Kiev, December 9, 2020
The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church met at the Kiev Caves Lavra today under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Among other matters, the Synod’s main task was to respond to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople’s brazen claim that Met. Onuphry and the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have no canonical standing in Kiev, and that he only “temporarily tolerates” their presence in Ukraine.
The Patriarch’s position is a threat to Ukrainian and world Orthodoxy, lacking in any canonical foundations. His words and actions need to be discussed and assessed at the pan-Orthodox level, the Ukrainian Synod believes.
Read the portion of the Synod’s statement dealing with Constantinople:
The Holy Synod expressed its position regarding the statement of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople on the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Synod members said that such a declaration is a threat for the preservation of religious peace in Ukraine and deepens the crisis in world Orthodoxy. Once again, the Synod stressed that the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in legalizing the Ukrainian schismatics and its attempts to pass them off as a canonical Church are unlawful and anti-canonical. It is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that traces its succession from the Kiev Metropolia, which was created in 988, while the “UAOC” and “UOC-KP,” on the basis of which appeared the “OCU,” are newly-created structures that broke away from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In this regard, the Holy Synod noted that the Patriarch of Constantinople has no grounds to make any statements about the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was never in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and therefore the decisions of this Church regarding him have no canonical grounds. His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry was not removed from the administration of the Kiev Metropolia and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by any legal ecclesiastical court, and therefore there are no canonical grounds to say that he lost his authority as the canonically-elected and enthroned Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.
According to the members of the Synod, Patriarch Bartholomew’s attempts to dictate his will to the other Local Churches do not correspond to Orthodox ecclesiology. And his ambitions, anti-Church actions, and their consequences require discussion and a principled assessment at the pan-Orthodox level.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, recently spoke of Pat. Bartholomew’s statement as “absurd and insane.”