Bishops of UOC adopts a joint statement following the visit to Phanar
On June 25, a meeting of the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
After the festal Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the memory of St. Onuphry the Great and the name’s day of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, a meeting of the bishops of the UOC, participating in the celebrations, was held at the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, writes the Information and Educational Department of the UOC.
As reported, the bishops discussed the pressing issues of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the modern historical circumstances.
In conclusion, the hierarchs adopted a joint statement in which they expressed their vision for the further development of the mission of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukrainian society.
"The bishops heard the message of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry and the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the meeting of the delegation of the UOC with His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and members of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that took place on June 23 in Istanbul," the official document reads. "In particular, it was reported that the Patriarchate of Constantinople dismissed the alleged information that a canonical mechanism for overcoming the schism in Ukrainian Orthodoxy was finally agreed on and a tomos on autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church drafted. Nor was it confirmed that autocephaly will be granted unilaterally soon or in any certain timeframe. Rather, the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople attested to their Church's readiness to join the process of overcoming the Ukrainian Church's schism in consultation with the fraternal autonomous Orthodox Churches. For this purpose, the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople will meet with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in the near future."
The supreme clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have expressed their concern over press reports of the possible creation of parallel church jurisdictions in Ukraine. Such a scenario would only deepen, rather than overcome, the schism, the statement said.
If turned into a Patriarchate of Constantinople entity, the Ukrainian Church would lose a significant part of the rights it has been endowed with over the past few decades.
"The current canonical status is quite sufficient for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to fruitfully carry out its mission among the people of Ukraine," the bishops of the UOC concluded. "Attempts to change this status will only lead to the restriction of the rights and freedoms that our Church has been endowed with, having the rights of broad autonomy. Furthermore, these attempts will not cure, but only deepen the schism, both in Ukrainian Orthodoxy and in Ukrainian society as a whole."
The bishops unanimously confirmed their desire to observe the oath of loyalty to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church given at their consecration to the episcopacy.
In mid-April, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to grant a tomos on autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine and announced his intention to create the Single Local Church. The Verkhovna Rada supported the presidential appeal. The Kiev Patriarchate has already stated that they see their leader Filaret, anathemized by the canonical Church, as the head of the SLC.