The following report appeared on November 14, 2019 at AsiaNews. Two points should be borne in mind: first, the Moscow Patriarchate’s move to assume jurisdiction over Turkey’s Russian-speaking Orthodox Christians constitutes the heresy of ethnophyletism writ large; and second, to move toward the Coptic Church instead of sister Chalcedonian Churches has nothing to do with legitimate Eastern Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox dialogue and constitutes an ecclesiological heresy of the highest magnitude. It comes as a stroke of supreme irony that the Moscow Patriarchate should resort to the false accusation that the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has entered into communion—whether openly or clandestinely—with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC).
Will Patriarch Kirill of Moscow (L) and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (R) go down in the annals of church history as the architects of the most absurdly unjustified schism of all time?
Moscow Increasingly against Greek Orthodox
by Vladimir Rozanskij
After the Church of Athens and the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt aligned with Constantinople in recognizing the new autocephalous Church of Kyiv, a “Society of Orthodox Russian-Speaking Believers” was registered in the canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Moscow Patriarchate said that the Russians from now on will intensify relations with the Coptic Church of Alexandria, given the inevitable break with the Greeks.
The Moscow Patriarchate has recently registered a new association in Turkey on the canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. On behalf of a group of Russian Orthodox of Turkish citizenship, headed by Oksana Alykan, the “Society of Orthodox Russian-Speaking Believers” of the province of Antalya was registered, which unites the Russians of the cities of Demre, Kemer, Antalya, Belek, Side, Manavgat, Avsallar, Alanya and Mahmutlar.
The group is subject ecclesiastically to the supervision of the Patriarchal Administration for Institutions Abroad, a new structure led by Metropolitan Antony (Sevrjuk), who is also exarch for Western Europe based in Paris, and who is very close to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
After the Church of Athens and the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt aligned with Constantinople in recognizing the new autocephalous Church of Kyiv, the Russians have intensified their actions to break with the Greek “traitors.” Not only did Moscow remove the names of the primates of Greece and Alexandria from the diptychs (now Moscow only commemorates the primates of 12 of the 15 autocephalous Orthodox Churches), but direct pastoral action is extended in all the territories so far controlled by the Greeks, starting precisely from the Turkish territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The new society of the Orthodox “Russian-Turks” has obtained permission to carry out regular liturgical celebrations, for now in apartments and specifically rented premises. These are very popular places with Russians for summer holidays, and the association’s task is to prepare to meet all the spiritual needs of Russian compatriots and all Orthodox who choose to stay on their side, rejecting communion with Constantinople.
In addition to the province of Antalya, the Russians regularly celebrate in Istanbul itself and in several Turkish cities, as well as the capital Ankara, also in Izmir, Kusadasi and Eskisehir. From May 25 last, an administrator was appointed for all the Russian Orthodox in Turkey, the priest Georgij Ivanchoglo, who will now deal in particular with the faithful of the province of Antalya.
Letters were delivered to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodorus II, on November 12 by people of Russian nationality, with three images: the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev* Onuphrius), “the true metropolitan;” the metropolitan of the new Church of Kyiv* Epiphanius, called instead “the schismatic;” and a fragment of a fresco depicting the Kiss of Judas, with the inscription “Patriarch Theodorus”. The letters were given to all the participants of the Orthodox liturgy in Limassol (Cyprus), where Theodorus for the first time named Epiphanius in the diptychs. The Russian journalist Berezovskij, present in Limassol, told NG-Religija that some priests publicly tore up the letter, while others thanked him, declaring themselves opposed to Theodorus’ decision.
The Patriarchate of Moscow reported the story of the letters without adding comments, but specifying that the Russians from now on will intensify relations with the Coptic Church of Alexandria, given the inevitable rupture with the Greeks [emphasis ours]. On 12 November the visit of a Coptic delegation to Moscow ended, the members of which participated in a session of theological dialogue between Coptic students and Russian specialists in theology. The visit had been planned for some time, but after recent events it received particular prominence in the Russian media and in the statements of members of the Moscow Patriarchate.
*The spelling of Kiev/Kyiv depends on the respective use of Russian or Ukrainian by a given ecclesiastical entity as its primary language of communication.
We have made a few minor corrections in grammar, spelling, and ecclesiastical vocabulary in the above text.
See the extensive Ukraine section in our Archives.
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