INFLUENTIAL UKRAINIAN POLITICIAN, PARISHIONER, AND BENEFACTOR OF UPTs SUPPORTS PRESIDENT'S WISH TO HASTEN AUTOCEPHALY
Religiia v Ukraine, 31 July 2017
Ukrainian people's deputy from Transcarpathia Viktor Baloga, an influential Ukrainian politician, parishioner, and benefactor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate (UPTsMP) supported the attitude of the country's president for receiving canonical autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, a correspondent of the portal Religiia v Ukraine reports.
"On a date that is significant for the entire Ukrainian society, the Day of the Baptism of Kievan Rus, the desire of President Poroshenko to have the long-awaited autocephaly is the only correct decision," Viktor Baloga noted on 28 July on his Facebook page. "And it is possible to do this quickly, but we should understand that the ecumenical patriarch will help only under the condition of the unification of the three Orthodox churches—UAPTs, UPTsKP, and UPTsMP—around Metropolitan Onufrey. Because today, of all leaders of churches, he is the only one whom Constantinople recognizes. And this is now the domestic task for the president."
We recall that on the occasion of the Day of the Baptism of Kievan Rus, Petro Poroshenko greeted his compatriots and reminded them that Ukraine is awaiting from the Constantinople church, from which Vladimir the Great received the Christian faith, recognition of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church.
From 8 to 16 July 2017, the sociological group "Rating" conducted a survey concerning the attitude of Ukrainians to the creation of a united local (autocephalous) church in Ukraine. The chief results of the investigation: the greatest number of persons among the respondents were "for" creation of a united local church.
On 27 July, the UPTsKP gave an account of
Constantinople regarding autocephaly. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 August
Background article:Ukrainian president gets into church affairs
July 28, 2017
UPTsKP GIVES ACCOUNT OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH CONSTANTINOPLE ABOUT AUTOCEPHALY
Religiia v Ukraine, 28 July 2017
On 27 July in the Synodal Hall of the Kiev patriarchate, a session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev patriarchate (UPTsKP) was held under the chairmanship of Patriarch Filaret. The session reviewed the process of dialogue with the ecumenical patriarchate regarding granting autocephaly (full independence) to the Ukrainian Church and also made a statement about the "one-sided and false statements of representatives of the church of the Moscow patriarchate," Religiia v Ukraine reports with reference to the website of the UPTsKP.
The synod heard a report of Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnitsky and Belotserkov Epifany about the visit of the Commission of the Kiev Patriarchate for Dialogue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul (Turkey).
As was explained, on 12 January 2017, members of said commission of the Kiev patriarchate conducted a meeting in the official residence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Phanar with authorized members of the Holy Synod of the Constantinople patriarchate. Participants in the meeting from the Ukrainian side were the chairman of the commission, the patriarchal vicar Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnitsky and Belotserkov Epifany; Metropolitan of Lvov and Sokal Dimitry; and secretary of the Holy Synod, Archbishop of Chernigov and Nezhin Evstraty. The delegation also was accompanied by the first prorector of the Kiev Orthodox Theological Academy, Archpriest Alexander Trofimliuk. Before the start of the meeting, members of the delegation prayed before the shrines preserved in the patriarch cathedral of St. George on Phanar, in particular before the relics of the Three Holy Prelates, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom.
From the side of the ecumenical patriarchate, members of the Holy Synod Metropolitan of Smyrna Bartholomew, general secretary of the synod, and Metropolitan of Gaul Emmanuel conversed with the delegation. The aforesaid metropolitans are members of the commission for consideration of the question of autocephaly of the church in Ukraine formed by the Constantinople synod in the summer of 2016. Also attending was the secretary of the Commission on Inter-Orthodox Relations, Bishop Ambrose.
In the course of a long conversation, the sides exchanged opinions regarding the current state of Orthodoxy in Ukraine. On instructions from Patriarch Filaret, the UPTsKP delegation reported to representatives of the ecumenical patriarchate about the point of view of the Kiev patriarchate "on possible paths to resolution of problems facing Ukrainian Orthodox because of the uncanonical and destructive actions of the Moscow patriarchate," the synod's report states.
"It was emphasized that the Kiev patriarchate, in contrast to the RPTs, officially joined the decisions of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church held on Crete in June of last year. The representatives of the ecumenical patriarchate were presented copies of the UPTsKP church calendar for 2017 in which is published the translation of the documents of the council in the Ukrainian language made by the Kiev patriarchate.
Metropolitans Emmanuel and Bartholomew emphasized that the Ukrainian church question is complex, but the ecumenical patriarchate, and the first throne and Mother Church, will not abandon efforts for finding the best path for resolution of the problem. The bishops noted that all opinions and suggestions expressed in the course of the meeting will be reported to His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and to the Holy Synod of the Constantinople patriarchate, which will make appropriate decisions.
Having noted that the Kiev patriarchate has for more than 25 years now fought for the restoration of canonical order through the creating of a united local Orthodox Church in Ukraine, members of the UPTsKP delegation expressed the hope that the Mother Church of Constantinople will do everything possible to make the proper decisions as quickly as possible, it was said.
On 27 July, the synod of the UPTsKP approved the position of the Commission of the Kiev Patriarchate for Dialogue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, expressed during the official meeting in the ecumenical patriarchate of 12 January 2017. The synod also "emphasizes that the ecumenical patriarchate has from the Ukrainian side all necessary church and governmental documents and appeals regarding the issue of recognizing the autocephaly of the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And it asks the Mother Church to accelerate consideration of this matter which has demanded its urgent resolution for more than 25 years now."
The synod also heard and approved the report by Patriarch Filaret about his visit to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France) as a member of the delegation of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations on 15-19 May 2017. The synod also approved the report of Archbishop of Chernigov and Nezhin Evstraty, who represented the Kiev patriarchate in European institutions, about working trips in February to July 2017 (there were five working visits in all) and a visit to Washington in the U.S.A. During these visits Archbishop Evstraty spoke with European officials about "violations of the rights of believers in territories occupied by Russia in Crimea and the Donbass" and "harassment of the parish of the UPTsKP in the city of Noginsk of Moscow province (RF), where authorities demand the demolition of the only church building in the region."
With regard to decisions of the synod of UPTsKP, it was stated: "To point out that the Kiev patriarchate categorically rejects all accusations against it on the part of the Moscow patriarchate, the Russian federation, and their supporters about 'seizure of church buildings,' considering these accusations as part of the Russian hybrid aggression against Ukraine. . . . And to express profound concern that in the international arena representatives of the Moscow patriarchate in Ukraine continue to baselessly accuse the Ukrainian government and other churches of violation of their rights while simultaneously maintaining complete silence about numerous real incidents of violation of the rights of believers in Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia in Crimea and the Donbass. By such one-sided and false statements, representatives of the church of the Moscow patriarchate in Ukraine confirm their solidarity with the policy of aggression of the Russian federation against Ukraine." (tr. by PDS, posted 2 August 2017)
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