R.P.Ts. COMMENTS ON GREEK CHURCH DECISION ON AUTOCEPHALY OF UKRAINE
RIA Novosti, 12 October 2019
The deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, commented on the decision of the Council of the Greek church with regard to the uncanonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
"Despite the reasonable suggestions of a number of metropolitans to refrain for now from making a decision, the Bishops' Council of the Greek church adopted a decision in favor of recognizing the PTsU, while strangely expressing the hope that Ukrainian "autocephaly" will help "to strengthen relations between the autocephalous churches of Great Russia and Ukraine."
An assessment of the consequences of this decision for relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek church will be made by the Holy Synod of the Moscow patriarchate," Balashov told RIA Novosti.
At the same time he recalled that in contrast with the Greek church, whose jurisdiction does not even include all the territory of Greece, the Russian Orthodox Church is multi-national and is by no means restricted in its pastoral care to believers residing on the territory of Russia.
"In particular, tens of millions of its members are citizens of Ukraine. And they have not asked for any autocephaly," the news agency's source noted.
Today an extraordinary session of the Bishops' Council of the Greek church was held, at which the question of the "new church" of Ukraine was discussed. As follows from the decision, the council recognized that Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew can grant autocephaly and it transferred to Archbishop of Athens and all-Greece Ieronymos the right to decide the question of recognizing the autocephaly of Ukraine. Archbishop Ieronymos himself spoke in favor of the recognition of the PTsU.
The so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine is an uncanonical structure that is not recognized by world Orthodoxy. It was created in late 2018 on the initiative of the Ukrainian government and the patriarchate of Constantinople by means of the merger of two schismatic churches. After receiving from Patriarch Bartholomew a tomos concerning autocephaly, in reality the PTsU found itself almost completely dependent upon Constantinople. Thus far not a single local church has recognized the new structure. The only canonical church in Ukraine remains the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UPTsMP). (tr. by PDS, posted 12 October 2019)
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