Ukrainian autocephalists balk at suggestions from Kiev patriarchate


RISU, 10 July 2015


Participants in the UAPTs bishops' council and patriarchal council on 9 July rejected all suggestions of representatives of UPTsKP regarding the name of the united church and the principle of selection of delegates for the Unification Sobor. UAPTs hierarchs also decided that it would be advisable to conduct negotiations not only with the Kiev patriarchate but also with UPTsMP in a trilateral format. This is stated in concluding documents of the UAPTs bishops' council, which the Kiev patriarchate published on its official website.


After hearing about the quota of delegates at the Unification Sobor from the head of the commission for conducting dialogue between both churches, Metropolitan Andrei, participants in the session of the bishops' council of UAPTs suggested conducting it "on the basis of the equality of delegates from the two churches, without taking into account the number of parishes and bishops of the UAPTs and UPTsKP."


The primate of UAPTs, Makary, in his speech said that in the provinces clergy have conducted diocesan and deanery councils. They all, according the Vladyka Makary, expressed themselves in favor of unification, but not of joining.


Participants in the bishops' council of UAPTs advanced a number of conditions and suggestions regarding unification:


--The Unification Sobor should be held under the chairmanship of a representative of the ecumenical patriarchate;


--The unification name of the united church should be "UAPTsKP." If representatives of the UPTsKP do not agree, then there is no sense in holding the Unification Council;


--Regarding the selection of a primate, the UAPTs suggests that each bishop have the right to take part as a candidate in the elections to the position of primate. If UPTsKP does not agree with this suggestion, then the election of the primate should occur by drawing lots;


--In the future, UAPTs also will conduct negotiations on unification of all branches of Orthodoxy, not only with representatives of UPTsKP, but also with UPTsMP in a trilateral format;


--The 14 September 2015 date of the Unification Sobor is not final until a final approval of the suggestions by both sides.


We recall that the Kiev patriarchate, by official statistics, numbers in Ukraine 4,738 parishes, and the UAPTs, 1,225.


The UPTsKP proposed to draw up the composition of delegates to the Unification Sobor of both churches on the basis of parity, with delegates representing an equal number of those who delegate them. The Kiev patriarchate noted that such a practice exists in many churches, including in the UAPTs. In particular, at the time of the last local council of the UAPTs, representation of each diocese was determined proceeding from the number of parishes within it, and not on the basis of an equal number of delegates from each diocese.


Regarding the selection of a name of the united church, the UPTsKP considers it advisable to take into account the reality of Ukrainian legislation. A complete change in the official name to "Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate" will mean for each diocese, monastery, and parish, that is, for more than 6,000 registered religious organizations of both churches, not only the registration of changes to their charters but also new preparation of all legal and property documents, from changes in the state register of juridical persons and changes in acts on land and documents on churches and other property to changes in contracts for utilities and a change of seals. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 July 2015)


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