Officially: Albanian Orthodox Church does not recognize OCU

09 March 2019 00:52
His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasius of Tirana and All Albania His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasius of Tirana and All Albania

The Albanian Church has sent an official statement to Phanar on the “Ukrainian issue”.

The hierarchs of the Albanian Orthodox Church forwarded an official letter to the head of the Church of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew, in which they expressed their position on the “Ukrainian issue”, according to the Greek news agency Romfea.

The letter was a response to the message of Patriarch Bartholomew of December 24, 2018, in which he reported on the creation of a new structure – the OCU. The Synod of the Albanian Church considered the “Ukrainian issue” at its meeting on January 4, and on January 14, 2019 sent a message to Phanar outlining its official position on this issue.

The Synod of the Albanian Church questioned and criticized the legality of the episcopal ordination of the head of the OCU Epiphany and the rest of the "hierarchs" of the new structure.

“How is it possible, according to oikonomia, to recognize these ordinations as having the grace of the Holy Spirit, after all, these ordinations (of schismatics – Ed.) were blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The choice of the new Primate was the result of Filaret’s perseverance,” the statement says.

According to the hierarchs, it is impossible to “retroactively recognize ordinations, which were committed by excommunicated and anathematized Filaret (Denisenko) whose chirotonies are invalid, deprived of the grace and actions of the Holy Spirit.”

The bishops of the Albanian Church also reminded the Phanar’s head that in all cases in history when the Churches received autocephaly (Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Albania, the Czech lands and Slovakia), their episcopate was unanimous in their desire to receive the new status. In the Ukrainian case, however, there is no unity in the pursuit of autocephaly. On the contrary, the statement of the Albanian Church emphasizes that the largest confession of Ukraine – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy, refused to take part in the process of Tomos-granting. Moreover, this led to the conflict and breaking off the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In conclusion of his message, the bishop of the Albanian Orthodox Church called as soon as possible to convene the Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Churches, since "instead of reconciliation and unity of the Orthodox believers in Ukraine, we are all facing the danger of splitting the entire Orthodox world."

Recall that so far, none of the Local Churches (except for Constantinople) has recognized the OCU and the legitimacy of its “episcopate”. Most Autocephalous Churches were in favor of holding a Pan-Orthodox Council or Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Churches on the "Ukrainian issue".

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