Kiev, May 8, 2019
It takes time to study the matter of the new schismatic Ukrainian group, and the Local Churches simply haven’t had enough time to do this yet, says “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic-nationalist “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Predictably, he also blames outside interference from Moscow.
However, several Local Churches are likely to recognize the new church in 2019, Dumenko believes, as he stated in a recent interview with Channel 5.
This expectation contradicts what Dumenko told journalists on April 13, when he said that, “In fact, we are living in an historical time, when the Church has become independent and the Church has become autocephalous and recognized by other autocephalous Churches,” as reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists. He didn't name any specific Churches that recognize his group.
According to Dumenko in his new interview, talks with several Local Churches are being conducted secretly. “We are negotiating with several Orthodox Churches, but not officially, so as not to interfere with this process of recognition. And gradually, I think, throughout this year, several Local Orthodox Churches should recognize the autocephaly,” the schismatic primate said.
“It is the action of the Ecumenical Patriarch in regard to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” he added, referring to Constantinople’s much-disputed right to overtake the ecclesiastical territory of another Local Church and singlehandedly create a new church.
In his opinion, each Local Church should reconsider the issue and study it in detail. As this process requires time, as well as the conciliar adoption of a decision by each Church’s Holy Synod or Council of Bishops, no Church has simply had time yet to recognize the new Ukrainian group, Dumenko believes.
Another reason that no Local Church has yet recognized the schismatic Ukrainians is that Moscow “successfully counteracts from outside,” Dumenko believes, thus denying that those Churches that have thus far rejected the schismatics or expressed strong reservations about them have done so on any dogmatic or canonical grounds.
The schismatics and their supporters have repeatedly predicted that the canonical Churches would recognize the schismatic church, though that has yet to happen. In January, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia, one of Constantinople’s two exarchates who prepared for December’s “unification council,” predicted that the Greek and Romanian Churches would recognize the new Ukrainian structure by March—a prediction that did not come true.
Dumenko also stated in late January that he was expecting recognition from the Greek Church, which has set up two commissions to examine the issue but has yet to take a definitive position.
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