Met. Luke of Zaporozhye: Autocephaly will not bring church independence

Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol

The union with the Patriarchate of Constantinople will bring the loss of church independence, stressed Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko).

The autocephalous model for Ukraine proposed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople will drastically reduce the existing rights and privileges of the Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol wrote in an address to the Deputies of the Zaporozhye Regional Council, published on the website of the Zaporozhye eparchy.

The cause for the letter was information that the centre of the Regional Deputies’ Councils of Zaporozhye had recommended to pressure hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into participating in the upcoming unification council to be put on by Constantinople—something that has already been happening across Ukraine according to various eparchies’ reports.

“Striving to break the existing prayerful connection of the UOC with the Russian Orthodox Church, politicians who are far from Orthodoxy have decided that it’s better to lead it into a strict dependence on another foreign structure headed by a Turkish citizen, or, according to the idea of the Istanbul cleric Getcha, to turn into the ‘Turkish Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” Vladyka Luke writes.

However, the Zaporozhye hierarch is certain that the Ukrainian people will remain second-class citizens in the new structure: “But [the politicians] don’t take into account that for the Phanar, with its ideology of pan-Hellenism, we will remain mentally alien, as lower in the cultural development of our nation. Moreover, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has to survive in an un-Orthodox environment, which makes it very dependent on other foreign states! In the case of unification with this foreign religious structure, those who do it will, in fact, lose their independence and become marionettes in the hands of their masters from across the Black Sea, and through them—those who influence the latter.”

His Eminence also noted the obvious—that the autocephaly of the Church is not a necessary element in the independence of a state.

Met. Luke also stressed that the autocephalous model that will be proposed after the upcoming unification council will drastically reduce the rights the Church currently has and will strengthen Constantinople’s influence, and he points to the history of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia as an eloquent example.

Thus, Met. Luke calls on the Deputies to raise their prayers to God, and for those who do not pray, to turn to a more tolerant path that does not lie or betray the people.

As the UOJ reported, SLC supporters held a picket in front of the Zaporozhye eparchy building, during which they shouted insulting slogans. On the same day, Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) was summoned to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), where, according to His Eminence, he was asked about trips abroad.

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