UOC rep speaks about difference between healing schism and recognizing OCU

Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich. Photo: a screenshot / YouTube / Interfax-Ukraine

To overcome the schism in Ukraine, all Local Churches should conciliarly, and not single-handedly recognize the schismatics, the deputy head of the UOC DECR noted.

Issues such as overcoming the schism should be resolved jointly by all Orthodox Churches, said Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, during an open dialogue with publicist Konstantin Matvienko at the Interfax-Ukraine press centre.

Father Nikolai gave an example of the successful healing of the schism and explained what they did wrong in the Ukrainian situation.

“In 1998, recently, on September 1-3, there was a Council in Sofia (in Bulgaria – Ed.), where the heads of all Local Churches gathered,” the UOC spokesperson recalled. “There was a schism, slightly different but similar to ours. There was also a parallel hierarchy, bishops who did not recognize the patriarch.

All Local Churches, including Patriarch Bartholomew, gathered in Bulgaria, Sofia, and resolved this issue. Each of the bishops who were in schism came with a letter of repentance (we did not have this). And then they were accepted into communion."

In the Ukrainian situation, the head of the Phanar acted completely differently and did not ask the opinion of other Churches, the deputy head of the UOC DECR noted.

“What did we have? Direct interference of Patriarch Bartholomew in our church affairs, discord here, seizure of parishes,” said Father Nikolai. “You saw what was happening in Western Ukraine. There are partial, isolated cases now too. The issue has not been resolved yet."

The priest stressed that it was necessary to resolve the issue of the Ukrainian schism in a conciliar way and on the basis of canons.

“The canons say that a person who has no holy dignity should be (re)ordained,” he said. "This was not the case here."

As reported, the hierarch of the UOC stated that the head of the Phanar seeks more dialogue with the RCC than with the Orthodox.

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