Schismatic parishes abroad violating tomos of autocephaly, refusing to transfer to Constantinople

USA; Germany, March 6, 2019
Updated March 6, 6:45 PM with information about the St. Nicholas Church

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According to conditions laid out in the tomos of autocephaly given to the Ukrainian schismatic church by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, all parishes outside of Ukraine itself are to be transferred to Constantinople’s jurisdiction. The tomos also stipulates that it is given on the basis of all the conditions mentioned therein.

However, at least four parishes of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) are violating the tomos, having declared that they will not join Constantinople but will remain with the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) made up of the KP and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.”

Meanwhile, the schismatic head, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko claimed in a recent interview that negotiations are already underway with foreign parishes and some are already read to transfer, though he did not name any specific parishes. He also said they will continue to negotiate with those parishes that are unwilling.

The KP has parishes in Moldova, Greece, Australia, America, Canada, Russia, and throughout Europe.

On Sunday, March 3, during a parish meeting, the community of Holy Trinity Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut made a unanimous decision to remain in the OCU, parish rector Oleksandr Dviniatin wrote on his Facebook page, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

He added that the parish will continue to commemorate “The primate of the OCU His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphany and His Holiness Patriarch Philaret.”

“Regarding the foreign parishes of the OCU: The tomos is not the Symbol of Faith [the Nicene Creed—O.C.]; take it as a typikon,” the rector also said.

He also noted that in his 11 years of service in America, no representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople ever invited them to a feast, although there is a parish 10 minutes away, and they never communicated with them except to ask for money.

In the comments under Dviniatin’s announcement, another schismatic priest, Oleksij Holchuk of the Holy Ascension Church of the KP in Clifton, New Jersey, also said that his parish does not intend to switch to Constantinople.

“Holy Ascension Church in Clifton, NJ is and will remain in the Ukrainian Church with its center in Kiev—the Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Our parish decided this many years ago. Nobody has the right to take people’s freedom away, including who to consider their primate,” Holchuk writes.

St. Nicholas Church in Philadelphia has also made clear that it intends to remain with the OCU. The parish only joined the KP a few years ago after abandoning the Orthodox Church in America. According to the history given on the church’s website, the parish was officially proclaimed a stavropigia of the KP on June 27, 2017. According to the January 20th bulletin, “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko personally signed a document reaffirming the parish’s stavropigial status on January 7, the day after the tomos of autocephaly was granted in Istanbul.

The About Us page lists Philaret Denisenko and Epiphany Dumenko as their bishops, and every bulletin proudly proclaims the parish as a “Stavropigia of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The German dean of the KP in Cologne, Vladimir Chaika, also announced that this parish voted on February 17 to remain with the OCU. He has already reported this decision to the schismatic primate Epiphany Dumenko in a meeting with him.

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