Wednesday, December 1, 2021

    “The Lord has destroyed the barrier”: Two years ago, Hellenic Orthodox Church recognized OCU

    October 12, 2021, marked the second anniversary of the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Hellenic (Greek) Orthodox Church. The recognition came second after the Mother Church of Constantinople. In a letter to Metropolitan Epifaniy on the occasion of the beginning of the Eucharistic communion, the head of the Hellenic Church said “the Lord has destroyed the barrier.”

    It all started with the fact that Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, the head of the OCU, arrived in Constantinople (Istanbul) on June 10, 2019, to congratulate Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on his name-day, which His Holiness celebrates on June 11. An evening service was held at the Church of the Life-Giving Spring Monastery, after which Metropolitan Epifaniy delivered a short greeting to the Ecumenical Patriarch, greeted Archbishop Ieronymos, and presented him with a panagia in honor of his enthronement.

    Later, in late August 2019, the Holy Synod of the Hellenic Church recognized the canonical right of the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant autocephaly, as well as the privilege of the head of the Hellenic Church, Ieronymos II, to pursue with addressing the issue of recognizing the OCU.

    On October 12, 2019, an extraordinary session of the Council of Bishops took place, which was entirely devoted to the Ukrainian church issue. As a result, the Council of the Hellenic Orthodox Church recognized the OCU autocephaly.

    On October 28, 2019, Epifaniy received a letter from the Holy Synod of the Hellenic Orthodox Church, signed by Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece regarding the absence of barriers to communion.

    The letter on behalf of the Primate of the Hellenic Church states the following: “Your Beatitude, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, our dearly loved and welcomed brother loved in our Lord Christ, co-serving our Humility, kir Epifaniy… It is with great pleasure that we received Patriarch’s letter No. 1119 of December 24, 2018, from which we learned about the initiative and actions of the Prime Throne and Responsible Church of Constantinople, which, having positively considered the issue regarding you and the Hierarchs around you, the holy clergy and the people faithful to the Lord, settled the division in the flock of our Archpastor and our Savior, and learned about the synodal consideration by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the proclamation of autocephaly and self-government of the Holy Church of Ukraine, honored by the same rights and responsibilities as other Autocephalous Churches… In this regard, we wish that our Lord, “who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier” (Ephesians 2:14), always give you “the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15: 5) and give your ministry at the head of the Church many fruitful years, for the good of the sister Holy Church of Ukraine, and for Your Beatitude to free the Church of Ukraine from the unrest that has agitated it, destroying its unity, and fully restored peace, tranquility, stability to the glory of God and the whole ecumenism of Orthodoxy. ”

    In less than a month, on November 8, 2019, the Orthodox Church was recognized by the Orthodox Church.