Ukrainian Church will not meet with exarchs who came without its blessing—Met. Onuphry

Kiev, September 14, 2018

The exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarch recently appointed to Kiev, Archbishop Daniel from the United States and Bishop Ilarion from Canada, have already arrived in Ukraine and have begun their work of preparing “for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” according to Constantinople’s unilateral plans.

However, they will only be meeting with hierarchs of Ukraine’s two schismatic bodies.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, informed the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of these developments at today’s extraordinary session held in Moscow, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Due to health concerns, Met. Onuphry remained in Kiev but participated via video chat and phone calls.

“Both so-called exarchs of the Patriarch of Constantinople have arrived in Ukraine,” Met. Onuphry told the Holy Synod. “One has been appointed to conduct the negotiation process with the party of the so-called Patriarch Philaret, and the other with the party of ‘Metropolitan’ Makary, the head of the ‘Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.’”

However, the Ukrainian primate affirmed that the exarchs would not have any meetings with the canonical Church: “We have not met with them and we do not intend to meet, because they came here without our blessing. As representatives of the canonical Church in Ukraine, we will not be communicating with them; we will be monitoring how events develop.”

The Tulchin Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has also released a specific statement instructing its clergy and faithful to refrain from communion with the Constantinopolitan exarchs.

For his part, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia drew a parallel between current events and those of the 1920s, during the patriarchate of St. Tikhon of Moscow, when the renovationist Living Church was gaining ground with communist backing. At that time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate also sent its representatives at the request of the illegitimate Living Church, trying to persuade St. Tikhon to step down from the patriarchal throne in order to let the Living Church thrive.

“Since what is happening now in Ukraine … is a mirror image of what took place at the beginning of the 20th century, we must follow the line very courageously determined by His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon in the most difficult years for our Church, which is the only correct and canonically justifiable way,” Pat. Kirill concluded.

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