By Efi Efthimiou
Archbishop Theodosios of Sevastia praised Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on the occasion of the Canadian government imposing sanctions on the Russian Primate.
The Department of External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow informs us “again” of these new statements of a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The Archbishop of Sevastia refers to “illegality” on the part of Canada, which is supported by other Western countries.
“We perceived such actions as part of one large-scale plan aimed to weaken the role and authority of the Orthodox Church, her spiritual mission in the modern world, and destruction of the moral values she preaches,” Archbishop Theodosios commented.
Also, the hierarch of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem stressed in his statement that the support for the Russian Orthodox Church and its Primate “reaffirms our categorically negative attitude to all the provocations and unlawful actions that the West aims against them.
This Western power, which extolls democracy and human rights while supporting same-sex marriages and other things impossible to be approved and accepted by human reason, is assaulting Patriarch Kirill today, who is the spiritual pastor of the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church both inside and outside Russia.”
He expressed the hope that the disagreements and divisions within the Orthodox Church, “resulted from the anti-canonical actions around the Ukrainian ecclesial issue.”
It is characterized as an “especially painful problem, which needs to be resolved as soon as possible”, in the broken communion between the “two Sister Churches – those of Russia and Constantinople”, obviously forgetting that it is the Russian church that has stopped commemorating not only the Ecumenical Patriarch, but also the Patriarch of Alexandria, and the Archbishops of Greece and Cyprus, and not the other way around.
The interesting thing here is not the statements of Archbishop Theodosios, which are in line with what he said about a month ago when he had again expressed his support and solidarity with Patriarch Kirill.
The question is whether the Archbishop of Sevastia speaks personally or expresses the view of the Synod of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem when he states “we in the Holy City of Jerusalem condemn the actions taken by the political forces of the West against the Patriarch of Moscow.”
In his statement – as reported by the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church – uses the first person plural. Characteristic is the point where he stresses that “We in the Church of Jerusalem enjoy lasting relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is present in the Holy Land; there are her churches in Jerusalem and other places.”
The question arises whether the Archbishop of Sevastia speaks on behalf of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in consultation with Patriarch Theophilos, or whether he does not, why the Patriarch allows this Hierarch to take a stand on behalf of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, even though he refrains from taking a stand, months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and after the intense criticism of the Patriarch of Moscow by the entire Christian world, for the sermons in support of the actions of the Kremlin.
It is even characteristic that hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne question whether Patriarch Theophilos encourages and approves these statements of the Archbishop of Sevastia.