UOJ – 20/11/2019
Every Orthodox believer should strengthen his prayers not only for our long-suffering Church but also for the entire Orthodox world, called the hierarch of the UOC.
We are in danger of a great schism in the Orthodox world, said the UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Borispol and Brovary, on the air of the “Church and Society” program.
“Our Orthodox consciousness is based on the fact that all Local Orthodox Churches constitute a single ecumenical Church. But now we are approaching the line when we see that we are on the verge of a great schism,” he warned.
Metropolitan Anthony urged the flock to strengthen their prayers for maintaining the unity of Orthodoxy.
“Every Orthodox believer should strengthen their prayers not only for our long-suffering Ukrainian Orthodox Church but for the entire Orthodox world,” the UOC hierarch emphasized.
He also recalled that on November 8, 2019, Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria for the first time commemorated the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko at the liturgy. After the Primate of the Alexandria Church had recognized the new religious organization, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’, stopped remembering Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria.
“At the moment, the so-called OCU is recognized not only in Constantinople but also by the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Greek Orthodox Church,” said Metropolitan Anthony.
The bishop explained that now the believers visiting Greece should be utmost careful and find out in which diocese of the Greek Church they are.
“If an Orthodox person came to Greece for some other reason (not for pilgrimage – Ed.), then there is no prohibition on venerating shrines – icons, relics of saints, etc. But you need to understand that an Orthodox person must find out in which diocese he is,” Metropolitan Anthony warned. “Because if there is a desire to take part in the Church Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Communion, it is necessary to understand that in those dioceses whose bishops recognize the OCU, it is not allowed to proceed to the Holy Chalice. That is, we do not have Eucharistic communion with them.”
He also called on pilgrims to be careful when choosing a tour operator and travel to Greece with those services that take into account the ban on prayer communication with that part of the Greek clergy that recognized the OCU.
Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church named the dioceses of the Church of Greece undesirable for pilgrimage.
Later it became known that the Greek Embassy in Moscow massively denies visas to Russian priests who want to make a pilgrimage trip to Greece and Mount Athos. “The question is very difficult here because the Greek state does not open visas to Russian pilgrims, and a very long time ago,” explained Olga Abaeva, head of the “Blagovest-Pilgrim” pilgrimage service, which is part of the Ambotis Group (Thessaloniki, Greece). “Even if they go on a pilgrimage to the holy places of Greece, the Consulate says that “that they might go to Mount Athos,” and they have an instruction not to allow Russian priests to go to Mount Athos.”