Constantinople, February 5, 2018
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople could, in the near future, open a dependency in Kiev and perhaps in Lvov as well. The Ukrainian agency Union of Orthodox Journalists has learned of the alleged plans from unofficial sources, and reports that the decision could be made at one of the next meetings of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
According to experts, if the patriarchate makes such a decision, it will dramatically worsen relations between the Constantinople and Moscow Patriarchates. Several primates of other Local Orthodox Churches have, in personal communication, strongly urged His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew not to interfere in Ukrainian Church matters. The canonical Ukrainian Church is under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Both Ukrainian schismatics and governmental figures have repeatedly appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant autocephaly to the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” a nationalist confession which divides the Ukrainian people against themselves.
At a December meeting with representatives of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew stated that the Ukrainian Church schism must be overcome in a canonical manner, so as not to create a superficial unity. However, just a few days before this meeting, hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Bishop Hilarion of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, met with the schismatic Denisenko in Kiev, congratulating him on his name’s day, and discussing “issues of mutual interest.”
The hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church in the USA have long had friendly relations with the anathematized Philaret. They received him a year ago at their St. Sophia’s Seminary in South Bound Brook, New Jersey, discussing “the issue of the recognition of the Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate… in the course of the warm and amicable conversation.”
The same two Ukrainian hierarchs visited the KP in Ukraine in 2015 as well, without the blessing of the local canonical hierarchs. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church subsequently called on the Ecumenical Patriarchate not to allow his hierarchs to interfere in Ukrainian Church matters and to make hierarchical visits without the blessing of the relevant ruling hierarchs.
Just a few days after the December meeting with the representatives from the canonical Ukrainian Church, the head of another schismatic body operating in Ukraine, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC), “Metropolitan” Makarios held a meeting with a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His Grace Bishop Ilarion (Rudyk) of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
Relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece have also been strained over the past few years after Constantinople opened a representation church in Athens without the knowledge or blessing of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.