Bishop Victor: Most Athos monasteries are against the recognition of OCU
The Greek clergymen excoriate the recognition of the OCU by the Hellenic Church, and belonging to the UOC is a necessary condition to stay in most monasteries of Athos.
Bishop Victor (Kotsaba), vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations, stated on his telegram page that most of the monasteries of Mount Athos oppose the recognition of the OCU.
According to him, the Athonite monks told about this to the pilgrims of the UOC who visited Athos.
“The monasteries of Karakalou, Filofeo, Konstamonitou, St. Panteleimon, Hilandar, Zographou, Dochariou strongly oppose the recognition of the Ukrainian schism. Hegumen Ephraim, abbot of the Vatopedi monastery, also speaks out against the recognition of the OCU In private conversations. The majority of the cells and sketes of Athos stick to the same position,” wrote Bishop Victor.
“It is interesting that during the conversation with the monks of the Simonopetra monastery, whose abbot supports the OCU, representatives of the UOC heard the following words: ‘We understand you, but you should also understand us.’ In other words, the monks of Simonopetra hinted that they are hostages of certain circumstances, therefore their ‘sympathy’ for the OCU is dictated by these circumstances, rather than by their own convictions,” he added.
Bishop Victor noted that a prerequisite for staying in a monastery, cell or skete of Athos is affiliation to the UOC; at the same time, most of the Athonite monks are very unhappy with the possible prospect of the OCU members settling on the Holy Mountain and are ready to do everything in their power to prevent this from happening.
“For example, the Konstamonitou abbot refuses to issue documents to representatives of the OCU, and in the cell, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the skete of St. Anna, our pilgrims were directly asked which Metropolitan they make a liturgical mention of during the service. Hearing the name of His Beatitude Onuphry, the monks declared that he is the only and canonical Metropolitan of Kyiv, the Primate of the Ukrainian Church,” he noted.
Bishop Victor added that a large number of Greek clergy and laity harshly criticize the recognition of the OCU by the Greek Orthodox Church.
“Among the believers in Greece there is a growing number of those who consider this decision to be erroneous. It is for this reason, as they say on Mount Athos, that the Hellenic Church did not send its representative to Kyiv at the invitation of the OCU during the celebration of the 1033th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus,” he added.
“It is obvious that given the path chosen by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, time will not only fail to heal this wound, but will only deepen it. Because this wound can only be cured by a conciliar decision. Until Phanar understands this, the Orthodox Church will suffer from schism,” concluded Bishop Victor.
As the UOJ previously reported, Bishop Victor stated that the Great Cross Procession is the day of unity of the UOC.