UOC Spokesman: Tomos became the spiritual Berlin wall for Ukraine

28 November 2019 21:37
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Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich. Photo: apostrophe.ua Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich. Photo: apostrophe.ua

The Tomos did not just divide but conserved the division of Ukrainian Orthodoxy into two unequal parts, the deputy head of the UOC DECR noted.

The bestowal of the Tomos and its promotion became a certain spiritual Berlin wall for Ukrainian Orthodoxy, said Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC.

“The Tomos became a certain spiritual Berlin wall for Ukrainian Orthodoxy, it not only divided but conserved the division of Ukrainian Orthodoxy into two unequal parts. Moreover, he divided people both at the level of personal communication and structurally. There is now the UOC and the OCU,” the online outlet “Apostrophe” cites the spokesperson for the UOC.

This separation had been before but the Tomos cemented it, explained Archpriest Nikolai.

In his opinion, the Tomos could become the spiritual Berlin wall for world Orthodoxy, which has already been divided in assessing events in the religious life of Ukraine.

The deputy head of the UOC DECR also said that the call for pan-Orthodox discussion of the Ukrainian religious crisis by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and support for this appeal by Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and all of Albania increase the chances of solving this problem. According to him, at the Pan-Orthodox assembly, if it takes place, they will look for ways to overcome the Ukrainian schism and the crisis that arose in world Orthodoxy because of it.

“Now no one can say what could be. But it is absolutely clear that in one country, there should be only one Orthodox Church, and not two or more <...>, the clergyman explained. “In the traditional territories of the Local Churches, where the Orthodox population lives compactly, there should be one bishop, one Church. These are the requirements of the canons. Therefore, the situation that is now in Ukraine is abnormal.”

Only a diaspora can have several Orthodox bishops, but the diaspora is a relatively new phenomenon for Orthodoxy and, therefore, does not yet have a finite order of functioning of church structures, he noted.

“I would also like to emphasize that we do not perceive the OCU as a separate Church. This is part of our Church, which has previously fallen away from us. As well as the Donbass and Crimea, this is part of Ukraine. Therefore, they, as before, should be part of our Church, one Church in the future. Well, they were given the Tomos, so what? The issue of unity has not been resolved. Because of this, they did not cease to be who they were before – the former part of our Church that has broken away from us,” concluded the spokesperson for the UOC.

The Vatican had previously stated that the Tomos of the OCU complicated the ecumenical relations between the Churches.

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