To the Editor:
In response to “Smashers of the Orthodox Church” (December 30): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church whose Bishops have valid ordinations and consecrations and possess the requisites of apostolicity, catholicity, and canonicity is being fiercely persecuted and is subject to the seizure of Churches and violence towards its clergy and faithful by the followers of the fake entity known as “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Within the Church of Greece, the seeds of schism have been sown as a result of the pressure tactics directed against Greek Bishops by the American Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt.
There are at least twelve Bishops and countless priests, monastics, theologians, and faithful in Greece who have condemned the recognition of the schismatic OCU by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Athens. As with the Church of Greece, the Patriarchate of Alexandria has been badly destabilized by the decision made by Patriarch Theodoros (without the consent of his synod) to establish communion with the Ukrainian schismatics. As with the Church of Greece, a dangerous division has opened within the Patriarchate of Alexandria. To make matters even worse, the authorities of Montenegro, apparently inspired by the example of Ukraine is demanding recognition of Bishops who are in schism from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Indeed, a Serbian Bishop in Montenegro was beaten by Police for protesting government plans to confiscate property belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church. The terrible events taking place in Ukraine, Greece, Alexandria and Africa, Montenegro, and Mount Athos (where there are also divisions) owe their origins exclusively to the decision of Constantinople to establish communion with an illegitimate entity masquerading as a Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate as recently as 2014 had declared that it recognized only the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev.
There is indeed pressure being imposed on the Orthodox Churches but it is not coming from Russia. Last August, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece announced it would not be discussing the Ukrainian issue at its October session. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Athens to meet with the Archbishop and surprise, surprise, the Church of Greece recognized the Ukrainian schismatics. More recently, Ambassador Pyatt in a speech in Athens openly endorsed the Church of Greece’s recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics as if these Church matters were any business of his.
Theodore G. Karakostas