Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ukrainian autocephaly discussions continue worldwide

Tsilisi, June 5 (Interfax) - The Georgian Patriarchate is awaiting the Constantinople Patriarchate representative's visit to discuss the recent events related to the future of Ukrainian autocephaly.

The Constantinople Patriarchate has already informed the Patriarchate about his representative's upcoming visit, the Georgian Patriarchate secretary Archpriest Mikhail Botkoveli told reporters on Tuesday.

This visit is expected in mid-June, he said.

The Ukrainian church's issue was discussed at a meeting between Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia and the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is visiting Tbilisi, on Monday, he said.

Metropolitan Hilarion briefed Ilia II of the Russian Orthodox Church's stance on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's autocephaly, the priest said.

As to the Georgian Orthodox Church's stand, "it is a very complicated issue" determined by canonical rules, he said.

The Georgian Orthodox Church will take a stance, which the Churches will agree on, he said.


  1. The use of "Constantinople Patriarchate" vs. "Ecumenical Patriarchate" seems pretty pointed here. I wonder if this will become standard MP usage.

  2. This isn't from an MP source, though.

  3. Calling the Ecumenical Patriarchate "the Patriarchate of Constantinople" (Константинопольский Патриархат) in modern Russian is standard practice.

    Interfax is a Russian state news agency, not connected with the Moscow Patriarchate. (Their English translations are quite often awful.)

    Within the Russian Orthodox Church, it is more common to use the term Вселенский (Vselensky), meaning "Ecumenical" but this is a Church Slavonic word, not a Russian word. That means secular news agencies generally avoid it, not least because it will come up as an error in Russian spell check.

  4. According to the World Council of Church's website, the Moscow Patriarchate has 12,638 parishes in Russia, and 10,377 in Ukraine. Of the total number of parishes in the MP around the world, nearly 40% are in Ukraine. Moscow will never allow Ukraine to secede from its jurisdiction, just like Constantinople will never allow the GOA to leave its jurisdiction.


  5. I think this article by a Russian from the Russian newspaper: Novaya Gazeta give a more accurate discussion worldwide of Ukrainian Orthodox autocephaly. Please note that Interfax is a government sponsored news agency. The translation was provided by Prof. Paul Steeves.
    "Throughout May both high opposing sides—the Constantinople and Moscow patriarchates—sent their emissaries to the local churches to persuade or dissuade them regarding recognizing a future Ukrainian autocephaly. It is known that in conversation with the Greek archbishop in Athens, the Constantinopolitans let it be understood that they will proclaim autocephaly in any case. In his turn, the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan Ilarion, toured the Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch patriarchates, and also the Cyprus archdiocese, where he discussed Russia's participation in overcoming financial difficulties in these churches.
    Simultaneously, Russia lowered the price of gas for Turkey, retroactively, so that now Russia suddenly will pay out a billion dollars to what is not the poorest country of Asia. Church analysts are inclined to connect this with an attempt to pressure the Constantinople patriarchate, located in Istanbul, through the Turkish government. Such a scheme worked in 2008, when Patriarch Bartholomew had already arrived in Kiev to proclaim autocephaly, but he received a phone call from the Turkish foreign ministry.

    On the other hand, Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus III, receiving on 29 May the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubly, recognized Ukraine's right "to its own independent national local church." The clear satellites of Constantinople (and Ukraine) include also the Romanian patriarchate, the Cyprus archdiocese, and the Albanian church. The Georgian church, possibly, might even support the RPTs, but the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where semi-official parishes of the Moscow patriarchate have appeared, does not permit it.
    In general, an interesting pan-Orthodox tournament awaits us, with a final that is still unpredictable. But let the intermediate result be summed up by two numbers, which speak for themselves. The campaign of collection of signatures against toilets in churches garnered 700,000 signatures. The campaign of collection of signatures against Ukrainian autocephaly brought only 60,000. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2018)"

    Novaia Gazeta, 6 June 2018: https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/06/06/76724-bitva-prestolov-prodolzhaetsya