September 2, 2009

Schismatic Ukrainian Church Requests to Come Under the Ecumenical Patriarchate

[Interesting news to be posted on the feast of St. John the Faster, the first Archbishop of Constantinople to call himself "Ecumenical" Patriarch. Metropolitan Metheodios of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, who leads one of two schismatic Ukrainian churches and has some 1500 parishes under his omophorion, has requested to come under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However this request, signed by ten schismatic bishops, has come with much skepticism by some as far as intentions are concerned, with some saying that this is merely a reaction to the recent visit of the Patriarch of Moscow Kyrill to Ukraine. The bishops of the schismatic church pleaded to the Patriarch " not only to pray for the healing of the schism in Ukraine, but to give us the medicine by which to heal the blow in the body of the Ukrainian Church." The Ecumenical Patriarchate wisely decided to discuss this matter at its next synodal meeting. Accepting this one fragment of the Ukrainian Church could further divide the Ukrainians, while it is the Ecumenical Patriarchs wish to form a united autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. - J.S.]

Constantinople to Review UAOC’s Request to Come Under the Jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate


CONSTANTINOPLE — The letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) will be reviewed at the session of the Holy Synod in Constantinople on September 28, 2009. UNIAN-Religion reported that General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambriniadis informed the publication “Kommersant-Ukraina” of this.

After the session of the Holy Synod, a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will come to Ukraine for further review. “No decision will be made fast or spontaneously. We are planning the visit of the Patriarchate’s delegation to Ukraine for the beginning of October. During the visit there will be a meeting between representatives of the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Mefodiy (head of the UAOC), where the given question will be discussed, after which we will make a definitive decision,” said the archimandrite.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) skeptically regards the perspective of the UAOC coming under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “The UAOC has practically no chances – during Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to Kyiv he clearly made it understood that he will only converse with a canonical Church, thus with us,” the press secretary of the head of t he UOC-MP proto-hierarch Heorhij Kovalenko is quoted by “Kommersant.”

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) responds the same way to the letter of Metropolitan Mefodiy. "We really doubt that Patriarch Bartholomew will accept the UAOC under his omophorion, the more so since it is a small Orthodox jurisdiction,” said the head of the informational-publication department of the UOC-KP Bishop Yevstratiy (Zorya). He believes that the UAOC’s appeal to Constantinople was influenced by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s visit to Ukraine. “After Kirill’s visit to Ukraine, the UAOC understood that Moscow will not support the creation of a national church in Ukraine, so they again focused their attention on Constantinople,” feels Bishop Yevstratij.

As RISU reported, on August 26, 2009, the Hierarchal Synod of the UAOC sent an appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with a request to accept the UAOC into the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with rights of autonomy.