In an interview with the newspaper “Politis,” Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus spoke about the crisis within the Orthodox Church regarding the issue of the Autocephaly of Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The Archbishop of Cyprus stated that his election as Archbishop in 2006 was the reason for the attitude of the Metropolitans of Kykkos and of Limassol towards the Ukrainian autocephaly issue, even showing, as he comments, “belated interest.”
As he emphasized, during the last meeting of the Church of Cyprus, he asked them how this late interest in Ukraine came about, since Archbishop Chrysostomos had met nine of the thirteen Orthodox primates on this subject over the last three years.
He also noted that this underlying crisis —the Ukrainian issue— has always existed in Orthodoxy. “Unfortunately, I knew half the truth when I supported Moscow. Then I learned the whole truth.”
Asked what the truth was, the Archbishop of Cyprus stated that Constantinople granted autocephaly to Moscow and granted it the administration of the Church in Ukraine, as had been the case with the dioceses of the Metropolises of the New Lands in Greece. However, Ukraine has always remained under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“The Patriarch of Moscow told us that he promised to attend the Council of Crete in June 2016 and that Bartholomew promised not to raise the issue of Ukraine. Kirill, however, told us half the truth. He did not tell us that Bartholomew had given them four years to resolve it.”
He said he had learned the truth when he visited Constantinople last March and was told all the details by the Ecumenical Patriarch, who explained that Ukraine had never been granted to Moscow.
He added that the restoration of “schismatics” had taken place many times in the course of the church, as had been the case of Bulgaria, where 5-6 Metropolitans had “rebelled” against the Patriarch of Bulgaria.
The Archbishop of Cyprus stressed that he had very good relations with the Russians in Cyprus, and that some made donations for the new cathedral. “The fact that I disagree with Patriarch Cyril does not mean anything, and the Russians disagree with Kirill.”
Regarding the involvement of politics in the affairs of the Church, the Archbishop of Cyprus stressed: “It is a joke what they say that the Ecumenical Patriarch is funded by the USA. Do the Ecumenical Patriarch or I need to be given money by the USA or anyone else?”.