His own experience of what is happening with the Russian invasion of the Patriarchate of Alexandria gave during the evening on the Autocephaly of Ukraine and the war organized by the Organization for the Promotion of Greek and Orthodox Culture “Aenaos”, Metropolitan Gregorios of Cameroon.
As he pointed out, in the so-called “African Exarchate” the Russian Church applies a novel and unprecedented practice. The clergy, who come to this ecclesiological and canonically unfounded formation, swear – and do not promise or simply declare – that they will work conscientiously because they knowingly work without a Bishop.
“I take a few points from the clergyman’s oath:
Aware that a priest cannot do his work without a bishop, I address myself to the highest authority of the Orthodox Church of Russia, which has nothing to do with schismatics. I pledge to remain faithful to the Patriarch of Moscow and to the bishop he will appoint, until the day of my death, being obedient to you, as dictated by the canons of the Orthodox Church.
– If I break my oath of allegiance to the canonical Church and end up in communion with schismatics, may the Lord punish me.
– Completing my solemn oath, I embrace the Holy Gospel and the Cross of my Savior. Amen”.
As Metropolitan Gregorios very characteristically stressed, “I don’t think I need to comment anymore in order to understand the spirit of error. Of course, this practice is based on the sub-hearted desire of Africans for each parish to be an independent and autonomous island within the local Church and the Metropolis, because the believers of one parish belonging to one tribe do not want to have anything to do with the believers of the other parish belonging to a different tribe. Apparently, imported Russian ethnophyletism is coming to meet local African ethnophyletism.”
The Metropolitan of Cameroon stressed that it is obvious that the plan of the Church of Russia is well organized and certainly based on elaborated observations and information from within.
“Africa is a complex space that carries all those descendants of colonialism, oppression, and the brutal economic, and not only, exploitation of centuries,” he said.
“All this and much more creates a special psyche among the African peoples, which makes them vulnerable to the attractions of the Church of Russia. Easy money and power are certainly not something that can be easily denied by a man who has no strong moral foundation, let alone an African who has been deprived of it all his life.”
He added that the Church of Russia is trying to consolidate its presence in Africa but also to attract clergy and faithful to the parasynagogue that has organized promising money, scholarships for studies, and a thousand others.
“It’s a classic political way to get supporters and lead them to the ballot box. By the time the fans give their vote everything will be over. The promises will remain in the realm of the theoretician or at best will be fulfilled at an infinitesimal rate.
This tactic, unfortunately, works because the lure is strong and the justification is that the current nuggets are the beginning of fulfilling the promises, which will be fully realized in the future. My personal conviction is that all these are uncovered cheques with no return,” stressed the Metropolitan of Cameroon.
According to the remarks of the Metropolitan of Cameroon, the attempt to raise the African clergy against the Patriarch of Alexandria and the bishops and to detach them began much earlier than we think it happened.
A large group of clergy and laypeople from Russia and various other states of the former Eastern bloc, through Social Media, “bombarded” dozens of personal pages of African Priests and Parishes with thousands of requests for friendship and comments of admiration and then discussions and negative comments about the canonical Bishops and sending liturgical gifts and financial aid to the Priests.
For this reason, when the “fullness of the time” came, all these Priests:
a. They turned against the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
b. Organized and traveled with a group to Moscow.
c. They returned as Coordinators and organized the apostasy.
d. Two Coordinators (who receive a higher salary) bought cars and had fatal accidents. At their funeral, it was announced for the first time that only priests of the so-called Russian Exarchate would be allowed to participate. (Those familiar with African funeral customs can understand how unfamiliar this is for their tradition).
e. Hundreds of promises were initially made and high amounts of salaries were said, of which very little was fulfilled.
f. Many laymen and clergy believed that they would go to Russia and study normally, regardless of whether they had the level of education that would allow them to do so. What happened is that the studies were transformed into a fast-track seminar of liturgical practical issues from which all were judged fit for ordination and were ordained by the deposed former Klin Monk Leonidas.
g. Although many priests who have joined the so-called Russian Exarchate have a high level of students and postgraduate and doctoral students, in particular, graduates of the Theological School of Kenya, yet none of them can explain and understand why the Ukrainian issue exists. And on what points of canon law do they base their objections? No answer, although the Russians have given them some material and some explanations on their part.
As Metropolitan Gregorios pointed out, this is because in their psyche these complex issues for Africans are very simple: “les histoires des blancs”. Therefore, the issue of defection in the Russian Exarchate works for purely economic and not theological reasons, so what the Russians say is false.
“There is a strong effort to dress the whole project in a color of ‘racial discrimination’, which, according to what is said, works in Africa. To this day there are white Bishops and Priests in all Christian denominations, including Old Calendarists, African Judaism, African Islam, African Buddhism, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses of Africa, and whatever sect you can imagine.
It is not only the Patriarchate of Alexandria that uses Bishops and Priests from the Indo-European race. Let us also understand this: all those who came to the Orthodox Church and asked to serve as priests were volunteers, both in their applications and in their interviews, and during their studies, they stated that: they discovered in the Orthodox Church and Theology and Worship the Truth and Tradition of the undivided Church of the first centuries, both out of godly zeal and out of the joy of this discovery they want to become missionaries among their compatriots. We never went out to look for priests. Some priests from Cameroon also joined the Russian Exarchate by writing me a two-series letter that said: “We are resigning from the Greek Orthodox Church for personal reasons, regardless” and then four signatures, one of which was forged.
In Africa, the majority of Old Calendarist groups follow the New Calendar economically, because it is impossible to explain the Old Calendarist issue to Africa. The Russians follow a similar policy,” said Metropolitan Gregorios of Cameroon.