"The Church in Greece has tragically joined in the persecution of the truly Orthodox of Ukraine.... It has joined its self to false brethren and disregarded the true brethren.... We mourn you O Greece, how you have fallen for the sake of political machinations!"
- A small addendum after I wrote the post below - in a more proper and technical sense it was recommended to the Church in Greece to recognize the schismatics in Ukraine. Yet, to any familiar with the basic workings of synodal meetings, it is well known that documents addressing such important issues only make the final "presentation" stage with prior approval. Such documents are generally indicative of the direction intended to be pursued, in this case, "recommended." In my opinion, it to some degree qualifies as semantics. Regardless, I believe my points below are just as valid. Even in its willingness to entertain such a document and to have it "recommended" indicates a betrayal of the faithful in Ukraine by certain Hierarchs of the Church in Greece. Every small and perceived commendation of the Schismatics is weaponized to further persecute the Faithful Church in Ukraine. The Hierarchs in Greece cannot be ignorant of this fact; if they are they should completely refrain from such "recommendation." I also understand that there are many very pious and faithful Bishops, Priests, and laymen who do not in any manner support such a betrayal. I pray that God give them courage and strength in these trying circumstances. Below begins my original piece -
With great sadness, I read that, in an Orwellian-like manner, the Church in Greece has recommended to recognized as valid the schismatics in Ukraine.
It seems Orwellian because of the propaganda ploy: “if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes truth. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This ploy is gaining momentum, even in the Church. Now we have our own “memory tubes” into which reality is flushed away in favor of skewed institutional interests.
The lie is that the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine requested autocephaly. It never did. The lie is that the EP was responding to a legitimate request from a legitimate Church. It did not. A group of schismatics and illegitimately “ordained” false brethren requested recognition from the Ecumenical Patriarch. He gave it to them in the form of a Tomos, which was (and is) steeped in political intrigue. The lie is that the EP was acting selflessly and purely in the interests of “his flock” in Ukraine. He did not.
These vital points are never mentioned by the proponents of the EP.
If it were simply that the Canonical church requested autocephaly, then the discussion would be somewhat different. By that I'm not saying I buy the line that the EP has global authority to grant autocephaly, I do not. The other lie, I dare say heresy, is that the EP is a type of Orthodox Pope with universal authority. Will we roll over and accept a form of Neo-papism?
The truth and reality is: the canonical Church in Ukraine never requested autocephaly. In fact, rather, numerous times, it requested that the EP not interfere in its local affairs. The EP blatantly disregarded the request of its true Orthodox brethren in Ukraine and sided with schismatics and dividers of the Church.
The real question is – does the EP have the "authority" to disregard a local autonomous Church headed by a universally recognized Metropolitan? The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is fully autonomous. Does the EP have the "authority" to bring turmoil to the "good order of the Church"?
Does the EP have the authority to intrude into another Church's affairs and recognize, de facto, in its stead a group of false brethren, schismatics, and antichrists who are in the minority? (Anyone with any once of intelligence and research ability can easily find out about the disgraceful history of the group the EP has joined in fellowship with.)
Can the EP make children of God out of stones – those whose hearts have been hardened by the grave sin of schism and division due to vainglory and worldly interests, for which they have shown no repentance? No one can be in grave sin and show no repentance as long as the EP blesses you! How wonderful, one can sin and not repent if backed by the “authority” of the EP! We might as well have indulgences, for the logic is the same – forgiveness with no true repentance that is granted on the “authority” of a man, be it the Pope of Rome or the Pope pretender in Istanbul.
All we need now is cold authority! Well, it seems the Pharisees were right in the long run! And yet we would do well to remember the words our Lord spoke to them, “Woe to you ….”
The Church in Greece has tragically joined in the persecution of the truly Orthodox of Ukraine. It has recognized as “lawful” the unlawful actions of the EP. It has joined its self to false brethren and disregarded the true brethren. Lawlessness is being decreed as justified. We mourn you O Greece, how you have fallen for the sake of political machinations!
“Because lawlessness will increase, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12).
Fr. Zechariah is an Orthodox priest in Pueblo, Colorado, at the Archangel Michael Orthodox Church. He blogs at The Inkless Pen, and is a regular contributor at Russian Faith.
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