MAJOR: Patriarch of Jerusalem was Pressured to Recognize OCU but did not Give in, Says Archbishop of Cyprus

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NICOSIA – His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem was pressured to recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” but did not give in, the primate of the Cypriot Orthodox Church said in a recent meeting with a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Church.

And the other primates are unlikely to recognize Epiphany Dumenko and the OCU, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II said in his meeting with His Eminence Metropolitan Sergius of Ternopil on Sunday, December 22, reports the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations.

Thus, the reports of pressure on the Patriarch coming from within the Jerusalem Patriarchate have been confirmed by his fellow Greek primate. Last month, it was reported that Pat. Theophilos has experienced pressure from representatives of the U.S. Democratic Party, such as Joe Biden.

Pat. Theophilos successfully withstood the pressure to concelebrate with schismatics in January and he canceled a meeting with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, instead hosting a delegation from the canonical Ukrainian Church the next day.

While visiting Moscow last month, Pat. Theophilos stated that he invites the primates of all the Local Churches to convene in Jordan to discuss the preservation of Church unity in Eucharistic communion.

Abp. Chrysostomos also assured Met. Sergius and the Ukrainian pilgrims of his continuing support for the canonical Ukrainian Church, noting that he is well aware of the truth of the situation in Ukraine. The delegation consists of clergy and faithful from churches that have been seized by the nationalist schismatics.

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He also expressed his hope that the Ukrainian Church issue will soon cease to be a subject of political influence, and that Patriarch Bartholomew will realize and admit his mistake. For his part, Abp. Chrysostomos sees his goal as telling the primates of the other Local Churches about the truth of the situation as much as possible.

“I took the initiative,” he said. “I had communication with all the primates. We are waiting and hoping that the Patriarch of Constantinople will understand his mistake. Other primates are unlikely to recognize Epiphany. Although there were attempts to pressure the Patriarch of Jerusalem, he did not give in.”

Abp. Chrysostomos earlier revealed that he dropped his mediatory talks with the other primates under pressure from Pat. Bartholomew. Met. Sergius concelebrated the Divine Liturgy and a memorial service for Archbishop Chrysostomos I with Abp. Chrysostomos II on Sunday before the meeting with the Cypriot primate.

Abp. Chrysostomos also earlier revealed that while he disagrees with Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine, he also disagrees with the Russian Church’s response of breaking communion with the Patriarchate, and believes that Patriarch Kirill desires the place of primacy in the Church, which the Cypriot primate told him would never happen.

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