Chișinău, Moldova, April 22, 2019
The Holy Synod of the Moldovan Orthodox Church met on Friday under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Chișinău and All Moldova. The hierarchs made a number of important decisions, including deciding to hold a march in support of the family and family values on May 18, to dedicate the month of June to children in the Church, and to adopt new statutes for the Moldovan Church, pending the approval of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
In addition to matters of Moldovan Church life, the hierarchs also expressed deep concern for their Ukrainian brothers over the crisis situation that has developed in Ukraine thanks to the anti-canonical interference of Patriarch Bartholomew and the Patriarchate of Constantinople in internal Ukrainian Church affairs.
Their statement, published on the site of the Moldovan Church, reads in full:
The Synod of the Orthodox Church of Moldova reiterates its deep concern over the current tragic situation of persecution of the clergy and flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The episcopate of the Orthodox Church of Moldova categorically condemns that anti-canonical interference of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who provided a “tomos of autocephaly” to the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” artificially created as a result of the amalgamation of two schismatic structures, which in turn did absolutely nothing to facilitate the restoration of unity and peace among Ukrainian Christians, but conversely, only provoked even more serious consequences for all of universal Orthodoxy.
Moreover, the chosen method of the Patriarchate of Constantinople for “resolving the ecclesiastical problem” in our neighboring country with the direct involvement and support of the secular authorities of Ukraine, and also the hostile and discriminatory measures towards the clergy and flock of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, part of the Moscow Patriarchate, compels us to again declare them alien to the centuries-old life and teachings of our holy Orthodox Church.
The violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the clergy and faithful of the canonical Church by the depriving the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its name and the practical legalization of the practice of confiscating its churches and historical monasteries with the support of the power structures, carried out contrary to the decisions of the religious communities who have expressed their desire to remain in the bosom of the canonical Church, clearly speaks to the main goal of the newly-created church structure—the liquidation of the canonical Orthodox Church in this territory.
In these mournful days for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, joining all the Local Orthodox Churches, the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Moldova, on behalf of the entire episcopate, clergy, and flock, expresses prayerful support for our brothers from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, offering our prayers to the All-Merciful God, that He might strengthen them in their sufferings, granting all patience and a firm standing in confession of the holy Orthodox faith, in the words of the venerable Apostle Paul, who was repeatedly subject to oppression for the Lord’s sake: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).
At the same time, the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Moldova calls on the international community to be attentive to the injustice taking place in Ukraine, which violates basic human rights, and to the cruel and offensive interference of the state powers of Ukraine in the life and ecclesiastical-administrative organization of the local Orthodox Church.
Met. Vladimir previously wrote to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko concerning the persecution against the brethren of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra, “call[ing] upon the leadership of Ukraine to full its constitutional role as guarantor of the preservation of freedom and religious peace in the country.”
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye have both appealed to President-elect Zelensky to be a true guarantor of the constitutionally-stipulated freedom of religion in Ukraine.
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