Several Ukrainian dioceses disagree with changes to UOC statutes

Donetsk and Crimea, May 30, 2022

The symbol of the Diocese of Simferepol. Photo: YouTube The symbol of the Diocese of Simferepol. Photo: YouTube     

Following Friday’s Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kiev, several UOC dioceses have stated that, in fact, nothing has changed for them.

The Council declared the UOC’s complete independence and autonomy in its administration and resolved to amend the Church statutes to reflect this status.

According to Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Chairman of the UOC’s Department for External Church Relations, and other sources, these changes include removing all mention of any connection with the Russian Orthodox Church. Though the updated statutes have yet to be published, this would seem to be confirmed by the fact that His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine commemorated His Holiness Patriarch Kirill not as the primate over him, but as one of many primates whose Churches are in communion with the UOC.

A number of reports from Council attendees appeared online soon after the Council finished, differing in their assessment of the proceedings and in how much agreement there really was about the resolutions and statute changes.

On Friday evening, just a few hours after the Council, the Donetsk Diocese stated that its Church life will not change in any way. The diocesan press service reports:

It should be pointed out that according to the decision of the UOC Council, the changes in the Statutes won’t affect a number of dioceses, including the Donetsk diocese. That is, the Church life in the Donetsk Diocese will not be subject to any changes.

The Diocese is referring to resolution 7 from Friday’s Council:

During the period of martial law, when relations between dioceses and the central Church leadership are complicated or absent, the Council considers it expedient to grant diocesan bishops the right to independently make decisions on certain issues of diocesan life that fall within the competence of the Holy Synod or the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with the subsequent informing of the hierarchy, when the opportunity is restored.

While the Donetsk Diocese presents its position as in accordance with the Council resolutions, the Dioceses of Simferopol and Theodosia, both in Crimea, voice stronger opposition.

Both dioceses report that their hierarchs told the Council that the UOC’s status as autonomous within the Moscow Patriarchate is most ideal, that their delegations unanimously voted against the changes to the UOC statutes, and that they “remain under the omophorion of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.”

And though it hasn’t issued any statements since the Council, the Zaporozhye Diocese, headed by the outspoken Metropolitan Luke, had already published His Eminence’s remarks to the clergy meeting held on May 23, in which he argued strongly against the UOC becoming autocephalous:

Orthodoxy, no matter how hard its representatives try, simply has no place in the coordinate system of the ideology prevailing in the world, aimed at Its destruction. The secular rulers of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine will never let it live in peace. Even if it becomes three times autocephalous and “yellow-blue,” they’ll still consider it a fifth column and declare that its autocephaly is “a trick of the Kremlin and the FSB to keep their agents in Ukraine.”

Therefore, in our opinion, the acquisition of autocephaly in any form is just getting a little respite before an even greater attack is launched on the Church. The pressure will be aimed at bringing it into a new unia. After the adoption of autocephaly, a forced merger with the “OCU” will still follow, the top managers of which talk without hesitation about creating a roadmap for unification with the Uniates. Strategically, this will lead to the Catholicization of our country with the further creation of a syncretistic religion, which is what the apologists of ecumenism, led by Western and Eastern Popes, are seeking. They are instruments in the hands of the devil, who fulfill the goal set before them: the destruction of Orthodoxy. Our Church was chosen as an experimental site.

I don’t want to be a prophet, but total destruction awaits us if we lose unity within the Church…

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5/30/2022

See also
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Comments
waltdublanica6/1/2022 2:32 pm
The radicals in Ukraine make it very difficult for the Orthodox churches to be in union with Moscow .Once the conflict in Ukraine gets resolved this situation will change. Russia for its own security will NOT allow Ukraine to join NATO. This is what the fighting is about.
Ivan5/31/2022 2:36 pm
Great words from bishop Luke..
Nikolai5/31/2022 12:37 am
Dear Guang, Don't be shocked, these people are Russian, Russian speaking, of Russian culture and civilization. They do not consider themselves under Russian occupation. They are returning home - to Mother Russia.
Dionysius Redington5/31/2022 12:09 am
It seems likely that the current situation will end (after thousands more needless deaths) with the legal transfer of the Crimea and Donbass to Russia, and the ecclesiastical transfer of their dioceses to the Russian Orthodox Church. The UOC will then be the (canonical) national church of Ukraine, assuming it can resist pressure to integrate with the heretics. These political and ecclesiastical realignments should have occurred when the Ukraine became an independent country, possibly saving vast numbers of lives and souls. The unwillingness of Moscow (meaning both the Kremlin and the Patriarchate) to accept that, for better or worse, reality is what it is has been catastrophic and may lead to worse developments yet. It seems probable that a large part of the Orthodox world has been lost to heresy permanently because Moscow, the only church willing to stand in opposition, did so partly for political reasons and has now lost its moral credibility. Moreover, the trend to convert Russian Orthodoxy into Russianity raises the real danger that the largest single Orthodox jurisdiction will also lose its Orthodoxy, albeit to a different heresy. The patriarchate should repent, dissociate itself from 'patriotic' nostalgia for the murderer Stalin and the Soviet regime, acknowledge the UOC's autocephaly, declare the uncanonical African Exarchate a temporary measure, and devote its full attention to preaching the universal Gospel, unmixed with Slavophile craziness and self-pity. St. Sergius of Radonezh, pray to God for us. --Dionysius Redington
Guang Xiwang5/30/2022 9:46 pm
What a shock, unanimous pro-Moscow votes from people occupied by...Moscow...
Steve5/30/2022 4:33 pm
Why are these dioceses in Donbass and Crimea even in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church? They have entirely different concerns. I suppose if Ukraine was to invade Donbass and Crimea, then they would want to separate quickly.
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