UOC Spokesman: Decisions of Phanar hierarchs are contrary to church reality

Vice-Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich

There is an evident manipulation, distortion and creation of a parallel reality in the words of Pat. Bartholomew about the return of the Ukrainian people to canonicity.

The intervention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople into the affairs of the Ukrainian Church has brought about more problems than solutions. Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Vice-Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, told about this on air of the First Cossack Internet channel, commenting on the recent statements of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople about the undesirable presence of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine and about restoration of the unity of the Ukrainian Orthodox by Phanar.

“The rationale of this statement is political and this is the logic of the outgoing power. The power that spawned this logic ... But it seems to me that the problems with the Patriarchate of Constantinople began from the time when this Patriarchate somehow perceived the logic of our schismatics, the so-called Kiev Patriarchate, as well as the logic of the already outgoing political power,” said the UOC Spokesman.

The Archpriest is convinced that church hierarchs should be guided not by political, but by ecclesiastic logic and argumentation.

“Patriarch Bartholomew said that by his act he had allegedly restored the unity of the Orthodox in Ukraine and returned all Ukrainian people to canonicity,” the priest recalled. “In fact, this is not true, since the overwhelming majority of Orthodox believers were already in the canonical Church and did not leave it for anything else. There is some manipulation, juggling and the creation of a parallel reality. This is not true. Here, in Ukraine, the situation appears completely different from how Patriarch Bartholomew represents it and how he declares it to the outside world.”

In his opinion, the intervention of Constantinople in Ukraine triggered more problems than offered solutions.

“While there was no Constantinople, we lived peacefully,” Father Nikolai said. “After Phanar had intervened, it really did harm to Orthodoxy, namely the Church, because the UOC believers are now continually driven out of their temples and harassed. Thank God, this process is already coming to an end or at least it seems so to us.”

The UOC Spokesman cited the example of ordination of the Greek Archimandrite as a "bishop" of the OCU, in which two bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate took part.

“I know that some of the Local Churches did not delay to express their protest to Constantinople, since the question arises: can we then serve with these hierarchs?” noted the cleric. “After all, according to the 10th, 45th, and other Apostolic Rules, the one who concelebrated with dissenters loses his dignity. Therefore, this question is canonical.

He stressed that political rationale and argumentation are irrelevant for the statements and decisions made by church hierarchs, because politics is changeable and hurts the Church.

“We have to reckon with believers, we should not sit in our offices and mind papers only. Unfortunately, the metropolitans and bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, especially those who are based in Turkey, do not have a real flock – these are cabinet metropolitans. They only bear titles, and therefore, they cannot feel the Church; the decisions they make, the statements they voice are not in line with church reality. Why aren't these statements made by other Local Churches? Because they have a real flock. More or less, they are shepherds, not just politicians in cassocks,” said the UOC Spokesman.

Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich wished that all representatives of the Church, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople, should think in the first line about the living Church, about people, not about politicians, “about how to return schismatics from schism, but via the Church, not via politics".

To be reminded, earlier Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople declared that he had restored the canonicity of the multimillion Ukrainian nation, which was outside the Church without any dogmatic reasons. In his opinion, Phanar’s decision to grant autocephaly to Ukraine was ecclesiologically correct and free from any political or diplomatic pressure.

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