Kiev, December 29, 2017
The head of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC) “Metropolitan” Makarios held a meeting recently with a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His Grace Bishop Ilarion (Rudyk) of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. The official website of the UAOC reports that the meeting was “on the paths to the unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.”
A meeting between the self-styled “Patriarch” Philaret (Denisenko) of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and Bp. Ilarion, as well as Archbishop Daniel (Zelinsky) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had come to celebrate the schismatic leader’s name’s day, was also held on Dec. 15.
The “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” are two schismatic Orthodox bodies operating in Ukraine, while the canonical Church is headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople came to Kiev and held a meeting with Met. Onuphry, Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich reported to the Union of Orthodox Journalists. “They came to figure out the situation which developed after the recent letter of ‘Pat.’ Philaret to the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church. This letter was a surprise for the Phanar,” Fr. Nikolai stated, referring to the Constantinople neighborhood where the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are located.
“Pat.” Philaret addressed a letter to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Russian Council of Bishops in November, expressing his desire to restore Eucharistic communion, asking that the anathematization against him be lifted.
However, Fr. Nikolai adds, it was unpleasant for the Ukrainian Church to learn that the Constantinople representatives are violating canonical order and holding meetings with schismatics without coordinating with the Ukrainian Church on whose canonical territory the meetings took place.
“It is accepted that, being on the canonical territory of a Local Church, representatives of other Churches should do nothing without the consent of the local bishop. Clergy of other Churches must not forget that, despite the presence of a Church schism, the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not a public thoroughfare, where anyone can act according to his own discretion. On the contrary, compliance by the clergy of other Churches with the canonical order in the delicate conditions of our inter-confessional situation could even contribute to the normalization of the difficult situation with the Church schism in our country, or at least wouldn’t hurt,” Fr. Nikolai stated.
Fr. Nikolai also reminded that, despite the meetings with schismatics, the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s official stance in support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church remains unchanged, as was expressed in a recent meeting between His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary along with Fr. Nikolai.
The hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church in the USA have long had friendly relations with the anathematized Philaret. They received him a year ago at their St. Sophia’s Seminary in South Bound Brook, New Jersey, discussing “the issue of the recognition of the Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate… in the course of the warm and amicable conversation.”
The same two Ukrainian hierarchs visited the KP in Ukraine in 2015 as well, without the blessing of the local canonical hierarchs. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church subsequently called on the Ecumenical Patriarchate not to allow his hierarchs to interfere in Ukrainian Church matters and to make hierarchical visits without the blessing of the relevant ruling hierarchs.