Prešov, Slovakia, November 13, 2018
His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia has again expressed his brotherly love and prayerful support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Met. Rostislav held a meeting at his residence in Prešov several days ago with the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Representative Office to European International Organizations His Grace Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka during the latter’s visit to Slovakia, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The meeting was also attended by His Eminence Archbishop George of Košice-Michalovce of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
Vladyka Viktor conveyed to Met. Rostislav the heartfelt greetings of Met. Onuphry and spoke about the peacemaking and social and humanitarian activities of the Church in Ukraine, as well on the latest developments in Ukrainian Church life, drawing attention to the Church’s official position.
In his words to Bp. Viktor, Met. Rostislav noted, “We are very worried about our fraternal Ukrainian Orthodox Church. With you, we prayerfully support and will continue to support the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. We do not say ‘your’ Ukrainian people, we say ‘our’ people, because we are united in Christ and belong to the one, catholic, and apostolic Church.”
“We pray, believe, and hope for wise decisions from the entirety of universal Orthodoxy concerning the situation in Ukraine,” the Czech and Slovak primate continued. “As history shows, the interference of the state and politicians in Church affairs has never been successful, because it is impossible to build even a temporary good by violating the holy canons of the Orthodox Church.”
Met. Rostislav’s words to Bp. Viktor reflect a letter he wrote to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on Moscow and All Russia in early October, in which he wrote, “We are connected to our brotherly Ukraine not only by the proximity of our borders, but also by the kinship of the inhabitants of Carpatho Rus’, and for us, the sorrow of our Ukrainian brothers, both by faith and by blood, causes pain in our hearts.”
And further, emphasizing the conciliar nature of the Church, as has every Local Church, primate, and hierarch who has spoken on the Ukrainian matter, he adds: “As the Orthodox Church is anchored on the principle of conciliarity, we are firmly convinced that any conflict situation and dispute that threatens the unity of Orthodoxy will be resolved in a conciliar manner, in strict accordance with the generally accepted Church traditions and sacred canons.”
His Beatitude also warned against the interference of politicians in Church affairs in a meeting in May with former Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma, when he told them that “any participation of state officials in Church matters is unacceptable in a democratic society.”
His Beatitude Archbishop Joachim of Beroun of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia has also openly expressed his support for Met. Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Church.
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