Met. Sofrony: OCU totally depends on Greeks. It is a vassal seizure
It follows from the OCU statutes that Constantinople has formed in Ukraine a fully-controlled Greek church, Metropolitan Sofrony believes.
“I am a free man, I do not want to be vassal-dependent on the Greeks. This is not autocephaly. Their statute says that we have a Greek church in Ukraine ... In Constantinople, there are no parishes, there is no Church, there are only bishops. And in Ukraine, a large territory has fallen off where it will be possible for Phanar to expand its activities,” the hierarch explained.
Commenting on the provisions of the statute of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the bishop stresses that “they simply created their metropolia in Ukraine”: “They made (the church) completely dependent on the Greeks. Why should I go to distant lands to the Greeks to get myrrh? Do you know how much it will cost? What on earth should I ask the Greeks what I should do in Ukraine?! I beg your pardon but I see it like if it is autocephalous, then the Church should be independent like all autocephalous churches."
He explained that since under the statute the OCU does not have the right to ordain hierarchs, to beatify its saint, to open a monastery without the approval of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, this is not an independent church, but a “vassal seizure”.
Speaking about the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of a draft law on changing the name of religious organizations, he explains that the parliament did not have the right to vote for it: “Just take a look at the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Parubiy! It's a shame! He acts like the second secretary of the Communist Party ... Did you see how it (Law No. 5309 – Ed.) was being adopted? There was real hubbub there, a fight in parliament! And there were not enough votes. Nevertheless, Parubiy said everything had run smoothly. This is a hoax! But everything is allowed in Ukraine!”
Vladyka Sofroniy considers that the Tomos of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, granted by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow, provides for very broad autonomous possibilities.
When asked about the “dependence on Moscow, he says: “Dependence on whom? Dependence is when we pay fees, when we do everything under the protectorate of Moscow. This is what dependence means. We ordained bishops, they swore an oath to Kiev. We opened monasteries, we even opened the third Lavra in Ukraine. And they did not take any blessings from anyone in Moscow. The only point is since His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev and All Ukraine is a regular member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, so he has to report changes which occurred in our Church. That's all.”
The hierarch continued, “We did not ask Moscow for any blessing. This is independence. You see, everything is twisted and not perceived as it should be. I understand that Moscow is like a bad penny, I understand everything. But it is necessary to approach any matter honestly and in good faith.”
“I think that the Lord loves Ukraine very much, the Lord wants to save Ukraine. The Lord sent us Chernobyl. Did we repent or not? No. It got even worse. The Lord sent us the Crimea. Did we repent? No. Here we are – Lugansk and Donetsk. Did the war make our people repent? No. Now the Lord has sent us this Tomos,” His Eminence concluded.
Earlier, Metropolitan Sofrony of Cherkassy and Kanev expressed his concern that the Tomos might get us completely dependent on the Greeks.
As the UOJ reported, the UOC had announced their intention to challenge bill No 5309 with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. The head of the Law Dept of the UOC, Protopriest Alexander Bakhov, explained that any attempts by the state to force the Church to change its name are illegal and are regarded from the point of view of international law as interference in the internal affairs of a religious group. In this regard, the UOC intends to protect its rights by all legal means.