UPTs SYNOD DENIES BARTHOLOMEW HAS RIGHT TO CONVENE COUNCIL IN UKRAINE
Synod does not permit its clerics and laity to participate in it
Interfax-Religiia, 7 December 2018
The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared that Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew "does not have any canonical right to convene any meeting in Ukraine," and it did not permit its clergy and laity to participate in the so-called unification council, the Department of Information and Enlightenment of the UPTs reports.
"The Holy Synod also emphasized that Patriarch Bartholomew does not have the right to summon to any meeting the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The "unification council" being planned is considered to be an illegal assembly, inasmuch as representatives of schismatic groupings will participate in it," the report on the result of the Synod's session held on Friday in Kiev says.
At the same time, all decisions made by the aforesaid "council" may be considered invalid and as such will have no legal and canonical force, the Synod notes.
In connection with this and on the basis of the order of the Bishops' Council of 13 November to the episcopate, clergy, monastics, and laity of the UPTs, the participation in the so-called unification council is not blessed, the concluding documents of the Synod say.
Members of the Holy Synod call special attention to the fact that "none of the members of the clergy or laiaty is authorized to represent the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at this assembly," the UPTs communication says.
The Synod also expressed concern regarding the numerous instances of pressure on its bishops of the UPTs aimed at forcing them to participate in the so-called unification council.
"This is a direct encouragement to violate the episcopal oath that bishops must observe even under the threat of death," the Synod's decision says.
The so-called unification council, scheduled for 15 December, is supposed to create in Ukraine a church independent from the patriarchate of Moscow. The authorities of the country have been trying to accomplish this goal since April, when President Petro Poroshenko appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew to give Ukraine a tomos concerning autocephaly.
The canonical Orthodox church has refused to participate in this project. In the run-up to the council, searches have been conducted in various dioceses of the UPTs and clergy have been summoned "to conversations" in the S.B.U. [Security Service of Ukraine].
As reported, Metropolitan Onufrey and other bishops of the canonical church returned to Istanbul the invitations to the "unification council." (tr. by PDS, posted 7 December 2018)
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