On 8 March 2020, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus (Primate of the Church of Cyprus), together with many hierarchs, celebrated the Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George.
In his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomed at the Center of Orthodoxy the Primate of the Church of Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos and his suite, expressing his own warm greetings and congratulations as well as on behalf of the members of the Holy and Sacred Synod, the Patriarchal Court and the pious people of God.
“Any opposition to the matter of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is not canonical. However, there are some who intend to harm the newly-established Orthodox Church of Ukraine with the aim of creating a secular institution, which, on the one hand, will be operating in contrast with ecclesial principles and tradition and, on the other hand, will be serving foreign interests in clear contradiction with Orthodox ecclesiology and the synodical character of the Orthodox Church”, stated Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his speech, at the end of the Divine Liturgy. Patriarch Bartholomew made it clear that the decision to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “brought to light the canonical responsibility of the Ecumenical Throne and gave prominence to the canonical decisions taken by the Ecumenical Councils”. “The recognition of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from the other Orthodox Churches is the basic precondition for achieving unity within the Orthodox world,” he concluded.
In his response, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, said to the Ecumenical Patriarch: “I came to tell you that you are not and we are not going to leave you alone”. The Archbishop of Cyprus emphasised that, “Nothing can be challenged. If we look back into the past, there is no Church, which did not benefit from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In addition, it is the Ecumenical Patriarchate that established the new Churches. It is ignorance to say something different.” “The Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople is canonically responsible for life. You, the Ecumenical Patriarch, are the one who makes many sacrifices and bears the heavy Cross of all responsibilities of the Orthodox world,” he added. Moreover, the Archbishop of Cyprus also referred to the discussions about a new collaboration between Orthodox Churches in order to preserve unity. He said, “If we did not have a Protos (First) in the Orthodox Church, we would search for one. But we have a Primus inter pares. He was established by the life of the Orthodox Church during the passed centuries. O Lord, keep him for many years!”
The Divine Liturgy was concelebrated by the Metropolitans Jeremiah of Ancyra, Chrysostom of Dodoni (Church of Greece), Athenagoras of Mexico, Meliton of Philadelphia, Andreas of Arkalochori, Kastelli and Viannos, Paisios of Leros and Kalymnos, Nektarios of Kition (Church of Cyprus), Athenagoras of Kydonia, Makarios of Australia, Myron of New Zealand , Maximos of Switzerland and Nektarios of Anthidonos (Patriarchate of Jerusalem).
Following the dismissal, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Cyprus, together with the concelebrating bishops and clergy, served the established Memorial Service for the rest of the souls of all “those who fought in favor of our Orthodox faith and ended their life in this faith.” The liturgical procession with the Holy Icons followed, in the patriarchate’s court, during which the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Cyprus blessed the faithful with the icons they held.