Kiev, May 25, 2022
A meeting of hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and laity of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be held later this week at a Kiev monastery to discuss wartime problems in Church life.
The Holy Synod announced plans to hold such a meeting at its session on May 12:
The Holy Synod responded to questions about the future of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In particular, the Synod members positively assessed the possibility of a thorough and comprehensive discussion of any issues of Church life. But it’s fundamentally important that this process takes place without violating Church order.
In the near future, a meeting will be convened with the participation of bishops, priests, monastics, and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to discuss the problems of Church life that arose as a result of the war. At the same time, the Synod members stressed that the discussion on this or that issue should not lead to going beyond the canonical field and should not lead to new divisions in the Church of Christ.
His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye addressed the faithful of his diocese today, informing that the meeting will be held on Friday, May 27, at St. Panteleimon’s Convent, thus confirming information that has been circulating in Orthodox media.
“Our representatives will have the opportunity to express the interests of the entire Zaporozhye diocese,” the hierarch writes.
“Our community—the Zaporozhye Diocese, which is part of a huge family—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, must preserve spiritual unity both between believers and with our primate and spiritual father—His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine,” Met. Luke calls.
And while not everyone can directly participate in the upcoming meeting, the Metropolitan calls on all clergy and faithful to participate by reading a special prayer at 11:00 AM on Friday morning.
Recall that a number of hierarchs and clergy have stopped commemorating His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and some have called for the UOC Synod to initiate the process for requesting autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate. At the same time, others are strongly against separation from the Russian Church and are very concerned about state interference in the matter.
In his homily yesterday for the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Pat. Kirill called on Ukrainian hierarchs to maintain administrative unity with the Russian Church:
Today we are going through a very difficult time. It’s a sorrowful time when external forces are trying to break the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church; when enormous efforts are being made to tear our Church in Ukraine away from the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church…
We pray that the episcopate of the Ukrainian Church, our brothers, retain their fortitude, courage, and ability to resist external pressures, and at the most difficult moment will remember how we all resisted the most dangerous external pressures during the times of atheism, and withstood, kept our Church immaculate from all temptations, all kinds of slander, all dangerous ideas, proposals, and even demands that came from the authorities, and thus preserved faith among our people. Today, I especially pray that the forces of evil do not shake the unity of our Church, which means the firm standing of our people in the faith of Christ, the ability to maintain unity and solidarity in the bowels of the Orthodox Church.
At the same time, a number of Ukrainian hierarchs emphasize, like Met. Luke, the need to rally around Met. Onuphry, who they describe as “a true pastor and father … a man of prayer, a man wholly devoted to God and the Church, a bishop who enjoys high spiritual authority throughout the Orthodox world,” in the words of His Eminence Metropolitan Nikodim of Zhytomyr.