By Pavel Liberman
The recognition of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Patriarchate of Alexandria will not pass without consequences, say the Russians.
That is why some hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church insist on the creation of a “Metropolis of Africa of the Russian Patriarchate.” Their goal is to affect the legitimate Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodore.
Inside and outside the Phanar, the prevailing view is that the Russian venture has failed from the beginning. However, even the Russians themselves (Metropolitan Hilarion and those around him) are well aware that the venture is doomed to failure.
But that does not bother them at all. Because, in fact, it is not a real plan but an attempt to mislead, as there is another real plan, they say.
It is said that the operation “Metropolis of Africa of the Moscow Patriarchate” has various objectives and none of them is obvious.
A person in Moscow with good access to ecclesiastical circles explains that the first goal is relatively simple: through the creation of such a separatist movement to pressure Patriarch Theodore to annul his decision on the “Church of Epifaniy” in Ukraine.
And in case this plan does not work, there are rumors about an alternative plan. As the details of the plan show, this plan can hasten Theodore’s removal by replacing him with a pro-Moscow person.
At the Moscow Patriarchate there is an estimate, ecclesiastical officials say, that there are certain hierarchs of Alexandria whom they could approach in order to take them by their side.
To date in Moscow, it is estimated that six people, including five Metropolitans, are closer to Moscow.
They will probably be approached by the Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Leonid, who has taken over the affairs of Africa on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The same sources claim that the Russian Orthodox Church believes that Metropolitans Meletios of Carthage and Seraphim of Zimbabwe and Angola are able to espouse their positions and exert pressure on Patriarch Theodore.
Other possible “friends” for Moscow are Metropolitans Makarios of Nairobi and Kenya, Innocent Burundi and Rwanda, Athanasios of Cyrene, and Bishop Neophytos of Nyeri and Mount Kenya.