2021-09-24 17:40:00

Russian Orthodox Church considering accepting Alexandria clergy who don't want to recognize Ukrainian schism

Moscow, September 24, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church will consider accepting the clergy of the Church of Alexandria who disagree with the decision of their chairman to recognize the non-canonical church of Ukraine.

"Taking into account the numerous appeals by the clergy of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to take them under the omophorion of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Holiness Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alania is ordered to present proposals to the Holy Synod after thoroughly studying these appeals," according to the final documents of the Synod, which met in Moscow this week.

Metropolitan Leonid who is also deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate said in November 2020 the number of Alexandria clergy who wished to come under the omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Church was "in the hundreds."

The reason why the issue was raised with the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is the co-service by Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria with Yepifaniy Dumenko, the head of the non-canonical church of Ukraine, on Turkey's Imbros Island on August 13.

The Synod said the co-service by Patriarch Theodore II with "the head of the schismatic structure operating in Ukraine" will deepen the division between the Russian and Alexandria Churches.

The patriarch of Alexandria is "second in honor" after the patriarch of Constantinople among the heads of the world's local Orthodox Churches. He studied at the Odessa University in his youth and was locum of the Alexandria metochion in Odessa in 1985-1990. He was known for a long time as one of the main defenders of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine.

In 2018, after the patriarch of Constantinople recognized the Ukrainian schism, Theodore II paid a visit to Odessa to express his solidarity with the country's canonical Church and pledged his support on the international level. However, he still recognized the non-canonical church of Ukraine a year later. Many priests of the Alexandria Patriarchate disagreed with that.