Greek Priest Under Fire for Supporting Orthodoxy in Ukraine

Originally appeared at: Orthodox Christianity

A priest of the Orthodox Church of Greece who is known as an outspoken critic of ecumenism and supporter of Orthodoxy in Ukraine is being threatened with defrocking by his ruling hierarch.

Protopresbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos was recently summoned by Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras to give an apology for three offenses:

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  • contempt and disobedience of his hierarch

  • insulting the Patriarchate of Constantinople

  • scandalizing the faithful.

The Metropolitan’s decision is awaited, reports the Constantinople-aligned outlet Phos Phanariou.

Recall that Fr. Anastasios was previously convicted in a civil court of celebrating the Divine services during the COVID lockdown in 2020.

According to the new report, Fr. Anastasios is now threatened with defrocking after a recent interview he gave. The Phos Phanariou report does not mention the outlet, but Father did give an interview to the Ukrainian-based Union of Orthodox Journalists earlier this month.

According to the Constantinople outlet, Fr. Anastasios “declared himself a supporter of the Russian Church, Putin, etc.” (note that no such thing was stated in his interview with the UOJ) and reiterated that he does not recognize the schismatic “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, but rather supports the Orthodox Christians in Ukraine headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. He is also accused of “disparaging Patriarch Bartholomew whom he consistently targets along with other supposed Orthodox fanatics in Patras.”

Met. Chrysostomos accuses Fr. Anastasios of ignoring the decision of the Church of Greece regarding the Ukrainian issue. Recall that in October 2019, the hierarchy of the Church of Greece voted to allow their primate, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, to decide whether to commemorate the schismatics or not, which he began to do the next month.

Phos Phanariou writes that Fr. Anastasios constantly stands in favor of “the former Metropolitan Onuphry, who is pro-Russian,” seemingly unaware that Met. Onuphry led the UOC in its vote to separate from the Moscow Patriarchate in May 2022, after which His Beatitude ceased commemorating Patriarch Kirill as his superior.

According to Met. Chrysostomos, Fr. Anastasios insults Patriarch Bartholomew by comparing him to heretics and supporting the call for a pan-Orthodox council, even if not convened by Pat. Bartholomew. Further, the Metropolitan says that Fr. Anastasios scandalizes the faithful with his refusal to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics, according to Phos Phanariou.

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