Batholomew, ”Ukraine has the right to be granted autocephaly”

 — Nov. 30, 201830 nov. 2018

Editors note: The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is currently divided between three different jurisdictions. The largest of these is under the care of the Patriarchate of Moscow, a situation that has existed since the Stalinist period. Two Ukrainian jurisdictions have been established since the independence of Ukraine from the former Soviet Union. These have already agreed to merge once the decree of autocephaly is issued by Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

After the vespers in honour of St Andrew, patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew received an international Orthodox interparliamentary delegation of which 24 States are members, presided over by the Russian Gavrilof, who took part to the festivities.

The Patriarch told those present that the work of the Synod had just been completed and that the Tomos is being prepared for granting the autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. In this context the new statute of the Ukrainian Church was discussed, a subject that will continue during the Ukrainian Synod in December during which it is hoped that all the Orthodox parties will participate, to arrive at the election of the primate and grant the so-called Tomos. A new church will thus be added to the existing 14: “It is a purely administrative fact that does not affect the magisterium of the Orthodox Church,” Bartholomew explained.

After him, the president of the Orthodox interparliamentary took the floor, who in his address to the Ecumenical Patriarch, stressed that today “individualism” prevails in the world, while “Christian values are crushed and sacrificed to the ideology of consumerism.” The president of the assembly also mentioned the decrease of Christian presence in the Middle East because of the war and terrorism and, referring to the Ukrainian issue, he stressed the dangers that exist in the dispute over granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church that would risk provoking victims along with the occupation of the churches and thus giving rise to a crisis at the mercy of the enemies of orthodoxy that would end up weakened.

In this regard, Gavrilof recalled that Constantinople in the nineteenth century had declared the dangers of ethno-phyletism in the Orthodox world, and concluded with an appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch, invoking his wisdom and ability to dialogue to avoid serious consequences in the already suffering Ukrainian land.

For his part Bartholomew thanked participants for their work and efforts for peaceful coexistence; he reminded the Russian president of the traumas experienced by Ukraine in Stalin’s time, with his millions of deaths caused by the famine passed down in history under the name of “Holodomor.”

“Historical events are facts,” Bartholomew said, “we believe in the intellectually and honestly correct interpretation of history, however unpleasant it may be.” With regard to the issue of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian church, the Patriarch declared that “it is a struggling issue that has always made orthodoxy uncomfortable. We believe that granting autocephaly is doing the right thing. We believe that it is their right to have their own autocephaly, which all the countries and peoples of the Balkans have obtained precisely from Constantinople.”

“Certainly – Bartholomew observed – this has had as a consequence the enormous reduction in the flock of the ecumenical patriarchate, reduced to the outskirts of Constantinople, for political reasons. But later, thanks to the Orthodox flock of the diaspora, our patriarchate was strengthened.” As a result, the Patriarch added, “as all Orthodox peoples have had their autocephaly, this right also belongs to the millions of Ukrainians who have been living for years in a situation of absurd schism. And to satisfy their will and their just request, they addressed the Mother Church of Constantinople, as all the other peoples have done in the past.”

According to Bartholomew, “with the concession of autocephaly to the 40 million Ukrainians, the various internal schisms will also de facto cease and the Orthodox will thus unite in a single church and return to Eucharistic unity.” “We – he added – know that this act will displease our sister in Moscow, but it could not be done otherwise. We hope and hope that Moscow will show understanding.”

The Orthodox primate also reported a phrase referred to him by Patriarch Daniel of Romania, during his visit last Saturday, namely that churches such as those of Poland and Czechoslovakia, which count respectively 500 and 200 thousand faithful, cannot have autocephaly, but not a Church like the Ukrainian one that counts 40 million faithful: it would be “unjust and irrational.”

Bartholomew also recalled that Moscow itself had obtained autocephaly from Constantinople in the sixteenth century from Patriarch Ieremias, who had visited Moscow to ask for economic aid given the economic difficulties it was facing because of the political situation. The then Tsar forced the Patriarch to grant autocephaly to Moscow.

“Therefore, Mr President, – Bartholomew concluded – you must recognize that the same right also belongs to the Ukrainians. What has been done has been done, but we must make Christ mercy prevail over administrative and jurisdictional issues.”

Posted: Nov. 30, 2018 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Bartholomew I, Orthodox, Ukraine
Transmis : 30 nov. 2018 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Bartholomew I, Orthodox, Ukraine

  Previous post: Ancien article : Multiple denominations work together at Horizon College and Seminary
  Newer post: Article récent : Cannabis use for fun ‘sinful behaviour,’ B.C. and Yukon bishops tell Catholics