Kiev, September 12, 2018
In response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s troubling intrusion into its canonical territory as a stepping stone towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has called for a council of all the primates of the autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches.
Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the deputy head of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), spoke about this in an interview posted on the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church yesterday, saying, “I think that now is the time, on a global level, for the primates of the Churches to gather in a council, in a synaxis, a meeting, to make a decision on these matters, because very hard times are coming.”
“And we have created these times for ourselves, or rather, not we, but some of our brothers,” Fr. Danilevich added.
The DECR deputy head is referring to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s recent appointment of two exarch bishops in Kiev: His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, a convert to Orthodoxy from Uniatism, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada. Their appointment was made “within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian Church representative added that if the Ecumenical Patriarchate desires to solve the issue of the schism in Ukraine, he is invited to dialogue. “But this mustn’t be done clumsily: solving the small question of the Ukrainian schism but creating greater problems for all of universal Orthodoxy. This is wrong,” he said.
Asked about which Churches will support the Russian Church in this situation, and which will support the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the archpriest stated that he does think such predictions would be useful, but shared that “The patriarch of one of the Greek Churches, when he heard what had happened, grabbed his head, saying it’s a catastrophe. Other Churches are also concerned about what is happening.”
The synods, primates, and hierarchs of at least eleven of the fifteen autocephalous Orthodox Churches have expressed support for the canonical Ukrainian Church against the schismatic bodies that are currently seeking autocephaly. Their statements can be read here.
Fr. Danilevich also called on all Orthodox Christians to intensify their prayers for both His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, “so that the Lord would guide them and grant them Solomonic wisdom to solve the problems that exist. If they solve these problems, then they will go down in history as the greatest patriarchs. If it is not resolved and Patriarch Bartholomew goes all the way, it will not bring honor to him or to us,” the DECR deputy head concluded.
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