Monday, November 12, 2018

Serbians refuse to recognize changes to Ukrainian Church

Machine translated. Will replace with English translation when available.

( The two-day session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church (6th - 7th November of the current year) was devoted to three main themes - the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the improvement of education and education in the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Church crisis in Ukraine after the latest decisions of the Constantinople Patriarchate . The Sobor presented our public with a special statement , as well as the perspective of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the perspective of the struggle for the preservation of this martyred Serbian province within Serbia in the conditions of constant provocations of the fake state and the constant pressure of the great Western powers.

She is more or less familiar with the Sobor's work in the field of church education and education, but the parliamentary position on the issue of the Church in Ukraine is only partial. The reason for this is the fact that all the Orthodox churches should first officially announce the commemoration of the Orthodox Church, starting with the Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate, in the appropriate languages ​​(Greek, Russian and English), and this work took some time. Since this has been done, now is the moment for the attitude of the Serbian Orthodox Church to be presented in its entirety to our public.

First of all with regret, the Parliament concludes that the Constantinople Patriarchate passed a canonically unfounded decision to rehabilitate and for the bishops recognize the two leaders of the splinter groups in Ukraine, Filaret Denisenko and Makarije Maletich, together with their episcopate and clergy, the first to be a canonically deprived rank, and then excluded from the church community and subjected to anathema, and the other is already deprived of the apostolic receipt as a spiritual branch of the sect of the so-called self-councils, which is why the Holy Assembly of Bishops decided the decision of the Synod of the Synod is non-binding for the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Assembly does not recognize the mentioned figures and their followers for Orthodox bishops and clergy and, consequently, does not accept the liturgical and canonical publications with them and their supporters.

Lastly, the Parliament proposes to the Constantinople Patriarchate and all other prefigured autocomplete Orthodox Churches that the issue of autocephaly and the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora should be considered as soon as possible at the All-Orthodox Parliament in order to confirm and strengthen the unity and unity of the Orthodox Church and in the future avoid temptations such as this through which is now under the holy Orthodoxy.

Bishop Irina Bishop,
Spokesperson of the Serbian Orthodox Church


  1. Am English translation is available here:

  2. Everything is still unsettled and up in the air. President Poroshenko has a meeting with the UOC-MP today. There are reports that the EP may appoint it's own candidate as head of the Ukrainian Church to squash all of this politicking. Metropolitan Filaret and Father Makary are ceasing to matter, as Constantinople is pursuing it's own plan and agenda in the Ukraine. The current picture is changing: HAH is being commemorated. The Ukrainian government has essentially signed off on the EP's agenda, AND at least Father Makary is willing to step aside (with conflicting reports on Metropolitan Filaret doing the same "officially").

    Hopefully this meeting with the UOC-MP and the Ukrainian government will bear fruit (at the very least, calm the situation more).

    I think once everything is said and done, the real dialogue can happen. Emotions are too high now. The restrained and fraternal dissent of the other Churches is a sharp contrast to the MP, who had no qualms about torching EVERY tie that binded them to the EP and casting all of us into the outer darkness. So quick to declare us as "graceless schismatics."

    When the new Church takes form and is established, the other Churches can take a look and see whether they can accept it or not. As to the legality of the "canonical reset" and how autocephalacy is granted, that too will be looked at I think. The status quo is dead, and I think the EP realizes that as much as the MP does. When everything settles down, then the Council can happen.

    1. Well, in fairness, the MP is the one receiving the direct insult.

      Sovereignty is serious business. Even the always diplomatic Antiochians broke communion with Jerusalem. I believe the departed +Philip's order (was it an "anathema?") is still in place over Jerusalem setting up some Palestinian parishes here.

    2. According to the latest reports, the meeting with Poroshenko did not take place. Instead, there was an emergency meeting of the UOC-MP Synod of Bishops in the Kyiv Caves Lavra, followed by a Council of Bishops (since 83 of 90 UOC-MP bishops who aren't retired were already present). The Council of Bishops accepted the decision of the Moscow Patriarchate to cease communion with Constantinople and condemned the Fanar's actions.

      According to other reports that I have read, the most pro-autocephaly bishop of the UOC-MP Met. Alexander Drabinko went by himself to Poroshenko. He controls exactly one church building in Kiev, so even if he goes the UOC-MP will not lose much. They will probably heave a sigh of relief as well.

  3. Orthodoxy is triumphing.

    "Metropolitan Filaret and Father Makary are ceasing to matter, as Constantinople is pursuing it's own plan and agenda in the Ukraine."
    The Ukrainians were foolish to think otherwise.

    "The restrained and fraternal dissent of the other Churches is a sharp contrast to the MP, who had no qualms about torching EVERY tie that binded them to the EP and casting all of us into the outer darkness. So quick to declare us as "graceless schismatics.""
    The Phanar is hard of hearing when it comes to admonishment. Time comes when you have to get out the two-by-four.

  4. Sovereignty is serious. But Breaking Communion is even more grave. "Spats" between Bishops might make for juicy gossip, but it has real world consequences. For example, as someone under the EP I cannot receive any of the Sacred Mysteries from a Russian connected cleric ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. If I were to die somewhere in America where the only church nearby was ROCOR, I would be REFUSED as would my family. No funeral, just a handwringing "apology" and hiding behind the Canons. Think about that. And for what? Turf. Lines on a map. Let's just cut through the nonsense---

    ALL of our Patriarchates at various points in history have been "flexible" with the canonical order. Secular governments have long been involved and intertwined with the "granting of autocephalous churches" and over the centuries there has been a number of Bishops and priests "received" under canonically dubious circumstances. The Canons "are not Cannons" to quote a prominent Greek Metropolitan. The MP's defense of the Canons would be laudible if it was consistent, but it isn't. Nobody has given me a satisfactory answer as to why the MP can receive and "rehabilitate" excommunicated and defrocked clergy from the EP and set them up as ROCOR (looking at you, Indonesia. That schism continues to this day) And now the Russian Church is actively attempting to dismantle the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Diaspora, as a large chunk of the population under the EP are ethnic Russians, with them "encouraging" their "compatriots" to support them, even if those people were under the EP for decades. What is that? It's reprehensible (and hypocritical, accusing us of "ethnophyletism" and at the same time doing that) The MP could have ceased commemoration and boycotted everything (which they initially did) WITHOUT severing Communion wholesale and leading us to this current situation.

    Their position is incoherent. So we commune with Schismatics, therefore we are Schismatics? The other Churches have not broken Communion with us. How can the MP commune with them? Since we are "graceless Schismatics" then the MP can no longer commune with the rest of the Church either because they also "commune with Schismatics." This is absurd nonsense. It's diabolical.

    Akrevia is convenient when it suits certain purposes. What did the ROCOR "repentance" from their schism look like? Did they have to grovel? What about the Old Believers? You mentioned Antioch. They will communion Non-Chalcedonians (actual schismatics, although we don't use that term anymore) but not their brothers and sisters in Jeruselem? What is that? Lord, have mercy.

    Every Bishop (EP, MP, AP and elsewhere) will answer before God for what they have done in their tenures. Hiding behind "Canons" to justify an utter lack of regard for the sheep is a sin before Heaven. I don't agree with everything my Patriarchate has done, but what is this? Lord, have mercy.

    1. The Antiochians do not commune with Non-Chalcedonians, though you may see some "don't ask, don't tell" practices by local priests. The bishops will tell you no and hell no.

      Every Orthodox bishop in the US right now is, strictly speaking, uncanonical, so yes canons are rather flexibly applied. The state of global Orthodoxy is unfortunate, and the EP dropping an atomic bomb from his suburb in Istanbul is sure not helping. Now we know why the Greeks declined to put the "diaspora" and autocephaly on the Crete agenda (literally the only issues remaining in the Faith for a Council to address). They've already decided how such issues are to be handled, and their answer is the Roman Papal model. This is truly a defining, ontological issue and therefore has triggered very harsh responses. There is a salutary way for Ukraine to get her own national Church, but it's not via the EP unilaterally making it so like the Roman Pontiff. Speaking of Antioch, it would be like the US Archdiocese doing an end-run around the Synod back in the Levant.

      Like I've said, we are in undiscovered country with a hierarchy that was caught flatfooted in succession by 1) the fall of the Empire, 2) the Industrial Revolution, and 3) transnational immigration. Prayers are needed all around.

      One final point you raise: yes, to be Orthodox in the US is not very "Orthodox." We all have family members who will never have a Trisagion and, correspondingly, will not hold a Trisagion for us. We are miles wide and an inch deep. Perhaps an American national Church would help but I don't think there's any consensus remaining on what constitutes the American nation.

    2. I keep hearing that. "Eastern Papism." Any cursory comparison between the perogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the functions of the Latin Pope will clearly show that they are not even close. It's a convenient bogeyman, kind of like when someone just yells "KGB!" When the MP tries to do something. Both are patently ridiculous, but it serves the agenda of certain individuals and groups who have axes to grind. Partisans just go from Zero to the Papal Tiara, when there is a VAST space in between.

    3. The EP is unilaterally declaring autocephaly and regularizing a particularly nasty bunch of schismatics. That is more than just tossing a grenade, it's a mortar attack and it got a visceral response. And it's similar to the Roman Pontiff plopping down uniate churches wherever he feels like it. Like I said, sovereignty is serious business and the MP doesn't pull punches--when you're big enough, you don't need to.

      None of which is to denigrate the Greek Orthodox faithful, of course. This is all about the same problem: canons written for an Imperial model which does not reflect reality.

  5. Replies
    1. Unfortunately. I have a great love for the Russian Church, and Russian friends who I consider family. The MP was so quick to sever ties in such a harsh way. They blew up EVERYTHING. When they ceased commemoration and boycotted pan-Orthodox organizations (due to the EP chairing most of them) I was sad but I understood. At the time, I reasoned that a Pan-Orthodox Council was inevitable once the dust settles (I still believe that). They didn't just break Communion over territory (as Antioch and Jeruselem did), though. They went further. Their attitude is that the EP has Fallen (with a capital F) and is no longer Orthodox (if it ever was, if you hear tell it). That is why I was edified by the Serbian Church's response. They don't agree with our Patriarch, but they aren't prepared to tear the Church apart over it.

      Whatever one thinks about the EP's actions in the Ukraine, the MP's response was out of line, which is why I think the other Churches have responded in a much more fraternal and subdued way.

  6. I'm rather impressed by the Serbian Orthodox Church's handling of this fiasco. It has set an example for the other Churches to follow. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who is aware of the way the Serbian Orthodox Church handled the schism in Macedonia. The late Serbian patriarch of blessed memory, Pavle, acting entirely out of pastoral care for the Macedonian Orthodox Christians, who have for decades now lived in schism, reached out to the Macedonian schismatic bishops and offered them the widest possible autonomy short of autocephaly, with the question of autocephaly itself being left for some future Great Council. The Serbian patriarch and bishops were, and still are, of the opinion that questions of autocephaly should be decided on by the whole body of the Church, and not by any single autocephalous Church (something both Constantinople and Moscow clearly oppose in practice, if not theory). The Macedonian bishops initially accepted this, but under direct political pressure, as in Ukraine, most of them broke their word, leaving just four bishops and their small flock in the fold of the Church. They number in the hundreds, from what I gather, and they live under constant state-sponsored persecution, but they are the only Orthodox Church Macedonia has. The so called 'Macedonian Orthodox Church', is, and has been from the start, a schismatic organisation that was set up by a decree of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.