The primates of four of the five ancient autocephalous Churches of the Orthodox Church—His Beatitude Patriarch John of Antioch, His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus—met in Cyprus yesterday to discuss the burning Ukrainian issue, among other topics.
The four primates released a statement following their meeting, touching briefly on the topics they addressed. Though no particular decision or action was taken regarding the Ukrainian situation, the meeting was significant in that the primates of the four ancient Churches came together to discuss the issue of their own accord, without the involvement of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and that Pat. John of Antioch and Pat. Theophilos of Jerusalem, whose Patriarchates have been out of communion with one another since 2013, held a private meeting to discuss the issue between their Churches, after previous attempts to solve the issue with the mediation of Patriarch Bartholomew failed.
It notes that the four primates met in Nicosia, Cyprus at the headquarters of the Church of Cyprus and that they prayed for the peace of the world and for the steadfastness of the Local Churches, especially in the Middle East, which are going through great trials. They also prayed for the faithful of the Middle East to be strengthened to continue their witness to the risen Christ, especially in the blessed land where Christ Himself and His apostles walked.
They stressed the need to make every effort to ensure stability in the Middle East, to consolidate the Christian presence in the region, and to deepen the cooperation between the Local Churches for this purpose. They also appealed to all the political players in the region to work towards the ending of the injustices suffered by the people as a result of wars, occupation, and economic difficulties.
During their private meeting, the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem spoke with a spirit of sincerity, brotherhood, and love, exchanging the views of their two Churches over the issue of the territory of Qatar. They expressed their sincere determination and good intentions to overcome the problem in the near future and renew Eucharistic communion.
The gathered primates also discussed various Church problems that have arisen from time to time, examining ways to put and end to these differences. In particular, they discussed the problems that have arisen from Constantinople’s creation of and granting autocephaly to a new ecclesiastical structure in Ukraine, made from two schismatic bodies.