His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. Photo: patriarchateofalexandria.com
Theodoros II, Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, two days ago during divine services in Cairo, for the first time listed among those for whom he was praying, Metropolitan Epifaniy of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, thus becoming the second ancient patriarchate to do so and opening the door to many more.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) said that it was grateful to “our Orthodox brothers for their support at this complicated time of establishing our church and pray for them and for all the Alexandria Patriarchate,” one the most ancient of the Orthodox Churches and second only to the Ecumenical Patriarch in rank.
The BBC’s Ukrainian Service suggested that Alexandria’s move may open the floodgates for other Orthodox churches to join in recognizing the OCU as canonical. That is because, many local churches have indicated that they have been waiting for the decision of the ancient patriarchates before making their own.
These ancient patriarchates have enormous authority even though they are relatively small in terms of the number of bishoprics and followers. The Alexandria patriarchate is a case in point. Traditionally founded in 42 AD, it has only five bishoprics in Egypt and 19 elsewhere in Africa.
The most likely of the ancient Orthodox churches to recognize the OCU next is the Jerusalem Patriarchate. It is likely to move sometime in the very near future, the BBC outlet says. Once it moves, the Cypriot, Romanian and Georgian Orthodox patriarchates are likely to follow suit.
This is an enormous victory for Kyiv and a serious defeat for Moscow. The ROC MP dropped its references to the Greek Orthodox after that patriarchate recognized the OCU, and pro-Putin commentators have denounced the Greeks for allowing themselves to be pressured by the West. Moscow secular and religious likely will do the same with the Alexandria patriarchate.
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