Tomos from Phanar won’t give those rights that we have now, – UOC hierarch

Archbishop Clement, head of the UOC Synodal Information and Education Department

The UOC already has the freedom and independence that autocephaly advocates in Ukraine are dreaming of, Archbishop Clement (Vecheria) believes.

The Tomos, which is expected today from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, will not have the rights that the UOC has today, said Archbishop Clement, head of the UOC Synodal Information and Education Department, on the Radio Liberty on September 10.  

According to him, we should remember the events of the early 1990s, when the Moscow Patriarchate granted UOC the Tomos on autonomy.

"That imaginary Tomos, which someone today expects from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, will not at all contain those rights and provisions that we already have today," said Bishop Clement. "The Statute clearly states that the UOC is independent in its governance, i.e. management and administration, all issues related to the hierarchy are resolved within the borders of Ukraine."

According to the hierarch, spiritual unity links the UOC with the Moscow Patriarchate.

"Directly through the Moscow Patriarchate we have unity with the Universal Orthodoxy," explained Archbishop Clement. "At the same time, neither the Patriarch of Moscow nor any bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church takes part in the administration of the UOC."

Archbishop Clement stressed that for the last 27 years, the UOC has survived brutal violation of all possible rights of believers, and the church schism was state-financed.

"If the state did not influence the church processes in Ukraine, the church life would develop naturally, and today we might have a very different church situation," noted the head of the Synodal Department of the UOC.

According to experts, Constantinople, when appointing exarchs to Ukraine, is going to create a subordinate Church rather than autocephaly.

In June 2018, the bishops of the UOC adopted a joint statement saying that "the current canonical status is quite sufficient for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to fruitfully carry out its mission among the people of Ukraine".

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