Leader of new Ukrainian church addresses criticisms


RISU, 16 December 2020


The primate of the PTsU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine], Epifany, during the bishops' council held on 15 December, refuted the most widespread myths that detractors disseminate relative to the PTsU, trying to prove that the autocephaly of the PTsU is supposedly "fake." This is stated in his report, which was published on the official website of the PTsU.


First myth


Metropolitan Epifany noted that acquiring holy oil from the ecumenical patriarchate is obligatory, prescribed in the tomos. The preparation and consecration of one's own oil does not in any way condition the presence or absence of autocephaly.


A number of autocephalous churches also get holy oil from the ecumenical patriarchate, such as the Jerusalem patriarchate or the Church of Cyprus.


"This emphasizes not dependence but the unity of the church of Christ, which may be divided into local parts, but remains a united church, the united mystical body of Christ," the first hierarch noted.


At one time, the Kiev caves lavra brewed holy oil, although the Kiev metropolia was not autocephalous.


Now, according to Metropolitan Epifany, the PTsU is using oil that was consecrated during the time of the UPTsKP and UAPTs.


Second myth


It consists in the idea that the PTsU supposedly renounced the Orthodox Ukrainians who live abroad and transferred them to the jurisdiction of the ecumenical patriarchate.


"Actually our local church may fully provide clergy or candidates for ordination who would subsequently render their ministry for Ukrainians abroad, while being in the jurisdiction of local hierarchs of the ecumenical patriarchate, but maintaining Ukrainian church traditions and fraternal links with the PTsU," the primate of the PTsU explained.


Hierarchs of the ecumenical patriarchate also make requests of the PTsU to provide them clerics for ministry in such parishes. Other local churches also abide by this principle, whose faithful are outside the borders of the motherland.


Third myth


The third myth is the spreading of the opinion that autocephaly is the first step toward "merger" with Rome.


"Indeed, it is really necessary to testify that we have developed good relations with the Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic churches in Ukraine, as also with a number of protestant confessions and dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church.


"However, we have often emphasized and we confirm again that between the Orthodox and Catholic churches there are dogmatic differences, which are the reason for the absence of Eucharistic unity. We do not want to exaggerate nor minimize the significance of these differences. We merely observe the fact of their existence," the primate of the PTsU emphasized.


Metropolitan Epifany noted that the PTsU is the local part of the Orthodox church, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic churches in Ukraine are part of the Catholic Church.


In addition, there are differences between the PTsU and the UGKTs and RKTs in Ukraine both jurisdictionally and doctrinally.


"Therefore questions that divide us go beyond the bounds of the Ukrainian context and they affect not only our relations. Therefore the issue of the unity of all Orthodox and all Catholic churches does not have and cannot have a positive resolution locally," the first hierarch emphasized. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 December 2020)

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