Met Seraphim of Piraeus: The Crisis Must be Overcome with a Pan-Orthodox Council

The Greek original of Met Seraphim’s interview with VIMA ORTHODOXIAS, conducted by Demetrios Voukias, can be found here.

“One bad thing is done and myriads follow…” His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus said to VIMA ORTHODOXIAS about the move made by the Russian Church with the Exarchate in Africa– what he said in detail:

Granting autocephaly to anathematized, excommunicated and schismatic people without repentance and their restoration without the legal procedure prescribed by the Sacred Canons is unfortunately leading Orthodoxy onto dangerous paths.

For this reason we feel great pain over this tragedy that is afflicting the Body of Christ worldwide. The Exarchate of the Russian Church that has been announced is based on the erroneous view that the Patriarchate of Alexandria has become schismatic by commemorating Epifany as metropolitan of the “autocephalous” Church of Ukraine.

Someone is not declared schismatic by just any primate or just any synod, but rather by a pan-Orthodox Council, which must be convened as prescribed by the Sacred Canons.

Therefore, the action of the Russian Church is based on a false premise, because you cannot examine someone and judge him to be schismatic without the ruling and canonical penalty that can be imposed by the competent conciliar body.

In the Orthodox Church, this responsibility is vested in a pan-Orthodox Ecumenical Council and not in individual ecclesiastical entities. I must, however, say that the request for convening a pan-Orthodox Council, as Archbishop Anastasios of Albania very wisely pointed out in his inspired statement, has become more necessary than ever. There is an urgent need to overcome the crisis between the Churches and in order to restore calm within the Body of Orthodoxy, His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, with the wisdom that distinguishes him and subtle and profound perception of things, should transcend himself and immediately convene a pan-Orthodox Council to settle the issue and bring peace to the Orthodox Church.

I will repeat once more, we have stated since the beginning of the issue that our august Ecumenical Patriarchate erroneously and invalidly without competence and without process restored deposed clergy of the Russian Church without having any such competency. For this is not foreseen by the Sacred Canons. The identity of the penalties that is in force as one of the unifying elements of Orthodoxy has unfortunately, in this case, been manifestly violated. There is no question as to whether or not the Ecumenical Patriarchate had the right to grant autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine– of course it had this right– because it is the First-Throned Church and until another manner of granting autocephaly is decided, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has this right.

Under the canonical conditions, of course, that is:

  • A request by an ecclesial body.
  • The consent of the Church.
  • And the granting by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In this particular case, the issue is not whether the Ecumenical Patriarchate gave autocephaly properly or improperly, but rather the issue is to whom it gave it. It did not give it to the canonical Church under Metropolitan Onufry, which all the Orthodox Churches recognize until today, but to a swarm of deposed, charlatan, unordained and anathematized people who even today appear to be unworthy of the high stage.

Let me remind you about the pseudo-Patriarch Filaret Denysenko who was deposed for fornication because he had four children. This wretched man, who supposedly has now been restored, participated a few days ago in two ordinations of Greek Old-Calendarist pseudo-clergy, whom he also made bishops. So the issue is very serious and multilayered.

This crisis must be overcome with the convocation of a pan-Orthodox Council. It is a very ripe request and much-needed. May His Beatitude the Ecumenical Patriarch– whom we love, respect and honor because he is the Patriarch of our Race– as well as Their Beatitudes the Primates of the Autocephalous Churches be blessed with the grace, blessing and enlightenment of the Lord to convene immediately a pan-Orthodox Council with the participation of all the disputing Hierarchs and Metropolitans on the basis of the Divine and Sacred Canons of our Church about the very serious issue that has arisen.

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