Alexandria Patriarchate on the ROC Exarchate: This is an unexpected revenge

12 January 18:01
Patriarch Theodore. Photo: Patriarch Theodore. Photo:

The Synod of the Church of Alexandria accused the Russian Church of ethnophyletism and claims to global primacy on the African continent.

On January 12, 2022, the Holy Synod of the Alexandrian Patriarchate issued a statement regarding the creation of the Exarchate by the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa, according to the publication.

The Synodals noted that “with a sense of responsibility before their flock and their long historical apostolic course,” the hierarchy of the Alexandrian Patriarchate “repeatedly and comprehensively considered the canonical parameters of the non-canonical and anti-ecclesiastical invasion of the Patriarchate of Russia with the aim of creating new ‘church forms in Africa’.”

The Alexandrian Patriarchate noted that after Patriarch Theodore recognized the "autocephaly" of the OCU, "we were unexpectedly confronted with a non-canonical and illegal invasion and trespass of the Russian Church", which for this end used methods being "contrary to church practice and tradition that all predecessors of Patriarch Kirill of Russia would follow."

The Synod of the Church of Alexandria is convinced that the creation of the Exarchate of the ROC in Africa is "direct retribution" (for the recognition of the OCU by Patriarch Theodore – Ed.) and "blackmail or revenge against us."

The synodals were outraged by the fact that the Exarchate was established by virtue of the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church, rather than "on canonical provisions within the boundaries of the Patriarchate of Alexandria."

The Church of Alexandria assures that the Exarchate includes clergymen "who are either outside the state or are in schism." In addition, according to the document, it also includes other persons "of unknown origin who call themselves Orthodox, but have never belonged to the Alexandrian Patriarchate."

“These actions are attempting to change Orthodox ecclesiology in many of its individual parameters, but primarily in terms of the boundaries of the administrative structure of formations of the Church of Christ, based on the motive being far from Orthodox Tradition. We understand with regret that all this is due to the ‘virus of ethnophyletism’, condemned by the Council of 1872," stressed the synodals of the Alexandrian Patriarchate, the overwhelming majority of whom are Greeks.

They accused the ROC of a "secular spirit", a desire for "neo-colonialism" and "a claim to global primacy on the poor African continent, which does not correspond to the sacrificial spirit of our consecrated Orthodox tradition in ministry."

In this regard, the Synod of the Alexandrian Patriarchate expressed "huge resentment" toward Patriarch Kirill and the "Synod of the Russian Church around him."

“For us, ‘following our holy fathers,’ the boundaries of each Local Church are clear, geographic, mapped by the Ecumenical Councils and respected. We declare that we have never invaded any Local Sister Church, let alone the Russian Church. We are surprised at this not only because the message of gospel love is hence distorted, but also because fighting and cooperating with various denominations and religions in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding for centuries, we've been dealt a disgusting blow from Russian co-religionists," the document says.

The Church of Alexandria claims that "these methods grossly violate the essence of our Orthodox faith, notably in such a sensitive area as the mission in Africa, which, in the words of Paul, ‘is given milk, not solid theological food,’ which is the guiding principle and yardstick in our apostolic mission."

To this end, the Alexandrian Patriarchate decided to inform the Phanar and the Primates of the Local Churches about the "painful confusion occurring among 'children born of us in Christ', faithful Africans, as a result of the visible and invisible actions of the authorized persons of the Russian Church."

In addition, the synodals pledged to "properly" and "immediately" apply to violators those ecclesiastical punishments that were "prescribed by the Divine and Holy Canons."

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the ROC established the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa. Later, the Church of Alexandria expressed "deep sorrow" over the creation of the Exarchate, while Phanar promised  it would do everything possible to restore canonical order in Africa.

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