25 November 2020, 16:03
Church of Cyprus's Synod supports recognition of new church of Ukraine
Moscow, November 25, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus has supported the decision by its head, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, to start commemorating Yepifaniy Dumenko, the primate of the uncanonical new church of Ukraine (OCU), in liturgies by a majority of votes.
The Church of Cyprus said in a statement on its website that, during the Synod's two sessions, on November 23 and 25, its members "extensively discussed the Ukrainian church issue and the problem that has arisen over Archbishop Chrysostomos's commemoration of Yepifaniy as the primate of the Church of Ukraine."
The Synod eventually resolved that it "does not object to the decision" by Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
At the same time, the Synod said it expected broader consultations involving all local Orthodox Churches to follow, "in order to overcome the current crisis, which is fraught with a schism of the Church of Christ."
Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos said the issue caused disagreement among the Synod's members, ten of them eventually voting in favor, and seven against the decision.
Hence, the Church of Cyprus has become the fourth church to have recognized the OCU's autocephaly, following in this respect the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Church of Greece, and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The Russian Orthodox Church has not recognized the OCU's autocephaly and regards it as uncanonical.
As reported earlier, during a liturgy at the Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery near Paphos on October 24, Archbishop Chrysostomos II commemorated Yepifaniy Dumenko among the primates of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches. The archbishop admitted later that he had not discussed his decision with the Synod members and that they had been unaware of it. A group of Cypriot bishops protested Archbishop Chrysostomos II's decision.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church resolved on November 20 that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia would cease the liturgical commemoration of the primate of the Church of Cyprus. The Synod also regretted Archbishop Chrysostomos II's act and pointed out that his decision is in conflict with the official statements he repeatedly made on the matter before, including in a letter to Patriarch Kirill on July 26, 2018, in which he said that "the Church of Cyprus will never backtrack on its position" and will "support the Russian Orthodox Church's position as much as it can as regards so-called autocephaly in Ukraine."