Granting Tomos on autocephaly is similar to schism of 1054, – ROC

Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

Bestowing autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine will entail consequences for Orthodoxy, comparable to the Great Schism of 1054, believes the ROC.

According to the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Ukraine is facing an exceptional situation, when there was no request for autocephaly but it is reported to be granted. He told about it on July 7 in the interview to ”TASS”.

"If, God forbid, the split is legalized and autocephaly is bestowed to schismatic structures, it is difficult even to imagine after-effects for the whole family of the Orthodox Churches. This would mean a split, in fact, like a split in 1054," the hierarch believes.

He noted that the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church did not address Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with a request for autocephaly. "Representatives of two schismatic structures addressed him, which are not recognized by any of the Local Churches, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople, about which Patriarch Bartholomew has declared repeatedly, including at a recent meeting with the four metropolitans of the Ukrainian canonical Orthodox Church," the bishop said. Nevertheless this petition, which was initiated by the Ukrainian authorities, is accepted for consideration."

In his opinion, now there is an exceptional situation "when there were no requests for autocephaly, but it is claimed that this autocephaly will be given": "The question arises: who will it be given to – the schismatics? No, they answer, not to the schismatics. Who is it then given that the canonical Church did not ask for it?" the bishop argues.

"They say: it will be given to the Ukrainian people. But how can one give autocephaly to the people? Tomos of autocephaly is always addressed to a hierarch who leads the Church," explains Metropolitan Hilarion.

In mid-April, Poroshenko turned to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with a request to grant Tomos on autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine and announced the creation of a Single Local Church. The Verkhovna Rada supported the petition of the President. The Kyiv Patriarchate has already stated they see their leader Filaret, anathematized by the canonical Church, as a head of the SLC.

In 1054 there was a church schism that led to the final division of the Christian Church into Roman Catholic in the West, centered in Rome and headed by the Pope, and the Orthodox in the East, centered in Constantinople.

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