Belgrade, August 25, 2023
Pat. Theodoros (left), Pat. Porfirije (right)
Patriarch of Serbia calls on world leaders to fight for release of Kiev Caves abbotMet. Pavel has always called for peace and a cessation of conflicts through dialogue, Pat. Porfirije states. Nevertheless, he is clearly being incarcerated for “his personal and religious identity.”
“>Late last month, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, the primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, addressed his fellow Orthodox primates and other religious and world leaders, calling on them to do everything in their power to work for the release of the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, who at that time was being held in a pre-trial detention center in Kiev.
Thankfully, the abbot, His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, Abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra released after months of house arrest and detentionFinally, after months of being unjustly held under round-the-clock house arrest and then in a detention center, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra has been released on bail.
“>has since been released from the detention center, though the state continues its persecutorial case against him and he remains under house arrest.
Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria Pat. Theodoros accuses Pat. Porfirije of defending Kiev Caves abbot but not condemning Russian Church in AfricaLast week, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije addressed a number of global religious and secular leaders, including the primates of the Local Churches, calling on them to do what they can to help His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra who is being held in a Kiev detention center.
“>quickly responded to Pat. Porfirije. However, the Alexandrian primate, who was once a defender of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox but is now in communion with the schismatics, chose to focus on the problems within his own Church rather than the suffering of the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful.
Pat. Theodoros “observes with sorrow” that Pat. Porfirije has come to the defense of Met. Pavel but not to the defense of the Patriarchate of Alexandria against the Russian Church’s African Exarchate.
Today, the Serbian Orthodox Church published an essay examining the Alexandrian primate’s stance.
“It is hard to believe that an Orthodox Primate of such a high rank as the Patriarch of Alexandria would stoop to [such] a level,” the author writes.
The essay reads in full:
What about me?
Patriarch of Alexandria Theodore responded with a letter to the appeal of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porphyry, in which His Holiness Patriarch Porphyry intercedes for Metropolitan of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl Pavel from Ukraine, who is unjustly imprisoned while the faithful in Ukraine are being persecuted and their human rights violated on a daily basis. This noble gesture, deeply Christian and indeed humane, by His Holiness Porphyry, to appeal to the consciousness of world religious leaders on behalf of those who are being persecuted on the basis of their Christian faith and membership in the only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine resonates with every faithful heart. But it seems not so much with that of the Patriarch of Alexandria.
It is simply astonishing that the Patriarch of Alexandria utilized such an occasion, an appeal relating to the suffering of the faithful people of Ukraine, only to call the attention to himself and to wail about the supposed invasion of his jurisdiction by the Russians. He compares the suffering of the faithful in Ukraine to the alleged suffering of his flock, some of whom, parenthetically, moved over to the Russian jurisdiction completely voluntarily and of their own initiative. The Patriarch of Alexandria was the first to violate the territorial jurisdiction of the Russian Church with his recognition of an illegitimate churchlike organization for the legitimate Church in Ukraine. Because of this, some of his flock deemed this action uncanonical, dissented and asked to be accepted into the Russian Church instead. The Russians waited for two years before receiving the clergy and people who left the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria for the said reason.
It is hard to believe that an Orthodox Primate of such a high rank as the Patriarch of Alexandria would stoop to a level of a cheap attempt to involve the Most Holy Serbian Orthodox Church into a dispute that he personally has with the Russian Orthodox Church. A dispute caused, one must add, by his own actions alone. And furthermore, to attempt all this over such an uncontroversial issue as intercession by the Serbian Patriarch for a brother bishop who is imprisoned in violation of all civilized norms.
One cannot but wonder whether institutional Orthodoxy is really impaired to such a degree that it can tolerate egoism of this magnitude coupled with a complete absence of any sense of justice, where such utterances as those of Patriarch of Alexandria can be put in writing and dispersed worldwide without as much as a trace of shame? How can the looting and burning of temples, beating and terrorizing the clergy and the faithful, deprivation of civil and human rights and even citizenship, deportations, raids, imprisonments, and the like, ever be compared to a voluntary transfer of a number of clergy to another jurisdiction?
If Patriarch of Alexandria wishes to talk about the suffering of his flock, he could perhaps cite examples of how he forbade “his flock” access to the only well of drinking water as a punishment for moving to another jurisdiction. Or, perhaps how some stole Russian antimensions only to take pictures and mock them, or how his bishops retaliated against dissenting clergy in various ways, and many similar violations of their rights and even basic human dignity.
But no, the Patriarch of Alexandria instead chose to publicly call out and almost condemn His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch for His appeal to respect the human rights of an unjustly condemned brother in Christ, other clergy and faithful, the suffering Body of Christ in Ukraine. Patriarch of Alexandria used this most solemn occasion in the most shameful and unbecoming manner to simply say: “what about me”.
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