Wednesday, May 2, 2018

ROCOR voices support for UOC-MP

(ROCOR) - We, the members of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who carry out our ministry in North America, Europe and Australia, behold with pained soul that in the sacred territory of Kievan Rus’, our beloved land of Ukraine, treacherous political aspirations arise once again — as has happened before in history — under the guise of religious activities but with the evident purpose of inciting enmity and discord amongst the Orthodox people, with the intention of inciting a schism in the Church. Attempts are now being made to create, in this long-suffering land, a separate "autocephalous church" in place of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, recognized by all and headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This Church has possessed autonomy since 1990 — that is to say, self-governance and independence in its administration. Before us at present is nothing other than a crafty effort to seize upon religious sentiments and subordinate them to the political goals of today’s authorities, directly contradicting the tradition and canonical norms of the Holy Orthodox Church.

We pray to Almighty God that the passions and troubles stirred up by the efforts of those who are alien to the spirit and grace-filled order of the Church might vanish like smoke, that dissensions may be quieted by His mercy, and that the peace of our Man-loving God, resurrected from the dead on the third day, may reign in their hearts.

With this statement, we express our complete support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, together with his brother-archpastors, clergy, monastics and the faithful flock of the sole canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and with love we bow before their confessor-like struggles. No alteration to the life of the Church can be initiated or imposed upon her by secular authorities. The present attempts to influence the life of the Church from the outside reveal only the fundamentally non-ecclesial motives and goals of those attempting to implement them.

We call on all to pray for the canonical Orthodox Church in the Land of Ukraine, that the present attempt at church schism will come to naught, and that peace and brotherly love may ever prevail in the relations between the Local Orthodox Churches.


  1. Canonically the Russian Church is on solid ground. Unfortunately they have been at least morally compromised by their close relationship with, and open support for an authoritarian regime that has been guilty violent aggression against Russia's neighbors. I feel for the Orthodox faithful of Ukraine. They are indeed between a rock and a hard place.

  2. Well, the Kiev Patriarchate has still been schismatic for about half the time ROCOR used to be one before it rejoined the Orthodox Church. pot/kettle

    1. Fair point. But ROCOR has rejoined the Church.

    2. ROCOR was not schismatic. The episcopacy of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America was established with the help of ROCOR. Though I am sure the tenure of Met. Vitaly presented a sore temptation, the MP also never declared it to be schismatic.

    3. Also, the issue between ROCOR and the MP was not that Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) had a mistress and had been deposed -- unlike "Patriarch" Filaret -- it was the problem of Soviet interference in Church affairs.

    4. The circumstances of ROCORs separation are nothing like the KP. If ROCOR was schismatic then so was the Metropolia, which became the OCA in 1970. Look at ROCOR’s fruits: St John Maximovitch, Abp Averky, Hieromonk Seraphim, etc, etc.

  3. An interview with Fr. Cyril Hovorun (UOC-MP) in English:
    - 0:35 Government and Church in Ukraine worked together to facilitate a rapproachment between the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine
    - 1:15 Story of reconciliation with Ukrainian Orthodox is over one hundred years old
    - 1:35 Begins with the independence of the Ukrainian State (Українська Держава) in 1918. The Ukrainian state facilitated the process of autocephalization of the Ukrainian church. It failed when the state fell to Communist Russia
    - 2:55 When Ukraine became independent again, part of Ukrainian Orthodoxy proclaimed itself autocephalous, part remained in union with Moscow Patriarchate
    - 4:15 Rhetoric, hostility between the three Ukrainian Orthodox Churches
    - 4:25 Russia uses the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate against Ukraine
    - 4:59 Failed attempt to gain independence from Patriarch Bartholomew initiated by Viktor Yushchenko
    - 5:57 Difference between attempts in 2008 compared to 2018
    - 7:40 President Viktor Yushchenko envisaged a single local Church in Ukraine; Idea of locality, i.e. one state with one church
    - 8:25 President Poroshenko hesitated for a long time to act. He was urged, encouraged many times by many players in Ukraine to address the church issue. Poroshenko postponed and missed many opportunities, likely because of political considerations
    - 9:55 Initiatives came from parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate. Churches played a protagonist role. They urged Poroshenko to act
    - 10:37 Model does not presuppose one local church for Ukraine, but rather multiple jurisdictions, diverse Ukrainian Orthodoxy. Poroshenko clearly states he does not want to united all Orthodox Christians into one church
    - 11:45 Not about establishing a single local church for Ukraine. But rather the creation of a canonical alternative to the canonical UOC-MP, i.e. two canonical jurisdictions in Ukraine
    - 12:50 Members of the UOC-MP understand the role the Russian church played against Ukraine. Policy of keeping a blind eye on the war in the east discourages people to stay, but they don't have an alternative
    - 14:15 This model is more viable, will keep the church self-sufficient not dependent on the state
    - 15:00 For some church goers canonicity is an issue, for others it is not
    - 16:05 Church of Kyivan Rus' was incorporated into the Patriarchate of Constantinopol and enjoyed canonical status since 988 AD. This remained for centuries
    - 16:45 Destruction of Kyiv by Mongol hordes, the church was fragmented, split into two pieces. Church was "cloned". One stayed in Ukraine and incorporated into the Lithuanian-Polish state, the other moved to Muscovy
    - 18:50 After the declaration of the Ukrainian People's Republic, part of the church fled with those escaping Communist Soviet Union to the United States and Canada. That part of the Ukrainian church remained mostly outside communion with other churches. Only recently incorporated in the 1990s
    - 20:00 Patriarchate of Kyiv seeks recognition from Ecumenical Patriarchate
    - 20:25 Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine accused Patriarchate of Kyiv of being non-canonical. Used non-canonical status to blame people, develop hatred, hate speech, narratives of rejection and exclusion on the grounds of canonicity. Eventually, it affects us
    - 21:57 The idea of Global Orthodoxy, a global family of churches, is not very important for the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. They use 'unity' as a argument against Kyiv Patriarchate