The Church of Cyprus decided to refuse to participate in the celebrations marking the 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia at the end of the week in Kiev. A statement of the Holy Synod of the Local Church of Cyprus said that it shall not participate in the festivities in the Ukraine, “The First Hierarch shall not do so, nor shall any other representative of the Church”. This decision, adopted three days before the arrival of Patriarch Bartholomew in Kiev, places him in a difficult position, since everyone assumed that the chorus from the Kikkskogo Monastery in Cyprus would have sung at the Liturgy in St Sofia Cathedral in Kiev and also at the pannikhida for the victims of Stalinism (what is mislabelled the Golodomor by Galician extremists: editor’s note) reports the website Bogoslov.ru.
Recently, Archbishop Chrysostom, the First Hierarch of the Church of Cyprus, visited Moscow. When he met with Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias, he was able to see easily that His Holiness was troubled by the interference of the Ukrainian and Estonian governments in church matters. “Whenever politicians interfere in the life of the church, they frequently ruin things, not build them up, for only a few contemporary politicians follow reasonable moral values”, Archbishop Chrysostom said. “We are greatly saddened by this situation. We have never agreed to any similar action. The Holy Canons take first place in the church, and we must strictly observe them. We are called to maintain, not destroy, [Orthodox] unity”, he added. He also noted that Patriarch Aleksei said to him that some politicians “want to tear apart the ancient spiritual and canonical connections between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, and there are Orthodox ‘brothers’ willing to aid them in this”. In turn, Archbishop Chrysostom told Patriarch Aleksei that there was an emphatic need for solidarity amongst the Local Orthodox Churches in averting schisms, since such are capable of inflicting grievous wounds to world Orthodoxy. Patriarch Aleksei then thanked Vladyki Chrysostom for his solid, frank, and principled position.
22 July 2008