Nicosia, Cyprus, May 15, 2019
Following his meeting with the primates of the ancient Antiochian, Alexandrian, and Jerusalem Churches one month ago, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has announced that he will also visit the primates of the Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian Churches in the coming days to discuss the Ukrainian issue.
Abp. Chrysostomos has several times expressed his willingness and desire to act as a mediator in the ongoing dispute arising from Constantinople’s ill-conceived invasion of Ukrainian Church territory. He met with Patriarch Bartholomew along with Abp. Anastasios in Salzburg on March 2 to discuss ways to avoid a schism, though Pat. Bartholomew remained resolute as ever in his unilateral moves.
The Greek and Bulgarian Churches have yet to take any stance on the Ukrainian issue, while the Serbian was the first after the Russian Church to respond and, along with the Polish Church, has given the strongest response, rejecting Constantinople’s October decision to rehabilitate two Ukrainian groups that had schismed from the Russian Church and refusing communion with them. The Serbian Church also does not recognize the “unification council” that created the new schismatic church or the tomos of autocephaly given to the new group in January by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
The Holy Synod of the Cypriot Church has expressed strong reservations about how Constantinople received the clergy of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” without re-ordination, given that both groups lack Apostolic succession and the grace of the priesthood.
The announcement on the official site of the Cypriot Orthodox Church comes against the background of false media reports that Pat. Bartholomew demanded, or requested, that His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania be excluded from the talks of the primates on the Ukrainian issue due to his public disagreement with Pat. Bartholomew over Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.
Abp. Chrysostomos notes that no such direction was given by Constantinople, and that he has kept Abp. Anastasios in the loop concerning his discussions with other primates. He also notes that Abp. Anastasios spoke with the primates of the ancient Churches on the telephone during their recent meeting in Cyprus.
The Cypriot Archbishop also intends to inform his Albanian counterpart of the results of his upcoming meetings with His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, and His Holiness Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria.
Abp. Chrysostomos also condemned such false media reports, noting that they benefit no one.
Moreover, a report published by orthodoxias.gr yesterday states that Abp. Chrysostomos plans to visit His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to propose that Synaxis of the Primates be called at which Pat. Kirill would propose offering autocephaly to the canonical Ukrainian Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This would hypothetically happen after the ground has been prepared for Pat. Bartholomew to accept such a proposal.
However, according to the report, Abp. Chrysostomos acknowledges that it would be very difficult for both patriarchs to accept this plan.
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