Serbian Church notifies Local Churches it does not recognize OCU
The only Church that the Serbian Patriarchate recognizes in Ukraine is the UOC, the Serbian Church reported in letters it had sent to all the Local Churches.
The Serbian Patriarchate has sent out letters to all the Local Churches that the Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize the OCU and considers the actions of Phanar in Ukraine to be non-canonical, the Serbian Internet publication Politika reported.
“The Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize the proclaimed “holy church of Ukraine” as autocephalous, which does not exist from a canonical point of view but in fact is an imposed, artificial ‘confederation’ of Ukrainian splitting groups (again fiercely opposing each other and uncontrollably going to division) ", the hierarchs of the Serbian Church noted in the text of the letter.
They recalled that the sin of schism could only be healed by repentance.
“He who once became a dissenter is a dissenter forever, except in cases of sincere conversion and deep repentance,” the letter emphasized.
The only Church that the Serbian Church knows and recognizes is the UOC led by its Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev and All Ukraine, declared the Serbian Patriarchate.
According to its official position, the “unification council” is nothing more than an “anti-unification, disuniting and splitting pseudo-council.” Owing to the fact how this “strange gathering” was organized, its backstage and entourage, the Serbian Orthodox Church informed the Local Churches it considers the decisions of this “council” to be “anti-canonical, invalid and non-binding”.
The Serbian Patriarch does not accept the "episcopate" of the new church structure as an Orthodox episcopate and the schismatic clergy as an Orthodox clergy, the letter said.
“Since those who belong to Denisenko’s wing came to exist from the disgowned, excommunicated and anathematized hierarch (the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew officially recognized at the time himself), whereas those belonging to Maletich-led grouping are deprived of apostolic succession and priesthood as a whole. No document, not a single, so to say, stroke of a pen makes it possible to cancel what was the case in the past and to turn the unreal into the real,” the hierarchs of the Serbian Church explained their position.
The Serbian Patriarchate recommended its eminent hierarchs and honest clerics to refrain from liturgical and canonical communion not only with the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko, but also with the hierarchs and clerics who are in communion with him. When making such a decision, the Serbian Church was guided by the principle of sacred canons, according to which “those, who have communion with the banned from ministry, place themselves outside the communion as well,” the Local Churches were reported.
The UOJ published the full text of the official statement of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which the Serbian Patriarchate sent to all the Local Churches.
Earlier, in his official letter to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev and All Ukraine, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia stressed that the only Church in Ukraine which the Serbian Church will maintain fraternal relations and serve with is the UOC, while all decisions of the “unification council”, which elected the OCU Primate, are deemed by the Serbian Orthodox Church as invalid.