Cypriot hierarch speaks about his stance on the OCU after visiting Phanar
Metropolitan Isaiah said that he was against the decision of the Synod of the Cypriot Church to recognize the OCU due to the procedure by which this decision was made.
Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos of the Cypriot Orthodox Church spoke about his attitude towards the OCU and the “Ukrainian issue” after his recent visit to the Phanar, according to Romfea publication.
According to Metropolitan Isaiah, “from the moment the Ukrainian issue arose until today,” he always emphasized “his absolute respect and love for the martyric Patriarchate of Constantinople.”
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate is undoubtedly the Mother See (πρωτόθρονη – Ed.) Church in Orthodoxy. This is a true cradle of Byzantine culture and Orthodox theology. This reality, therefore, places on it a great responsibility of service, to which we all must contribute,” said Vladyka.
Metropolitan Isaiah believes “that as Orthodox Churches, we should not be locked in narrow canonical rules (κανονιστικών διατάξεων – Ed.). Moderation must prevail everywhere, but there must also be a struggle for the truths of faith and the predominance of the law."
He emphasized that “depending on the circumstances of the moment, we must adapt to current developments, always striving for the steadfast faith and the highest values of the salvation of souls and peace among people. In other words, everything has its limits, and hence the Church, being selective, depending on the circumstances, applies akribeia, strictness in one place and oikonomia, indulgence in another.”
The bishop noted that the position of neutrality of the Cypriot Church on the “Ukrainian issue” at that particular period “was motivated by our sincere attitude and concern for the predominance of peace in the Orthodox Church.”
He also said that "this position has been subject to various interpretations and comments over time", and it became clear eventually that "geopolitical events should not affect the unity of our Churches".
“This common concern for pan-Orthodox unity was also confirmed with great satisfaction during my visit to the Phanar,” the metropolitan said.
Vladyka said that when he arrived at Patriarch Bartholomew’s place, he “kissed his hand and, in addition to what we said to each other, I sincerely assured him that I would always be at his disposal both as a person and as a bishop.” He added that the trip to Phanar "was also blessed by my elder, Metropolitan Nikoforos of Kykkos and Tillyria."
The Metropolitan assured Patriarch Bartholomew that “the work he is doing cannot be underestimated,” and emphasized that he needed to communicate with the head of the Phanar “in order to calmly and spiritually continue his work.”
“Now, with regard to my position regarding the decisions of the Cypriot Church on this issue, I clearly state that obedience to them is an obligation for every member of our Holy Synod, who respects our Synodal system. I can't give you a clearer answer than this one. Obedience to the Holy Synod,” said Metropolitan Isaiah.
When asked by a journalist how one can talk about obedience to the decisions of the Holy Synod on the “Ukrainian issue” and not concelebrate with Archbishop Chrysostomos because of this, Vladyka replied:
“First of all, let me make it clear that the participation of bishops in communal worship is very important, but not doctrinally obligatory, unless the Holy Synod itself makes it so. Thus, the question of obedience to the decisions of the Holy Synod has nothing to do with whether a bishop concelebrates with another bishop. What matters is whether he recognizes and mentions his Primate as the head of the Holy Synod, and whether he regularly participates in the meetings of the Synod, adhering to its decisions.
“So your non-participation in the Synodal meetings has nothing to do with your attitude to the Ukrainian issue?” the journalist asked the hierarch, to which he replied:
“My reasons for abstaining were related to the way decisions and procedures were made. I clarified this issue with His Beatitude (Patriarch Bartholomew – Ed.), and now, taking into account the information that we have today, this matter is considered closed for me.”
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that Metropolitan Isaiah said that during his visit to the Phanar, he was presented with legal and historical arguments that allowed the Phanar to recognize the OCU.