Relations with the Patriarchate of Alexandria were suspended and new parishes were opened across the African continent. The Ukrainian "schismatics" and their friends "funded by the West". The Patriarchate of Constantinople vulnerable to the exploitation of "enemies of Orthodoxy".
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The last annual session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church ended yesterday. This time, the Supreme Ecclesiastical Council, an organism of clergy and laity that had not been convened since 1920 gathered in St Daniel’s monastery in Moscow. The Patriarchate decided to restructure the dioceses to reach the faithful in the most distant corners of the immense Russian territory, even if the number of bishops is not enough to cover all sees.
The most delicate and dramatic decision concerns the African continent. The Synod has in fact pronounced itself for the suspension of ecclesial relations with the patriarch of Alexandria Teodoros II (Choreutakis), guilty of having recognized the new autocephalous Church of Ukraine.
Already on the eve of the Synod, speaking on the Russia 24 channel, Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev) had announced that the Moscow Patriarchate is already organizing to open new parishes "for its faithful" throughout Africa, the canonical territory of the Alexandrian Patriarchate .
“We have already opened several African parishes in the past - declared Ilarion - always in agreement with the patriarchate of Alexandria, to which the Russian parishes submitted; even the Russian priests who carried out their service in those churches temporarily became part of the Alexandrian jurisdiction, and now we will have to do it ourselves ”.
In fact, as many as 27 Orthodox priests from the Alexandrian clergy in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and other countries have refused to recognize the Ukrainian Church. Ilarion observed that "we note the discontent that grows within the Orthodox Church in Africa ... I don't know how things will develop, but if Patriarch Theodoros remains on the side of the schism, we will have to solve the problems for the Orthodox faithful true to the Church". The Russian Synod stressed that Theodoros's decision of 8 November "was not taken after adequate discussion and vote in the Synod of the Alexandrian Church, but was a unilateral decision taken by the patriarch".
In Moscow, the activity of the Alexandrian representation was blocked, while the Moscow representation in Cairo was transformed into a Russian patriarchal parish. The other parishes for the Russians in Africa have also obtained stavropegia from the Muscovite Synod, that is independence from any other local Orthodox jurisdiction, and direct dependence on the patriarchate of Moscow. To all African bishops and priests, who will not adhere to "schismatic" recognition, the Russians guarantee communion and support, admitting the validity of their celebrations.
The same position was taken by Moscow towards the Hellenic Orthodox Church, distinguishing between good and "schismatic" bishops. The various Orthodox liturgical celebrations in these countries will be monitored by the Russians to verify which ecclesiastics will actually pronounce the name of the metropolitan Epifanyj of Kiev during the Eucharistic diptychs. All this without failing to express the "deep regret" for these offenses against the unity of the universal Church, whose destiny is "in the hands of God".
The patriarchate of Moscow evidently aims to organize an international traditionalist network among the Orthodox of all the Churches, with which to oppose the schismatics influenced and financed by the West, according to the vulgarity often repeated by the same patriarch Kirill (Gundjaev).
The Greeks, and in particular the Constantinopolitan headquarters, are considered by the Russians to be the most vulnerable to the exploitation of "enemies of Orthodoxy". One of the most intransigent representatives of the Russian Church, the protoierej Vsevolod Chaplin (long responsible for the social sector of the patriarchate), commenting favorably on the decisions of the Muscovite Synod, added that "new truly orthodox ecclesiastical primates should be appointed in Constantinople, Athens and Alexandria to vacant sees, instead of traitors ... Only by shaking off the dust of heretics and schismatics can we save the only Church in true faith."