Metropolitan Epifaniy explains how Moscow blackmails heads of Local Churches for recognizing the OCU
As an example, he cited Moscow's negative reaction to the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy by Metropolitan Epifaniy with the Patriarch of Alexandria on the island of Imvros in August 2021. The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church condemned Theodore and declared their readiness to accept clergymen who disagree with such actions of the Patriarch.
Metropolitan Epifaniy said that nothing will stop the OCU from having new concelebrations:
"There was already a concelebration with the Patriarch of Alexandria, who is the second in honor after the Ecumenical Patriarch. And then we will concelebrate with other primates who have joined the recognition of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church,” Metropolitan Epifaniy stressed.
He did not announce with whom exactly he will concelebrate, so as not to give Moscow opportunities to counteract again.
The Primate of the OCU noted that the heads of local churches that recognized the Ukrainian Church inform him about the opposition from the Russian Orthodox Church.
"There was even opposition to the fact that there would be no concelebration on the island of Imvros so that the Patriarch of Alexandria would not come to this celebration," Metropolitan Epifaniy said.
The head of the OCU also commented on the announcement of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church about the desire of some clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, who condemn the concelebration of Theodore with Epifaniy, to move to the Russian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Epifaniy questioned such a demarche of the clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria:
“It is not known whether such clerics exist at all. This is certain blackmail, " Metropolitan Epifaniy concluded.
He also said that he invited Patriarch Theodore to visit Ukraine, Religiyna Pravda reports.