Belgrade, February 22, 2019
The Serbian Orthodox Church’s firm stance against the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s interference in the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been stated many times, by the Bishops’ Council, the Holy Synod, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej, and several other hierarchs.
As His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Poland did in December, Pat. Irinej has written a letter of support and love to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, dated February 14, reassuring the canonical primate that the only Church in Ukraine with which the Serbian Church will have any fraternal relations is precisely the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by Met. Onuphry.
The letter has been published by the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The Serbian Church considers December 15’s “unification council” that created a new church structure in Ukraine and elected its primate to be completely invalid, as Pat. Irinej writes.
The letter reads in full:
We have received Your Beatitude’s letters No. 1639 of December 12, 2018 and No. 1705 of December 24, 2018 in which you inform us about the latest events that shake the spiritual life of the much-suffering sister Ukrainian Orthodox Church. With regret and great concern we received the news that false criminal procedures and searches are being carried out against the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of your holy Church, that pressure is being exerted, and that fundamental human rights are being violated in various ways to force people to separate from the Mother Church and join the schismatic groups, which have the complete support of the state leadership of Ukraine, and, unfortunately, of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which in a non-canonical and unbrotherly way “solved” the long-standing problem in the spiritual life of the Church and people of Your country.
As Your Beatitude already knows, the holy Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church decided at its session on November 7, 2018 not to recognize the rehabilitation and elevation to the hierarchical rank of the unrepentant schismatics Philaret Denisenko, Markay Maletich, and the others, and also will not enter into liturgical and canonical communion with them and their followers. This principled position of our Church means that for us all the decisions of the so-called unification council, gathered on December 15, 2018 in Kiev, at which Mr. Dumenko (the so-called Epiphany) was chosen as the “primate” of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine, are invalid. The only Church on the territory of Ukraine with which we will maintain a fraternal relationship and concelebrate in Spirit and in Truth, remains for us the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by Your God-loving, worthy of respect and dear-to-us-in-Christ Beatitude.
Praying to the Lord to preserve the much-suffering Orthodox people in the Ukrainian land, and for the speedy destruction of the insane schismatic war against the Church of Christ, we heartily greet you, desiring for You every imperishable good from the God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
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