Church of Greece concerned about upcoming pilgrimage of OCU "hierarchs"

07 November 2019 20:50
Cathedral of St. Andrew the First-Called in Patras. Photo: Cathedral of St. Andrew the First-Called in Patras. Photo:

Greek hierarchs are afraid of the further advancement of schism in the Orthodox Church and do not want to concelebrate with OCU representatives who are going to Greece.

On November 9-15, 2019, a delegation of the OCU headed by “hierarchs” Alexander Drabinko and Simeon Shostatsky intends to make a pilgrimage trip to the holy places of Greece. As follows from the trip programme, published on the website of the Kiev Transfiguration Cathedral of the OCU, "this will be the first big pilgrimage to Greece after the Greek Orthodox Church recognized our Orthodox Church of Ukraine".

As it became known to the UOJ from its own sources in Greece, the announced pilgrimage aroused extreme concern and indignation among the Greek hierarchs, who are not ready to "take responsibility for the consequences of the recognition of the autocephaly of the OCU by the Synod of the Church of Greece on October 12".

“In the Archdiocese of Athens here are many voices against the recognition of the OCU, although belated, and it is clear that they are not ready to take on all the burden of responsibility for the schism, which very quickly reaches the Hellenic clergy and believers who do not agree with this,” said the source.

One of the first metropolitans who opposed the intention of schismatic bishops to concelebrate in the holy places of Greece was Metropolitan Ephraim of Hydra, Spetses, and Aegina, who, according to the official pilgrimage program of the OCU, should allow them to worship in the Monastery of St. Nectarius of Aegina on his feast day.

Our source said that Metropolitan Ephraim unofficially contacted representatives of the OCU and asked them to refrain from concelebration in the monastery.

“This position of the metropolitan is due to the fact that among the clergy of his metropolis there is an extremely ambiguous attitude towards the OCU, and he feels responsible for a possible split,” the source emphasized. “He wants the Monastery of St. Nectarios to remain accessible to all Orthodox believers, which may be prevented by the fact of co-serving with representatives of the OCU.”

It also became known that near the Cathedral of St. Andrew the First-Called in Patras, which the “bishops of Epiphanius” intend to visit, a protest of believers is being prepared: people intend to prevent the schismatics even from entering one of the greatest shrines of the Orthodox world.

As reported, on November 3, 2019, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus did not commemorate Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Hellas as the Primate of one of the Local Churches, which means breaking Eucharistic communion with him.

The Russian Orthodox Church published a list of dioceses of the Greek Church, undesirable for pilgrimage and said that the Church will maintain communion with those Greek hierarchs who did not recognize the OCU.

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