SOC hierarch: The Pan-Orthodox Council must decide on autocephaly

Bishop Anthony (Pantelič) of Moravici. Photo:

The Ecumenical Patriarch is the first in honor but not in authority, and only the Pan-Orthodox Council should decide on autocephaly, said the Bishop of Moravici.

The Serbian Orthodox Church clearly outlined its position: the issue of granting autocephaly to the OCU was to be taken unanimously at the Pan-Orthodox Council, said Bishop Anthony (Pantelič) of Moravici, the vicar of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej, in an interview with the Serbian outlet “Novosti”.

The hierarch noted that the Patriarch of Constantinople cannot be an “Eastern Pope” because the Orthodox Churches are independent and have their own patriarchs.

“Bartholomew can only be the first among equals, the first in honor, but not in authority,” he emphasized.

According to the bishop, the Serbian Orthodox Church does not intend to “quarrel and spoil relations” with the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria, as well as with the Greek Orthodox Church, which recognized the OCU, but it made clear that it respects the canons and consider the newly created OCU to be schismatic.

“We will not be in the “or-or” situation. The position of our Church is clear on such an important issue as autocephaly: a decision should be made at the Council of all Orthodox Churches by consensus, unanimously,” said Bishop Anthony of Moravici.

In this case, according to the Serbian hierarch, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is not easy to admit the mistake, but this would be in the interests of all Orthodoxy and contribute to ending the conflict in Ukraine.

We recall that earlier Bishop Anthony of Moravici stated that the Serbian Orthodox Church recognizes in Ukraine exclusively the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its episcopate, and the head of the newly formed church structure Epiphany Dumenko and the head of the UOC-KP Filaret Denisenko are schismatics.

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