An official representative said that no concrete decision should be expected in the near future.
Oreshak, Bulgaria, November 6, 2018
The commission created by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church began to examine the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s plans to create an autocephalous Church in Ukraine yesterday, reports TASS.
Early last month, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill wrote to all the primates of the world’s 15 Local Orthodox Churches to inform them about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and to propose opening a pan-Orthodox discussion on the matter.
The Bulgarian Holy Synod then met to discuss the matter on October 5. The Synod voted at that time to create a commission to more closely study Pat. Kirill’s letter and the entire issue, although three metropolitans—Gabriel of Lovech, John of Varna, and Daniil of Vidin—did believe already at that time that it was necessary to call for a pan-Orthodox Council. The three metropolitans’ statement was then published on the official site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
“The hierarchs of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, including Patriarch Neofit, gathered on Monday at the Troyan Monastery to examine the problems of the Orthodox Church in connection with the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in particular at the conformity of these decisions to the canons of Orthodoxy. There will be a serious debate as well as the study of ecclesiastical and historical [documents]. No concrete decisions should be expected in the near future,” official Church representative Archpriest Nikolai Georgiev said.
The preliminary results of the commission’s work could be examined at the Synodal meeting in December according to TASS’s sources in the Bulgarian Patriarchate, though they did not rule out that the discussion could take several months.
In an interview with TASS, His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech of the Bulgarian Church, one of the three metropolitans who released the above-mentioned statement, stressed that the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s actions are uncanonical and have created a problem that can only be resolved by the Constantinople and Russian Churches together.
Several Orthodox Holy Synods have already officially noted the need for pan-Orthodox cooperation on the matter, including the Romanian, Antiochian and Georgian Holy Synods. The same call has also been made by the primates of the Polish, Serbian, Antiochian, and Czech and Slovak Churches, and also by a joint Antiochian-Serbian statement.
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