The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, held an extraordinary session of the Synod on the Ukrainian issue today, October 17, where he said that “Pan-Orthodox unity” is in danger.
The press service of the ROC issued a statement saying that the ROC Greek Church recognized the OCU. The ROC threatens to stop remembering the Head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Hieronymos, in the even if he is in the communion with Metropolitan Epifaniy, head of the OCU, and mentions them at the Liturgies. And they also announced that they were breaking off the communion with those bishops of the Greek Church who recognized the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“The decisions of the Council in the hierarchy of the Greek Church are taken by the vote of all participants. However, the bishops neither voted on the issue of recognition of Ukrainian non-canonical communities, nor on the issue of approval of the decisions of the Standing Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church in Ukraine. There is no official document signed by the Greek pastors, which could be considered evidence of a single conciliar decision of the Local Church,” the Russian Orthodox Church claims.
“If the Ukrainian schism is really recognized by the Greek Orthodox Church and its Primate — either in the form of a joint service, liturgical commemoration of the leader of the schism or sending official letters to them — it will be a sad testimony to the deepening division in the family of local Orthodox Churches… We cherish the prayerful communion with our brethren in the Greek Orthodox Church and will maintain a living prayerful, canonical and Eucharistic connection with it through all those archpastors and pastors who have already spoken out or will speak out against the recognition of the Ukrainian schism in the future… We cease the prayer and Eucharistic communion with those bishops of the Greek Church who have entered or will enter into communion with representatives of the Ukrainian non-canonical schismatic communities,” the statement says.
The statement ends with the following words: the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church authorizes his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia to stop the commemoration of the name of His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and the entire Greece in the diptychs if the Primate of the Greek Church begins to commemorate the head of one of the Ukrainian schismatic groups during divine services or takes other actions indicating the recognition of the Ukrainian schism.
As it has been reported, on October 12, the Council of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church recognized the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The OCU explained to the Russian side that the recognition of its autocephaly at the Council of Bishops of the Church of Greece happened according to all the rules.
On October 15, 2018, the Synod of the ROC broke off the Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for granting autocephaly to the OCU.