Polish Church rejects Phanar’s request to recognize OCU
Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland believes that the “unification council” did not solve the problem of schism in Ukraine but rather further complicated it.
The Polish Orthodox Church stands for the principled observance of the canonical norms of ecclesiastic life. This is stated in the response of His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland to the letter by the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew on recognition of the OCU and its new leader, the UOC DECR website reports.
Met. Sawa sent a copy of his reply to Pat. Bartholomew to primates of all the Local Orthodox Churches and to His Beatitude Met. Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The Polish primate also wrote that Pat. Bartholomew has acted in defiance of the canonical tradition and that the Ukrainian schismatics lack the grace of ordination. Met. Sawa recalled the Polish Church’s position stated at the Bishops’ Council on May 9, 2018, on the need for repentance from the Ukrainian schismatics and for a Church-wide discussion on the provision of autocephaly, as well as the resolution of the Bishops’ Council of the Polish Church from November 16 in which clergy are forbidden to have liturgical or prayerful communion with representatives of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” or the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”—the two groups that united into the new schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” on December 15.
Met. Sawa further notes that the “so-called ‘unification council,’ which was held on December 15, 2018, in Kiev did not eliminate the problem but, conversely, strengthened it, introducing a host of painful not only ecclesiastical but also socio-political phenomena into the life of society.”
“Filaret Denisenko was deprived of his order and reduced to the position of a layman. Then he ‘ordained’ his new followers. These are people without the grace of the Sacrament. We recognized this: Your Holiness and all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. It should be noted that according to our ancient Church traditions, a ban is lifted by the one who imposed it. In any case, we have not seen remorse, repentance, or humility, which normally precede the lifting of bans, in Filaret or his followers! There was none. And therein lies the problem. Therefore, they cannot be recognized as true pastors who can celebrate the Sacraments. The so-called “Metropolitan Epiphany,” in fact a secular person, was harmed,” says the letter by Met. Sawa.
At the end of the letter, the Polish primate addressed Pat. Bartholomew with a request to convene a pan-Orthodox council to resolve the Ukrainian crisis: “Your Holiness! Your decision about the Church in Ukraine requires a pan-Orthodox discussion. Therefore, I again to turn to you with a request to reconsider the decision to gather the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches… We want to see that your actions unite Orthodoxy and not divide it.”
The Ukrainian DECR notes that in calling Met. Onufry the “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine,” Met. Sawa continues to recognize him as the canonical primate in Ukraine.
As the UOJ reported, earlier His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa addresses words of love to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry “and all believers who stand on the ground of the purity of faith, defined by the dogmatic canonical teaching of the Holy Orthodox Church” and assured of their prayers.
He called on the UOC believers to be courageous, not to surrender and unite around their Primate.