NEW YORK, NY (August 30, 2018): The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is distressed by revelation Monday, in an Associated Press news article, that “the Russian hackers indicted by the U.S. special prosecutor last month have spent years trying to steal the private correspondence of some of the world’s most senior Orthodox Christian figures,” and that “the targets included top aides to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.”
The article reveals that the hacking took place in order to gather information about His All-Holiness’ considerations regarding granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a move that the Moscow Patriarchate opposes. “The Kremlin,” according to the Associated Press, “is scrambling to help Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill retain his traditional role as the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and ‘the more they know, the better it is for them,’” said Vasilios Makrides, “a specialist in Orthodox Christianity at the University of Erfurt in Germany.”
The Order deplores this invasion into the private correspondence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and invites all Orthodox Christians to recall that the Ecumenical Patriarch has the right to grant a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, should he choose to do so. The fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon at 451, recognized the primacy of honor of the Church of Constantinople. Accordingly, we remind all Orthodox Christians of the spiritual leadership of His All-Holiness, and of the imperative to subsume nationalistic fervor under the greater unity of the Church of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
We pray for a renewal of harmony among the Orthodox. As His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated this month on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada: “Today, we are particularly involved and preoccupied by settling the current Ukrainian ecclesiastical problem. We desire with all our heart the restoration of unity for the divided ecclesiastical body in Ukraine. As in the past, the Church of Constantinople—while exercising its canonical rights and pastoral care—worked to successfully resolve difficult and complicated ecclesiastical problems, always guided by what is beneficial for the people of God and the preservation of the unity of the Orthodox Church as a whole.”
And we offer our prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ, beseeching the Most Gracious Savior to bring peace and a new flowering to His Holy Church.
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD