On October 29, it became known that the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of Athens and All Hellas, Jerome sent the head of the non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine a letter No. 4751 (dated October 21) in which the Orthodox Chuech of Greece de-facto recognized the non-canonical Ukrainian entity.
Statement of the UOC DECR on the recognition of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” by the Orthodox Church of Greece (source):
On Saturday, October 12, 2019, a meeting of the Council of the Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church of Greece took place, during which His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece proposed that the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”(“OCU”) be officially recognised. The “OCU” is an anti-canonical parallel structure established to challenge the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). The Hierarchy of the Orthodox Church of Greece has endowed Archbishop Ieronymos II withthe right to commence the commemoration of the head of the newly formed schismatic structure in the diptychs during Church services. On October 29, 2019, it became known that Archbishop Ieronymos II had actually sent a letter #4751 to the Head of the so-called “OCU” on October 21, 2019, in which the Church of Greece for all intents and purposes had stated its recognition of the newly formed quasi-Church structure.
In connection with this, the UOC DECR has been authorised to state the following:
We regret this decision, which contradicts the sacred canons and traditions of the Church, and which is a grave error that harms both Orthodoxy in Ukraine and Pan-Orthodox unity as well. The said decision is a knife in the back of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which has suffered much as a result of the Church schism over the years, and which continues to suffer at the hands of schismatics today – in its attempts to uphold the canonical order in the Church.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has on umpteen occasions communicated its position to the Primate and Episcopate of the Orthodox Church of Greece about the true situation that exists in the Church environment of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Orthodox Church of Greece has instead illustrated its solidarity with the erroneous actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
It is, indeed, most unfortunate that in the interests of this Greek solidarity, manifestations of ethnophyletism has made its appearance today; which has outweighed the interests of World Orthodoxy as a whole. It is a pity that geopolitical and political factors have taken precedence in the Orthodox Church of Greece; which has finally succumbed to external pressure.
At the same time, we express our heartfelt gratitude to those stalwart hierarchs, priests, monks and laymen of the Orthodox Church of Greece who have spoken out boldly and valiantly in defence of Christ’s truth and the canonical order in the Church , urging Archbishop Ieronymos II and the rest of the hierarchy of the Greek Church to refrain from acting hastily.
Throughout the long history of the Orthodox Church, especially in the epoch of the Ecumenical Councils, but not limited to, there have been many instances when adherents of heresies and schisms have gained temporary victories over the Church. However, sooner or later the time comes when truth of Christ prevails. We have no doubt that this will be the case this time, as well, even if we have to wait a very long while.
It is unfortunate that by its actions in recognising the schism, and entering into liturgical communion with people who have not been canonically ordained, the Greek Church has raised concerns about the future of our further eucharistic communion with it.
The final decision regarding the possibility of continuing to be in Eucharistic communion with and concelebrating alongside the clergy of the Orthodox Church of Greece will be made by the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).
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