UOC hierarch to SOC Journal: Phanar's actions in Ukraine are non-canonical
Bishop Sylvester (Stoichev) in an interview with the "Journal of the Serbian Patriarchate" spoke about the papism of Constantinople and its consequences for the UOC.
The rector of Kyiv Theological Schools, Bishop Sylvester (Stoychev), in a detailed interview with the Journal of the Serbian Patriarchate, spoke about the non-canonical interference of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the church life of Ukraine and the consequences of Patriarch Bartholomew's "Eastern papism" for the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reports the official website of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The UOC hierarch noted that the actions taken by the Patriarch of Constantinople towards Ukraine are an unprecedented example of the violation of both canonical and moral norms. “Phanar representatives, and I believe this is obvious to everyone, were guided by their personal, power-seeking desires. Everyone understands that today we are witnessing Phanar's unprecedented attempts to build a church structure in such a way that the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople would be at the top, with some excessive powers,” said Bishop Sylvester. He believes that this completely contradicts the original, ancient, traditional and catholic principle, implemented in the Church at the level of Ecumenical and Local Councils.
The rector of the Kyiv Theological Schools said that Patriarch Bartholomew, in his sole version in relation to Ukraine, resolved this issue, without coordinating it not only with the Russian Orthodox Church but also with other Orthodox Churches. “An eloquent example: the former Metropolitan Filaret (Denisenko) was recognized as a schismatic by the Phanariots themselves for many decades, and all Local Churches considered him as such – not a year or two, but for decades. Before making any decisions on Ukraine, Patriarch Bartholomew should have found out the opinion of the Local Orthodox Churches on this issue. By his decision, Patriarch Bartholomew showed not only his attitude towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, he, in principle, showed his attitude towards the Local Churches and towards the issue of church structure,” said the hierarch of the UOC.
He noted that what is called "Eastern papism" is now developing, and any bishop who believes that he has some kind of extraordinary powers, opportunities and position, and is looking for theological justification for such an opinion, inevitably takes this path. Bishop Sylvester said that back in the 19th century, a number of canonists and historians of the Russian Orthodox Church used the expression "Eastern papism" in relation to the Patriarch of Constantinople, but there was a hope that this phenomenon would not develop, and the Patriarch of Constantinople would not go beyond the "red lines", beyond the boundaries permissible. “But it was Patriarch Bartholomew who crossed these boundaries. And now the Orthodox church world, unfortunately, is in a state of serious crisis,” he stated.
The rector of the Kyiv Theological Schools told the Journal of the Serbian Patriarchate that more and more strong statements are being made by the OCU that we are not a Church, that we should not exist, and so on. “Despite this, the only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine is the UOC under the leadership of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine,” resumed Bishop Sylvester.