The present article calls into question recent reports suggesting that the Holy Mountain had repudiated the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s grant of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
“We remain on the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and we will not tolerate its humiliation,” the members of the Holy Community of Mount Athos said on Monday on the occasion of the recent developments in Ukraine and the granting of Autocephaly to the local Church.
At the meeting held behind closed doors and without any publicity [on Monday, February 11, 2019], much was said about the issue that has sparked controversy among the leaders of the Orthodox Churches.
The Athonites emphasized that this particular issue should make them feel proud. “It has been clear in this case too,” they noted, “that Hellenism and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have the Primacy in Orthodoxy,” while they agreed that everyone should stand by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
They even agreed that it is preferable for the Holy Community to be silenced at this time so as not to create misinterpretations.
They suggested waiting for the conditions to mature more. “Besides,” they said, “we are not a Church, and we are not called upon to make a decision on recognition.”
“What is important is to maintain the unity of the Holy Monasteries and to send in every direction a clear message that no one will be allowed ‘to instrumentalize’ Mount Athos. Because Mount Athos concerns everyone,” all those present argued unanimously.
“We want to preserve the peace and unity of the Church,” they noted at the meeting. “However, as Athonites, we do not accept Hellenism and the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be humiliated by anyone.”
They also added that “The Holy Community has wisdom and experience so that Mount Athos will not be turned into a tool and a lever of pressure for purposes other than in the general interest.”
“In all national struggles,” they concluded, “monks preceded to protect Mount Athos, not to put it in the front. [Monks] martyred protecting the Garden of the Virgin Mary! So, are we going to do the opposite today?”