representative concluded.
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that according to Jeffrey Payette, support for Phanar is a matter of national security.