Moscow, December 29, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has decided to admit more than 100 clerics of the Patriarchate of Alexandria as its members who disagreed with the establishment of the so-called new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
"The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has said that it is impossible to further refuse clerics of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, who have submitted relevant petitions, to accept them under the omophorion of the Moscow Patriarchate. It ruled to admit 102 clerics to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church in accordance with their submitted petitions," Russian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vladimir Legoyda said on his Telegram channel on Wednesday.
The Synod has already considered this issue in September of this year. The occasion was a co-service between Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and the head of the non-canonical church of Ukraine, Yepifaniy (Dumenko), which took place on Turkey's Imbros Island on August 13. The Synod then noted that Patriarch Theodore II's co-serving with "the head of the schismatic body operating in Ukraine" further exacerbates the schism between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Alexandria.
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.