I am not a bishop: Vatopedi hegumen says why he doesn’t protest against OCU
Abbot Ephraim stated he loves Russian believers very much and regrets the ongoing division between Phanar and the Russian Church, but there is nothing he can do to help.
On November 23, 2021, the abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery on the Holy Mount Athos, Archimandrite Ephraim (Kutsu), stated that he is not protesting against the OCU because he is not a bishop.
During an online meeting with the abbot of Vatopedi, one of the participants told Archimandrite Ephraim (video – from the 59th minute) that when the Church split occured in Ukraine, a lot of Russian believers expected the Holy Mountain to express resentment with this event.
"It simply came to our notice then. Because of this, many in Russia decided that the Holy Mountain supported the schism. We have known you as an elder for a long time, and we know that the unity of the Church is as valuable to you as it is to us. But it hurts us that our compatriots, who do not know you, do not believe it. What would you advise us to do or say in such situations?” the participant of the online meeting asked.
Answering this question, abbot Ephraim stated that he was a monk, not a bishop, and that he had no leadership position in the Church. According to him, "decisions in the Church are neither made by me nor by any other of the Holy Mount abbots," as "this is the business of the synods."
“I pray for the unity of the Church. If I could be of some help, I would definitely help. It is not good that there is such a division and distance between us and our Churches now. However, everyone has to pray now,” said Archimandrite Ephraim.
He also assured that he loves Russian believers very much, prays for everyone and tries to help as much as possible when they ask for something.
"We receive everyone who comes here. But the issue you have raised is the purview of bishops and synods. I believe there will be a day when this issue will be resolved. You just have to be a little patient,” the Vatopedi hegumen summed up.
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that according to Abbot Ephraim, Athos cannot help in the conflict between Phanar and the ROC.