As it was reported earlier, the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Synod has been holding a meeting in Istanbul since Tuesday to discuss autocephaly for the Ukrainian church. In April of this year, Constantinople agreed to consider a request by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to grant autocephaly despite protests from the Moscow Patriarchate and its Ukrainian branch which made no such request.
Earlier before, the Patriarch Filaret named the “seizure of temples” and the possibility of a “civil war” through autocephaly as an example of propaganda and disinformation, which are part of the hybrid war against Ukraine. He told this during an interview with the press center of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Filaret noticed that according to Ukrainian Law all temples and property belong to communities – either on the rights of use or the rights of the lease. “Communities – that is, parishes, monasteries, spiritual institutions, not the church as such, but specific communities, specific communities of believers – voluntarily enter into the structure of a particular patriarchate, through the subordination to a particular religious center,” he explained. “And if the community decided to withdraw from one patriarchate and enter another – then it retains the property,” added Filaret.
“Our position is: if more than two-thirds of the community decided at their general meetings that it is necessary to move from one patriarchate to another – then the community preserves the property for itself, and the minority has the right to build another temple or to equip the premises,” he said. If a simple majority, rather than two thirds, has decided, then it is necessary to conduct alternate worship to have the right to use the temple of both parts of the former one community – both the majority and the minority, he believes.
Filaret assured that there would be no violence after Tomos, and property would belong to the communities, as it is now. “We categorically reject all allegations of opponents that Tomos will cause confrontation or even bloodshed with autocephaly, but on the contrary, it is only through the affirmation of a single Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine that it is possible to overcome church separation and achieve social peace,” Filaret emphasized. Every problem will be solved only through consultations and negotiations.
Also, he assured that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra will be Ukrainian one. “Maybe in a few months after Tomas, and perhaps in a few years, for us it is not of fundamental importance – because we believe that the affairs of the Ukrainian Church are true, but once on our side the truth, then God will help us to realize it without any violence, ” said Filaret. All forceful actions around the objects used by Moscow Patriarchate will have nothing to do with the Ukrainian autocephalous church and will not be anything other than provocations from opponents of autocephaly, the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian special services.
He added that nobody would go “to capture the Laurel.” “Over these four years we have stated more than once that the calls ‘to go to the Lavra’ are a provocation that is in favor of the Kremlin,” Filaret said.
As reported, on April 17, 2018, President Petro Poroshenko gathered leaders of parliamentary factions and said that he would appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to declare the autonomy of the Ukrainian Local Autocephalous Church.
The Patriarch of the UOC-KP Filaret supported the decision of President Petro Poroshenko and expressed the hope that the Ecumenical Patriarch would decide to recognize the Ukrainian church autocephaly.
Later, it became known that the Holy and Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate received from the church and civil authorities of Ukraine an appeal to provide autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and “approved the relevant decisions.”
On July 27, during a meeting with the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who arrived in Kyiv, Poroshenko said that the decision to grant Tomas on autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be approved by all church procedures and regulations.
Text: Olexandr Kravchenko