Metropolitan of Jerusalem Church: We recognize only His Beatitude Onufry

Metropolitan Timothy of Vostra

Metropolitan Onufry is the sole canonical leader of the Orthodox congregation in Ukraine, according to an exarch of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Timothy of Vostra, an exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Cyprus, told Interfax-Religion, when asked to comment on the latest developments in the Ukrainian church life, that the position of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church remains the same: "We recognize as canonical the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is under the omophorion of Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine." 

As for the appointment of two Constantinople's exarchs to Kiev, "the Orthodox Church has certain rules to which every Church must strictly adhere," including "the rules regarding the canonical territory of the Russian Church and the behaviour of one church towards another," Metropolitan Timothy said.

"A unification of Orthodox Ukrainians is possible only through repentance and on the canonical basis which resulted from centuries of church practice and was approved by Ecumenical Councils," he said.

During a visit to Kiev on the occasion of the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus two months ago, Metropolitan Timothy said that the state and the Church do not always have overlapping interests: "It is important to understand that the state pursues its interests, which change with time under the influence of circumstances. But the Church lives its own life, has its own spiritual direction, which is invariable under any worldly circumstances and conditions."

As UOJ reported, in mid-April, Petro Poroshenko appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with a request to grant the Tomos on autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine and announced the creation of the Single Local Church. The Verkhovna Rada supported the President’s appeal. Patriarch Bartholomew accepted the petition for consideration and appointed two exarchs to Kiev. The Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate regarded the actions of the Church of Constantinople as non-canonical and at a meeting on September 14 declared the suspension of the prayerful commemoration of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople the Primate of the ROC.

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