Moscow, December 1, 2017
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox, currently meeting in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, decided yesterday to specifically prescribe in the statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church that the center of administration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is located in Kiev, reports RIA-Novosti.
“It has been specified that the center of administration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is located in Kiev… The charter has enshrined that which already existed in practice,” the text broadcast of the Council of Bishops sessions reads.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine had earlier asked that the special status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church be emphasized in the official statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The current Church statutes give the status of the Ukrainian Church as a “Self-governing Church.” As Met. Onuphry noted, this “does not fully reflect the Definition of the 1990 Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in granting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church independence and autonomy in its administration.”
In this regard, the Metropolitan of Kiev specifically proposed the creation of a separate chapter in the Russian Church statutes under the heading “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
Metropolitan Onuphry’s proposal was accepted unanimously. However, as Patriarchal Press Secretary Fr. Alexander Volkov notes, the Ukrainian Church “was and remains a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
In addition to more correctly adhering to the reality of the Ukrainian Church’s existence, the revised statutes could also prove useful as the Ukrainian parliament considers bills aggressively aimed against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Bill No. 4511, “On the special status of religious organizations with headquarters located in states recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as aggressor states,” proposes that such religious organizations be able to appoint metropolitans and bishops only in agreement with the governing authorities. The same bill also gives the government the right to forbid a confession if its representatives cooperate with religious centers in “aggressor states.”
The Ukrainian government considers Russia an aggressor state, and the schismatic “Orthodox” bodies in Ukraine play on anti-Russian sentiments to draw people into their folds.
Updated 12/12017 at 1:42 PM