UPTsMP: RADA EXCEEDED ITS AUTHORITY IN APPEALING TO PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW
RIA Novosti, 17 June 2016
The Verkhovna Rada exceeded its authority when it appealed to Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew with a request to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian church, the director of the press service of the UPTsMP, Nikolai Danilevich, declared.
"The Verkhovna Rada exceeded its authority. In Ukraine the church is separated from the state and the state does not interfere in resolutions of canonical questions," Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich noted in an interview with the B.B.C.
At the same time, he assured that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is responding quite calmly to the initiative of the people's deputies.
Also in a live broadcast on Radio Vesti he explained why the deputies' appeal to the ecumenical patriarch will not be considered by the world Orthodox community. "Autocephaly or church independence should be requested by the church itself and not the state, particularly deputies," he emphasized.
Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich called attention to the fact that before the question of granting special status to the Orthodox church in Ukraine is decided it is necessary first to overcome division. "While there is schism in Ukraine and there are uncanonical churches of the UPTsKP and the UAPTs, it is impossible to grant autocephaly to Ukraine. It can only be granted to the UPTsMP, which exists in the legal church field," Father Nikolai notes.
The position of the UPTs on this matter remains unchanged: it is necessary to overcome division and then it is possible to pose the question of status, he noted.
He said that the absurdity of the deputies' appeal also consists in the fact that the ecumenical patriarch cannot unilaterally make a decision relative to the status of any church. "An autocephalous church in Ukraine or any other church, which wants to have autocephaly, may join the family of local Orthodox churches with such a status only with the consent of all these churches," the archpriest emphasizes.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine earlier sent to Patriarch Bartholomew a request to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian church from the Moscow patriarchate. Metropolitan of Kiev and all-Ukraine Onufrey expressed the hope that the difficulties that arose in the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council and the possible refusal of the Russian Orthodox Church to travel to Crete will not evoke in local Orthodox churches a desire "to take revenge" and recognize the Kiev patriarchate. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 18 June 2016)
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