Serbian Patriarch Criticizes Constantinople For Granting Independence To Ukrainian Church


Serbian Patriarch Criticizes Constantinople for Granting Independence to Ukrainian Church

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 06th January, 2019) The actions of Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew, who has granted autocephaly to the recently created Orthodox Church of Ukraine, come as a violation of centuries-old principle of conciliarity and may entail major schism in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Pec and Serbian Patriarch Irinej told the Pechat newspaper in an interview on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Constantinople handed over an independence decree to the head of the unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which does not include the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP).

"We already have one major schism because of the papacy as a deviation from the spirit of conciliarity � the schism between the Christian East and the West, which has lasted for centuries. Because of this new eastern model of the papacy a new major schism may occur," Patriarch Irinej was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The patriarch of Serbia also expressed hope that Constantinople would find the strength not to pursue the path it had taken, damaging the unity of the Orthodox church.

"The only possible way out of this deep crisis is a return to the principle of conciliarity and centuries-old canonical order ... to the responsible pan-Orthodox problem-solving instead of an overemphasized insistence on one's own primacy and on one's own special and exclusive privileges and powers .

.. from the position of the 'first without equals' instead of the position of the 'first among equals,' because this via facti [self-willed decision] abolishes the hitherto inviolable Orthodox principle of conciliarity," the patriarch added.

In December, a unification council was held in Kiev, which united two non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox churches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. While the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate officially refused to take part in the council, it was attended by two UOC-MP bishops, who were later defrocked by their church.

The Russian Orthodox Church has refused to recognize the results of the unification council and Constantinople's decision to give independence to the Ukrainian church, insisting that Constantinople legalized schism and adding that the day when the tomos was signed was a "tragic" one for the global Orthodoxy.

Under the granted tomos, the unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine will have jurisdiction exclusively over Ukraine and will not be authorized to appoint bishops and establish its parishes abroad, making it effectively dependent on Constantinople.