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Greek NGO: Church of Greece Recognized Ukrainian Autocephaly in Violation of Law

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Source: Helleniscope

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a prominent Orthodox theologian, who is among the staunchest opponents of the recognition of the autocephaly of Epiphany in Ukraine

By Nadia Bazuk

The Greek NGO Pan-Hellenic Orthodox Union is to appeal to the country’s Council of State claiming that the decision of the Church of Greece to recognize the Ukrainian autocephaly was taken in violation of Greek law, the Orthodoxos Typos reports.

On October 12, 2019, the Council of Bishops of the Church of Greece held an extraordinary meeting on recognizing the autocephaly granted to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. At the meeting, it was decided to give Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece a mandate to proceed with the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The Union demands that the decision of the Bishops’ Council taken on October 12, 2019, is annulled. The reason is that the Council acted in disregard for Greek laws, in particular, Article 19 of Regulation No. 1/1977 (Regarding the procedures of the Council of Bishops of the Church of Greece) since no secret or open voting took place and its result wasn’t supported by the majority of votes (2/3 of votes). Despite the minutes of the meeting were authenticated by the Council, the written text of the decision hasn’t been published yet.

The Church of Greece’s intention to recognize the OCU drew heavy criticism among theologians and clergymen. Thus, Metropolitan Symeon of Neo Smyrni addressed Archbishop Ieronymos and the Synod to stress that the Ukrainian autocephaly raises lots of questions and doubts.

In particular, he pays attention to the fact that it wasn’t requested by a canonical local Church and the schismatics or the so-called “self-consecrated” (the uncanonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) were recognized bypassing the canonical local Church. The Metropolitan also reminded that instead of unifying the faithful in Ukraine the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision only divided them since the “honorary patriarch” Filaret and a number of bishops split from the newly established OCU.

Earlier, the Greek Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira called upon the Bishops’ Council not to make hasty decisions on the Ukrainian issue. According to His Eminence, the Patriarch of Constantinople had no right to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church because it is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, which previously was recognized by Constantinople and the whole Orthodox world. The same point of view is expressed by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who has stated on numerous occasions that Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Russian Church.

Besides that, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem and Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus claimed the Ukrainian issue is a part of the geopolitical game that is played between the East and the West and leads to a split in the Orthodox world.

However, all these arguments were not considered by the Bishops’ Council of the Church of Greece.

Now, if the Council of State declares the bishops’ decision unlawful, the Church of Greece’s support for the OCU’s autocephaly might be revised. According to the Orthodoxos Typos, the hearing of the Pan-Hellenic Orthodox Union’s appeal is to be held on March 6, 2020.

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3 Comments

  1. Deceptive article with false information . The Holy Synod of The Church Of Greece met and considered the issue of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine but NOT as to accept it or reject it . But rather if the EP has the canonical right to declare Autocephaly and that the Archbishop of Greece was given the authority to act accordingly . After a long deliberation and presentations by the proper Synodial committees and papers by Academia , they DECIDED as ONE SYNOD that Indeed the EP has the exclusive right to declare autocephalous status and the Greek Archbishop is given the authority to decide about Ukraine . All that was decide by a huge and overwhelming majority . The Archbishop proceeded to inform the synod that he his in agreement with the EP on Ukraine . ISSUE IS DONE .
    Metropolitan of Peiraias , many times on record and on camera has said that the EP IS INDEED HAS THE SOLE AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TOMOS . Furthermore he has said that Ukraine is canonical territory of the EP . He disagrees with the way it was done.
    Metropolitan Ierothos of Naupaktos ( probably the biggest most respected Theologian in the Orthodox world today ) has opined many times in agreement with the EP and he was the main person behind the decisions of the Church of Greece .

  2. Excuse me, but this is all skata. The Russians & Ukrainians are cousins. They are the RUSS where St. Vladimir brought Orthodoxy to the RUSS in Kiev. Eventually, the capital of the RUSS retreated inward to Moscow which made the country easier to defend from enemies. Ask the Nazis. Anyway, the ROC and UOC were united. After Stalin who murdered millions of Ukrainians, the line in the sand was drawn. Ukraine vs Russia. The Canons are clear, where an established church exists in a territory, it is an AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH – not under any other church. AND, the Pat. of Istanbul DOES NOT have the sole authority to GRANT autocephaly. (You won’t find this in Orthodox Canon Law anywhere.) When churches have intercommunion with other autocephalous churches, THEY ARE ACCEPTED. If an autocephalous church is REJECTED, there must be GOOD canonical reasons why.

    In the UOC case, the ROC and the UOC have always had an intertwined relationship. With political issues between Russia & the Ukraine pulling them apart, it was normal fot the Ukrainians to want their own church that was completely autocephalous. HOWEVER, how the Ukrainians went about declaring they autocephaly was questionable. It was no wonder the ROC was angered by what Istanbul did (after Ukrainian oligarchs paid $75MM to +Bart for a Tomos). How to resolve this? A meeting of the Church must be called. + Bart DOES NOT have to call this, but the Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and other heads of autocephalous churches should.

  3. Some love to ignore historic facts and ecclesiastical history. Those defects combined lead to the current situation that Moscow has created in its continuous effort to assume the Protio. Some in various parts of the world love to amplify the Russian propaganda. Stand steadfast. Yesterday the Russian Embassy in Athens even took the unprecedented step to threaten a newspaper and its journalist about an article which was not to their liking. The day before, they had issued another threat to a book writer who exposed the Russian ecclesiastical agenda. The king is nude.

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