For the third day, the Holy Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria is meeting to discuss the Moscow Patriarchate’s creation of an Exarchate in Africa, Proto Thema reported.
The Synod unanimously expressed the fraternal support of the First Throne Church of Constantinople to the Patriarchate of Alexandria and stressed that they reserves the right to do everything possible to restore order in Africa’s Orthodox World.
The major issue may even lead to a split, and the issue has international political and diplomatic implications, as it touches on Russia’s moves in response to Western initiatives on Ukraine , which have led to the creation of autocephalous for the Ukrainian Church, with the Prelate the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Epiphany.
On this issue, the Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodoros, convened the Holy Synod as developments are foreshadowed rapidly.
Ecclesiastical factors consider it possible and necessary to decide to convene a Pan-Orthodox Synod, to which the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will be invited, from whose position, ie whether he will participate or abstain and which position he will take, will be judge the future of the unity of the Orthodox Churches.
The Church of Russia’s move was reportedly to receive on December 29 102 clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria from eight African countries and to establish a Patriarchal Exarchate in Africa.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Russia, as it was clarified, declared the impossibility of further denial to the clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, who submitted applications for subordination to the Moscow Patriarchate.
Commenting on the decision on a TV show, the head of the Department of External Ecclesiastical Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who denies that the Moscow Patriarchate is “invading” Africa, according to the ecclesiastical terminology, will cause another accusations from those who have been fighting against the Russian Orthodox Church for many years.
He stressed: “In 2019, Theodore II, Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, recognised the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
In an interview with Ria Novosti, Metropolitan Volokolamsk also said that “the Russian Orthodox Church cannot refuse to feed the Orthodox faithful in Turkey.”
Already, however, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, in a statement expressed its sorrow and indicated that it will continue to exercise its jurisdiction.
As it is emphasised: “The ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria expresses deep sorrow for the synodal decision of the Russian Patriarchate to establish an Exarchate within the normal limits of the jurisdiction of the Ancient Church of Alexandria, a decision taken during the feasts of the Nativity, which is projected by the King of Peace Christ.
“The Patriarchate of Alexandria will continue to perform its pastoral duty towards its flock entrusted under the Lord, subject to the spiritual legacies of the great Greek Fathers of the Church, who, according to the modern Russian theologian, the late Fr. George F. left an indelible mark on Orthodox Theology and the Church.
“The decision of the Russian Patriarchate will be discussed at an upcoming session of the Synod of the current Patriarchate, at which time relevant decisions will be taken.”
Meanwhile, Albanian Archbishop Anastasios pointed out that: “since the beginning of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine, we have orally and in writing pointed out that ecclesiastical rifts and schisms are not healed with time.
“On the contrary, it deepens and hardens them.
“The recent decision of the Moscow Patriarchate to establish an exarchate on the African continent confirms the initial fears.
“Along with the rift between millions of Ukrainian Orthodox, a new rift is being created in the sensitive African continent, where Orthodox foreign mission has been developing in recent decades.
“In African countries various Christian denominations have long been established.
“From now on, ordinary Africans will be invited to come to Orthodoxy by two Orthodox Patriarchates, without having a sacramental communion with each other.
“The scandal and the weakening of the Orthodox testimony by this divisive activity is obvious. This is a painful development.
“The claim that there is no schism in Orthodoxy but simply disagreements resembles the theory that there is no coronavirus.
“The schism, with a variety of mutations, is obvious and it is urgent to seek treatment and use of the vaccine, which the apostolic tradition has defined: reconciliation, catastrophe.
“In November 2019, we had sent to all the Orthodox Prelates a text, in which we stressed the absolute priority of unity, the need to use dialogue, the avoidance of ethno-racial groups, the urgent activation of the principle of the Synod, on which the Orthodox Church has relied for a long time.”
For their part, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which met yesterday, declared the “invasion” of the Church of Russia under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to be illegal.