Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Moscow, November 13 (Interfax) - Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and the archbishops of the Churches of Alexandria and Cyprus were given envelopes following a liturgy service in Limassol, Cyprus, where Patriarch Theodoros mentioned the head of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Yepifaniy; the envelopes contained letters with pictures of Theodoros and Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev, a fragment of the fresco Kiss of Judas, and the text "Onufry is a metropolitan, Yepifaniy is a schismatic, and Theodoros is a Judas," Orthodox Christian blogger Alexander Voznesensky wrote on Facebook.

"The situation is as follows: Theodoros personally mentioned Yepifaniy in a liturgy in Limassol, despite the requests of the Cypriot clergy. After that, all the bishops and priests received an envelope containing this picture," Voznesensky said.

A senior priest of the Alexandria Patriarchate tore the letter up in the street and Theodoros "escaped to avoid the attention of the crowd." At the same time, according to Voznesensky, many Cypriot priests "said thank you and that everything had been done most correctly, saying they were informed about the problem and did not support Theodoros."

It was reported last week that Patriarch Theodoros, the head of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, had recognized the OCU, mentioning in a liturgy its leader Yepiphaniy as head of one of the local Orthodox churches.

Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece recognized the OCU in late October, despite opposition from his own bishops.

The patriarch of Alexandria is second in honorific rank after the Constantinople patriarch among representatives of local Orthodox churches. Until recently, Patriarch Theodoros was known as one of the main defenders of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine.

The OCU was created in December 2018 with assistance from the Constantinople Patriarchate and the administration of Ukraine, which was then led by Pyotr Poroshenko.

OCA adds auxiliary bishops

(OCA) - The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, meeting under the presidency of His Beatitude at its Regular Fall Session, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, elected Archimandrite Alexis (Trader) as Bishop-elect of Bethesda, Auxiliary to the Metropolitan for Stavropegial Institutions, and Hieromonk Andrei (Hoarste) as Bishop-elect of Cleveland, Auxiliary to His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Episcopate. He's a bishop of institutions? To what location is he affixed?

Archimandrite Alexis [Trader] is a Great-schema hieromonk who has returned from Greece to the United States on His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon’s invitation and with the blessing of his abbot, Archimandrite Philotheos, in order to serve the Orthodox Church in America. He was received into the Orthodox faith at the Monastery of Saint Tikhon where he became a monk and lecturer in patristics. After ten years at the monastery, he went to the Monastery of Karakallou on the Holy Mountain in order to deepen his experience of the monastic life. There, he immersed himself in the life of community and was ordained to the holy priesthood. He also wrote “In Peace Let us Pray to the Lord”, translated several Greek books into English, and edited other books in both Greek and English for publication. For health reasons, he was transferred to a women’s monastery that was also a dependency of Karakallou. There, the local bishop blessed him to be a spiritual father for the community that also served as a parish for many Greeks in the area. At this time, he completed his doctoral dissertation in Greek at the University of Thessaloniki which was later published in Greek and English as “Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy”. He has also engaged in further studies in clinical psychology, but his chief work has been pastoral, building up the parish growing around the monastery and offering one-on-one assistance to those in need through the mystery of holy confession and counseling. Since 2019, Archimandrite Alexis has been in residence at the Monastery of Saint Tikhon. During this past year, he has given a talk on the ascetic ethos of Orthodox liturgical art for a music conference at Jewel College, lectures on the Prophet Isaiah at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [STOTS], in Alaska for their continuing education programs, a lecture on beauty in Church architecture at the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement’s [OISM] latest gathering at STOTS, and sermons in parishes and at the monastery Church.

Hieromonk Andrei Hoarște was born in 1982 into an Orthodox Christian family in Făgăraș, Romania. At the age of 15, he moved with his family to the United States where they established their home in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, becoming members of Sts. Peter & Paul Romanian Orthodox Church. While completing his high school and undergraduate studies, he was active in the life of the parish and Episcopate. In September 2004, with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, he began pursuing theological studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, graduating in 2008 with a Master of Divinity Degree and working at the same time for the Master of Theology Degree. In October 2010, he commenced doctoral studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, Italy, earning a Doctorate of Theology Degree in June 2019 in the field of dogmatic/liturgical studies. He was ordained into the Holy Diaconate in September 2012 and then the Holy Priesthood that December by Archbishop Nathaniel, who subsequently appointed him to lead the Episcopate’s Department of Youth & Young Adult Ministry in 2013 and then as Vicar of Canada in 2014 to assist with the administrative and pastoral responsibilities of the Episcopate. At the request of Archbishop Nathaniel and in accordance with the ROEA By-Laws, the Church Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America in Special Electoral Session elected him as a candidate for the office of Auxiliary Bishop on August 31, 2019. On October 13, 2019, he received the monastic tonsure and was given the name Andrei.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Armenian priest and father shot by IS in Syria

(Vatican News) - Gunmen shot dead an Armenian Catholic priest and his father as they were traveling in a car in northeastern Syria. The attack was claimed by the so-called Islamic State group.

Father Hovsep Bedoyan, the head of the Armenian Catholic community in the the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli near the border with Turkey, and his father, Abraham Bedoyan, were heading to the province of Deir Al-Zor when they came under attack on Monday, November 11.

The two men were reportedly due to oversee the restoration of a church in Deir Al-Zor.

A third man, a deacon from the town of Al-Hasakeh, was reportedly wounded in the attack.

The Kurdish-controlled area in eastern Syria is overseen by US soldiers who have still to pull out from the oil-rich territory, which lies east of the Euphrates River.

Also on Monday , two separate bombings in Qamishli, one of them close to a Chaldean church, reportedly killed at least six people and wounded twenty two others.

The Armenian Catholic community in Syria is a small one, but it goes back centuries having been officially recognized in 1742. Today it counts some 600,000 faithful. It is a “sui iuris” (autonomous or self-governing) patriarchal Church which is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

More than 100,000 ethnic Armenians lived in Syria, mainly in the northwestern province of Aleppo, prior to the Syrian civil war. Many of them have fled, including thousands to Armenia.

Islamic State militants persecuted Christians and displaced tens of thousands of them when it ruled large parts of Iraq and Syria.

A long list of priests and religious killed in Syria

Father Bedoyan is the most recent in a long list of priests and religious who have been killed or who have disappeared in the region since Syria spiralled into war; like the Dutch Jesuit Father Frans Van der Lugt, who was shot in Homs in 2015, and Franciscan Father Francois Murad, who was beheaded by so-called Islamic State militants in 2013.

Amongst those who were abducted and whose traces have been lost, there is Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio who disappeared in Raqqa in 2013; two Orthodox Bishops, Bulos Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped in the north-west of the country; as well as Armenian Catholic Father Michel Kayyal and Orthodox Father Maher Mahfuz, both from Aleppo.

The Consecration of His Grace Bishop James of Sonora

(ROCOR-WAD) - On November 6, 2019, Bishops, clergy and faithful of various Orthodox jurisdictions gathered in San Francisco, California, to celebrate the Patronal Feast of the Diocesan Cathedral of the Western American Diocese in honor of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Joy of All Who Sorrow.”

The solemnity of the Feast was especially auspicious as on this day a new auxiliary bishop of Western American Diocese was consecrated – His Grace Bishop James (Corazza) of Sonora.

Romanians celebrate new church in San Antonio

(ROMA) - Sunday, November 3, 2019 represented the fulfillment of a great and beautiful dream for the Romanian Orthodox community of San Antonio, Texas. HE Metropolitan Nicolae along with several priests officiated the service of the blessing of the water and the Divine Liturgy for the first time in the new church of the parish, placed under the protection of St. John Cassian.

The Romanian parish of St. John Cassian of San Antonio continued the mission started in 2002 by a group of Romanian and American Orthodox Christians from ​​San Antonio area under the pastoral care of Fr. Julian Aniței. The new St. John Cassian Mission was registered and started operating in February 2014. From February 2016, Father Valentin Ilieș received the blessing of HE Archbishop Nicolae to serve at this Mission. Surrounded by a handful of faithful and courageous people, Father Valentin set out for the pastoral and administrative organization of the Mission. The services began in a space rented from a Presbyterian Church on Ramsey Road in San Antonio, a space adorned for the needs of the Orthodox services. On June 2018, Father Valentin has been appointed parish priest of this community.

The enthusiasm of the priest and the believers continued and soon a land was purchased for the construction of a future Romanian Orthodox church. HE Metropolitan Nicolae served the blessing of the foundation stone service for the new church in March 2018. The multitude of difficulties regarding the construction of a church on this piece of land forced the community to abandon this project. But God listened to their prayers and they found a Baptist church located at 1801 Thorain Blvd, San Antonio, TX. After an exemplary mobilization the community managed to buy this church and begin its consolidation and adorning according to the Orthodox tradition.

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, the parish priest and the faithful of St. John Cassian parish welcomed HE Metropolitan Nicolae for the service of the blessing of the water and the first Divine Liturgy in the new church building. Together with HE Nicolae served Fr. Valentin Ilieș, the parish priest, Fr. Dumitru Ilieș from St. Mary’s parish of Austin, TX, and Hieromonk Petru Pruteanu from Portugal. At the time of the sermon, HE Nicolae explained the Gospel of the day: “The parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus speaks to us about a reality of the world we live in and where we have the chance to work a communion with God and with others and about a reality of the future life about which we would sometimes choose to ignore, that of heaven and hell. The gratitude for the benefits of God poured out upon us, the gratitude shown in caring for others, has a correspondent in the afterlife where we continue to enjoy the communion begun here."

"Enjoy your new home now" continued HE Nicolae, encouraging the faithful to continue the beautiful activity they started. The new house is proper to be adorned with the souls of the believers, with their presence at the services and activities proposed for children, youth and adults. After the service there was a moving artistic moment in which children recited poems and sang on the theme of the Romanian Village in this Homage Year established by the Romanian Patriarchate.

We ask God to bless the work of the Romanian Orthodox community in San Antonio and to reward them for their sacrifice for the Christ’s Church.

Liquidation of UOC-KP continues amidst violence

(RISU) - The Sixth Court of Appeal of Kyiv approved to continue the liquidation of the UOC-KP.

According to the correspondent of Religiyna Pravda (Religious Truth) who is in the court, the respective decision was made at meeting on November 11, despite pressure from supporters of Filaret who attacked the court, broke the doors, furniture and had a fight with law-enforcement.

As noted, the court decided to cancel the previous decision to secure the claim, that is, fully sided with the Ministry of Culture and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Supporters of Filaret gathered in the morning of November 11 in the center of Kyiv to protest against the liquidation of the UOC-KP. From the European square, they went to the Cabinet of Ministers where transferred the address then moved to court where there was a fight.

They then headed to Bankova street for the office of the President.

Are things tied up now?

When two Carpatho-Rusyn priests under the EP left for ROCOR it was widely seen as laudable. When two ROCOR priests leave for GOARCH it's “betraying the trust and love of his archpastors" apparently.

Regardless of where you stand on these jurisdictional shifts, it's received as a scandal by the faithful.

( - Last month, the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia announced that Archimandrite Alexander Belya, “betraying the trust and love of his archpastors, led the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow in Dania Beach, FL, and St. Nicholas Monastery in North Fort Myers, FL, out of the structure of the canonical authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

Belya and his brother Ivan were under investigation for a number of serious accusations, and it is known that Alexander attempted to get himself confirmed as a bishop of ROCOR by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, despite the fact that he had not been nominated by the ROCOR hierarchs. He was actually confirmed I believe, but this was rescinded when ROCOR informed Moscow that they had not made any such request.

Alexander ignored his suspension and continued serving, now commemorating Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese of America of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He also announced that the Greek Archdiocese had taken control of the parish.

Unfortunately, the situation has repeated itself in New York, this time with Archpriest Alexander Belya, the father of Archimandrite Alexander and Ivan.

On October 24/November 6, on behalf of the Eastern American Diocese, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), the First Hierarch of ROCOR, issued a notice stating,

It is our sorrowful duty to confirm to parishioners and friends of Saint John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, that the suspended Archpriest Alexander Belya, formerly rector of the parish, turning his back on his native and persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with whom the Russian Church Abroad is in full accord, has uncanonically departed from his ecclesiastical obedience and, in defiance of all Church order, illegitimately fled to the homophorion of a hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with which we are not presently in communion. As ROCOR did with the ACROD clergy when they sought no canonical release and would not accept one when offered, but instead took both men in without any paperwork.

This flight represents a violation of the vows given at his ordination and “has necessarily resulted in his canonical suspension from all canonical and administrative duties,” Met. Hilarion writes.

A full and final decision will be rendered by a spiritual court in the future.

“The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia laments this sorrowful betrayal of his Church and of his flock by the suspended Archpriest Alexander, who has placed himself in collaboration with a diocese external to the Church Abroad, which has no canonical or legal authority whatsoever to legitimize this schismatic act,” the notice reads.

Met. Hilarion also warns his flock “that following such individuals into schism or receiving sacraments from their hands is to place one’s own soul in profound peril,” calling on the faithful to begin attending other ROCOR parishes.

In conclusion, Met. Hilarion writes:

We urge the faithful of Saint John the Forerunner Cathedral to remain steadfast in this time of trial, secure in the knowledge that our Diocese and our Church will not leave its God-preserved flock destitute or uncared-for in the face of this sorrow. We do not put our trust “in princes or in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation,” as the Psalmist says, but in God Who is undivided and always protects those who abhor schism and personal gain, remaining steadfast spiritual children of our beloved Church.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Africa turns towards OCU

(Orthodox Times) - Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria notified by letter the members of the Hierarchy of the Alexandrian Throne that he recognised the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The letter was sent today from Alexandria to all the Metropolitans and Bishops.

Patriarch Theodore noted that “after having discussed the issue at length and in private with all of you, on the basis of careful consideration and much prayer […] we decided to recognise the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

And also...

(Orthodox Times) - After the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, who first commemorated with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the name of the new Metropolitan of Kyiv, follows Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria who commemorated Metropolitan Epifaniy, thus recognizing the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The commemoration took place during the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in Cairo at the Temple of the Archangels in Dahir, where Egypt’s largest Arabic-speaking Orthodox community lives.

“From here in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, I would like to refer to a great event for our Church. The Patriarchate of Alexandria, the second in rank, after much prayer and consideration, in the presence of the Holy Hierarchs, in the presence of His Excellency Ambassador of Greece, I would like to officially announce that our Patriarchate included today the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine and His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy.”

“I have served for so many years in the Church, and I know that from today, with the mercy of God, the solution to this great issue for our Church will be in sight. Unity, love, hope, will come,” the Patriarch of Alexandria pointed out, concluding that “through our struggles, our efforts, we will see Christ be in our midst.”

Afterwards, the Exarch of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Athens, Metropolitan Georgios of Guinea, read the official announcement signed by the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Theodore II.

The Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa had recently been in the spotlight, with stifling pressure being exerted on the part of the Russian Church.

Patriarch Theodore had a wait-and-see attitude avoiding taking a public position on the issue. However, both he and the people close to him had made it clear from the first moment that at the appropriate time the Patriarchate of Alexandria would make a move corresponding to its position and history, making clear, implicitly but necessarily, that the Patriarchate of Alexandria did not intend to succumb to the pressures.

Finally, as it turned out today, the Patriarch of Alexandria proceeded with this bold move which, based on what the Russian Church has done so far at the expense of Constantinople and Athens, will place him in the firing line of Russian retaliation.

Official announcement of Patriarchate of Alexandria

“In the past month, we took note of the willingness of the Holy brethren Hierarchs to recognise the Autocephaly Tomos granted by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch to the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine.

As is well known, our Holy Catholic Orthodox Church is governed under the synodical system, as inherited by the tradition and the Holy Ecumenical Councils. To this end, the presidents of the local church councils are the synthesis of its members.

Consequently, we, as a constituent and effective principle of the willingness of the Holy brethren Hierarchs, commemorated and included in the diptychs of the Catholic Orthodox Church, the Primate of Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, while wholeheartedly praying for peace and stability of our Orthodox Churches”.

Moscow strikes third Primate from commemorations

Moscow, November 8 (Interfax) - The recognition of the new "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" (OCU) by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa makes it impossible for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to commemorate his name during services, the Moscow Patriarchate said.

"The Russian Orthodox Church is deeply saddened by the reports on Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria's decision to recognize Yepifaniy Dumenko as the leader of the 'Orthodox Church of Ukraine' and commemorate his name in the Church of Alexandria's diptychs. This means that the name of the Patriarch of Alexandria can no longer be commemorated during patriarchal services in the Russian Orthodox Church," Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax on Friday.

Fr. John Whiteford contra Aristotle Papanikolaou

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Metropolis of Chicago launches program for HS graduates

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL, October 31, 2019 (GOARCH-Chicago) – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago announced today a new ministry for high school graduates called Lighthouse. Lighthouse aims to prepare campers for the social, emotional, practical, and spiritual challenges they will encounter in their college experience and beyond.

Named “Lighthouse,” the ministry was developed through the Metropolis’ Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministries (Y2AM Chicago) and is intended to be the natural next step for campers who attended both St. Mary’s Orthodox Camp and Fanari Camp. The ministry was created to address and respond to the troubling reality that approximately 60 percent of youth are leaving Christianity (including the Orthodox Church) in America today.

Specifically, Lighthouse will organize, promote, and execute an annual camp staffed with clergy and laity trained to proactively engage the age group and foster an authentic sense of community among campers as Orthodox Christians. The first Lighthouse camp will run from June 7 - 14 at Carthage College.

“As the Light of the world, it is Christ who shines within us,” said His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael. “Through Lighthouse, our emerging adults will learn how to kindle that same Light as they enter the rough waters of adulthood."

Registration for Lighthouse will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at For questions and more information, please email Y2AM Chicago at Please follow Lighthouse on Instagram and Facebook @lighthousechicago).

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

OISM hosted at St. Tikhon’s

(STOTS) - On the first weekend in November, over forty visiting guests from Orthodox seminaries across North America descended on South Canaan, Pennsylvania. Representatives from Saint Herman’s, Saint Vladimir’s, Christ the Saviour, Holy Trinity, and Hellenic College Holy Cross gathered for the biannual Orthodox Inter-Seminary (OISM) Retreat, hosted by Saint Tikhon’s.

According to the group’s constitution, OISM exists “in order to create a closer fellowship among students enrolled in Orthodox Christian schools of theological education of all jurisdictions, to affirm our common traditions and gain an appreciation of other cultures and traditions, to promote understanding and unity among all Orthodox Christians, to build a network for future clerical and lay cooperation.” The organization was first gathered over half a century ago, participating in what were usually called “Encounters” by the seminarians in those days.

OISM’s recent reinstitution was the fruit of the efforts of Archbishop — then Father — Michael (Dahulich). In 2003, he invited students from each of the Orthodox seminary campuses to Saint Tikhon’s, and within a year, officer positions were filled and the students were taking the reins of the organization.

At the Spring 2019 Retreat at Saint Vladimir’s, OISM President Isaac Lampart (STOTS ‘19) passed on the torch to Paul Murray (HCHC ‘20), who worked with a host of school representatives, including OISM Treasurer Peter Simko (STOTS ‘21), to organize the Fall Retreat with the theme, “Christ: Beauty Incarnate.” Over the next several months, the OISM Board--along with the help of several generous donors and dozens of STOTS students, faculty, and staff--labored to prepare a successful event, featuring three wonderful speakers in the Very Reverend Archimandrite Doctor Alexis (Trader), Doctor Timothy Patitsas, and Jonathan Pageau.

On earnest Russian efforts in Indonesia

(ROCOR) - On Saturday, November 2, 2019, in the Church of St Thomas in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, an assembly of clergymen of the Indonesian Mission was held. Chaired by His Grace Bishop George of Canberra, Vicar of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand of ROCOR, the meeting included by invitation the Patriarchal Exarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Sergy of Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Bishop George began the meeting by relaying the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Metropolitan Hilarion. During the meeting, Bishop George explained the state of affairs in the mission and announced the establishment by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of a Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia, consisting of four dioceses: Singapore, Korea, Thailand and Philippines-Vietnam. The Republic of Indonesia in within the canonical bounds of the Singapore Diocese, headed by Metropolitan Sergy.

Bishop George then answered questions and led a general discussion. The assembly made the decision to unite with the new Singapore Diocese due to the lack of diocesan structures in Indonesia and for pastoral reasons. It was clarified that such a transfer accords with the Act of Canonical Communion of 2007, which anticipated the consolidation of diocesan structures in cases where it corresponded with pastoral needs.

“The next stage in the establishment of the Orthodox Church in Indonesia has begun,” noted Vladyka Sergy. “We still have a great deal of work to do. The potential for the Orthodox Church in this region is enormous, and we see this in the attitude of the clergymen and flock. This new step will demand a great deal of love, faith, diligence and sacrifice, because the work here bears a missionary character.”

On November 3, the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, the Indonesian clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated Divine Liturgy at the church. Metroplitan Sergy and Bishop George officiated, and were joined by ten priests and two deacons.

According to local tradition, the services were sung by all the parishioners in the Indonesian language.

Vladyka George delivered the sermon, noting that today’s celebration coincided with the namesday of Metropolitan Hilarion, who has headed the Australian Diocese for several decades and did a great deal to benefit the faithful of Indonesia.

Metopolitan Sergy then noted that the joint service bears witness to the unity of the Church of Christ, and that the clergy and laity shared a common Chalice. “As the Holy Fathers say—there is one God, one faith, one Church. The Lord will always help those who are united together for the common good. He is pleased when people live according to the law of love, and strive for unity. The Orthodox Church in Indonesia is very young, and I believe that if we are guided by the commandment of love in our lives and if we preserve unity, this will lay the foundation for spiritual victory.”

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Most of Russian parishes in W. Europe now under Moscow

Moscow, November 1 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has signed a patriarchal and synodal document restoring the unity between the traditional Archdiocese of Russian parishes in Western Europe and the Russian Orthodox Church at the Throne Hall of the Patriarchal Residence at St. Daniel Monastery in Moscow on November 1.

The document was signed in two copies. One is to be handed to the Archdiocese leader Archbishop John (Renneteau) on November 3, while the other will be deposited in the archives of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church website stated.

The ceremony was attended by the head of the Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion, the patriarchate's manager Bishop Dionysius and his deputy Bishop Savva, and head of foreign missions Metropolitan Antonius.

The event will be marked by festivities in Moscow on November 2-4, to be attended by an Archdiocese delegation led by Archbishop Jonn (Renneteau) of Dubna.

For 90 years the Archdiocese, also known as the "Russian Exarchate" was subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which abolished it late last year prompting it to seek new options of its canonical existence. One involved reuniting with the Russian Church.

The exarchate was admitted into the Russian Church on October 7 this year.

Russian commemoration of Greek primate ceased

(Orthodox Times) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, after having stopped commemorating Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, did the same thing for Archbishop Ieronymos as well. The Head of the Church of Russia, at today’s Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, did not commemorate Archbishop of Athens during the Liturgy of Preparation. So, his threat that he would sever full communion with Archbishop of Athens in retaliation for the recognition of the Metropolitan of Kyiv was true.

The fact that he did not commemorate the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece has already received the widest publicity in the Russian media.

The Patriarchate of Moscow has imposed a range of sanctions against the Church of Greece, such as unprecedented travel bans, according to which Russian pilgrims are not allowed to visit six “undesirable Metropolises” in Greece. However, the Patriarchate of Moscow has not imposed sanctions against the Church of Greece as a whole, but only against the Bishops who had concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitans and clergymen from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
And also...
(Orthodox Times) - Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus said that the fact that the Patriarch of Moscow had stopped commemorating Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens was unacceptable. After the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. George in Latsia, Nicosia, Archbishop Chrysostomos stated that he did not approve the stand taken by the Patriarch of Moscow.

Although the Archbishop of Cyprus criticises the actions of the Russian Patriarch, as he does not agree with them, he takes a neutral stand on the issue of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine.

In particular, he said, “I think that the stand of the Patriarch of Moscow was unacceptable. We do not sever full communion with the Head of a Church because we simply disagree with some of the decisions taken. We sever full communion only with Churches, which become heretic. As far as I know, neither the Ecumenical Patriarch nor the Archbishop of Athens is heretic. However, this does not mean that I agree with them. We tried to help by setting up a meeting, in order to find a solution, but they did not like it. That is why we did not insist. Neither the Ecumenical Patriarch nor the Patriarch of Moscow wants to set up such a meeting. So, the Church of Cyprus decided to take a neutral stand. We do not agree with the stand taken by both sides and therefore we did commemorate none of them.”