Metropolitan Seraphim (Kykkotis) of Zimbabwe: Where the Absence of Dialogue on the Ukrainian Issue Could Lead

Greek original here.

If the decisions regarding Autocephaly of the Inter-Orthodox Meetings that began in the 1960s with the Pan-Orthodox Conferences are not respected, indeed at the initiative of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and the participation of all the Local Orthodox Churches until January 2016, positions that are the result of over fifty years on the part of all the Local Orthodox Churches, things will develop very badly for the preservation of the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

We must not allow political factors to affect the strengthening of the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Historically, it already seems that those who justify the claims of some that the Russians will seek in various ways to have bishops around the world without, unfortunately, paying any mind to our Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In the absence of dialogue with the Sister Orthodox Churches to discuss the issue of canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Ukraine, the result is that today the Russians will send their clergy into all areas of the canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, even within Turkey and, indeed, Constantinople.
This means that if any Local Orthodox Church that favors the position of our Ecumenical Patriarchate on the issue of Ukraine’s autocephaly, the Russians will immediately send their clergy into the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of that Local Church.

We will all be turned upside down and we do not know what will become of us in difficult times when Orthodoxy everywhere should be united and strengthened so that we may be able to respond to the contemporary challenges of our troubled times.

A Joint Ecclesiastical Committee must act immediately with the participation of representatives of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and of the Moscow Patriarchate to jointly examine the issue and prepare a meeting of the two Primates of their two Churches so that we may prevent the worst.

The initiatives of His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus were made on behalf of all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, particularly those of the Ancient Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of Cyprus and Albania, in order that we may prioritize the dialogue of Love so that we may prevent the worst.

Without dialogue, the problems will not be solved and, on the contrary, they will grow and suffocate us.

We must not be sidetracked by the current confrontation of hatred and evil that is being cultivated by some fanatics without thought to the rifts that are threatening the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches.

We all pray that God will enlighten those who are responsible for this situation and that they will help to start a dialogue so that we may prevent the worst.

When the war started in Iraq, then-US president Bush, who in one way or another bloodied our entire Planet, soon went to speak at the General Convention of the UN about the problem of AIDS, which was then one of the greatest threats for massive premature deaths of millions of people, including children.

Although the President was saying serious and correct things about tackling AIDS, everyone was laughing and not taking him seriously.

Although I personally disagree with what I will recount, unfortunately some people at the United Nations and the World Council of Churches made the same comments about the Patriarchal Address by our Ecumenical Patriarch to the Secretary General of the UN on the subject of the special session of the General Assembly of the UN on the problems of Climate Change.

Among other things, the Patriarchal address emphasized the importance of dialogue and the cooperation of all for the effort of us all to save our Planet through our peaceful coexistence, while on the subject of Ukraine, the Metropoitan of France still insists that the stage of dialogue has been completed while, in one way or another, all the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches are insisting on dialogue so that the visible unity of the Local Orthodox Churches may be preserved.

The institution of the ecumenicity of our Ecumenical Patriarchate must be preserved in every way with wisdom and prudence, as it has survived for all these past centuries and especially with the strengthening of its institution over the past sixty years with the work of the Pan-Orthodox Conferences and the proceedings of the Great and Holy Synod of Crete.

I do not think that we can protect the ecumenical institution of our Ecumenical Patriarchate with decisions that are contrary to the canons of the Orthodox Church.
All we will do is run the risk of making our Ecumenical Patriarch into a pastor of an isolated parish.

We must, through dialogue, find a solution where our Ecumenical Patriarch always as Protos, with his coordinating role of love and unity, will lead all the Local Orthodox Churches and even the Russians to be the visible symbol of our unity and not the threat of the greatest schism that the Orthodox Church will know in the course of her history.

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