“The Unification of Schismatics Has No Relation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”

Address of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, December 17, 2018

    

ADDRESS
of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
to the archpastors, pastors, monastics, and laity
December 17, 2018

Your Eminences and Graces!
Beloved in the Lord fathers, brothers, and sisters!

On December 15, 2018, in Kiev on the territory of the Kievan Sophia National Reserve, the so-called “unification council” was held, at which the creation of a new church organization under the title of “Orthodox Church” was declared, arising as the result of the unification of two non-canonical structures: “The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” and “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate.”

Thus, this meeting was the unification of schismatics and has no relation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For our Church, in fact, nothing has changed, inasmuch as the schismatics remain in schism, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church remains the true Church of Christ in Ukraine. No one in the world disputes the validity of the episcopal and priestly ordinations of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the grace of the Sacraments celebrated in our Church, which cannot be said about the newly created structure.

With sadness, we inform you that for departure into schism, the Holy Synod was forced to release from the administration of his diocese and to impose a ban from serving on His Eminence Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar, and also to ban His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnev from serving. We call upon all of you, dear Eminences, fathers, brothers, and sisters, to pray for the correction and return to the fold of the Church of the aforementioned Eminences and others who have departed into schism. Our Church, as a loving Mother, awaits their return with hope.

It is shameful that one of the initiators of today’s trials for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which argues its right to interfere in our Church affairs by the fact that our Church was once within its jurisdiction. In this regard, we would like to recall that the Russian Orthodox Church was forced to proclaim its autocephaly as a result of the betrayal of the Patriarchate of Constantinople of the Orthodox faith and its signing of the Union with Rome at the Ferrara-Florence Council in 1439. This spiritual betrayal of the Orthodox faith became the main reason for the separation of the Kiev Metropolitanate from Constantinople. The Unia caused a fracture in Church relations and distrust, which was later aggravated by the fact that for centuries of the most difficult times of trials for Orthodoxy in our lands, there was none of the due pastoral care and assistance from the Church of Constantinople. The Kiev Metropolitanate, being weakened by the religious confrontation with the Uniates and devastated by wars, especially after the Union of Brest in 1596, became part of the Russian Orthodox Church at the end of the seventeenth century in order to preserve the Orthodox faith. Therefore, the Constantinople Patriarchate today has no moral or canonical right to interfere in the internal affairs and spiritual life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Moreover, the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have already led to the fact that the possibility of restoring the unity of the Orthodox in Ukraine has been put off for a long time, if not forever.

Dear Eminences, fathers, brothers, and sisters! We lovingly appeal to you with a request to continue to preserve the purity of the holy Orthodox faith and to preserve spiritual unity in our holy Orthodox Church, which is the canonical heir of the ancient Kiev Metropolitanate, which appeared by the prayers of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called and the labors of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir, and in which our glorious ancestors lived and pleased God.

We express gratitude to the hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and all the laity who in these difficult times withstand pressure and confirm their loyalty to the holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev. 2:10), the Holy Scriptures teach us.

We call upon all the faithful children of our Church to pray for those who do not understand this and hate us and our Church. May the Lord forgive them. And you: Love your Church, love our motherland Ukraine, and do everything so that there would be peace, patience, harmony, and true Christian love in our land and among our people.

On behalf of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

+ ONUPHRY
METROPOLITAN OF KIEV AND ALL UKRAINE
THE PRIMATE OF THE UKRAINIAN ORTHDOOX CHURCH

The portions of the Synod’s report on its session relating to Metropolitans Simeon and Alexander are given below:

LOG No. 69

At the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine—

JUDGMENT WAS BORNE on the participation of His Eminence Metropolitan Simeon and Vinnitsa and Bar in the so-called unification council that was held on December 15, 2018.

RESOLVED:

1. To state that the participation of the Right Reverend Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar in the so-called unification council that was held on December 15, 2018 is a departure into schism, a gross violation of the hierarchical oath, the resolutions of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from November 13, 2018, and the resolutions of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from December 7, 2018.

2. In this regard, and on the basis of the 25th and 34th canons of the Holy Apostles and the 2nd canon of the Council of Antioch, to release His Eminence Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar from the administration of the Vinnitsa Diocese, to forbid him from serving, and to emphasize that Eucharistic communion with him has ceased from now on.

LOG No. 70

At the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine—

JUDGMENT WAS BORNE on the participation of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnev in the so-called unification council that was held on December 15, 2018.

RESOLVED:

1. To state that the participation of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnev in the so-called unification council that was held on December 15, 2018 is a departure into schism, a gross violation of the hierarchical oath, the resolutions of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from November 13, 2018, and the resolutions of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from December 7, 2018.

2. In this regard, and on the basis of the 25th and 34th canons of the Holy Apostles and the 2nd canon of the Council of Antioch, to release His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnev from the position of vicar of the Kiev Metropolitanate, to forbid him from serving, and to emphasize that Eucharistic communion with him has ceased from now on.

LOG No. 72

At the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine—

JUDGMENT WAS BORNE on the replacement of the vacant throne of the Vinnitsa Diocese.

RESOLVED:

1. To appoint Bishop Barsanuphius of Borodianka as the Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Bar, releasing him from the position of vicar of the Kiev Metropolitanate.

LOG No. 73

At the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine—

JUDGMENT WAS BORNE regarding recent events in Ukrainian religious life.

RESOLVED:

1. To publish an address to the episcopate, clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

2. To ask the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine to inform the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches about recent events in Ukrainian religious life.

3. To promptly report cases of the violations of the rights of bishops, clergy, laity, and institutions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (hindrances to celebrating the services, the seizure of churches, provocations and pressure, threats, etc.) to the Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

LOG No. 74

At the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine—

JUDGMENT WAS BORNE on the appointment of a vicar bishop of the Kiev Metropolitanate.

RESOLVED:

1. That Archimandrite Dionysiy (Pilipchuk), a cleric of the Kiev Diocese, will be the Bishop of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky, vicar of the Kiev Metropolitanate.

2. To leave the place of the naming and consecration of Archimandrite Dionysiy (Pilipchuk) as a bishop at the discretion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

About which a corresponding decree will be sent.

+ ONUPHRY, METROPOLITAN OF KIEV AND ALL UKRAINE

The members of the Holy Synod:

+ AGAFANGEL, METROPOILTAN OF ODESSA AND IZMAIL

+ LAZAR, METROPOLITAN OF SIMFEROPOL AND CRIMEA

+ MARK, METROPOLITAN OF KHUST AND VINOGRADOV

+ ILARION, METROPOLITAN OF DONETSK AND MARIUPOL

+ THEODORE, METROPOLITAN OF KAMENETS-PODOLSKY AND GORODOK

+ PAVEL, METROPOLITAN OF VYSHGOROD AND CHERNOBYL

+ MITROPHAN, METROPOLITAN OF LUGANSK AND ALCHEVSK

+ MELETY, METROPOLITAN OF CHERNIVTSI AND BUKOVINA

+ EPHREM, ARCHBISHOP OF BERDYANSK AND PRIMORSK

+ NATHANIEL, BISHOP OF VOLYN AND LUTSK

+ ANTHONY, METROPOLITAN OF BORYSPIL AND BROVARY
CHANCELLOR OF THE UOC

Translated by Jesse Dominick

Ukrainian Orthodox Church

12/18/2018

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Comments
Joseph12/27/2018 10:30 pm
Nicholas Pantelopoulos: Respectfully I ask, what planet have you fallen from? The Ukrainian - Rus' - Church has been under the Moscow Patriarchate for 300 years, when it was assigned to them by the Patriarch of Constantinople. Mind you that was simply a return to the original Church of Rus' after centuries of historical involuntary separation. This is not a question of which patriarchate is better--Moscow or Constantinople. It is simply a matter of jurisdictional fact. The EP is not the primate of the UOC. Period.
Nicholas Pantelopoulos12/26/2018 11:54 pm
The UOC may be right to reject this so-called unified council, but are wrong to claim that they are canonically under the MP, and even worst, that they have for decades ceased to commemorate their Primate, the EP. A century ago the MP arbitrarily annexed the UOC without the permission (μοιχεπιβασία) of its rightful primate. The MP hypocritically assumes that political boundaries are identical to ecclesiastical ones, yet it is unwilling to accept it the political boundaries contract. Sadly, the elephant in the room from the beginning is the Patriarchate of Moscow and its flawed ecclesiology. The EP is not perfect, but neither is the MP. Sorry.
Archimandrite Gregory12/18/2018 12:34 pm
How sad it is to observe the pure robe of the Savior, at this most holy time of the year, being torn by the very center that is to maintain the unity of the churches in harmony, Truth, and love. And all for worldly power, self-centeredness, and perhaps even for thirty pieces of silver. May God have mercy on us all.
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