Monday, October 15, 2018

Official: Moscow breaks Eucharistic communion with the EP

(ROC-DECR) - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, at its session on October 15, 2019, in Minsk, adopted a Statement of the Holy Synod concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople upon the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Holy Synod members deemed it impossible to continue to be in the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

It is stated in particular that ‘to admit in communion the schismatics and a person anathematized by another Local Church together with all the ‘bishops’ and ‘clergy’ ordained by them, the encroachment upon somebody else’s canonical parts, the attempt to reject one’s own historical decisions and commitments – all this places the Patriarchate of Constantinople outside the canonical space and, to our great grief, makes it impossible for us to continue the Eucharistic communion with its hierarchy, clergy and laity.

‘From now on till the Patriarchate of Constantinople abandons its anti-canonical decisions, it is impossible for all the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church to concelebrate with the clergy of the Church of Constantinople, and for the laity to participate in sacraments administered in its churches’, the document states.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia speaks very frankly on Ukraine

Assyrian Church delegates hosted by Moscow

(Assyrian Church) - Between October 5-11, 2018, an official delegation from the Assyrian Church of the East visited Moscow, Russia to participate in a Summer Institute programme organized by the Moscow Patriarchate’s Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies.

The 8-member delegation visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church, Holy Synod, Department for External Church Relations and by the Apostolic blessing of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. Assyrian delegates from Iraq, India, the United States, Sweden and Australia reflected a number of key backgrounds including ordained serving clergy, theological students, educators, youth ministry workers, parish administrators and charitable workers.

The existing Bilateral Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East was first established during a meeting between His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill and His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV, of thrice-blessed memory, on 28 May 2014.

The First Session of the Commission for Dialogue met on 18 May 2016 in Moscow, Russia and the Second Session met between 23-26 October 2017 in Modesto, California. The Third Session will be hosted in Moscow, Russia in late October 2018.

The Commission had earlier agreed on the exchange of students and mutual participation in theological studies between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East with students, scholars and experts from the two communities to collaborate and share their respective traditions with each other. The hosting of the Summer Institute marked the fulfillment of this earlier agreement.

The 7-day intensive Summer Institute programme featured interactions with Russian Orthodox Church leaders, programs and initiatives along with visits to important religious and historical sites, including monasteries, churches, higher educational institutions and Russian landmarks.

Of particular note were visits to The Trinity Lavra of St Sergius (Sergiyev Posad), the Museum of the Very Reverend Alexander Men, the Mount Athos Metochion, St Daniel of Moscow Monastery, and the Butovo Church of New Martyrs and Confessors.

The delegation also met with the Russian Orthodox Synodal Department for Catechising and the Department for External Church Relations for important collaborative dialogues.

During the visit, the delegation attended the Divine Liturgy consecrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate at the Church of Our Lady The Joy of All the Sorrowful on Bolshaya Ordynka Street in Moscow. The delegation enjoyed a private lunch with the Metropolitan and clergy following the Liturgy.

This historic programme has affirmed the deepening of dialogue and collaboration between the two traditions.

The immense success of the Summer Institute has also underscored the need for ongoing interactions that strengthen and broaden the existing bilateral relationship.

Moscow & Constantinople: a complete break of communion

What does this mean for all the other Churches and their jurisdictions in the US? That is still to be seen. The division of these two Churches does not necessitate everyone "picking a side" as it were. Nor does even necessitate the OCA do anything because, as she understands herself to be an autocephalous Church, what Russia does is not necessarily what the OCA has to do. Still, should what has been widely reported by the news agencies today prove to be true, this is a sad day for us all. We'll hear from Moscow's Department of External Church relations directly today and I expect a stentorian announcement from ROCOR soon.

Minsk (AFP) - The Russian Orthodox Church said Monday it is breaking ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate over its decision to grant independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which Moscow does not recognise.

"A decision has been made to rupture full communion with the Constantinople Patriarchate," which means priests from the two churches cannot serve and worshippers cannot take communion together, Hilarion, the bishop in charge of the Russian Orthodox Church's diplomacy, told journalists in Minsk.

Speaking after the meeting of the Holy Synod, or decision-making body, of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hilarion said it does not recognise the decision taken last week by the Constantinople Patriarchate as it has "completely associated itself with the schism".

Moscow considers the Kiev Patriarch Filaret to be a schismatic, a decision Constantinople has backed since the 1990s but reversed last week amid the drive by Ukraine for its own Orthodox Church independent from Moscow.

The Constantinople Patriarchate, a leading Orthodox authority, also overruled its own decision from the 17th century which adjoined Kievan Orthodox churches to Moscow.

Most of the Orthodox parishes in Ukraine have historically been under the umbrella of the Moscow Patriarchate, and many of these may eventually switch to the new independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, despite Moscow's warnings.

Hilarion said Constantinople's decision to back a schismatic church effectively drives it into a schism. "We cannot be in communication with this church, which is in a schism," he said. "We hope that common sense prevails and that the Constantinople Patriarchate changes its mind."

The decision in Istanbul was "illegal and canonically worthless," he said. "The Russian Orthodox Church does not accept these decisions, it will not follow them. The schism is still a schism and the schismatics are still schismatics," he said.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

"Patriarch?" Filaret "the former Metropolitan of Kyiv?"

Moscow, October 13 (Interfax) - The Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate has reinstated the primate of the Kiev Patriarchate, Filaret Denisenko, as an hierarch but does not see him as the patriarch, according to a Phanar hierarch.

Archbishop Job (Getcha), who represents the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the World Council of Churches, said in his correspondence with Russian Orthodox Church protodeacon Andrey Kurayev that Phanar deemed Filaret to be "the former Metropolitan of Kiev."

Archbishop Job said in response to the protodeacon's question about the Church rank of Denisenko in the eyes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, "To my knowledge, he is the former Metropolitan of Kiev."

This means that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has acknowledged the legitimately of Filaret but views him as a former Metropolitan of Kiev.

"Filaret said yesterday that he 'was, is, and will be patriarch', but this is just a self-presentation. His conduct already buried Phanar's autocephaly project in 2008. The old man is walking down the same road," Kurayev said in his blog.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Have secular politics and religious ambitions collided?

(Modern Diplomacy) On Monday September 24th, a Turkish news website Dik Gazete published an article Erdogan’s Washington – Brunson – Ukraine game written by Adnan Cavusoglu. According to the author, there is a connection between the rumored release of Pastor Andrew Brunson on October 12, the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to grant autocephaly (independence) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the ease of Washington’s sanctions on Turkey.

Despite Erdogan’s “no crisis” rhetoric the Turkish economy faces hard times under the US pressure. Turkey’s finance minister Berat Albayrak has recently introduced the so-called New Economic Program to tackle the consequences of sanctions.

One of Washington’s main conditions for lifting the sanctions is Brunson’s release. However, there is another one – the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the author states.

In April, Kyiv, which strives to break away from the Russian Orthodox Church and create an independent Ukrainian Church, addressed the Ecumenical Patriarchate with an appeal to grant the autocephaly. According to Patriarch Bartholomew, who delivered a speech after the recent Sunday service, the still-ongoing official process is to yield the results shortly.

The previous week, in an interview to BBC Ukraine, the leader of Crimean Tatars and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament Mustafa Dzhemilev said that President Erdogan had confirmed his support in the process of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. “I told him that today Moscow is like a Mecca for the Orthodox but after the UOC becomes independent Istanbul will take the place of Moscow,” Dzhemilev noticed. According to him, when he and Ukrainian president Poroshenko met with Erdogan on July 12, the Turkish leader assured that he would do “everything possible” for the Ukrainian autocephaly and said that he understood the importance of this issue for the Crimean Tatars.

Mustafa Dzhemilev’s words mean that Ankara and personally President Erdogan, who can influence the Ecumenical Patriarchate, are involved in the Ukrainian problem. But what’s the benefit of such an involvement? It’s obvious that Istanbul won’t become a Mecca for the Orthodox. Ukraine with it’s poor economic situation also can hardly make a decent proposal to Turkey. It seems then that Ankara has reached an agreement with the White House.

An independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not the goal of only Kyiv, the Ecumenical Patriarchate or Ankara. It is of great importance for Washington, which intends to restrain Moscow’s influence in the region.

The sanctions’ withdrawal for the release of Brunson and Turkey’s approval of the “autocephaly process” – that’s the deal. It’s politics. Despite the fast-developing relations with Russia, Erdogan can make deals with its rivals. Of course, Moscow won’t like the Turkish leader’s step but on the eve of an economic crisis and under such pressure it is indeed wise to choose an option like this.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on Ukraine

Moscow, October 10 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is certain that attempts by politicians to tear the Ukrainian and Russian Churches apart are doomed.

"Today when certain political forces are tormenting Ukraine, when they are trying to tear the Ukrainian Church off Russia's and destroy our unity, we know: all this will end in total flop," Patriarch Kirill said during festivities commemorating St. Sergius at the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius.

"All the forces of evil" are now working to separate the Ukrainian Church from the unified Russian Orthodox Church, which began in the Kiev baptistery, he said.

"We should all remember that the laws by which the Lord runs the Church are not human laws, and every time politicians invade the church, they are defeated," Patriarch Kirill said.

He referred to the post-revolutionary situation, which saw the Bolsheviks' provocation of the Renovationist schism in the Church, the arrest of Patriarch Tikhon, and the arrest and execution of many priests and bishops.

"The authorities decided that the Church was over and done with, that we were all dead, but we are alive, a new era has started, an era of church revival in accordance with the prayers of those who stayed faithful to Christ, even unto death, our new martyrs and confessors," the patriarch said.

As for the situation in Ukraine, where the authorities have inspired a project to create an autocephalous church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate, he said he trusts in the faith and godliness of the people of Ukraine.

"It's the general public who are now defending the unity of our Church. And I know that they are bravely defending this unity, as they are defending their churches, as they are resisting attempts at seizure, as they are fighting literally on the front line, and not just for the unity of our Church, but for the purity of the Orthodox faith," Patriarch Kirill said.

He believes that "we are now showing the world the firmness, the unity that our Russian Orthodox Church manifested after the horrible events of 1917," he said.

Patriarch Kirill said it is important not only "not to lose the purity of the Orthodox faith," but to prevent "the forced division" to which the Russian Church had to agree due to the "illegitimate actions" taken by Constantinople from becoming "division for centuries, as happened in the 11th century, when the claims made by the Roman bishop for ecumenical power led to the division of the unified church."

In closing, the patriarch said the Russian Orthodox Church will continue firmly following the canons, thus showing that it "is also capable of declaring God's truth with one mouth and one heart at difficult moments."

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has passed point of no return

Regularizing schismatic hierarchs and all their people is not something easily walked back from. Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος.

(EP) - Presided by His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Holy and Sacred Synod convened for its regular session from October 9 to 11, 2018, in order to examine and discuss items on its agenda.

The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length the ecclesiastical matter of Ukraine, in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed:

1) To renew the decision already made that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

2) To reestablish, at this moment, the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kyiv, one of its many Stavropegia in Ukraine that existed there always.

3) To accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko, Makariy Maletych and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above-mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.

4) To revoke the legal binding of the Synodal Letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through oikonomia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kyiv, elected by the Clergy-Laity Assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the First hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople.

5) To appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties, as well as every other act of violence and retaliation, so that the peace and love of Christ may prevail.

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 11th of October, 2018

From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod

UOC-KP, UAOC primates... canonical?

Uncorroborated, but it does make sense. You can't really get the people without the leaders very easily. Accepting them in retirement is a standard way of normalizing a schismatic body, but that's not always possible in such situations.

( - The schismatic Patriarch of Kiev, Filaret, and the schismatic Archbishop of Ukraine, Makariy, are as of today considered canonical hierarchs of the Orthodox Church.

The two clerics, who are the heads of Ukraine’s two schismatic Churches, had made an appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate requesting their past convictions be re-assessed.

According to well-informed sources close to, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has accepted this appeal and restored them to canonical status.

The exact details and conditions of the decision remain unkown, as well as the number of hierarchs that will subsequently be recognized.

The official communiqué of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is yet to be issued.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Antiochian hierarch to speak at Orthodox medical conference

(AOCANA) - His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will be offering the Keynote Address at the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) annual pan-Orthodox Conference, being held from November 8 – 10, 2018 at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Somerset, NJ. His Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England will present the address on behalf of Metropolitan Joseph. Audio of the address will be available after the conference on Ancient Faith Radio​.

Throughout the weekend, professionals from the healing professions will consider the theme, "Compliance and Resistance: Discerning the Spirit." Three plenary speakers, Halina Woroncow, MD,​ Renos Papadopoulos, PhD, and Helen Theodoropoulos, PhD, will address theological issues in compliance and resistance.

In addition to the four plenary talks, the Conference will host twenty workshops on topics related to faith and healing, as well as twelve paper presentations.

OCAMPR exists to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and promote Christian fellowship among healing professionals in medicine, psychology and religion. The annual conference is open to all who are interested in the integration of medicine, psychology, and religion, and who desire an opportunity to dialogue with like-minded Orthodox Christians. Members, nonmembers, professionals, nonprofessionals, clergy, students and all interested persons are invited. For more information and to register, visit OCAMPR's website at or email

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Greek Archdiocese asks itself how effective it is

NEW YORK (GOARCH) – As announced at the recent Clergy Laity Congress in Boston, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, has recently engaged the consulting services of CapinCrouse and the Barna Group as part of a review of the effectiveness of the various departments, programs and ministries of the national Church. To that end, the Archdiocese is currently working closely with the Barna firm, which is a full-service research company that has been working with churches and ministries for over 30 years, to design a survey which will be distributed in the coming months to clergy and lay leaders across the country to gather their feedback. All steps will be taken to ensure the validity of the study and the anonymity and confidentiality of responses.

The ultimate goal of this survey is to gauge the efficacy of resources committed to the National Ministries, and to determine how to best optimize investment in, and use of, the financial resources which are provided for the most part by the parishes of the Archdiocese through the total commitment program.

Once finalized, the survey will be forwarded to the Direct Archdiocese District and Metropolises for distribution. Survey results will be collected and analyzed by the Barna Group to be shared with the Archdiocese in Her consideration of National Ministry commitments in the future.

“Like many religious groups in the current American landscape, the Greek Orthodox Church is dealing with changes in cultural norms and worldview, economic shifts and the need for budgetary adjustments due to overall giving,” stated Mr. George Tsandikos, Vice President of the Archdiocesan Council. “In light of this, it is not only appropriate but imperative that the Archdiocese canvass Her parishes and faithful to see how She can better respond to their needs, and determine whether or not, that which the Church is currently doing on a national level is of substantial use and support to those on the local level,” he concluded.

The Chancellery has applied for a grant to underwrite the cost of the entire project so as not to burden the budget of the Archdiocese.

Blog created to discuss Ukraine's effect on Orthodox unity

How has Constantinople understood the granting of autocephaly in the past? How has it changed over the years? Who can grant it, when, and for what reasons? Can the Ecumenical Patriarchate act unilaterally? What do the other patriarchates and theologians think about the topic? It is not light reading; so you aren't going to find many (any?) bumper sticker slogans to put on your car.

(Orthodox Synaxis) - Orthodox Synaxis is a project of the Institute for Orthodox Unity, a pan-Orthodox organization dedicated to preserving the unity of the Orthodox Churches throughout the world.

Orthodox Synaxis was created in response to the current threat to global Orthodox unity, which is manifesting itself in a conflict between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Moscow, regarding the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine. This website is focused on the underlying ecclesiological issues: primacy, conciliarity, autocephaly, etc., as opposed to historical and territorial claims specific to the case of Ukraine. This website will house important primary source texts, as well as relevant analysis.

The Institute for Orthodox Unity and its founders are not affiliated with either the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Patriarchate of Moscow.

Monday, October 8, 2018

What everyone in the Metropolis of NJ heard on Sunday

"To be read from the pulpit on Sunday, October 7, 2018, distributed through your parish email list serv, printed in your parish bulletin and posted on your parish website." I kept the original bold and italics.

The Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy

Honorable Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Esteemed Members of the Metropolitan Council, Esteemed Members of the Parish Councils, Philoptochos Sisterhood, Faculty and Students of the Catechetical and Greek Afternoon Schools, Directors and Participants of all Youth Organizations, and all devout Orthodox Christians of the Greek Orthodox Communities of our Holy Metropolis of New Jersey

My Beloved in the Lord,

For the past seventeen centuries the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has embraced all the Orthodox faithful throughout the oikoumene with faith, love, care, and pastoral sensitivity as it has aimed to ensure peace, unity, and healing throughout the Orthodox world. One of the central roles of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, is safeguarding the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Holy Orthodox Church with which he has been entrusted by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. This is a responsibility that he accepts willingly and most seriously since this role requires sincere love, unfettered faith, strong leadership and objectiveness in making decisions. The right decision is rarely the easy decision and this holds true for the current ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine.

Since the 10th century, a vibrant Orthodox community in what is known as present day Ukraine existed and the people of this area were known as the Kievan Rus’. The Orthodox Kievan Rus’, with their ecclesiastical center being the Metropolis of Kiev, was and remains under the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This Metropolis had been the ecclesiastical center of the local Ukrainian Church for several centuries and, even with the establishment of the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1589, the Metropolis of Kiev remained under the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Due to exigent historical circumstances, in 1686 the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted the Patriarch of Moscow the ability to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev providing he had the canonical permission of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, would retain the right to elect the Metropolitan of Kiev who would also serve as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as “among the first” at the celebration of every Divine Liturgy and other Sacraments. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has never ceded jurisdictional authority of the Metropolis of Kiev and present day Ukraine to the Patriarchate of Moscow. With geopolitical changes over the last century, distrust and disunity plagued the ranks of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine to the extent that, by the mid 1990’s, there were three groups of Orthodox Christians; one group being a part of the Patriarchate of Moscow, headed by Metropolitan Onoufrios, and the other two independents (the Ukrainian schismatic “patriarchate” under Filaret, and the “autocephalous church” under Makarios). This division persists and, whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate has prayed unceasingly that the ecclesiastical powers in Ukraine would resolve this issue internally, it has become apparent that the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as both the Mother Church of the Ukrainian Orthodox and as the First Among Equals who safeguards Orthodox unity, is essential. It is crucial to know and comprehend this brief history of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to understand today’s situation especially since many faithful in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey have been inquiring about the issue at hand, and also since there is an effort by some ecclesiastical presences in this country to misinform the Orthodox faithful concerning history and canonical correctness.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate desire to heal this division within the Church so that the sheep who had been lost can return to the ninety-nine, and so that our Lord may gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:52). This decision of His All-Holiness and the Holy and Sacred Synod endeavoring to correct the uncanonical situation is not being taken because it is the easy option, but because it is the difficult and necessary solution. We must acknowledge and understand that these decisions are being made in the spirit of healing, love, peace, canonical correctness in order to safeguard the unity of the ecclesial body, a challenge and responsibility entrusted to the Mother Church of Constantinople.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate my beloved faithful will grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As stated in the words of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “It is her right to receive the status of autocephaly is the right, and indeed the exclusive right of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, to grant the autocephaly just as it was granted to all the newer Orthodox Churches, beginning with Russia in the 16th century, to the Church of Czech and Slovakia in 1998.” The Ukrainian people, all children of the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, those within the fold and those who have over the decades have fallen out of it, have expressed the desire to end this division with their brothers by repeatedly petitioning for the Ecumenical Patriarchate to take the necessary steps, which would end the ecclesiastical colonialism which had been imposed on them. How could we say no to ending this or any division in the Body of Christ and restoring its unity? Our Lord is not the Lord of division, but the God of unity. He is the Lord of love. He is the Prince of peace. He is the God of mercy.

Let us continue to pray for and with our spiritual Leader and Father, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who for the past twenty seven years as our Ecumenical Patriarch, has and continues to do that which is right by seeking and promoting unity and peace throughout the Orthodox world. Let us pray for the Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod, one of whom I am, as we continue deliberating these pastorally sensitive issues with great care and love, and above all, faith in our Triune Lord and God. And let us pray for all the people of Ukraine who seek peace and unity in the faith, so that they all “may be one”. Further, let us pray for those who for reasons, known to them and the rest of the world, are being openly defiant. May they too see with the eyes of their soul, come to the knowledge of and acknowledge the truth, by embracing the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and His All Holiness, based of course on the centuries old historic facts and Patriarchal documents which exist. Finally, let us reiterate the prayer heard at the Divine Liturgy, “O Lord, our God...unite them to Your Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and number them together among your elect flock.

With Paternal Love and Blessings,

† EVANGELOS Metropolitan of New Jersey

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Feel like reading 39 pages on Ukraine? Here's your chance.

(EP) - In the context of the study undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the granting of the ecclesiastical status of autocephaly to Ukraine, various opinions have been formulated—even by representatives of official institutions—expressing misgiving about the canonical prerogative of the Church of Constantinople to proceed with such an act. The principal argument proposed in this regard is that Ukraine “constitutes the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow” and that, consequently, such an act on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would comprise an “intervention” into a foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Therefore, it has been deemed necessary for the Ecumenical Patriarchate to remind everyone of the historical and canonical truth with regard to the relationship of the Church of Constantinople to the Church of Ukraine as derived from the surviving formal documents, which unfortunately are either disregarded or else deliberately obscured for apparent reasons.

View the Entire Document in PDF format in English here (PDF).

Antioch joins call for pan-Orthodox synaxis over Ukraine

( - Statement of the Holy Synod of Antioch

Concerning the Current Developments in the Orthodox World

The Holy Synod of Antioch met in the Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Monastery, Lebanon, (October 3-6, 2018) and made the following statement:

The fathers examined the general orthodox situation. They stressed that the Church of Antioch expresses Her deep worries about the attempts to change the boundaries of the Orthodox Churches through a new reading of history. She considers that resorting to an unilateral reading of history does not serve Orthodox unity. It rather contributes to the fueling of the dissentions and quarrels within the one church. Thus, the Church of Antioch refuses the principle of establishing parallel jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchates and the autocephalous churches, as a way to solve conflicts, or as a de facto situation in the Orthodox World.

The fathers of the Church of Antioch underline that any approach for granting the autocephaly of a certain church has to be in accordance with the Orthodox ecclesiology and the principles agreed upon by the Churches in a conciliar way in the past years. These principles for granting autocephaly are about the necessity to obtain the agreement of the Mother Church and the acknowledgement of all the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches. The Church of Antioch affirms the necessity to resort to the principle of unanimity concerning the common orthodox work and the stand on controversial issues in the Orthodox world, and this unanimity is a true safeguard for Orthodox Unity.

The Church of Antioch warns from the dangers of implicating the Orthodox world in the international political conflicts and the resulting harms which come from approaching the Orthodox Church’s issues on the basis of politics, ethnicity, and nationalism.

The Church of Antioch calls upon His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch to call for an urgent Synaxis for the primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, in order to discuss the current developments that the Orthodox world is facing about the issue of granting autocephaly to new churches, and the efforts made to find common solutions before taking any final decisions about this issue.

​The Church of Antioch highlights the necessity of spiritual vigilance in this critical period of history, and the importance of preserving the peace and unity of the Church, and to be watchful on not falling into the trap of political entanglement which history has proved to cause the Orthodox Church a weakening of Her united witness in the world.