Polish Church – to Phanar: Autocephaly cannot be granted to schismatics

Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene Equal-to-the-Apostles in Warsaw. Photo: sobor.by

The Council of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church issued an official statement on the “Ukrainian church issue”.

On October 29, 2019, the Bishops' Council of the Polish Orthodox Church adopted an official statement on the “Ukrainian church issue”, in which the Council emphasized the impossibility of granting autocephaly to schismatics. The full text of the statement can be found on the official website of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

All the archbishops and bishops took part in the proceedings of the Council and also studied the previously published correspondence of the Primates of a number of Local Orthodox Churches with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

“The Holy Bishops' Council reviewed the content of the letters of the Serbian Patriarch, Archbishop of Albania and Metropolitan of Warsaw, addressed to His Holiness Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople, and made the following decision: To maintain its position regarding the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church contained in the Resolutions of the Synod No. 340 of May 9, 2018, No. 341 dated November 15, 2018, and No. 342 dated April 2, 2019.

“The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church is not opposed to granting autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine on the basis of dogmatic and canonical norms for the whole Church but not to the breakaway group of apostate schismatics. Deviations from the teachings of St. Churches cannot make the Body of the Church healthy. This violates the Eucharistic unity of Orthodoxy as a whole,” the Council stressed in its statement.

Recall that the Holy Synod of the Polish Church on May 9, 2018, adopted the following decision:

“We express a clear position of the Polish Autocephalous Church, namely, that the ecclesiastic life of the canonical Orthodox Church should be based on the principles of dogma and on the holy canons of the Orthodox Church. Violation of this principle leads to chaos in the life of the Church. There are certain breakaway groups in Ukraine, which must first of all repent and return to the canonical Church. Only then can we discuss the issue of granting autocephaly.”

On November 15, 2018, the Council of Bishops of the Polish Church resolved the following:

"The Holy Bishops' Council forbids priests of the Polish Orthodox Church from entering into liturgical and prayer relations with the 'clergy' of the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the so-called 'Autocephalous Orthodox Church', which committed a lot of evil in the past."

On April 2, 2019, the Council of Bishops of the Polish Church issued the following Statement:

“The autocephaly of the Church in Ukraine should be based on the dogmatic and canonical norms of the whole Church but not of the group of schismatics. Those who depart from the Church and are deprived of the priestly ordination cannot represent a healthy Body of the Church. This is a non-canonical act that violates the Eucharistic and inter-Orthodox unity.”

Earlier, the hierarch of the Polish Church, Bishop Paul (Tokayuk) of Hainowka, said that there is only one gracious Church in Ukraine – the UOC. Commenting on the attitude of the Polish Orthodox Church towards Ukrainian "autocephaly," His Grace noted that the position of his Church remains unchanged, "because the science of the Church is the same at all times."

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