Athos, the UOC and the “OCU”: the Athonites do not want to let representatives of the schism on the Holy Mountain

Our pilgrims, who have recently visited Mount Athos, tell quite interesting things after their return. Yes, the problem of recognizing the “OCU” has not gone anywhere, but at the moment there are almost no disputes on this issue. And not because it is not of interest to the Athonites, but because they have already made up their minds and it has become quite clear who is “for” and who is “against”.

The monasteries Karakalou, Filotheou, Kastamonitou, Panteleimon, Hilandar, Zographou, Docheiariou strongly oppose the recognition of the Ukrainian schism (this is how the inhabitants of the aforementioned monasteries call the representatives of the “OCU”). In private conversations, the abbot of the monastery, Vatoped Ephraim, also speaks out against the recognition of the OCU. Practically the majority of cells and sketes of Athos insist on the same position.

It is interesting that during a conversation with the monks of the Simonopetra monastery, whose abbot supports the OCU, representatives of the UOC heard the following words: “We understand you, but you also should understand us.” In other words, the monks of Simonopetra hinted that they are hostages of certain circumstances, therefore their “sympathy” for the “OCU” is dictated precisely by these circumstances, and not by their own convictions.

Quite often, the condition for staying in a monastery, cell or skete of Athos is belonging to the UOC. For example, Abbot of Kastamonitou refuses to issue documents to representatives of the OCU, and in a cell located in the immediate vicinity of the skete of St. Anna, our pilgrims were directly asked which Metropolitan they mention during the service. Hearing the name of His Beatitude Onuphry, the monks declared that he was the only and canonical Metropolitan of Kyiv, Primate of the Ukrainian Church.

At the same time, the Athonites say that in the Phanar it was decided to provide the OCU representatives with an opportunity to settle on the Holy Mountain, namely in the skete of the Prophet Elijah. This was one of the reasons that Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon (Adamakis) and two abbots of monasteries who supported the OCU were present at the enthronement of the new hegumen (after the death of the previous one) Philemon. Father Philemon himself is not a supporter of the recognition of the “OCU”, and therefore, as the Athonites say, the phanariots tried to “convince” him of the incorrectness of this position. At the same time, most of the Athonite monks are very unhappy with the possible prospect of representatives of the OCU settling on the Holy Mountain and are ready to do everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

In addition, a large number of Greek clergy and laity harshly criticize the recognition of the OCU by the Greek Church. Among the believers in Greece there are more and more of those who consider this decision to be erroneous. It is this position, as they say on Athos, that led to the fact that during the celebration of the 1033th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, the Greek Church did not send its representative to Kyiv at the invitation of the OCU.

All of the above information, provided by the clergy and believers of our Church after the pilgrimage to Holy Mount Athos, once again leads to the conclusion that the situation with the “Ukrainian church issue” gives rise to internal problems among those who have recognized the OCU, and strengthens it as a church one. and personal separation. It is obvious that the way that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople took, time will not only not heal this wound, but will only aggravate it. Because only a conciliar decision can be cured. And until the Phanar understands this, the Orthodox Church will suffer from schism.

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba), the UOC

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