LAST UPDATE: 10:42
Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus was intense regarding the stance of four Synod members, namely, Metropolitans Athanasios of Limassol, Nikiphoros of Kykkos and Isaiah of Tamassos and the Bishop Nikolaos of Amathus, after the commemoration of Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv.
In an interview with Kathimerini newspaper, the Archbishop of Cyprus talked about a parasynagogue of the four who is even punishable by defrocking. He explained why he did not abandon the leadership of the Church despite the fact that he had thought on it and despite his health problems.
Asked why he was currently recognizing the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Archbishop of Cyprus said that he had been a representative of the Church of Cyprus at Orthodox conferences for 30 years, he knew the views of all the Autocephalous Churches and, therefore, believed that he could continue to meet all primates and convince them.
Moreover, the Archbishop stressed that he was the only one who reacted and said to them, “Brothers, we have all become national churches, first we are the nation and then Orthodox. This is wrong.” We must first be Orthodox and then a nation. Orthodoxy must come forward and we must be united.
Archbishop Chrysostomos then pointed out that after the Fall of Constantinople, it was Constantinople that “gave birth” to the rest of the Orthodox Churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church, with the exception of the four Apostolic Churches of the Middle East, with the Ecumenical Patriarchate ceding autocephaly and its territory to other churches. In the case of Ukraine, it was a diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that was granted to the Russian Church for administration, as had been the case with the dioceses of the Metropolises of the New Lands in Greece.
The Archbishop also said that after the Fall of Communism, the Ecumenical Patriarchate asked the Russian Orthodox Church to return to the pre-1917 status, which was denied by the then Patriarch of Moscow, Alexy. And now they behave like that. Asking the Ecumenical Patriarch: Since the codices exist, why does it interfere (editor’s note: the Moscow Patriarchate)? I know that today it took over two dioceses from Georgia, two dioceses from Ukraine, he took over half of Christianity from Poland, he took dioceses from Romania. Who gave them the right to set up an autocephalous Church in America? These interventions of others in the jurisdictions brought upheaval throughout Orthodoxy.
He stressed that we as a Church were first Orthodox and then Greeks and we treasured it.
As Archbishop Chrysostomos pointed out, he considered it appropriate not to inform the Metropolitans of the Church of Cyprus that he would commemorate the Metropolitan of Kyiv “not to disturb and quarrel with them. If I did, they would say no. And I would answer them, “I will not listen to you,” and that would make things worse.”
“Shame on the Metropolitan of Tamassos. I ordained him and now he imprecates me?”
He also spoke harshly about the four Metropolitans who reacted strongly to his decision, and especially about the Metropolitan of Tamassos. “What they did, that the four of them met without me, is called parasynagogue and is severely punished by defrocking, but I did not say anything. I am silent because I want to see how far their wrongdoing will go. The Metropolitan of Kykkos is senior, he has the right to say more things. But the Metropolitan of Tamassos who is a mere child deprecates me, that is going too far. It is not moral and I am the one who ordained him. Shame on him. He’s trying to refute his statements but he cannot, he made these statements. How can behave like that by insulting me who ordained him and is the primate of the Church? My door is open. Why they did not come to protest and I would offer my explanation. Their selfishness and irresponsible stance did not let them do so.”