Constantinople «crossed the line»: the decision on autocephaly of Ukraine and the dissenters

© AFP 2018 / Ozan Counselingi the Patriarch, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople Bartholomew I. Archival photoConstantinople «crossed the line»: the decision on autocephaly of Ukraine and the dissenters© 2018 AFP / Ozan Kose

The Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople announced Thursday on the rehabilitation of the leaders of the schismatic Church organizations in Ukraine, the abolition of its decision in 1686 to convey the Patriarch of Moscow Department of the Kiev Metropolitanate and the creation of the Ukraine Autocephalous structure. In the Russian Church said in response that Constantinople crossed the red line and his decision will have disastrous consequences both for him and for the entire Orthodox world. In Kiev the decision of Constantinople was met with enthusiasm.

The Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople met on 9-11 October in Istanbul. On it, in particular, made presentations to two Exarch, appointed earlier by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to Kiev.

The Decision Of The Synod

«To confirm the decision that the Ecumenical (Constantinople) Patriarchate proceeds to the granting of autocephaly churches in Ukraine», — stated in the final statement of the Synod of Constantinople.

Constantinople also decided to cancel the anathema of all the bans imposed on the Russian Church Filaret Denisenko, the head of the non-canonical Orthodox Church of the self-proclaimed «Kiev Patriarchate». Filaret, the leader of another schismatic structures – the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Makarios, Maletić and their followers «are restored to their hierarchical or priestly titles,» and their flock to be «restored to fellowship with the Church.»

In addition, the Church of Constantinople has canceled his decree in 1686 on the transfer of the Kyiv Metropolitanate to the Moscow Patriarchate to give, including the right to appoint the Metropolitan of Kiev. «To cancel the obligation in the Synodal letter of 1686, issued in connection with the circumstances of the time, is through oikonomia (the mitigation of the canons) gave the right of Moscow Patriarch to appoint Metropolitan of Kiev», — said in the conclusion of the Synod.

The Synod of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople published on Thursday and the decision «to restore immediately the stavropegic Ecumenical Patriarch in Kyiv, one of his many stauropegic monasteries in Ukraine, who have always existed.» The stavropegic is a representative office, directly subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The response of the Russian Church

Press Secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, priest Alexander Volkov has declared that the Synod of the Church of Constantinople adopted the «catastrophic decision», which can be called the «legalization of secession.» These actions, according to him, represent a complete break with Church tradition and canons.

«The Patriarchate of Constantinople did not stop in his decisions, not his mind, and all the many voices that were heard very loudly from all sides of world Orthodoxy, unfortunately, was not heard in Istanbul. Today the Patriarchate of Constantinople takes disastrous decisions – first and foremost, for myself, and the whole world of Orthodoxy… As we can see, the Patriarchate of Constantinople already crossed the red line», — said Volkov.

In his opinion, these actions in the first place, would cause «catastrophic harm» to millions of Orthodox believers in Ukraine, «because now you start something terrible.»

The lifting of anathemas from Constantinople Philaret and the restoration of rights Macarius also is absolutely absurd, said the press Secretary of the Patriarch. «These people were the Church condemned, and this condemnation has taken all the Orthodox world, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople. And now, these people have become rukopozhatnymi for Constantinople, Constantinople first hand wiping cloth and then to press», — said Volkov.

As consider in the Russian Church, the people of Constantinople considers «as their counterparts in Ukraine», which «will continue to deal towards the creation of new ecclesiastical structure».

The head of the Synodal Department for Church and society and the media Vladimir Legoyda, in turn, said that Constantinople has made «unprecedented anticanonical action», entered into communion with schismatics and excommunicated from the Church. According to Legoyda, we are talking about «the attempt of destruction of the foundations of the Orthodox canonical order.»

A Deputy Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Nikolai Balashov, commenting on the decision of the Church of Constantinople to establish in Kiev stavropegic own, called it «an illegal intrusion on the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.»

The final assessment of the last actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate will give the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which will be held on October 15 in Minsk.

Reaction to Ukraine

Spoke sharply regarding decisions of the Constantinople Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. There does not rule out a break of communion with Constantinople and the imposition of an anathema on the Patriarch Bartholomew I.

«When the documents get will be determined. It is clear that this lawlessness. And how to react, decide the Primate of our Church and the Holy Synod… brethren Church needs to understand, to render its decision. They (patriarchs of Constantinople) had fallen more than once in the heresy. The Patriarch has the status of sinlessness. It is clear that this is a deeply hostile act against the Church», — told RIA Novosti the head of the press service of the Ukrainian Church Vasily Anisimov.

The head of the non-canonical Church in Ukraine, Filaret, from which Constantinople removed the anathema, despite the fact that it was imposed, welcomed the decision of the Synod of Constantinople. He promised that the process of unification of churches in Ukraine will be very quick and the founding of the Cathedral is planned to convene in the near future.

«We agree, when we call the Cathedral. I plan to call him soon. Who wants to take part in this unification Council and who wouldn’t want that in a single Ukrainian Orthodox Church… But Tomos (document) of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church we will receive from the Ecumenical Patriarch,» Filaret said on Thursday.

However, he assured that after receiving autocephaly in the country will be able to exist other churches, including the «Russian». The same was promised by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

«Ukraine will respect the choice of those who decide to remain in the Church structure that will preserve the unity with the Russian Orthodox Church», — said Poroshenko in a special video message. He also promised to protect the rights of those priests and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, «who voluntarily decide to get out from under Moscow».

«The decision on the granting of autocephaly has already been taken», — said the Ukrainian President.

Lesson Byzantine politics: Tomos led into captivity

Director of the Ukrainian Institute of policy analysis and management Ruslan Bortnik believes that the decision of the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople demonstrates the lesson «Byzantine politics», from which nobody wins and that the «Byzantine Empire for 600 years does not exist.»

According to Bortnik, implementing adopted decisions today, the Patriarchate of Constantinople will be entitled to all the churches of the non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Philaret and Macarius of fact, will be deprived of their churches.

«To loud applause of the excited crowd not to give the Tomos, but to proclaim the stavropegic over Kiev — the ownership of the monasteries and temples of all Orthodox denominations KP and the UAOC — went for Tomos and was captured. De facto it looks like the creation of the Exarchate. Throw cookies «lifting of the anathema», while depriving both the «patriarchs» Sana, their Church autonomy, and bleed in the struggle for the throne indefinitely,» — said the expert.