On June 25, 2018, after the festal Divine Liturgy in the Kiev Caves Lavra on the occasion of the memory of St. Onuphry the Great and the name’s day of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who took part in the celebrations gathered under the chairmanship of the primate to hold a meeting to discuss the situation that has arisen as a result of the spreading of information about the readiness of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople to grant a tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and the possibility of the legalization of the Ukrainian schismatics.
The bishops heard the message of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the meeting of the delegation of the UOC with His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and members of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that took place on June 23 in Istanbul. In particular, it was reported that the Patriarchate of Constantinople denied the alleged information that the canonical mechanism for overcoming the schism in Ukrainian Orthodoxy has already been finally agreed upon, and that the text of a tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church has already been composed. It was not confirmed that the unilateral granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church will take place in the near future or in any certain timeframe. Rather, the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople showed the readiness of their Church to join the process of overcoming the Ukrainian Church schism in consultation with the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches. For this purpose, a delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople will meet with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in the near future.
Having heard the report, the hierarchs of the UOC had a discussion on the prospects of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in the modern historical circumstances. In particular, concern was expressed about the possibility of the creation of parallel Church jurisdictions in Ukraine, which has been reported about in the press. The hierarchs noted that such a development of events would not overcome, but rather would deepen the Church schism. In the case of the transformation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into the structure of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, our Church would lose a significant part of the rights with which it has been endowed over the past decades.
In this regard, the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church participating in the Hierarchical Assembly at the Kiev Caves Lavra on June 25, 2018, unanimously adopted the following joint statement:
The existing canonical status is quite sufficient for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to fruitfully carry out its mission among the people of Ukraine. Attempts to alter this status will only lead to a limiting of the rights and freedoms our Church has been endowed with, having the rights of broad autonomy. Furthermore, these attempts will not cure, but only deepen the schism, both in Ukrainian Orthodoxy and in Ukrainian society as a whole.
The bishops unanimously confirmed their desire to observe the oath of loyalty to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church given at their consecration to the episcopacy.
As witnesses, the statement was signed by:
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
and seventy-one other bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church