Belarusian schismatics emboldened by Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine, hope for autocephaly too

Minsk, September 17, 2018

"Archbishop" Svyatoslav (left). Photo: "Archbishop" Svyatoslav (left). Photo:

The granting of a tomos of autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics, which the Ecumenical Patriarchate is preparing for, should have an impact on Belarus as well, the head of the schismatic “Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (BAOC) believes.

The BAOC therefore supports the provision of autocephaly to a Ukrainian church amalgamated out of the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” as “Archbishop” Svyatoslav Login commented in a recent interview with Radio Liberty.

“We, of course, support this decision. Our goal is also to be legalized in Belarus and officially receive autocephalous status,” the non-canonical leader stated.

On the other hand, the canonical Church in Belarus that has remained faithful to Christ in His Orthodox Church, opposes the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s illegitimate incursion into the Ukrainian Church’s territory.

“If they recognize the Ukrainian Church, the next steps should be in regard to the Belarusian Church,” Login declared. “It gives us an example and shows that the situation is developing according to the canons. As we know, the canons require a separate Church for a separate Orthodox people. This is the 34th apostolic canon. And the canons are not debated, but implemented. The fact that Belarus, as an Orthodox state, does not have its own independent first hierarch is a violation of the canons and the destruction of the historicity of our Belarusian Church,” the “archbishop” continued.

At the same time, the head of the BAOC emphasized that there should be a desire amongst the believers and the authorities for an independent Belarusian Church.

“Under the current government, the processes of the legalization of the Belarusian Church in Belarus, its further growth, and the reception of autocephaly are hardly possible. The current government is economically, politically, and spiritually subordinated to Moscow,” the “archbishop” concluded, revealing the same nationalistic motivations as what drives the Ukrainian schismatics.

The BAOC was created in American in the second half of the 20th century through the efforts of Vladislav Rizhii-Rizhskii, a priest of the so-called “American Orthodox Catholic Church” The BAOC’s headquarters are in New York. It has one bishop, with 3 parishes in America, 1 in Canada, 3 in Australia, and 1 in England. It has no official churches in Belarus, though there are religious communities there.

The schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church” appealed to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church last year to help them become a canonical autocephalous Church, but later also appealed to Constantinople after seeing the success of the Ukrainian schismatics in dealing with Constantinople.

However, His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew recently announced that he would not grant them autocephaly as long as they use the title “Macedonian” or any derivative thereof, as this title personally offends him as a Greek.

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