This report appeared yesterday under a different title on Orthodox Times, a reliably impartial source for Orthodox news around the planet. It has long been accepted in the entire Orthodox Church—including the Moscow Patriarchate—that the Patriarchate of Alexandria has sole jurisdiction over Africa, where there is a significant, growing missionary presence in the sub-Saharan part of the continent. Internet chatter wonders how many rubles Moscow offered the Copts for their complicity.
Orthodox Pope and Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria (L), Coptic Pope Abba Tawadros II of Alexandria (R)
Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa has issued a harsh response to Coptic Patriarch Tawandros II, following the latter’s decision to cede a church of his Patriarchate in Cairo to the Church of Russia to serve the liturgical needs of Russian Orthodox.
In a letter to the Coptic Patriarch, the Patriarch of Alexandria addressed him in a particularly high tone and expressed his disappointment at this move, which constitutes “direct interference in serious internal matters of the Orthodox Church.”
He even adds that this decision “interferes with my direct administrative and pastoral jurisdiction as the Orthodox Archbishop of Alexandria and as Pope and Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of All Africa on matters that concern purely intra-Orthodox relations.”
He reminds the Coptic Patriarch that the Church of Russia for its own purposes unilaterally disavows any other Orthodox Church that has recognized the autocephaly granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
“However, the Russian Church has not only stopped at verbal repudiation, but has gone further by illegally encroaching on our spiritual jurisdiction, seeking to buy off clergy and parishes in Africa, for vindictive reasons and selfish purposes,” the Patriarch of Alexandria noted.
He warns the Coptic Patriarch that this stance discourages any further attempts at cooperation between them, and directly threatens the relations between the Churches.
“The fact that you have ignored the Pan-Orthodox Church of Alexandria in a matter concerning its relationship with another Orthodox Church within its jurisdiction is a grave slip and an act of ingratitude to our Patriarchate, which stood by the Coptic Church in difficult moments, such as years ago, when a Coptic pseudo-Patriarch from America had appeared,” Patriarch Theodore says.