Moscow, October 30, Interfax - Archbishop Hieronymus II of Athens and All Greece has sent a peace missive to Yepifaniy Dumenko, the head of the non-canonical new church of Ukraine (Orthodox Church of Ukraine, OCU), in which he de facto recognizes it.
The decision made by Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew on the creation of the OCU "brought joy to the Greek Church," he was quoted as saying by the OCU website. Archbishop Hieronymus congratulated Yepifaniy on behalf of the Church and wished him the assistance of the Holy Trinity.
The letter, which was published on Tuesday, was sent on October 21, four days after the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate warned that it would sever communion with the Greek hierarchs who recognized "the non-canonical schismatic communities" of Ukraine.
After reading the letter from the head of the Greek Church, in which he says it recognizes the OCU, the Department for External Church Relations of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church called what has happened backstabbing.
"We regret this decision, which contradicts the holy canons and the traditions of the Church, and it is also a big mistake, which harms Orthodoxy in Ukraine and pan-Orthodox unity. This decision is a knife in the back of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been suffering from a church schism for all these years and continues suffering because of schismatics today, defending the canonical order in the Church," the statement said.
The authors of the document said they regret that "the interests of Greek solidarity today have essentially become a manifestation of ethnophyletism being put above the interests of all the fullness of Orthodoxy. "It is a shame that geopolitical and political factors have prevailed over the Orthodox Church in Greece, which has been subjected to external pressure," the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.
At the same time, the authors of the statement thanked the archbishops, priests, monks, and laymen of the Greek Church who called on Archbishop Hieronymus not to recognize the OCU.
The synodal department said it regrets that by its actions to recognize the division the Greek Church leaves the issue of the possibility of further Eucharistic communion with it open, saying that a final decision on the possibility of further Eucharistic communion with the clergy of the Greek Church will be made by the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.