2019-11-13 00:00:00

Patriarch of Alexandria receives letter with Kiss of Judas fresco after recognizing OCU

Moscow, November 13, Interfax - Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and the archbishops of the Churches of Alexandria and Cyprus were given envelopes following a liturgy service in Limassol, Cyprus, where Patriarch Theodoros mentioned the head of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Yepifaniy; the envelopes contained letters with pictures of Theodoros and Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev, a fragment of the fresco Kiss of Judas, and the text "Onufry is a metropolitan, Yepifaniy is a schismatic, and Theodoros is a Judas," Orthodox Christian blogger Alexander Voznesensky wrote on Facebook.

"The situation is as follows: Theodoros personally mentioned Yepifaniy in a liturgy in Limassol, despite the requests of the Cypriot clergy. After that, all the bishops and priests received an envelope containing this picture," Voznesensky said.

A senior priest of the Alexandria Patriarchate tore the letter up in the street and Theodoros "escaped to avoid the attention of the crowd." At the same time, according to Voznesensky, many Cypriot priests "said thank you and that everything had been done most correctly, saying they were informed about the problem and did not support Theodoros."

It was reported last week that Patriarch Theodoros, the head of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, had recognized the OCU, mentioning in a liturgy its leader Yepiphaniy as head of one of the local Orthodox Churches.

Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece recognized the OCU in late October, despite opposition from his own bishops.

The patriarch of Alexandria is second in honorific rank after the Constantinople patriarch among representatives of local Orthodox churches. Until recently, Patriarch Theodoros was known as one of the main defenders of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine.

The OCU was created in December 2018 with assistance from the Constantinople Patriarchate and the administration of Ukraine, which was then led by Pyotr Poroshenko.