Friday, May 27, 2022

Official declaration from the Ukrainian Church

(UOC-MP) [machine translated] - The Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (hereinafter - the Council), which took place on May 27, 2022 in Kyiv, considered issues of church life that arose as a result of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Based on the results of the work, the Council approved the following:

  1. The Council condemns war as a violation of God's commandment "Thou shalt not kill!" (Exodus 20:13) and expresses condolences to all those who suffered in the war.
  2. The Council appeals to the authorities of Ukraine and the authorities of the Russian Federation to continue the negotiation process and search for a strong and sensible word that could stop the bloodshed.
  3. We disagree with the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on the war in Ukraine.
  4. The Council adopted appropriate amendments to the Statute on the Administration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which testify to the full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
  5. The Council approves the resolutions of the Councils of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the decisions of the Holy Synods of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which met after the last Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (July 8, 2011). The Council approves the activities of the Department of Affairs and Synodal Institutions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
  6. The Council was considering the restoration of peacemaking in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
  7. During the period of martial law, when the relations between the dioceses and the ecclesiastical center are complicated or absent, the Council considers it expedient to give eparchial bishops the right to decide on certain issues of eparchial life within the competence of the Holy Synod or the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. further, while restoring opportunities, informing the clergy.
  8. Recently, a new pastoral challenge has been particularly acute for our Church. During the three months of the war, more than 6 million Ukrainian citizens were forced to go abroad. Mostly Ukrainians from the southern, eastern and central regions of Ukraine. Many of them are faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. That is why the Kyiv Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church receives appeals from various countries with a request to open Ukrainian Orthodox parishes. It is obvious that many of our compatriots will return to their homeland, but many will stay for permanent residence abroad. In this regard, the Council expresses its deep conviction that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church cannot leave its faithful without spiritual care, must be with them in their trials and organize church communities in the diaspora. It is necessary to further develop the mission abroad among Orthodox Ukrainians in order to preserve their faith, culture, language and Orthodox identity.
  9. Recognizing the special responsibility before God, the Council expresses its deep regret over the lack of unity in Ukrainian Orthodoxy. The Council perceives the existence of a schism as a deep painful wound on the church body. It is especially unfortunate that the recent actions of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Ukraine, which resulted in the formation of the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine", only deepened misunderstandings and led to physical confrontation. But even in such crisis situations, the Council does not lose hope of resuming dialogue. In order for the dialogue to take place, the PCU representatives need to:

  • to stop the seizure of churches and forced transfers of parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
  • to realize that their canonical status, as enshrined in the "Statute of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine", is in fact non-autocephalous and significantly inferior to the freedoms and opportunities in the implementation of church activities provided by the Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
  • to resolve the issue of canonicity of the hierarchy of the PCU, because for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as for most Local Orthodox Churches, it is quite obvious that to recognize the canonicity of the hierarchy of the PCU it is necessary to restore the apostolic succession of its bishops.
The Council expresses its deep conviction that the key to the success of the dialogue must be not only the desire to restore church unity, but also the sincere desire to build one's life on the principles of Christian conscience and moral purity.

Summing up the results of the work done, the Council offers a prayer of thanksgiving to the Merciful Lord for the possibility of fraternal communication and expresses hope for an end to the war and reconciliation of enemies. According to the holy apostle and evangelist John the Theologian, may "grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love, be with all of us, especially brothers and sisters in the Risen Christ" (2 John 1: 3).


  1. This is a sad but predictable outcome of Russia's foolish and immoral war. Church canons only go so far. No local church is going to remain in subordination to another, when the mother church is acting as a de-facto propaganda agency on behalf of a fascist dictatorship waging an aggressive war against it's own people. I have long supported the canonical standing of the UOC (MP). But the reality of the present situation has left them backed into a corner. Whatever the military outcome, the Russian Church has lost Ukraine. If Russia somehow conquered the entire country (which I don't in any way foresee) and outlawed all Orthodox jurisdictions not aligned with the MP; I think most of the population would either go underground or to Rome. Such is the hatred for Russia right now.

  2. "the PCU representatives need to:..."

    followed by a canoncial/ecclesiastical *judgement* that is the same as it was 6 months ago. In other words "you uncanoncial/unorthodox/schismatics need to agree with our novel 21st century Russian "federation" ecclisology 100% - *you* repent 100%!"

    1. This is a positive development. That the UOC-MP is even signaling any openness to dialogue with the OCU is a huge shift for them. Iterating the terms for dialogue is also a good tactic that clearly communicates what their concerns are. When obstacles are brought up, then they can be overcome. Hopefully this will bring about a positive and adequate response from the OCU.