Moscow, October 17, Interfax - The Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate has warned the bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church about the consequences that the recognition by them of the non-canonical Church of Ukraine (the Orthodox Church of Ukraine - OCU) may have.
"The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church authorizes the Holy Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to stop mentioning His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece in the diptychs if the head of the Greek Orthodox Church starts mentioning in his services the head of one of Ukraine's schismatic groups or takes other actions indicating recognition by him of the Ukrainian church schism," the Synod said in a final document released during its extraordinary session held in Moscow on Thursday.
On October 12, the assembly of the hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church recognized the right of the Constantinople Patriarchate to grant autocephaly, in particular, to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was created in December 2018 with support from the Constantinople Patriarchate and the then-administration of Ukraine on the basis of two non-canonical religious organizations of the country. The new Church of Ukraine has until now not been recognized by any of the regional Orthodox churches except for Constantinople.
At the same time, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, having studied the details of the Assembly in Athens, doubted that the position of Archbishop Hieronymus was shared by the other Greek hierarchs, and also said that the votes of those who disagreed had been ignored at the forum, there had been no voting and an assembly document with the hierarchs' signatures was not available in public access.
In this regard, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church accused Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew of pressuring the Greek Orthodox Church and blocking any initiatives of the "Ukrainian issue."
"It is sad that the historical achievements of the Greek people in the dissemination of Orthodoxy are thus exchanged for immediately political benefits and support of geopolitical interests that are foreign to Church," the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in its statement.
"Such speculation on national feelings will not be a success, they cannot undermine the unity of our faith, which was paid for by the blood of new martyrs and confessors of our Churches, they will not interrupt the unity of our ascetic tradition, which was created by the deed of many priests and ascetic champions, they will not destroy the centuries-old friendship of the Greek and Slavic peoples, which was paid for by the blood of Russian warriors and strengthened in the common fight for the freedom of the brotherly Greek people," the Synod said.
Members of the Synod said they treasure the prayer communion with their brothers in the Greek Orthodox Church and they will continue "living prayer, canonical and Eucharistic communion with it through all those archbishops and priests who have already spoken and will later speak against the recognition of the Ukrainian schism, who will not tarnish themselves by co-service with the schismatic false hierarchs, but will show an example of Christian courage and steadfastness for Christian faith," the Synod said.
At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church stops prayer and Eucharistic communion with those hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church who have begun or will begin communion with representatives of Ukrainian "non-canonical schismatic communities" and does not bless pilgrimage to dioceses run by the said hierarchs.