UOC bishop: The current status of independent Church is optimal for the UOC

02 February 10:57
Archbishop Sylvester: The current status of an independent Church is optimal for the UOC Archbishop Sylvester: The current status of an independent Church is optimal for the UOC

According to the KDAiS rector, the unilateral declaration of autocephaly of the UOC would cause great difficulties, and the benefits of such a step are doubtful.

The procedure of obtaining autocephalous status is complex and time-consuming, and today the UOC enjoys the same level of independence as the autocephalous Churches. Archbishop Sylvester (Stoichev), rector of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary, said this in an interview with the website dialogtut.org.

He explained that the concepts of "autocephaly" and "independence" are almost identical.

Drawing an analogy with state independence, Vladyka noted: “When it is said that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is independent, it means that our Church has an independent source of administrative, legislative and judicial power: its Primate is elected by its own Council, which is initiated by the Church itself. In addition, the powers of the UOC include independent governance, adoption of its own church legal acts (regulations, charters), independent election and ordination of its bishops, independence in the canonization of its saints, as well as independence in the functioning of church courts.

“If you take the definition of the term ‘autocephaly’ and compare it with what was said about independence, you will see that autocephaly is characterized by the same features,” the rector emphasized.

According to him, today there is no universal and generally recognized mechanism for obtaining autocephaly in the Orthodox world.

“An important aspect of autocephaly is its recognition by other Local Churches. And now let's simulate the situation: the UOC declares itself autocephalous, what's next? <...> Adherents of the model of the Ecumenical Church, which the Patriarchate of Constantinople is actively promoting today, would immediately declare that only the Patriarch of Constantinople has the right and privilege to grant autocephaly. Others would say that it is necessary to reach a consensus on this issue between all the Local Churches, but the search for such a consensus may take not even years, but decades,” the archbishop said.

In addition, the proclamation of the autocephaly of the UOC would not at all mean an automatic solution to all problems in church life in Ukraine, the bishop assures.

“The difficulties that such a unilateral declaration of autocephaly would give rise to are obvious, but the benefits are doubtful. I believe that our current status of an independent and autonomous Church is optimal,” summed up Bishop Sylvester.

As the UOJ reported, Archbishop Sylvester said that the Statute on the management of the UOC is a purely internal church document not to be published by the Church.

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