Peter Anderson reports from the Orthodox world.
Longstanding reporter of the news from the Eastern Church, Peter Anderson shares our dream of a unified Christianity. His love for Orthodoxy has driven him to this personal mission to share the news of East with the world through his email list. The Urbi et Orbi Foundation is proud to share his efforts and his insights with you.
On April 13, the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate held its first in-person meeting since last August. The minutes of the meeting have been posted at https://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/5797265.html . Journal No. 10 of the minutes provides in part:
From media reports, it became known that on March 21, 2021, during the Divine Liturgy at the St. George Cathedral in Istanbul, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, co-served by the hierarchs of the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria, as well as a representative of one of the schismatic communities of Ukraine, who did not have canonical consecration, headed the ordination of Metropolitan Andreas confirmed by the publication of the corresponding photographs.
IT WAS RESOLVED AS FOLLOWS:
- To express regret in connection with the participation of a person who does not have canonical ordination in the episcopal consecration in the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
- To note that this event deepens the split in the Orthodox world caused by the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
- Taking into account the canonical inferiority of the consecration of Metropolitan Andreas of Saranda Ekklisies, it is with sorrow to note the impossibility of concelebrating with him if, with God’s help, Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople is restored. The same applies to the clergy, whom the aforementioned metropolitan may eventually ordain.
The March 21 event in question was reported on the website of the OCU at https://www.pomisna.info/uk/vsi-novyny/arhiyepyskop-yevstratij-spivsluzhyv-za-bozhestvennoyu-liturgiyeyu-vselenskomu-patriarhu-varfolomiyu-u-nedilyu-torzhestva-pravoslav-ya/ . The following is the official press release by the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning the event: https://ec-patr.org/%ce%b7-%ce%ba%cf%85%cf%81%ce%b9%ce%b1%ce%ba%ce%ae-%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%82-%ce%bf%cf%81%ce%b8%ce%bf%ce%b4%ce%bf%ce%be%ce%af%ce%b1%cf%82-%cf%83%cf%84%ce%bf-%ce%bf%ce%b9%ce%ba%ce%bf%cf%85%ce%bc%ce%b5%ce%bd/ Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) of the OCU was one of many bishops who participated in the service.
It appears that the Moscow Patriarchate is now saying that the participation of Archbishop Yevstratiy results in an imperfect ordination of the new bishop so that even in the event communion is restored between Moscow and Constantinople, members of the Moscow Patriarchate cannot serve with this bishop or with priests ordained by this bishop. This, obviously makes the divide between Constantinople and Moscow greater and of longer duration.
On April 8, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil (UOC-MP) answered questions during a breakfast meeting with journalists. A video of the entire session is found at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=515581289615657&ref=watch_permalink . Metropolitan Anthony addressed many different subjects. With respect to the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Kyiv next August, Metropolitan Anthony’s remarks included:
Therefore, this [visit] may create a new round of seizures of our churches and destabilize the situation in Ukrainian society. That is why we are against such an arrival. And our parishioners are ordinary people, especially those who have suffered from the Phanar’s actions in Ukraine, they have the right to express their opinion, including in public.
https://www.facebook.com/church.information.center/posts/3632888283505447 He also mentioned that processions of the cross involving several hundred thousands of believers is not a political action but always prayer. https://spzh.news/en/news/78776-upravdelami-ne-boimsya-prijezda-glavy-fanara-no-vidim-ugrozu-destabilizacii
Metropolitan Anthony also addressed the invitation that was extended by President Zelensky to Pope Francis to visit Ukraine for the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. The Metropolitan stated:
As for the Roman Pontiff, we know that there is no response to this invitation yet. Let’s see if there will be such a visit, given the deep politics of the Vatican. [deep politics – a relatively new political science term denoting political policies that are repressed rather than acknowledged] Of course, they will not take any step that will somehow weaken their position. If we consider the opinions of analysts, we will see that many people say that perhaps the Pope will not come here because, one way or another, he will need to decide on the OCU somehow clearly. Rome values close relations with the Russian side very much, and such a visit is likely to hinder such close relations.
https://www.facebook.com/church.information.center/posts/3632888283505447; https://risu.ua/en/uoc-mp-opposes-the-popes-visit-to-ukraine-because-it-will-not-please-russia_n117528 Interestingly, Metropolitan Anthony does not state how the UOC-MP would react to such a visit, but rather indicates that the “Russian side” (Moscow) would not be pleased with such a visit. I have not seen the “opinions of analysts” to which Metropolitan Anthony refers. However, it is clear that Pope Francis could visit Ukraine without taking a position on the status of the OCU. For example, his encounter with the Orthodox in Kyiv could simply be done by scheduling a meeting in the Pope’s program with the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. https://vrciro.org.ua/en/council/info Both the UOC-MP and OCU are members of this organization. The meeting by the Pope of the members of the Council of Churches, including Metropolitan Epifany, at this encounter would certainly not imply any de facto recognition of the OCU.
Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy died in his native Australia on April 10, 2021. He had been the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 1989 to 2001. A very nice summary of his significant contributions to Christian unity is found in the following in memoriam. https://www.christianunity.va/content/unitacristiani/it/news/2021/2021-04-12-in-memoriam-cardinal-cassidy.html (English) With respect to the Orthodox, he was involved in the historic trips of Pope John Paul II to Orthodox countries such as the very successful visit to Romania in May 1999. He also headed the Catholic side of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches during the very difficult time period when the “Unia” was the primary focus of discussion. I believe that it is significant that Metropolitan Hilarion, who represented the Moscow Patriarchate at the Maryland USA plenary of the Commission in July 2000, has sent a very nice letter of condolence on the death of Cardinal Cassidy. https://mospat.ru/ru/news/86977/ It indicates that Cardinal Cassidy was highly regarded by the Orthodox, even though he represented the other side during times of great Orthodox – Catholic tensions, such as occurred at the Maryland plenary.
As is well known, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who is the husband of Queen Elizabeth, died on April 9 at the age of 99. There are some interesting articles on his Orthodox roots. It is clear that he was baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. His mother, Princess Alice, became a very devoted Orthodox and even founded a sisterhood of Greek Orthodox nuns in 1949. Princess Alice died at Buckingham Palace in December 1969. She in now buried in the crypt of the ROCOR Church of Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, Jerusalem. Alice’s aunt, Holy Martyr Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia, is also buried in the same church. A detail biography of Alice’s life is found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Alice_of_Battenberg . In an article posted on the Moscow Patriarchate’s DECR website, Metropolitan Hilarion states: “When I met him [Prince Philip] at his Buckingham Palace apartment [for approximately one hour] on May 25, 2011, he told me literally the following: ‘I became an Anglican, but I remained Orthodox.’” https://mospat.ru/en/news/86967/
Peter Anderson, Seattle USA