Ecumenical Patriarchate postpones consideration of Ukrainian autocephaly issue

Constantinople, May 16, 2018

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The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has postponed its consideration of the question of granting autocephaly to a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reports The Union of Orthodox Journalists with reference to the Ukrainian news station Channel 5.

The postponement is possibly due to opposing views on the question within the Church. The date of the Holy Synod’s session for considering the issue has been postponed until June.

“This is probably due to the fact that the patriarch does not feel very well, and perhaps due to difficulties that have arisen in the process,” commented Lyudmila Filipovich, the head of the Philosophy and History of Religion Department at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

His All-Holiness spent the night in the hospital from May 6-7 after feeling sick and dizzy. His All-Holiness has reportedly been under a lot of stress and pressure to resolve the question of Ukrainian autocephaly. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, backed by the Ukrainian parliament and the nation’s two schismatic Orthodox confessions, recently appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant a tomos of autocephaly to a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church. His appeal was delivered with the backing of the Ukrainian Parliament and the hierarchs of Ukraine’s two schismatic “Orthodox” bodies—the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”—which exist as supports for Ukrainian nationalism, fueled by anti-Russian sentiments.

At its late-April session, the Holy Synod of Constantinople announced that it would initiate discussions on the issue with the other Local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

According to Filipovich, there are contrary opinions within the Church on the “Ukrainian issue.” “We understand perfectly well that there are those who will never support the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” she said.

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