New Ukrainian church gets historic boost


RISU, 12 October 2019


At an extraordinary session on 12 October, the Council of the Greek Orthodox Church recognized the autocephaly of the PTsU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine]. The decision was adopted under the chairmanship of the head of the Council and primate of the church of Greece, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos. This is a historic decision for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. One of the largest Orthodox churches of the world officially confirmed the legality of the actions of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.


In the report of the Greek publication Romfea we read:


"During the session of the Council, Archbishop Ieronymos delivered a report 'Information about the autocephalous church of Ukraine.' He referred to the privilege of the ecumenical patriarchate of granting autocephaly and also to the positive recommendations of two committees. He suggested recognizing the autocephaly of the church of the independent state of Ukraine—the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.


"Then the bishops made proposals. Bishop of Caesarea Daniel suggested adopting the decision after a clear vote. The hierarchy of the Greek church finally decided to ratify the recent decision of the Permanent Holy Synod and agreed that the ecumenical patriarch had the right to grant autocephaly to the PTsU."


An official announcement of the Holy Synod of the Greek church is expected soon.


We recall, the decision to discuss the Ukrainian question at an extraordinary session after the conclusion of the Council of the Greek Orthodox Church, which lasted from 8 to 11 October, was made in order to observe definite procedural traditions.


As RISU has reported, the "Ukrainian question" was already discussed preliminarily in August by the permanent council of the church of Greece, which received for information the accounts of two synodal commissions on the issue of Ukrainian ecclesiastical autocephaly.


The Council then concluded that the ecumenical patriarch has the right to proclaim the autocephaly of local churches (while the Russian Orthodox Church insisted that it is necessary to do this only with the consent of all local churches).


The council of the G.O.C. also then confirmed the right and privilege of Archbishop Ieronymos to deal with the question of recognizing the PTsU unilaterally. However we recall that the first hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Church decided to share the responsibility for making the decision with all hierarchs of the G.O.C. And this happened today, 12 October, in Athens. Thus the PTsU has received the official first recognition among the Orthodox churches of the world.


The decision to recognize the autocephaly of the PTsU was especially important since the RPTs and the UPTsMP exerted great pressure. We recall that in Athens on the third day of the Archbishops' Council of the Greek church, representatives of the UPTsMP arrived and distributed to the Greek bishops books about the alleged violent seizures in Ukraine of churches of the UPTsMP in favor of the PTsU.


A brochure titled "The reverse side of the tomos" was published by the pro-Russian Union of Orthodox Journalists. It even was translated into the Greek language. On the cover of the book were inscribed phrases like "The tomos brought civil war" and "Atheists seized the temple." (tr. by PDS, posted 12 October 2019)



RISU, 12 October 2019


The primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [PTsU], Metropolitan Epifany, expressed on his page in Facebook thanks to the primate of the church of Greece, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos, and all Greek hierarchs for recognition of the autocephaly of the PTs U.


"I am grateful to my brother in Christ, the head of the Holy Synod of the church of Greece, His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and all-Greece Ieronymos, and to the brother hierarchs who today at a session of the Council of Bishops supported the position and followed the canonical and historical decisions of the ecumenical patriarchate, which opened the possibility for full-fledged cooperation between our two local autocephalous churches in all areas.


Our two nations, Greece and Ukraine, are joined by many glorious pages of history, friendship, and cooperation. The establishment of complete eucharistic unity and official relations between the local churches of Greece and Ukraine is another page that will forever by inscribed in our history and our hearts.


I believe that in the near future I will have the joy of visiting Athens, which is dear to my heart, and to personally convey our feelings of love and respect to His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos, brother bishops, and the entire church of Greece." (tr. by PDS, posted 12 October 2019)

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