Priest of Greek Orthodox Church joins Russian Orthodox Church
Fr Ioannis Fortomas explained his joining the Russian Orthodox Church by the actions of the Phanar in Ukraine.
The priest of the Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina of the Greek Orthodox Church Fr Ioannis Fortomas, transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church. The cleric announced this in a video message on December 28, 2020.
The priest said that in early December, Archbishop Gabriel (Chemodakov) of Montreal and Canada of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia received him into his diocese.
Explaining his decision to leave the Greek Orthodox Church, Fr Ioannis said that he did it because of the actions of the Phanar in Ukraine.
According to him, “in 2018, the Patriarchate of Constantinople granted the legitimacy to two or three groups of schismatics in Ukraine and declared them an autocephalous church ... without the consent of the rest (Local Churches – Ed.), and, more importantly, it did it at the expense of the canonical Church in Ukraine, headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine".
He emphasized that "in this way, the Patriarchate of Constantinople not only legalized schismatics, but also did it at the expense of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to which most of the believers in Ukraine belong, which set off a series of very unfortunate events".
As an example, priest John cited cases when "schismatics take (occupy) a parish, beat the priests, beat the believers, often to a pulp, and the police and state authorities turn a blind eye to this."
"You ask me: ‘Well, what does this have to do with you and what does this have to do with us?’ When one member of the body of Christ suffers, other members also suffer, and at some point someone has to stand up and say: ‘Stop!’” the priest emphasized.
He noted that "by now the effects of the schism have fully permeated the Greek Orthodox world, and, of course, there are questions such as the validity of the sacraments of those in schism".
Fr Ioannis believes that the sacraments of the schismatics are not valid and “these people do not even have apostolic succession” since they are “self-consecrated” to the priesthood.
He stressed that the Tomos of the OCU is “the legitimization of a total pretense” and the crossing of the “red line in the Church regarding the church canons, church dogmas and the overall order of the Orthodox Church”.
“So, I took the decision to join the Russian Orthodox Church based on all this. And, furthermore, not based on some abstract ideas about what is happening somewhere else, but I saw the results of the schism in Ukraine, outplaying right before my very eyes when I served as a priest in Hungary, at one of the parishes of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,” says the priest.
"I saw the results of the schism and came to the point where I could not serve in the Patriarchate of Constantinople with a clean conscience after it committed such actions against the Gospel and the canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church, setting itself up, more or less, as a type of Eastern papacy," he stressed.
Fr Ioannis also noted that "he personally came to the point when he no longer felt able to celebrate the Liturgy and serve under such conditions." According to him, “each liturgy was torture, literally torture, trying to get through it. "
He recalled that “this is not the first time that Greek Orthodox clerics have joined the Russian Orthodox Church,” and “this is not the first time the Russian Orthodox Church has helped Greek Orthodox Christians”.
“There are many examples throughout recent history when this happened and when it allowed them to live their Greek Orthodox faith freely, without any external pressure or even without any demands, so I am very grateful for this opportunity,” said Fr Ioannis.
Addressing his parishioners, the priest said that “our task is to form a parish within the framework of the Russian Orthodox Church, but with respect to Greek Orthodox customs and traditions. Doing this and achieving success is not a priest's job, but it requires the participation of the faithful."
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the priest of the UGCC from Great Britain joined the Russian Orthodox Church.