Constantinople; Kiev, December 7, 2018
The Patriarchate of Constantinople has issued invitations for the so-called “unification council,” currently scheduled for December 15, in which is indicated who is allowed to participate in the decision-making work of the council, including the election of the primate for the new church.
A copy of the invitation letter has been published by the Ukrainian site Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The letter notes that Patriarch Bartholomew invites not only bishops but also representatives of the clergy and laity to participate in the upcoming council, with the right to vote.
“We invite Your Eminence to take part together with one cleric and one monk or layman, each of which will have the right to vote, to form a ballot of three candidates at the unification council in the historic Church of St. Sophia in Kiev,” the document reads.
However, at its Synod session yesterday, the bishops of the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP), who were all received into Constantinople’s jurisdiction on October 11, declared that the participation of clergy and laity is unacceptable.
The vision of Constantinople’s KP faction for the council proceedings is laid out in its report on yesterday’s Synod session, published on the official KP website:
“The participation of delegates from the clergy, monastics, and laity with the right to vote implies the holding of a Local Council, representation at which is possible only on the basis of equality and proportionality (depending on the number of parishes), which complicates the procedure for calling the Council, especially in the given timeframe,” the KP bishops resolved.
The KP hierarchs are distinguishing between a Bishops’ Council, which they believe the “unification council” should be, and a Local Council, which would also include parish representatives as Pat. Bartholomew lays out.
They write: “During the preparation of the regulations of the Council, it should be taken into account that this is the Bishops’ Council of the united local Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, so only Ukrainian hierarchs—members of the Council—should have the right to vote.”
The bishops also decided to gather again on December 13, two days before the “unification council” to report on the results of the preparation for it.
The invitation from Pat. Bartholomew also indicates that, as previously reported, the council will be headed by Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul and Constantinople’s two Exarchs in Kiev Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Ilarion.
The invitation also notes that the new church will be known as the “Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
Follow us on Facebook!