Moscow, June 7, 2022
The symbol of the Diocese of Simferepol. Photo: YouTube
By decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which met in Moscow today under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the three Crimean dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are now directly under the omophorion of Pat. Kirill in the Russian Church.
The dioceses remained within the canonical jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Church even after Crimea became part of Russia in 2014.
According to the Synodal resolutions, Their Eminences Metropolitan Platon of Theodosia and Kerch and Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea, and His Grace Bishop Alexei of Dzhankoy appealed to the Patriarch and the Synod “with a request to transfer the dioceses entrusted to them to the direct jurisdiction of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
The Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, held in Kiev on May 27, resolved to remove any connection with the Russian Orthodox Church from the UOC Statutes, including the requirement to commemorate Pat. Kirill in the Divine services. However, Met. Onuphry also blessed dioceses to continue operating by the old statutes and commemorating the Patriarch if they so desired, which all the Crimean dioceses and others in Donetsk and Lugansk chose to do.
The Russian Synodal report notes that the UOC Council gave diocesan hierarchs the right to independently make decisions for their dioceses that would normally fall within the competence of the UOC Holy Synod and primate.
Thus, the Russian Synod resolved today, in response to the appeals from the Crimean hierarchs, “proceeding from the need to maintain an active canonical and administrative connection with the central Church authority for the prosperous course of Church life in the dioceses under the care of the said hierarchs,” and, “considering the practical impossibility of regular communication of these dioceses with the Kiev Metropolia,” to accept the Crimean dioceses “into direct canonical and administrative subordination to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
The Synod also resolved to create a new Crimean Metropolia, headed by Met. Lazar of Simferopol.
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