The SOC summit unofficially stated that at a meeting in Amman scheduled on February 26 and 27, the SOC would be represented by a delegation led by Patriarch Irinej, as announced by the Russian side ahead of Metropolitan Ilarion’s visit to the SOC, citing a January 30 Synod decision by Belgrade.
Metropolitan Ilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s External Relations Department, ended his two-day visit to Belgrade last night, meeting with Serbian Minister of Innovation and Technological Development Nenad Popovic, as well as presenting the Serbian translation of his book “What the Orthodox Christian Believes” in memorial of the Saint Sava Temple in Vracar. He emphasized that “the Russian Orthodox Church will always be with the SPC in its noble struggle in Montenegro”.
– I wish everyone would end this wave of difficult ordeals in Orthodox countries as soon as possible. It started in the canonical space of the Russian Orthodox Church and transferred to the Serbian Orthodox Church because what us happening in Montenegro is what was happening in Ukraine, where the then elected president thought he could personally create a new church, which would help him in his election campaign. Not only has he suffered a severe defeat in the election race, but also has caused significant damage to the Church. In Montenegro, the government adopted a discriminatory law on confiscation of church property and the people took to the streets. World leaders are trying to create and decide on the institution of the Church, created by the Holy Lord, our God, and its guardian is the people of the church – said Metropolitan Ilarion, who gave a lecture at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology as an honorary professor at the University of Belgrade yesterday.
On February 13, during a visit to Pope Francis in the Vatican, and marking the fourth anniversary of the meeting of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the ROC in Havana, he announced that Patriarch Cyril would also represent Moscow in Amman, but denied speculations that representatives of the Vatican would also participate in this Orthodox gathering.
– The dispute in the Orthodox world cannot be resolved with the help of the Roman pope. This dispute has to be resolved in the Orthodox Church family – said Metropolitan Ilarion.
The meeting in Amman, which was announced by the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus the Third on November 21, 2019 in Moscow, during the visit to the ROC Moscow, according to unofficial announcements, Romania, Poland and the Czech Orthodox Church will also participate alongside the RPC and the SOC. Russian sources announce that Antioch Patriarchate chiefs are also expected to arrive.
Regarding Greece, Cyprus and Albanian Orthodox Church as well as the Patriarchate of Alexandria- the new church in Ukraine was acknowledged by the Church of Athens and Alexandria, which is why the RPC discontinued the Eucharistic communion. Their leaders, as well as the Patriarch of Constantinople, Patriarch Cyril are no longer being mentioned in the liturgies. According to unofficial information today, the representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church will not go to Jordan either, while the Bulgarian Orthodox Church still hasn’t declared its position.
Some local Orthodox churches, including the SPC, which supported the “Russian side” after the outbreak of the “Ukrainian case”, are trying to be a bridge between Moscow and Constantinople, whose high delegation was in Belgrade at the end of October. The question of who has the right to convene an inter-Orthodox congregation is one of the intra-Orthodox dilemmas now. Constantinople invokes historical law, the other side refers to canons and church practice.
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople generally rejects the inter-Orthodox meeting as a model for resolving the dispute over the proclamation of a new non-canonical church structure in Ukraine. He refuses to go to Amman because he believes that only he, as “the first” among Orthodox leaders, has the right to convene inter-Orthodox gatherings. In Rome, Metropolitan Ilarion said that Patriarch Bartholomew had resented the fact that his Jerusalem brother had sent him an invitation letter about the meeting in Amman “in English and not in sacred Greek.”
Constantinople, in cooperation with the state Ukrainian authorities, issued a tomos to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which consists of a hierarchy of two hitherto schismatic Ukrainian churches in late 2018. The Canadian Orthodox Ukrainian Church is also based on the tomos of Constantinople from 1686, and is under the jurisdiction of the ROC in which it enjoys wide autonomy.