UOC comments on the decision on the bigamy of Constantinople priests

Viceroy of the Trinity Jonah Monastery in Kiev, Archbishop Jonah of Obukhov

The decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to allow priests a second marriage was commented on in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The deputy head of the UOC DECR, Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, called the decision "sufficiently controversial" and "contrary to ecclesiastic canons", and Archbishop Jonah of Obukhov believes that it repeats the decision of the schismatics-renovationists of the 1920s on the bigamy of priests.

"Of course, things do happen in life and there are exceptions to the rules, and sometimes the bishops allow individual priests to marry for the second time for the benefit of the Church (if the priest is good and active) or as a gesture of grace, but it's probably too much to make exceptions into a rule. According to ecclesiastical rules, a priest can marry only once. If something goes wrong with the spouse, the priest either remains celibate and continues to serve or goes to the monastery, or leaves the priesthood and marries the second time," explained the deputy head of the DECR, Protopriest Nikolai Danilevich on his Facebook page.

He stressed that the Patriarchate of Constantinople wanted to implement this decision at the Crete Council in 2016. However, all the Local Orthodox Churches opposed it then. According to Father Nikolai, Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw and All Poland especially sharply spoke out against this issue.

"Now Constantinople, however, took this decision but within its Patriarchate if it did not happen at the pan-Orthodox level," he added.

In turn, Viceroy of the Trinity Jonah Monastery in Kiev, Archbishop Jonah of Obukhov explained: "These grand-sounding and pretentious words were to just repeat the decision of our schismatics- renovationists of the 1920s on the bigamy of priests."  He also quoted the document: "The Ecumenical Patriarchate bears responsibility for the return of all situations / things / to church and normal order, because only he has the wisdom and blessing of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils to fulfill this high and exclusive duty ... If the Ecumenical Patriarchate refuses its duties and avoids them, then the Local Churches will be "sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36), incapable of ecclesiastical initiative."

As reported by the UOJ, the Patriarchate of Constantinople allowed the priests bigamy. Permission for a second marriage can be given only in case of the priest's widowhood: if the mother dies, or if the mother leaves her husband-priest.

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