Holy Trinity Publications is grateful to share the wise words of Orthodox hierarchs from four Local Churches reflecting on the crisis that faces the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today and the path toward reconciliation and peace laid before us by His Eminence NIKIFOROS, Metropolitan of Kykkos and Tylliria (Church of Cyprus), in his new book, The Ecclesial Crisis in Ukraine and its Solution According to the Sacred Canons. We offer the bishops' endorsements in full below.
This book is a thoughtful and objective treatise for understanding the ecclesiastical crisis that has been created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s granting autocephaly to schismatic groups in Ukraine, an action which has divided the Orthodox Church, with the evident risk of consolidating a wider schism, and that until today has not brought about the expected results of restoring the unity of the Orthodox faithful there.
The distinguished and learned Cypriot Hierarch, lifted to the height of his hierarchical conscience and responsibility, with profound theological knowledge and canonical seriousness, analyzes in detail the historical origin of the schism in Ukraine. He unimpeachably cites significant evidence about ecclesiastical jurisdiction from the Church’s longstanding canonical order and flawlessly asks crucial questions about the canonicity a) of the situation that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has brought about in Ukraine and b) the “novel theories” that it has promoted regarding its special privileges, alien to Orthodox ecclesiology.
In this book, it becomes manifestly clear that Metropolitan Nikiforos, in a spirit of the love of Christ, is deeply concerned for the necessary cooperation and concord among the Orthodox. In order to address the various challenges of the contemporary era, he worthily suggests commencing a crucial and honest dialogue through the convening of a Pan-Orthodox Synaxis of the primates of the Churches by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Its purpose would be to prevent further tension in relations between the Orthodox and to restore Eucharistic communion among them.
Metropolitan of Bostra (Patriarchate of Jerusalem)
The Serbian Orthodox Church has always taken the position in support of proper Church order and the Holy Canons. We do not take the position of Greeks or Russians, rather we stand for what is just and right. Regarding the situation in the Ukraine, we cannot condone the rejection of the universally recognized status of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the omophorion of Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev. This situation in which we Orthodox have found ourselves is completely unnatural and does not serve the good of the Orthodox Church, rather it is contrary to it. We pray to the Almighty God and the Most-Holy Theotokos that this division ends quickly and Church order will reign again. We are pleased that writings such as this work by Metropolitan Nikiforos are working towards this correction.
Bishop of New Gracanica and Midwestern America (Church of Serbia)
The Orthodox Church of Poland is not against granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine on the basis of the dogmatic and canonical norms which would apply to the entire Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and not for a schismatic group - roskolniki. A group separated from the teaching of the Holy Church cannot represent a healthy church organism, as this state violates the eucharistic unity of the Orthodoxy as a whole.
In this case, the penitential process of the "hierarchy" in the schism would be an indispensable act that should have taken place. Regretfully, these canonical and dogmatic norms were omitted, which caused, I hope only a temporary, crisis in the coexistence and conciliarity of local Orthodox churches.
This book addresses the many arguments and ways towards unity and the common Orthodox Church in Ukraine focused on serving God and His faithful. This lively analysis presents the situation of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine in an accessible way to both theologians, the faithful, and all people interested in the topic of the unity of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
Archbishop of Lublin and Chelm (Church of Poland)
This is a serious study of a crisis in the life of our Orthodox Church worldwide that deserves to be widely read as we seek to understand the underlying issues more clearly and find a conciliar solution that brings both unity and peace. The author, His Eminence Nicephoros, the Metropolitan of Kykkos and the Abbot of the most prominent Cypriot monastery of the same name, is a hierarch widely known for his zealous care about pan-Orthodox unity which often takes form of a practical help wherever needed. Being a Cypriot Greek, that is, a son of a proud, hard-working nation imbued with genuine Orthodox tradition reflected in its everyday life, a nation that has had its share of opression and persecution, and being the Abbot of the Monastery that gave spiritual birth to Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus, he is very sensitive to any signs of injustice, whether they happen in the world or even within the Holy Church of Christ. Therefore, may this work of his help to bring some light into the challenging processes and ecclesial misconceptions that make many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, faithful sons and daughters of their Ukrainian church and homeland, united around their Metropolitan Onuphry in faith, hope and love, suffer on an everyday basis, while the "powerful of this world" keep their silence.
Archbishop of Michalovce and Košice (Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia)