Moscow church unhappy with service on St. Andrew's day


Interfax-Religiia, 13 December 2018


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs) condemned the performance of the liturgy by an exarch of Constantinople in the Kiev church of St. Andrew.


"The performance of any divine services, and also the performance of other actions, by any bishops on the canonical territory of another diocese without the permission of the local bishop is forbidden by a number of canonical rules," a statement of the Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the UPTs, which was distributed Thursday, says.


As reported, today in the Ukrainian capital a representative of Patriarch Bartholomew, Bishop Ilarion Rudnik, performed a service on the occasion of the memorial day of the holy apostle Andrew. The site of its performance was the significant church of St. Andrew, built in the mid-18th century, according to the design of Rastrelli, and recently transferred by Ukrainian authorities for Constantinople's use.


In its statement the OVTsS noted that the local canonical bishop, from whom it is necessary to request permission for performing a service, is Metropolitan of Kiev and all-Ukraine Onufrey, which even the patriarch of Constantinople himself recognizes.


"Consequently, even from the point of view of canonical logic of the patriarch of Constantinople, the willful performance today of the liturgy by a bishop of this church in Kiev must be characterized as an unambiguous violation of the canons and procedure of church life," the statement says.


Recalling that the UPTs does not recognize the extension of the jurisdiction of Constantinople onto the territory of Ukraine, the synodal department declares that "the aforesaid actions by the patriarch of Constantinople in general and the actions of Bishop Ilarion in particular must be regarded as uncanonical and such as will lead to a deepening of conflict."


In addition, the synodal department recalls that the church of St. Andrew is not an embassy church, to which it would be possible to apply the principle of extraterritoriality, and this church also never belonged to the patriarchate of Constantinople historically.


"Even despite the fact that the church belongs to the state, its use for liturgical purposes by representatives of other local Orthodox churches must be regulated by ecclesiastical rules and not just agreements with governmental authorities," the UPTs emphasizes. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 December 2018)

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