Vladyka Sergiy: “We stand for the Church unity”

"A true patriot is someone who loves his people, his Church, and lives by this love, believing. Splits in the Church take place, people get disunited, and they are no longer reconciled. Who planted the schism? Who divided those who have single blood and a single faith? Is this a concern of the state, is it concern for the unity of the nation, is it patriotism? This is a terrible thing! And our Church keeps unity and prays for all.She especially prays for peace in our country, for its unity, "says Vladyka Sergiy, Metropolitan of Ternopil and Kremenets.

Adding MP is disregard for the law

- Your Eminence! What is the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today? And how is it connected with the Moscow Patriarchate?

- We have a wide autonomy, the UOC accepts all decisions, like any independent Church. As for relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, we have God's blessed unity, but we are independent in everything, and this has been confirmed.

- In Ukraine, it is customary to add the ending Moscow Patriarchate to the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Is it justified?

- This is disrespect to the law of Ukraine, because we have a legal name – "Ukrainian Orthodox Church", without any attachments. But some decided to add this to somehow restrict us, humiliate, and hang a label.

- Nevertheless, according to the statute, the UOC is a part of the Moscow Patriarchate – the Russian Church. Do you personally support the creation of an independent Church in Ukraine?

- I think that our life confirms that we live in the unity of the Church. I mean in the Church we have everything for salvation, and separation must be based on a solid foundation, for which it is done. The possibility for disengagement can be one – to save ourselves, but in the case with the UOC there is something else – there is a desire to separate us. This moment is unacceptable for the Church, and it was precisely on this that Filaret stumbled, the schismatics stumbled. Therefore, we are for the unity of the Church, and we see that autocephaly or something else at the present time will not bring us closer to God, but it can divide us. Therefore, our Church maintains unity, and with God's help I try to be in one Church.

The Bishops’ Council was a necessity

- Please tell us about the historical council of bishops in Kharkov in 1992? What preceded this?

- The influence of sin preceded this event – external events influenced the life of the Church. Unfortunately, there was a desire of some of the powers that be, so that the Church would make some changes, decisions. And what was offered from the outside did not always correspond to the spirit and significance of the Church. There were desires for separation, the desire for isolation, of course, they appeared in our Church. There were attempts to weaken the Church, and for this reason the councils – the Episcopal Council in Ukraine and the Council of the Whole of the Russian Church – were being held. Unfortunately, there was a desire on the part of the Primate, Metropolitan Filaret, to detach himself dramatically from the Mother Church. Naturally, this caused resistance from both the episcopate and believers. Then at the Council of all bishops of the Russian Church a decree was adopted that it was not appropriate to influence the life of the Church and the bishops. Filaret promised to convene a council of bishops in Ukraine and to leave the post of Primate, practically without conditions. We were all amazed at such a courageous and correct decision, but the events showed another. Unfortunately, the then Metropolitan Filaret refused to convene the Council in Kiev and even delivered threats. Then we received the blessing of the oldest Metropolitan of Kharkov to assemble the council. There was an intention to arrange it in Kiev, but it was impossible to do this, since it had to be done in a calm atmosphere, so we decided to host it in Kharkov.

- Representatives of the UOC-KP claim the Kharkov cathedral is not canonical, since it was convened without the blessing of the Primate, who at that time was Metropolitan Filaret.

- Metropolitan Nikodim said that he had requested Filaret three times. In the Church there is a provision that we must obey the Primate, but the Primate without the Bishops' Council, too, cannot make any personal decisions. If the Primate is stumbled, the Church must live. Therefore, we decided to convene the Council.

- Tell us about the role played by the present Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, in convening the Council?

- He showed discretion in the Council, advised how to act in this or that case. The senior metropolitans took his word into account, because he was an authoritative spiritual man. Therefore, many decisions were voiced on the advice of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry. He actively participated, and it was thanks to him that it was decided that the Church should continue its saving ministry, and has the right to make decisions and changes.

- Who and why put pressure on the bishops?

- The most striking example is Metropolitan Nikodim. During the meeting of the Council, he often went out, answered the calls, and then returned pale and worried. He was offered, to put it mildly, that the Council should not be held, everything should be stopped, but he stayed on.

AiF

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What will happen if the Church of Greece recognizes the OCU?
it will put itself out of Orthodoxy
51%
it will give rise to global recognition of the OCU by Local Churches
17%
nothing will happen, the Greeks will be the first and the last to recognize the OCU
31%
Total votes: 467

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