New Study Explains Spiritual Basis Of Orthodox Church Schism In Ukraine - Protodeacon

New Study Explains Spiritual Basis of Orthodox Church Schism in Ukraine - Protodeacon

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 09th July, 2021) A new English-language theological study about the church schism in Ukraine will allow more Orthodox Christians to better understand the spiritual basis of the crisis, Russian Holy Trinity Monastery in New York Protodeacon Peter Markevich told Sputnik.

Last week, Holy Trinity Publications, the publishing arm of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, a male monastic community of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), published an English-language translation of a book The Ecclesial Crisis in Ukraine and its Solution According to the Sacred Canons, written by renowned theologian from Cyprus Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos and Tylliria.

"Metropolitan Nikiforos and several other bishops of that church are firm opponents of the idea of recognizing the so-called church that the Constantinople Patriarchate has had established in Ukraine. He wrote a proper theological study of the question to look past any sort of ideas of this being simply a geopolitical conflict or an old-world turf war and look at the traditions of the church, the holy canons, and specially to examine everything in the love of Christ," Markevich, a sales and marketing manager for Holy Trinity Publications, said.

The volume was originally published in the Greek language, but the monastery's publishing house found it extremely important to translate it into English, Markevich noted.

"We felt strongly, this book needed to be available in English so that more people could read the work of Metropolitan Nikiforos and come to understand the spiritual basis of the conflict," he said.


On January 6, 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople handed over the Tomos of autocephaly, a document that grants Orthodox churches autonomy, to the newly established OCU. The Russian Orthodox Church, along with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC), refused to recognize the establishment of the new church structure in Ukraine and Constantinople's decision to grant it autocephaly.

Metropolitan Nikiforos' book reveals the incoherence in Constantinople's behavior, Father Peter said. He noted that in 2016 the Ecumenical Patriarchate stated that the UOC is the only canonical church in Ukraine.

"Everything the Ecumenical Patriarch has done since 2018 and maybe a little bit before is a complete 180-degree reversal from what the Ecumenical Throne and Patriarch Bartholomew has said in the past," the Protodeacon noted.

While the Orthodox Church is hierarchical in decision making, it is absolutely democratic in that all the bishops together must agree and come to a consensus, Markevich explained.

"We see in these actions in Ukraine a complete misunderstanding and reversal where it is not all the bishops and all the local autocephalous churches in the persons of their bishops coming together to make this decision.

The Ecumenical Patriarch on its own, with no consultations and consensus, made its own choices," he said.


The Protodeacon highlighted a strong connection between the ROCOR, and particularly the monastery in Jordanville, New York and Ukraine. He reminded that after World War II, a large brotherhood joined the monastery from Ladomirovo (in present-day Slovakia), where a monastic community had existed as a mission of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra in the now-Ukrainian city of Pochaev, while the patron of the monastic brotherhood in Jordanville and of its publishing work is St. Job of Pochaev.

In addition, in the early part of this century, he explained, the monastery's abbot Metropolitan Laurus, who was also the First Hierarch of ROCOR, had many interactions with bishops of the Russian Church, both informally and as part of official dialogues in the process of reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate. During this time he became close friends with Metropolitan Onufrii, now the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Father Peter said.

The hierarchs spoke to each other with the same spirit - the humility, the steadfast love for the flock, and firmness in walking the path of Christ despite temptation and persecution, he added.

The Moscow Patriarchate is much wider than Russia itself and represents people from all over the world, the Protodeacon noted.

"We understand that the Russian Church does not just belong to the Russian Federation. People from Ukraine, Japan, Alaska and the entire Russian diaspora could understand themselves as being inheritors of the Holy Church of Russia. These questions of nationalism or political conflict did not enter into the equation, there is no need to see oneself as needing a completely separate church," he said.


The new book does not just focus on the situation in Ukraine, but allows people worldwide to understand how this Body of Christ governs itself, Father Peter said.

"Many Orthodox Christians in America have a tendency to think that the Old World does not concern us, we are happy here in our parish. Butas Orthodox Christians, we need to be conscious of the fact that the Orthodox Church is Universal," he said.

The current situation in Ukraine represents a "terrible example" of how such situations harm the Church's ability to exhibit and show the Love of Christ to the world, he added.

The book The Ecclesial Crisis in Ukraine and its Solution According to the Sacred Canons printed both in the US and the UK, and available on different digital platforms.