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21 May, 2024
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Bishop wants Holy Synod to decide on Ukraine

Outspoken bishop in Cyprus warns of schism over Kiev, calls on pro-west archbishop to hold new vote


An outspoken bishop in Cyprus says it is time for the Holy Synod to settle the issue of Ukraine through the “majority rule” principle, calling on the Archbishop to hold a new vote to avoid a schism on the island.

According to local media, Kykkos metropolitan bishop Nikiforos says he will propose once again a ballot for Holy Synod members to decide which head of church in Ukraine will be commemorated during Divine Liturgy on the island.

In 2020 the late archbishop Chrysostomos had moved unilaterally to recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’s independence from Moscow, drawing criticism from some bishops who spoke against overturning an earlier Holy Synod position of neutrality on the controversial issue.

'Since there is a sacred canon that calls for majority rule, we ought to comply with the majority decision and those in the minority ought to fall in line'

But on Sunday the issue remerged when Paphos bishop Tychikos failed to participate in commemorating Kiev’s pro-west primate Epiphany.

“I am thinking about proposing to our own primate to reintroduce the issue so that the Holy Synod can decide,” Nikiforos said.

Nikiforos, who says he was certain that Ukraine’s pro-Russia Onufriy was the primate per canonical rules, pointed out that Cyprus’ new Archbishop Georgios continues to commemorate Epiphany and added that this could be an issue that could cause a schism.

“Since there is a sacred canon that calls for majority rule, we ought to comply with the majority decision,” Nikiforos said, adding that “those in the minority ought to fall in line.”

“The canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is Onufriy but the matter must be put anew before the Hoy Synod,” Nikiforos said. 

Chrysostomos’ pro-Ukraine position had support from Istanbul’s Patriarch Bartholomew who also recognized the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine back in 2019, a move that triggered a split with Moscow and severed centuries-long Christian Orthodox ties between East and West.

Cyprus  |  Ukraine  |  church  |  orthodox  |  Nikiforos  |  Russia  |  east  |  west  |  Holy Synod

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