Lovech, Bulgaria, January 20, 2021
Despite the recent claim of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine’s” Epiphany Dumenko, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church has yet to consider the Ukrainian issue in depth.
“Metropolitan” Epiphany recently stated on Ukrainian television that several Local Churches are on the way to recognizing his OCU, including the Churches of Georgia, Jerusalem, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania, indicating that they could follow the example of the Cypriot Church, where the primate unilaterally declared recognition and the Synod chose to passively accept his decision.
OrthoChristian contacted His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech, a member of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church, for clarification on the Church’s present stance towards the OCU. According to him, the hierarchs are still waiting to hear a report on the issue.
“The Holy Synod of the BOC has appointed a commission of bishops to study the schism in Ukraine in detail and report on it at the meetings of the Synod of the Bulgarian Church. So far, there has been no such report,” Met. Gabriel explained.
This commission was created by the Bulgarian Synod more than 2 years ago, at its session on October 4, 2018, with His Eminence Metropolitan Cyprian of Stara Zagora appointed to head up its work.
While in Moscow in February 2019 for the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill as primate of the Russian Church, Met. Cyprian expressed the hope that the Ukrainian situation will be resolved in a canonical way and the conviction that the Ukrainian Church will remain united under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine: “He is a man deeply immersed in prayer and spiritual questions. I am certain that with such a primate, the Church will be one, apostolic, and catholic.”
In his comments to OrthoChristian, Met. Gabriel also reaffirmed his Orthodox stance regarding the Ukrainian schism:
“I, as a bishop and metropolitan of the BOC, categorically declare that there is only one blessed canonical Church in the Republic of Ukraine, and this is the UOC-MP, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Onuphry.”
Met. Gabriel has spoken out in favor of the canonical Ukrainian Church many times. He voted against the resolution to create a Synodal commission in October 2018, calling instead for the Bulgarian Church to in turn call for a pan-Orthodox council to be convened to resolve the Ukrainian issue. A few days later, Metropolitans Gabriel, John of Varna, and Daniil of Vidin made their own call for a pan-Orthodox council.
Met. Gabriel has also said that Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine are against the sacred canons of the Church.
OrthoChristian reported last week that the Romanian Church has also not changed its position towards the OCU, according to the personal advisor to His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania on foreign and inter-Church relations.