Poltava, Ukraine, May 22, 2018
The foundation stone for a new “ecumenical church,” to be used by both the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC) and the heretical Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) was laid in Poltava on Saturday, reports The Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The UAOC is one of two main schismatic bodies operating in Ukraine, which joined in President Petro Poroshenko’s appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant a tomos of autocephaly to a united autocephalous Ukrainian Church. The schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” also supported the president’s initiative, though not a single hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate supported the move.
The Ukrainian schismatic confessions and the call for a new Ukrainian Church exist as manifestations of Ukrainian nationalism, looking for separation from the Russian Orthodox Church. To pray with or celebrate services along with non-Orthodox bodies is strictly forbidden by Orthodox canon law.
The service of consecrating and laying the stone was celebrated by UGCC head Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. The future temple will be named for St. George the Victorious.
The Uniate head noted that the construction of the new church stands as a symbol of the hoped-for unification of, not Orthodox churches, but Ukrainian churches.
“We are experiencing today not just the moment of the sealing of another of God’s churches, we today feel that the anointed of God, our Savior Christ, manifests in this stone a moment of our unity, because we are laying, perhaps, the first church in Ukraine of the united Kievan Church, which today, unfortunately, is divided and exists in various confessions,” Shevchuk stated.
All of the Orthodox Churches throughout the world support the canonical Church under His Eminence Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. Most recently, the Serbian, Russian, and Polish Holy Synods have expressed this support, emphasizing the importance of true Orthodox unity in Christ.
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