2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism

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The Moscow–Constantinople schism,[a] also known as the Orthodox Church schism of 2018,[b][1] is a schism which began on 15 October 2018 when the Russian Orthodox Church unilaterally severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.[2][3] This was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 11 October 2018 to move towards granting independence (autocephaly) to the orthodox Church of Ukraine, to reestablish the stauropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev,[4] to revoke the legal binding of the letter of 1686 which led to the Russian Orthodox Church establishing jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church, and to lift the excommunications which affected clergy and faithful of two unrecognized Orthodox churches in Ukraine.[2][5][6][7][8]

Those two churches (the UAOC and the UOC-KP) were competing with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and were, and still are, considered schismatics by the Patriarchate of Moscow.[9][10][11] According to the plans of Constantinople, the members of these two structures, along with some members of the UOC-MP, will unite in a new structure, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (another name is the "Orthodox Local Church of Ukriane"[12]).[13][14] The corresponding Holy Council of the bishops of both churches (SOBOR) is preliminary scheduled to be held on 15 December 2018.[15][16]

In that statement of October 15, the Russian Orthodox Church barred all members of the Moscow Patriarchate from taking part in communion, baptism, and marriage at any church controlled by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[2] Prior to that, in their synod on 14 September 2018, the Moscow Patriarchate broke off participation in any episcopal assemblies (such as the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America), theological discussions, multilateral commissions, and any other structures that are chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[17]

The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the independent (autocephalous) churches that together make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate holds a special place of honor within Orthodoxy because of its historical location at the capital of the former Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and its role as the mother church of most modern Orthodox churches. It serves as the seat for the Ecumenical Patriarch (currently Bartholomew I), who enjoys the status of primus inter pares (first among equals) among the world's Eastern Orthodox prelates and is widely regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Besides its religious aspect, both Russia and Ukraine also see the dispute as part of a wider East-West conflict involving Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea and its military intervention in Ukraine, as well as Ukraine's desire to join the European Union and NATO.[25][26] On 28 November 2018, Ukrainian President Poroshenko declared the 2018 Kerch Strait incident was provoked by Russia in order to force Ukraine to declare martial law and therefore to prevent Ukraine from receiving its tomos of autocephaly.[27][28]

This schism shares similarities with the Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 (22 years prior), which related to the canonical jurisdiction over Estonia.[29]

Contents

Background[edit]

After the baptism of Rus', its lands were under the control of the Metropolitan of Kiev. Among the 24 metropolitans who held the throne before the Mongol invasion, only two were of local origin and the rest were Greek. Usually, they were appointed by Constantinople and were not chosen by the bishops of their dioceses, as it should be done according to the Canon.[30] After the Mongol invasion, the southern part of Rus' was heavily devastated and the disintegration of Kievan Rus' accelerated. Metropolitan Kirill III, who occupied the throne for 30 years, spent almost all of his time in the lands of Vladimir-Suzdal Rus' and visited Kiev only twice, although earlier he had come from Galicia and had been nominated for the post of Metropolitan by the prince Daniel of Galicia.[31] After the new Mongol raid in 1299, Metropolitan Maksim finally moved to Vladimir in the north, and did not even leave a bishop behind. In 1303 a new cathedra was created for south-west Rus' in Galicia and the new Metropolitan was consecrated by Constantinople,[32] but its existence ended in 1355 after the Galicia–Volhynia Wars. In 1325, Metropolitan Peter moved to Moscow, thus greatly contributing to the rise of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which gradually conquered other Russian principalities in the northeast of the former Kievan Rus'. Another part of Kievan Rus' gradually came under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland, which entered into rivalry with Moscow. In particular, the Grand Dukes of Lithuania sought from Constantinople a separate Metropolitan for the Orthodox who lived in their lands. Although the Metropolitan in Moscow continued to retain the title of "Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'", he could not rule the Orthodox outside the borders of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Constantinople twice agreed to create a separate Metropolitan for Lithuania, but these decisions were not permanent, Constantinople being inclined to maintain a single church government on the lands of the former Kievan Rus'.[33][34]

In 1439, Constantinople entered into union with the Roman Catholic Church. In Moscow, this decision was rejected outright, and Metropolitan Isidor, consecrated by Constantinople, was accused in heresy, imprisoned, and later expelled.[35] In 1448, the council of north-eastern Russian clergy in Moscow, at the behest of prince Vasily II of Moscow, elected Jonah the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus' without the consent of the Patriarch of Constantinople. In 1469 Patriarch Dionysius I stated that Constantinople would not recognize any metropolitan ordained without its blessing.[36] Meanwhile, the metropolis of Kiev (de facto in Novogrudok) stayed under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and in 1458, bishop Gregory became the Uniate Metropolitan in Kiev with the title of the "Metropolitan of Kiev, Galich and All Rus'". Moscow's de facto independence from Constantinople remained unrecognized until 1589 when Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremiah II approved the creation of a new, fifth Orthodox Patriarchate in Moscow. This decision was finally confirmed by the four older Patriarchs in 1593.[37]

The Patriarch of Moscow became the head of "all Russia and Northern countries",[38][39] and Chernihiv (now in Ukraine) was one of his dioceses.[40] However, he had no power among the Orthodox bishops of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, who remained under the rule of Constantinople. At the same time, the Orthodox hierarchs of those lands were inclined to the Union with Rome, despite the resistance of their parishes, who formed the Orthodox brotherhoods (or fraternities) to keep their identity. On the way from Moscow, Jeremiah II visited the lands of present-day Ukraine and committed an unprecedented act, granting Stauropegia (direct subordination to Patriarch) to many Orthodox brotherhoods. This provoked the anger of the local bishops and soon the Union of Brest was proclaimed, which was supported by the majority of the Orthodox bishops of the Commonwealth, including Metropolitan Michail Rogoza. Officially, the Orthodox (but not the Uniate) Metropolis of Kiev in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was eliminated and re-established only in 1620, in subsequent co-existence with Uniate Metropolis. That led to sharp conflict and numerous revolts culminating in the Khmelnytsky Uprising.

In 1654, Russia entered the war with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; it quickly occupied, for a while, the lands of present Belarus, and gained some power over the Hetmanate pursuant to the Pereyaslav Agreement (1654). The official title of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow was "Patriarch of Moscow and all Great, Lesser, and White Russia". However, the Metropolitan of Kiev Sylvester Kossov had managed to defend his independence from the Moscow Patriarchate. The Moscow government, which needed the support of the Orthodox clergy, postponed the resolution of this issue. In 1686, the Ecumenical Patriarch approved a new Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev who would be ordained by the Moscow Patriarchate and thus transferred, albeit with certain qualifications, a part of the Kiev ecclesiastical province to the jurisdiction of Patriarchate of Moscow (the Russian Orthodox Church).[41][42][43]

Russkiy Mir vs Romiosyne[edit]

The historical rivalry between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church instensified after the Cold War. Indeed, after the Cold War, Moscow and Istanbul both emerged as "two centers of Orthodox power".[44] Those two Orthodox churches, with two different ideologies, are trying to get back the preeminence they had in the past.

Russkiy Mir[edit]

Russkiy Mir (litteraly "Russian world") is an ideology promoted by many in the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. "This ideology, concocted as a reaction to the loss of Russian control over Ukraine and Belarus after the fall of the Soviet Union, seeks to assert a spiritual and cultural unity of the peoples descended from the Kievan Rus, presumably under Russian leadership."[45][46][47][48] Patriarch Kiril of Moscow also shares this Ideology; for the Russian Orthodox Church, Russkiy Mir is also "a spiritual concept, a reminder that through the baptism of Rus, God consecrated these people to the task of building a Holy Rus."[49]

Romiosyne[edit]

The dominant ideology of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is the ideology of Romiosyne ("greekness" including Christian Orthodoxy[50]). Romiosyne is a "culturally and ecclesiastically irredentist ideology [which] seeks to regain the preeminence in the Orthodox world that the Greeks of Constantinople enjoyed under the Ottomans, just as the Russkiy Mir attempts to regain the preeminence that Russia held under the Soviets."[45][51]

1996 schism over Estonia[edit]

The Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 began on 23 February 1996, when the Russian Orthodox Church severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,[52] and ended on 16 May 1996 when the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate reached an agreement establishing parallel jurisdictions.[53][54] The excommunication was in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision on 20 February 1996 to reestablish an autonomous Orthodox church in Estonia under the Ecumenical Patriarchate's canonical jurisdiction.[55][56][57] The 1996 schism has similarities with the schism of October 2018. Both schisms were caused by a dispute between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning the canonical jurisdiction over a territory in Eastern Europe upon which the Russian Orthodox Church claimed to have the exclusive canonical jurisdiction, territory which after the collapse of the Soviet Union had become an independent state (Ukraine, Estonia). The break of communion in 1996 was made by Moscow unilaterally, as in 2018.[29]

Deterioration of Moscow–Constantinople relations[edit]

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople claims to be the foremost leader and international representative of the Eastern Orthodox Church.[58] The church is geographically divided into several largely independent local churches, each with its own leader (Patriarch, Archbishop or Metropolitan).

Shortly after Ukraine gained its independence, some of its presidents have tried to ask the Ecumenical Patriarchate to give Ukraine a church distinct from the Moscow Patriarchate.[59]

Three Orthodox churches in Ukraine[edit]

Since the end of the 20th century, three Orthodox jurisdictions have existed in Ukraine.

The UAOC and the UOC-KP were not recognized by other Orthodox churches and were considered schismatic. ROC officials stated, that the anathematization of Filaret was "recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches including the Church of Constantinople"[68][69][62][63] On 11 October 2018, the excommunications of the UAOC and the UOC-KP were lifted,[70] however the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognize neither the UAOC nor the UOC-KP as legitimate and their respective leaders were not recognized as primates of their respective churches.[13][14] As of 2018, all three churches - the UAOC, the UOC-KP and the UOC-MP - are still active in the country; the UOC-MP has 12,064 active parishes, the UOC-KP — 4,807, and UAOC — 1,048.[6]

Ecumenical Patriarchate and the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine[edit]

In April 2014, the Ecumenical Patriarch talked about the ecclesiastical problems in Ukraine during his Palm Sunday sermon and said "[t]he Ecumenical Patriarchate recognizes the difficult challenges facing the blessed Ukrainian people today".[71][72][73] In February 2015, the Primate of the Canadian Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Yuri (Kalishchuk), during a round table in the Ukrinform agency,[74] declared that "[t]he Patriarchy [of Constantinople] is watching the situation in Ukraine and considers the ideal solution to get the unified Orthodoxy" and "will work on uniting Orthodoxy in Ukraine". He added that the "Constantinople Patriarchate is waiting for the request and guidance from the Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions here, but first of all it is waiting for astep from the President of Ukraine".[75][76]

On 6 June 2015, the UAOC requested to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to receive "[the] Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a metropoliswith [sic, should be "a metropolis with"] the rights of self-governance".[77] On 24 June, "the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), held on 24 June in Kyiv [Kiev]" issued a statement about the presence "of two bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Ukraine [Bishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion] and their meeting with Ukrainian clergy". "Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) "expressed concern" about [Bishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion's] activities in the "canonical territory" of the UOC (MP) without consent of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)."[78] On 27 June, the UOC-KP, after its Holy Synod the same day, decided to plan to ask the Ecumenical Patriarch to recognize its autocephalous status.[79]

On 2 February 2016, the Patriarch of Moscow officially declared that "it is important that there is already a common understanding of the need for consensus among all the Churches, excluding any unilateral actions in granting autocephaly."[80] The same day he warned that "the unilateral recognition of the schism [in Ukraine] will unavoidably have [catastrophic consequences] for the unity of the Orthodox Church[.]"; on this occasion, the Ecumenical Patriarch declared: "We all recognize that Metropolitan Onufry is the only canonical head of Orthodoxy in Ukraine."[81]

In June 2016, the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete. However, a few days before it began, the Russian Orthodox Church refused to participate. Previously the Orthodox churches of Georgia, Bulgaria, and Antioch had also refused to participate. One of the issues cited was the method of proclaiming the autonomy of the Orthodox churches. On 16 June, Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, asked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople for autocephaly for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and thus independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. On 11 June, before the adoption of the resolution by the Rada, the Moscow Patriarchate sharply criticized the appeal of the deputies.[82] However, the council in Crete did not consider and did not officially comment on the Ukrainian question.[83][84]

On 15 December 2017, Filaret in Kiev met with personal representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: Bishop Daniel (UOC of USA) and Bishop Hilarion (UOC of Canada) and discussed with them issues "of mutual interest".[85][86]

Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine[edit]

June 2016 request of autocephaly[edit]

On 16 June 2016, the Ukrainian parliament successfully voted a resolution to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch to: "to recognize invalid the act in 1686 as the one adopted in violation of the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church", "to take an active part in overcoming  the church schism by convening Ukrainian unification council under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which would solve all controversial issues and unite the Ukrainian Orthodox Church", and to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox church in Ukraine.[87][88][89][90][91][92] On the same day, the Russian Orthodox Church protested fiercely against this resolution.[93] On 19 July, the Ecumenical Patriarchate said it would create a synodal commission to "examine" the Ukrainian parliament's request to grant autocephaly to Ukraine.[94][95] On 1 August 2016, Arbishob Job of the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared in an interview given to the Religion Information Service of Ukraine that "Constantinople has always believed that the territory of Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople."[96]

April 2018 request of autocephaly[edit]

On 9 April 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had a meeting in Istanbul with the Ecumenical Patriarch during which Poroshenko "noted the importance of the introduction of a Single Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine aspired by the Ukrainian people."[97] At that time, an article published on the pro-Moscow anonymous website Union of Orthodox Journalists[98] declared that no relevant progress concerning the question of a local Orthodox church for Ukraine had been made.[99]

On 17 April, Ukrainian President Poroshenko met in Turkey with the Ecumenical Patriarch and made an appeal supported by various Ukrainian MPs[100][101][102] to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant autocephaly to Ukraine,[103][104][105] both parties reached an agreement after a 7-hours long negotiation;[106] said appeal was later published on the official website of the president of Ukraine.[100] The UOC-KP and the UAOC also sent a similar appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in what Poroshenko described as "a rare united move of the two churches [the UOC-KP and the UAOC]".[106][107] On 18 April, the draft resolution on the support of Poroshenko's appeal was submitted to the Ukrainian parliament, and on 19 April it was adopted.[108][109] The the text of the appeal of the the Ukrainian parliament was longer and contained more arguments in favor of Ukraine's autocephaly compared Poroshenko's appeal.[110] On 20 April, the official request to issue a Tomos of Autocephaly was delivered to Ecumenical Patriarchate.[111] On the same day, 20 April, the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate "voted to proceed with taking the necessary steps for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine."[112] On 22 April, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued an official communiqué declaring that the synod had "examined matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine, as done in previous synodal sessions, and having received from ecclesiastical and civil authorities [...] a petition that requests the bestowal of autocephaly, decided to closely communicate and coordinate with its sister Orthodox Churches concerning this matter."[113][114] The same day, President Poroshenko declard on his official Facebook page that "the Ecumenical Patriarchate had commenced the procedures necessary for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."[115][116]

On 23 June 2018, a delegation of the UOC-MP held talks with Patriarch Bartholomew and other Greek hierarchs.[117][118] The negotiations ended up with neither signed documents nor a joint statement.[119] The goal of these talks were, according to the UOC-MP, "for the purpose of obtaining reliable information from Patriarch Bartholomew himself regarding initiatives for the possible granting of a Tomos for Autocephaly, as well as for the purpose of communicating the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on this issue. The hierarchs also informed the patriarch about the current situation of church life in Ukraine."[120]

On 25 June, the UOC-MP declared it had "heard" the message of Metropolitan Onufry and the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the meeting that took place on June 23 in Istanbul between the delegation of the UOC-MP and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and members of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Therefore the hierarchs of the UOC-MP adopted a joint statement in which they "expressed their vision for the further development of the mission of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukrainian society."[121] The statement concludes that "[t]he current canonical status is quite sufficient for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to fruitfully carry out its mission among the people of Ukraine"[122][123][124]

On 31 August 2018, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to discuss Ukrainian autocephaly, informing him that they "are implementing already this decision" to grant autocephaly.[125]

On 1 September, in Istanbul, a Synaxis of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne began. Patriarch Bartholomew delivered the keynote address to over 100 Hierarchs of the Throne, stating, among other things: "the origin of difficulties and reactions in Ukraine are neither a recent phenomenon nor something created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Already from the early 14th century, when the See of the Kievan Metropolis was moved without the canonical permission of the Mother Church to Moscow, there have been tireless efforts on the part of our Kievan brothers for independence from ecclesiastical control by the Moscow center. [...] The Tome proclaiming Moscow as a Patriarchate does not include the region of today’s Metropolis of Kiev in the jurisdiction of Moscow. Moreover, [...] the canonical dependence of Kiev to the Mother Church of Constantinople remained constant and uninterrupted. [...] [S]ince Russia, as the one responsible for the current painful situation in Ukraine, is unable to solve the problem, the Ecumenical Patriarchate assumed the initiative of resolving the problem in accordance with the authority afforded to it by the Sacred Canons and the jurisdictional responsibility over the eparchy of Kiev, receiving a request to this end by the honorable Ukrainian Government, as well as recurring requests by “Patriarch” Philaret of Kiev appealing for our adjudication of his case."[126][127]

Ecumenical Patriarch's legates in Ukraine and reactions of the Russian Orthodox Church[edit]

On 7 September, the Patriarch of Constantinople announced, on the official websites of the Ecumenical Patriarch Permanent Delegation to the World Council of Churches as well as on the official website of the Ecumentical Patriarchate, that he had appointed Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion as his exarchs and legates in Ukraine.[128][129] Those appointments were, according to the official announcement on the official website of the Ecumentical Patriarchate, "[w]ithin the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine"[129] Daniel of Palphlion and Ilarion had already been sent by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine in 2015 which at the time led to an official protest by the UOC-MP.[78]

The same day, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, gave an interview to Russia 24 TV channel about the appointment of the two exarchs.[130] In this interview, Hilarion issued his warning that the Russian Orthodox Church will "have no other choice but to break the communion" with the Ecumenical Patriarch if autocephaly is granted to Ukraine. This interview was entirely published on the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations's official website in English the same day.[131]

On 8 September, the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed its "resolute protest against and deep indignation at" the report published a day prior on the appointment of the two hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as exarchs of the Patriarchate for Kiev.[132] The same day, on a social network, Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, commented on the topic and stated that "[t]he appointment by the Patriarch of Constantinople of his episcopal representatives in Ukraine, without agreement with the Patriarch of Moscow [...] and His Beatitude [the] Metropolitan of Kiev [...], is [...] an unprecedentedly gross incursion into the Moscow Patriarchate's canonical territory[.] [...] These actions cannot be left unanswered".[133][134] The same day, the OUC-MP published an official declaration on its website which states: "[T]he appointment of the two Exarchs is a gross violation of the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The decision made by the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate contradicts the 2nd Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople), namely that, without being invited, “Bishops must not leave their own diocese and go over to churches beyond its boundaries”."[135]

September 2018: Russian Orthodox synod's "retaliatory measures" and the aftermath[edit]

On 14 September 2018, in response to the appointment of those two exarchs, the Russian Orthodox Church decided to hold "an extraordinary session" to take "retaliatory measures after the appointment by the Patriarchate of Constantinople of its “exarchs” to Kiev following up the decision of this Church’s Synod “to grant autocephalous status to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”" The synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided:[136][137]

1. To suspend the liturgical prayerful commemoration of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

2. To suspend concelebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

3. To suspend the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in all Episcopal Assemblies, theological dialogues, multilateral commissions and other structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

4. To adopt a statement of the Holy Synod concerning the uncanonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine.

A statement was released the same day explaining the situation and the sanctions taken to protest against the Ecumenical Patriarch's behavior.[17][138] On the same day, Metropolitan Hilarion clarified the situation in an interview published on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. In the interview, Hilarion stated:[139]

"[S]uspended will be the [...] participation in all the structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of Constantinople. [...] The suspension includes bishop’s assemblies in the countries of the so-called diaspora and the theological dialogue[.] [...] The decision of the Holy Synod to suspend the liturgical mention of the Patriarch of Constantinople’s name during the liturgy and the fact that we suspend con-celebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople does not imply a full breaking-off of the Eucharistic communion. The lay people who come to Mount Athos or find themselves in churches of the Patriarchate of Constantinople can take communion in them. But we refuse to concelebrate with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople since every time they mention the name of their Patriarch during the liturgy while we have suspended it. [...] We do not think, of course, that all this will finally shut the door for dialogue, but our today’s decision is a signal to the Patriarchate of Constantinople that if the actions of this kind continue, we will have to break the Eucharistic communion entirely. [...] [A]fter the breaking-off of the Eucharistic communion, at least a half of this 300-million-strong population will no longer recognize him as even the first among equals."

On 23 September 2018 Patriarch Bartholomew, during a mass he was celebrating in the Saint Fokas Orthodox Church "proclaimed that he had sent a message that Ukraine would receive autocephaly as soon as possible, since it is entitled to it"[140][141]

On 30 September 2018, in an interview to Izvestia daily published on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion commented: "The Russian Church does not need to fear isolation. If Constantinople continues its anti-canonical actions, it will place itself outside the canonical space, outside the understanding of church order that distinguishes the Orthodox Church."[142]

On 2 October, Patriarch Kirill of the ROC sent a letter to all the autocephalous Orthodox churches to ask them to hold a "Pan-Orthodox discussion" concerning the question of Ukraine's autocephaly.[143][144][145][146]

On 5 October, the Metropolitan Pavel, head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church), announced the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 15 October in Minsk. He said that "The situation with the Orthodox Church in Ukraine will be on the agenda of the meeting".[147] This meeting had been announced previously on 7 January 2018 and was at the time "most likely to take place in mid October."[148]

On 9 October, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church warned that "if the project for Ukrainian autocephaly is carried through, it will mean a tragic and possibly irretrievable schism of the whole Orthodoxy." He added that "ignoring sacred canons shakes up the whole system of the church organism. Schismatics in other Local Churches are well aware that if autocephaly is given to the Ukrainian schismatics, it will be possible to repeat the same scenario anywhere. That is why we state that autocephaly in Ukraine will not be ‘the healing of the schism’ but its legalization and encouragement."[149]

11 October 2018 communiqué of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate[edit]

On 11 October 2018, after a regular synod, the Patriarchate of Constantinople renewed an earlier decision to move towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.[8][150][6] The synod also withdrew Constantinople's 332-years-old qualified acceptance of the Russian Orthodox Church's canonical jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church contained in a letter of 1686.[150][6] The synod also lifted the excommunication of Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and Metropolitan Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), and both bishops were "canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful [...] restored to communion with the Church."[5][70][151]

On the evening of 11 October, the day of the declaration of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Ukraine's president, Poroshenko, enthusiastically welcomed Constantinople's move,[152] which Poroshenko, prematurely and therefore erroneously, described as the granting of a Tomos of autocephaly (a formal decree of church independence) to the Ukrainian Church.[6] He presented Ukrainian Church independence as part of Ukraine's wider conflict with Russia that involves Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea, Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, and Ukraine's desire to integrate with the West by joining the European Union and NATO (which is a perception broadly shared by both sides in the dispute).[153][25][26]

On 12 October 2018, the day after the Ecumenical Patriarch's decision, according to the Kremlin website, Russian President Vladimir Putin "held an operational meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council" (the Security Council of Russia) that "discussed issues of the domestic Russian socio-economic agenda and international issues".[154] Ukraine's Euromaidan Press described this as Putin convening "an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, where the “situation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine” was "discussed", and it added that "This is a revealing slip of the tongue, since to assuage Ukrainians, the UOC MP has been insisting it is independent of Moscow and in no way the “Russian Church in Ukraine.”"[6] Similar accounts were given by Russia's Sputnik News and by the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, quoting Interfax-religion, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, and the Kremlin website.[155][156]

On 12 October 2018, the UOC-KP declared in a communiqué that this decision from the Ecumenical Patriarchate had restored the canonical recognition of the episcopate and clergy of the Kiev Patriarchate.[157][158] However, it was later clarified that Filaret was considered by the Ecumenical Patriarchate only as "the former metropolitan of Kiev",[159] and Makariy as "the former [Metropolitan] of Lvlv"[160] and, on 2 November, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognize neither the UAOC nor the UOC-KP as legitimate and that their respective leaders were not recognized as primates of their churches.[13][14] The synod was viewed as a key step towards those two organizations merging into a single church independent from Moscow.[151] The Russian Orthodox Church is linked to 12,000 parishes in Ukraine while the Kiev Patriarchate and UAOC control about 6,000; however, it is believed that many of the Russian-controlled Ukrainian parishes may defect to the Kiev organizations.[161][162]

In an interview given to the BBC on 2 November 2018, Archbishop Job, hierarch of the Church of Constantinople, explained that since the Ecumenical Patriarchate abolished the decision of the 1686 letter on 11 October 2018, the UOC-MP canonically ceased to exist in Ukraine on 11 October 2018.[163][14] He added that canonically there could be only one church on the territory of Ukraine and that therefore an exharcate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine was "simply uncanonical" and that in Ukraine "there can be no repetition of Estonia’s scenario".[164][13][14] He also explained that the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision was urged by the reactions of Ukrainian Orthodox faithfuls after the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in the Donbass who wanted to stay Orthodox but did not want to be part of the UOC-MP.[165][13]

29 November 2018 communiqué of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate[edit]

The regular November session of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate started on 27 November and ended on 29 November, lasting three days.[166][167][168]

On 27 November the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided unanimously to dissolve its exarchate of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (AROCWE).[169][170]

The communiqué says the Ecumenical Patriarchate "decided to revoke the patriarchal tomos of 1999 by which it granted pastoral care and administration of orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to His Archbishop-Exarch. [...] Today’s decision aims to further strengthen the link of Russian tradition parishes with the mother church of the patriarchate of Constantinople. [...] It is by pastoral concern that the ecumenical patriarchate has decided to integrate and connect parishes to the various holy Metropolises of the ecumenical patriarchate in the countries where they are located. Our Mother Church will continue to ensure and guarantee the preservation of their liturgical and spiritual tradition."[171][172]

On 29 November, the synod ended.[173] Some like the Religious Information Service of Ukraine had expected the Ecumenical Patriarchate to give the date of the unification council of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.[174] However, no date was given.

After the end of its synod, the Ecumenical Patriarchate later released, on its official website, an official communiqué. In said communiqué, the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced: 1) that the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had decided to dissolve the AROCWE, "thereby entrusting its faithful to the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne in Europe", 2) that, in anticipation of the granting of the Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox church of Ukraine, the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had "drafted the Ukrainian Church’s Constitutional Charter."[168] On the same day, President Poroshenko said in an official speech to the Ukrainian nation that the date for the unification council for the Ukrainian church would be announced "soon" by the Ecumenical Patriarch.[175][176][177][178]

Break of communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Russian Orthodox Church[edit]

On 15 October 2018, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, meeting in Minsk, decided to cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate. This decision forbade joint participation in all sacraments, including communion, baptism, and marriage, at any church worldwide controlled by Constantinople.[2][3] At the time of the schism, the Russian Orthodox Church had over 150 million followers, more than half of all Eastern Orthodox Christians.[161] The same day, after the synod, a briefing for journalists was given by Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, in which he declared that "[t]he decision on complete cessation of the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople was taken today."[179]

Declarations by the Russian Orthodox Church[edit]

The next day, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, explained on Russian television that the decisions of the Patriarch of Constantinople "run contrary to the canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church".[180] Moreover, an official communicate from the External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church published the same day quoted Hilarion saying: "we no longer have a single coordinating center in the Orthodox Church, and we should very clearly realize that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has self-destructed as such [because] having invaded the canonical boundaries of another Local Church, by legitimatizing a schism it [the Ecumenical Patriarchate] has lost the right to be called the coordinating center for the Orthodox Church[.]"[181]

On 17 October, Metropolitan Hilarion was interviewed by the BBC Russian Service; this interview was published on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church the very same day. Hilarion declared that "the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has recognized a schismatic structure means for us that Constantinople itself is now in schism. It has identified itself with a schism. Accordingly, we cannot have the full Eucharistic communion with it." Hilarion added that when members of the Russian Orthodox of Moscow Patriarchate pay visits to the monasteries on Mount Athos, they cannot participate in the sacraments (for example, receive communion), and promised punishment to any priests who participate in the divine services together with the local clergy. It is known that Russia makes large donations to the monasteries on Athos (the sum of $200 million was announced), and the highest Russian officials and oligarchs run charitable foundations and make pilgrimages to Athos. Hilarion hinted that "[h]istory shows that when Athos is concerned over something, the monasteries on the Holy Mountain do find ways to inform the Patriarch of Constantinople about it" and called on Russian businessmen to switch donations to Russian sacred places.[182][183][184]

On 19 October, during a meeting with Pope Francis, Hilarion announces him that "because of the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople the Russian Orthodox Church had to suspend its participation in the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church".[185] Hilarion explained on November that is was due to the fact that the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church had previously, on 14 September, decided "to break off the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Episcopal Assemblies and in the theological dialogues, multilateral commissions and any other structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople."[17][186]

On 22 October, Hilarion published a declaration on the same official website which stipulates that according to the Russian Orthodox Church, Filaret "was and remains a schismatic" despite the recognition of Filaret by the Patriarch of Constantinople. In the declaration, Hilarion also expressed his fears that, since on the 20 October 2018 the UOC-KP had decided to give the title of archimandrite of the Kiev Pechersk and Pochayiv Lavras to Filaret,[187][188][189] Filaret could be planning to seize "the main holy sites of the canonical Ukrainian Church [i.e. the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)]".[190] On 30 October Filaret declared that after the unification council "there would be no violence against the canonical UOC, including in resolving property issues."[191]

On 23 October, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, from the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations secretary for far abroad,[192] told Interfax that "[g]iven that the Byzantine Empire long ago ceased to exist and that Istanbul is not even the capital of Turkey now, there are no more canonical foundations even for the symbolic primacy of the Constantinople Patriarchate in the Orthodox world", and that the ROC would not comply to the Ecumenical Patriarch's decision.[193]

On 28 October, the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill stated in a speech, which was two days later published on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, that there was "no conflict whatsoever between Constantinople and Moscow! There is Moscow’s defense of the inviolable canonical norms [...] If one of the Churches supports the schismatics, if one of the Churches violates canons, then she ceases to be an Orthodox Church. Therefore, the position of the Russian Orthodox Church today, which has stopped the liturgical mention of the Patriarch of Constantinople, has to do not only with the relationships between the two Patriarchs – the point is the very nature of the Orthodox Churc[h]."[194]

In an interview given to Orthodoxia.info published on 6 November 2018, Metropolitan Onufriy’s spokesman, Archbishop Kliment (Vecheria), declared that the Ecumenical Patriarch should have remembered that "Byzantium ended 500 years ago" and added that the Church "lives according to the gospel and not based on 'prerogatives' rooted in a nonexistent empire"[195]

On November, the Moscow Patriarchate established a parish in Constantinople, a territory under the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[196]

During the month of November, Metropolitan Hilarion gave some interviews to news agencies from different countries which were published on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. He declared that "the mechanisms of inter-Orthodox dialogue and cooperation, which were developing for a long while, have been destroyed. [...] [T]he Patriarchate of Constantinople, first in honour, acted as coordinator of the inter-Orthodox activities. Yet, now, when over a half of all the Orthodox Christians in the world are not in communion with it, Constantinople has lost this role".[186][197] In another interview he said that the Ecumenical Patriarch "claims the power over history itself by revoking decisions made over three centuries ago", that "[t]he danger of destruction of ages-old traditions has been more and more clearly realized now by Primates and hierarchs of Local Orthodox Churches, who speak out in faviour of a pan-Orthodox discussion on the Ukrainian problem. In the new situation, which has shaped now, we have to search for new forms of communication of Churches adequate to it", and that the Ecumenical Patriarch could not chair a Pan-Orthodox Council since "[t]he coordinating role that the Throne of Constantinople played, though not without difficulties, in the Orthodox world in the second part of the 20th century, cannot be played by it now" because "[t]he Patriarchate of Constantinople has self-destructed as the coordinating center for Orthodox Churches."[198] In his last interview he declared that the Ecumenical Patriarch's actions "allegedly aimed to heal the Ukrainian schism [...] [a]ctually lead to the deepening of the schism in Ukraine and to creating for the Orthodox Church an unprecedented situation when the whole body of the world Orthodoxy may find itself split into pieces."[199]

On 22 November, Metropolitan Hilarion said on the channel Russia-TV 24 that Ukraine would never get its autocephaly.[200]

On 26 November, Metropolitan Hilarion declared that the ROC would send a priest in South Korea and declared the plans "to create a full-fledged parish", because until the 1950s in Korea was a Russian Spiritual Mission whose faithfuls were in the 1950s transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's jurisdiction. The priest is scheduled to be sent by the end of the year.[201]

On 28 November, the ROC officials reacted at the announce of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision (taken on 27 November 2018) to dissolve the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe. The ROC officials reminded that during the spring of 2003, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow proposed to all bishops and Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to unite as part of the self-governing metropolitan district of the Russian Orthodox Church.[202]

On 4 December, in an interview given to Orthodoxie.com, Metropolitan Hilarion declared that the fact the Patriarch of Constantinople had fallen in schism "was not without precedents in the history of the Constantinople Patriarchate" and gave the example of Nestorius and the Patriarchs of Constantinople who accepted the union with the Catholic Church after the Council of Florence.[203] He also said the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions in Ukraine were a "revenge" on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow because, according to Hilarion, the Ecumenical Patriarch believes that it is the Russian Orthodox Church who incited some Orthodox churches not to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council of Crete.[204]

Events in Ukraine[edit]

Transfer of St Andrew's church[edit]

On 18 October 2018, the Ukrainian parliament gave approval to give permanent use of the St Andrew's Church in Kiev to the Patriarch of Constantinople for him to hold "worships, religious ceremonies and processions"[205] in the said church, provided that St Andrew's church is also used as a museum and still belongs to the Ukrainian state.[206][207][208][209] St Andrew's church will also serve, according to an official, as the Ecumenical Patriarchate's embassy in Ukraine.[210] St Andrew's church previous owner was the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church which accepted the transfer.[211] The parliament had to vote on this decision because the church is part of a national heritage site owned by the state.[212][213] The goal of this vote was, according to the KyivPost, to "speed up the receipt of a tomos (ordinance) – [the] recognition of a local Orthodox church in Ukraine by the global Orthodoxy"[207] Iryna Lutsenko, the representative of the Ukrainian president in parliament, declared the goal of this action was to make a "sign of solidarity with this process [of Ukraine receiving a tomos]" as well as "a symbolic gesture of unity with the Mother-Church [Constantinople]".[205] However, on the same day the Opposition Bloc introduced a motion to repeal the transfer, which meant that the Ukrainian President would not be able to sign the motion to transfer the St Andrew's church until the motion of repeal is reviewed by the Ukrainian parliament.[214] Finally, President Proshenko signed the law of transfer on 7 November 2018[215][206][216][217][218] and the law took effect on 10 November 2018.[215][206][219][220] On 28 November 2018, in conformity with the law on religious organizations, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the transfer of the St Andrew's church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's permanent use.[221]

On the morning of November 15, four unknown persons threw Molotov cocktails at the St Andrew's church (but they didn't explode) and attacked the priest with a spray.[222][223][224] On 27 November one of the suspects was arrested.[225]

Cancellation of the transfer of the Pochayiv Lavra[edit]

On 16 November 2018 Ukrinform reported that the Ukrainian Culture Ministry had challenged the legality of the transfer of the Pochayiv Lavra, located in the Ternopil Oblast, to the UOC-MP. The Pochayiv Lavra is a historic site of Ukraine.[226] It is only in 2018 that a local deputy of Pochayevsky city council found out that Yanukovych’s 2003 order on the transfer of the Lavra until 2052 to the UOC-MP (№ 438)[227] was carried out in an unknown way. The police of the Ternopil region opened proceedings in this case.[228] Should the illegality of the transfer be established, the transfer would be cancelled.[229] On 23 November 2018, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice cancelled the transfer of the Pochayiv Lavra to the UOC-MP.[230][231][232] On the next day, the UOC-MP monks of the Pochayiv Lavra clarified that "the commission of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, in response to the complaint from the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, has cancelled the registration of the contract for the right to use the Assumption Cathedral, the Trinity Cathedral, monastic cells, the bell tower, the bishop's house and the Holy Gates."[233][234] On 28 November, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the return of the Pochayiv Lavra to the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical and Architectural Reserve by cancelling the 2003 transfer law which gave the use of the lavra to the UOC-MP and excluded the lavra from the Pochayiv Lavra to the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical and Architectural Reserve.[235][236][237][238]

Planned unification council[edit]

The idea of a single local Ukrainian church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate's jurisdiction, which would be the result of the union between the UAOC and the UOC-KP, had already been formulated on October 2009 by bishop Makariy at a time where he was not yet the head of the UAOC,[239] and Filaret supported of a united autocephalous Ukrainian church on October 2011.[240][241] Preparations for a unification between the UAOC and the UOC-KP took place in 2011 between the episcopates of both churches.[242] An attempt of unification between the UAOC and the OUC-KP had already taken place between both parties in 2015 but failed.[243][244][245][246] In the end, the unification council between the two churches, which was scheduled to take place on 14 September 2015 between the UAOC and the UOC-KP, never took place as both churches could not agree on the future statutes of the united Ukrainian church.[244][246][247] Before this, according to Filaret in 2015, the UAOC and the UOC-KP already had four attempts of negotiations in the past 20 years, the 2015 negotiation being the fifth.[247]

After the 11 October 2018 decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a unification council to create a united Ukrainian Church should take place between the UOC-KP, the UAOC, and some members of the UOC-MP who are willing to join an autocephalous Ukrainian Church[162][248] to form a single local church in Ukraine.[249][250] The date of this unification council is unknown and its convocation "depends on the Patriarch of Constantinople",[251] but Filaret, head of the UOC-KP, hopes that thanks to his Church's efforts this council could take place before the end of the year 2018.[252] Filaret declared that the question of which parishes would join a united Ukrainian Church will be decided by vote of the congregation of each parish.[253] It is believed that a united Ukrainian Church is a compulsory step before Ukraine can be granted its tomos (autocephaly) from the Patriarch of Constantinople.[248][254]

According to Filaret, he would undoubtedly be the winner in case of an election of the leader of a united Ukrainian Church "because Moscow will do everything to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And therefore, in order to preserve the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and brring [sic] the cause to the end, [he] ha[s] to work to the end".[191] Filaret declared he was ready to take the role of head of a united Ukrainian Church.[255]

On 20 October 2018, in an interview with Espreso.TV,[256] the head of the UAOC, Makariy, declared that there was no negotiations in the direction of a united Ukrainian church and that after his last meeting with Filaret, at which Filaret said that only his statute would be used,[257] Makariy began to question the success of the union.[258] On 27 October Makariy told Zik TV he would not nominate his candidacy during the future council and would instead "support the one to be offered by the Ecumenical Patriarch[.]"[259][260]

In an interview to the BBC on 2 November, Archbishop Job of the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared the united Ukrainian Church would be called "the Orthodox Church in Ukraine"[261][13] However, Filaret, head of the UOC-KP, declared on 2 November to RadioLiberty that the united Ukrainian church would be called "Ukrainian Orthodox Church" with "Kiev Patriarchate" as the church's second name.[262][263]

On 3 November 2018, Ukrainian President Poroshenko, in visit in Turkey, signed a cooperation agreement with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.[264] According to Poroshenko, this agreement "creates all the conditions for the preparation process for a unification assembly and the process of providing a tomos to be brought into clear correspondence with the canons of the Orthodox Church."[265] This agreement led to protests by hierarchs of the UOC-MP and the ROC.[266][267][268] The text of the agreement is unknown.

On 10 November, the website Vesti-Ukr revealed the heads of the UAOC and the UOC-KP, respectively Makariy and Filaret, had individually sent a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Makariy declared the same thing as in his interview to Zik TV: that he would not run for the position of head of the united Ukrainian Orthodox church. The real surprise was the fact that Filaret also declared he accepted not to run for this position either.[269][270] In his letter, Filaret asked the Ecumenical Patriarch to support the election of the member of the UOC-KP Epiphany (Dumenko), currently officing as "Metropolitan" and "patriarchal deputy" in the UOC-KP and protégé of Filaret, as head of the united Ukrainian Orthodox church. On 16 November, Filaret's letter was published by ZNAJ.ua; in this letter Filaret declares that he withdrew his candidacy at the request of the Ecumenical Patriarch.[271][272][269]

On 13 November, at the initiative of President Poroshenko, a meeting between the episcopate of UOC-MP and President Poroshenko was scheduled to take place in Kiev.[c] The UOC-MP refused to meet Poroshenko at the Ukrainian House, preferring to meet Poroshenko at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, and immediatly notified Poroshenko of it; Poroshenko refused to hold the meeting at the Pechersk Lavra, preferring to meet members of the UOC-MP at the Ukrainian House. The same day, the UOC-MP issued an official statement in which the UOC-MP confirmed "its readiness to meet with the President of Ukraine, but on church territory."[277] Nevertheless, in the evening, some representatives of the Council arrived at the Ukrainian House and met with Poroshenko. According to a BBC source from the president's administration, their number did not exceed 10 people, but they represented a much larger number of UOC-MP hierarchs supporting the creation of an autocephalous church.[282][283] According to other sources, two metropolitans and the archbishop were present at the meeting with Poroshenko. In addition, Metropolitan Simeon had the letter of attorney to participate in a meeting with the president from 15 hierarchs of the UOC-MP. It was assumed that the voting of the hierarchs of the of the UOC-MP at the planned Council of the "Orthodox Local Church of Ukraine" will be carried out in a similar way (by the letter of attorney).[12]

On 14 November, GolosUA reported that on 15 November Metropolitan of France Emmanuel of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would come to Ukraine in order to organize the future unification council, he would also be the one leading said council. Allegedly, still according to GolosUA, the unification council would take place on 22 November 2018 and at that time the statute of the united Orthodox church of Ukraine and the text of the Tomos on autocephaly would be ready.[284][285][286] The UOC-KP officially denied that the unification council's date had been officially released.[287] On 15 November, UNN reported that Metropolitan Emmanuel had arrived in Kiev to prepare the unification process; UNN also reported the unification council would allegedly take place on 22 November 2018.[288][289]

On 19 November, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued an official communiqué, stating that it "reiterates its sacred decision to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine" and that the date for the Ukrainian unification council "will be presented within December 2018" by the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[15] On the same day, Filaret issued an official communiqué "[i]n connection with the proliferation of a number of publications whose explicit purpose is to sow confusion in the Ukrainian Church and in society"In said communiqué he declared: "Self-nomination for candidacy in the Church is not allowed by the canons. Earlier it was reported that the bishops of the UOC-Kiev Patriarchate would offer my candidacy for election as the Primate. I thank the bishops for expressing my trust in me, as well as thanking for the strong support from the fullness of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the whole society." He added that if he was chosen as candidate by the UOC-KP, he would inform the unification council of his decision and explain it.[290][291][292]

The publication Levyy Bereg cited sources of ecclesiastical circles saying that the probable date of the unification council would be on December 9–10.[293]

President Poroshenko declared on 23 November that the decision on the approval of the tomos to Ukraine should be taken on November 27–29 during the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and that Rostyslav Pavlenko, presidential advisor, would go to Istanbul to attend at the synod.[294] Rostyslav Pavlenko went to Istanbul and 26 November, before the Synod, he was received by the Ecumenical Patriarch and had a conversation with him concerning "events in Ukraine and final steps toward the granting of the tomos of autocephaly (full independence) of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine"[295] On 27 November Pavlenko told Interfax that the Ecumenical Patriarchate's communiqué concerning the granting of the tomos and the date of the unification council should be issued on 29 November. He said that at the unification council "the primate of this [united Ukrainian] Church will be elected, and he will go to Istanbul to receive [the Tomos]", he added that the arrival of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev was "not scheduled."[296][297][298][299]

It is planned that the newly elected head of the united Ukrainian Orthodox church will go to Istanbul, accompanied with President Poroshenko,[16][300] to receive the church tomos and lead a mass with the Ecumenical Patriarch.[173]

On 3 December, parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy said the Ecumenical Patriarchate had approved the date of the unification council and that this council would be held in Kiev, but Parubiy did not say on which date this council would be held.[301][302]

On 4 December, the Greek website ROMFEA published the first page of the draft statute of the autocephalous church in Ukraine.[303][304]

Convocation of the council[edit]

On 5 December, President Poroshenko declard the unification council would be held on 15 December.[16] BBC News reported that the council would last one day and that, according to sources in Constantinople, said council would effectively be held on 15 December.[305][306] On the same day, archbishop Clement, head of the UOC-MP, declard that the UOC-MP would not participate in this unification council.[307][308] Always on 5 December, counselor of Proshencko, Rostislav Pavlenko, declared that the "Ukrainian Autocephalous church will be completely independent and equal amongst other canonically recognized Orthodox churches" He added: "The Ukrainian Church will be introduced into the diptych, that is, the list of independent Churches. She will become one of the fifteen, already fifteenth, universally recognized, independent Churches. And in this there is a fundamental difference. Therefore, now we do not have to believe the message in the media, which is aimed at sowing some kind of uncertainty, discord, panic and the like" He also said the charter of the united Ukrainian Orthodox church would be decided by the bishops present at the unification council.[309][310] Still on 5 December, Archbishop Herman of Chernivtsi and Khotyn of the UAOC said no candidate to the office of Primate of the future united Ukrainian Orthodox church will be submitted by the UAOC.[311][312]

On 6 December, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow commented: "Can you imagine Putin declaring that he convenes the council of bishops on December 15, can you imagine him saying that this Church is suitable for us, but not that one? [...] Poroshenko violates the constitution of his country, and nobody criticizes him!"[313][314][315][316] The video of his commentary was uploaded on Youtube, on the official channel of the Moscow Patriarchate, and relayed on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate.[315][317]

On 6 December, the website ROMFEA published the letter of convocation to the unification council which was sent to the Orthodox hierarchs of Ukraine.[318] This letter contained an invitation to the unification council with the procedure of election of the primate of the future church. The letter said that any bishop can bring a monk or a member of the laity to the unification council, and that the monks/laypersons brought this way, as well as the bishops, would have the right to vote during the council. Moreover, the President Poroshenko would be an observer during the council.[318][319][320][321] On the same day, Metropolitan Oleksandr of Pereislav-Khmelnytskyi and Vishnevsky published on his Facebook page a letter, in Ukrainian, sent by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Metropolitan Onuphriy. In the letter to Onuphriy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared it still allowed him to be bishop "in a form of oikonomia and condescension" but that if he refused to take part in the unification council he would cease to be the Metropolitan of Kiev.[320][322][321] The letter to Onuphriy was published on 7 December, in Greek, on the Greek website ROMFEA.[160]

On 6 December, press secretary of the UOC-KP, Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya, wrote on his Facebook page, in response to the allegations of a religious expert who claimed that Filaret would not run for the post of primate of the unified Ukrainian church, that on 19 November Filaret had already expressed his official position.[323][324][325] In the same post, he linked to the previous official statement made on 19 November.[291] Still on 6 December, the UOC-KP held a synod.[326] The synod ended the same day and in the communiqué of the decisions taken by the synod is namely tosupport the 19 November statement of Filaret. The communiqué also mentioned the UOC-KP would elect its candidate for the post of primate of the united Ukrainian church on 13 December 2018, two days before the unification council; the communiqué also also mentioned that considering all the circumstances, the UOC-KP "is ready, if necessary, to postpone for some time the request to recognize it in a dignity of patriarchate, retaining that name within its boundaries and for domestic use". The council of the UOC-KP also decided that only the hierarchs (bishops) would have the right to vote during the unification coucil.[327][328][329][330] The UOC-KP synod's demands that the voters of the unification council be only bishops, and that the vote to elect the new church's primate be open (not secret), were opposed to the ones the Ecumenical Patriarchate had specified in its letter.[331][332][333]

On 7 December, Filaret of the UOC-KP declared "[Moscow] is spreading rumors that the patriarch will resign and will not run. This is not true. I will be patriarch to death, because the enthronement was in 1995. And no one will remove this grace" and that during the unification council the UOC-KP will "reject everything inappropriate if it is demanded from us"[334][335] On the same day, Metropolitan Onufriy decided not to answer the Ecumenical Patriarchate's invitation to the unification council and sent back to the Ecumenical Patriarchayr the letter of convocation he had received,[336][337] and the UOC-MP synod declared the unification council unlawful.[338][339][340]

On 10 December, Filaret declared the UOC-KP might not participate at the unification council because of the disagreement with the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning the procedure of vote of said council.[341][342] Moreover, the same day the press secretary of the UOC-KP declared on his Facebook page that "[t]he fact that the Kyiv Patriarchate has proposals as for the procedure of the Council or the election of the church's head does not mean that a common vision will not be agreed in the end"[333]

Ukrainian Supreme Court[edit]

On 31 October, the Ukrainian Supreme Court declared on its official Facebook page[343] that it is "proceeding with three claims from various plaintiffs to overturn the parliamentary decree on supporting an appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew"[344] The first lawsuit comes from the UOC-MP religious community of the St. Nicholas Church of Berdiansk, Berdiansk eparchy, Zaporozhia region,[345] the second lawsuit comes from St. George’s Monastery of Horodnytsia in the Zhytomyr region three.[346] The third claim comes from the abbot of the Tithes (Desiatinny) Monastery Bishop Gedeon (Charon) of Makarov.[344][347][348]

Kerch Strait incident[edit]

On 27 November, parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy announced that the martial law declared in some regions of Ukraine would not delay the receiving of the tomos of autocephaly (independence) and that, if anything, the martial law was going to speed up the process of Ukraine receiving its tomos.[349][350][351][352] On 28 November 2018, Ukrainian President Poroshenko declared the 2018 Kerch Strait incident was provoked by Russia in order to force Ukraine to declare martial law and therefore to prevent Ukraine from receiving its tomos of autocephaly.[27][28]

Reactions[edit]

International community[edit]

  •  Russia: On 12 October 2018, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, "held an operational meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council" (the Security Council of Russia) that discussed "a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues, including the situation around the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine", according to Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov.[154][156]
  •  Ukraine: Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, enthusiastically welcomed Constantinople's October decision,[152][6] and presented the Ukrainian Church's independence as part of Ukraine's wider conflict with Russia, and Ukraine's desire to integrate with the West by joining the European Union and NATO.[153][25][26] Later, during various official speeches, Poroshenko stressed the importance of Ukraine receiving its tomos of autocephaly which Ukraine "deserved",[353] is the equivalent of "a charter of [Ukraine's] spiritual independence"[176] and was comparable to a referendum on Ukraine's independence.[354] On the 27th anniversary of the referendum on independence of Ukraine, Poroshenko declared the tomos of autocephaly was the equivalent of Ukraine saying ""Away from Moscow!" - "Europe now!""[354]
  •  United States: The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urged all sides to respect the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reiterating the United States' "strong support for religious freedom and the freedom of members of religious groups".[355]
  • Belarus: the President of Belarus, the country in which the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church took place, met members of the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 15 October 2018 after the ROC's decision to severe communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[356][357]

Responses from other autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches[edit]

Church of Cyprus[edit]

On 26 September, the head of the Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, had a meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador in Cyprus, Borys Humeniuk; during this meeting, the question of the ecclesiastical problems in Ukraine was discussed. During the meeting, Chrysostomos II "expressed his worry and concern about the latest events in the Ukrainian Church and the possibility of the creation of a schism that would harm the unity of all Orthodoxy" and declared that the Church of Cyprus was ready to be a "bridge for the normalization of the unstable situation" between the Patriarchets of Moscow and Constantinople concerning the question of the Orthodoxy in Ukraine. Those declarations were published on the official website of the Church of Cyprus.[358][359]

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Polish Orthodox Church[edit]

On 14 October 2018, the Polish Orthodox Church declared that "[c]onsent of all the Local Churches is needed in order to grant the autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, and a hasty decision can deepen the schism ... autocephaly is granted by the Mother Church after reaching agreement with the Primates of all the Local Churches[.]"[360]

On 22 October 2018, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Polish Orthodox Church issued a joint statement in which they "call upon all those on whom it depends to eliminate church misunderstandings associated with the bestowal of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church; to please do whatever is within their might to avoid conflict over this issue in order to establish church order on Ukrainian territory."[361][362][363][364][365][366]

On 16 November 2018, the Polish Orthodox Church issued an official communiqué after the meeting of its synod on 15 November 2018.[367] The Polish Orthodox Church declared in this communiqué that it did not recognize the rehabilitation of the UAOC and the UOC-KP and that the synod "forbids the priests of the Polish Orthodox Church from having liturgical and prayerful contact with the ‘clergy’ of the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the so-called ‘Autocephalous Orthodox Church,’ which have committed much evil in the past". The communiqué also stated that "[o]nly the observance of the dogmatic and canonical norms of the Church and the preservation of the centuries-old tradition will protect Orthodoxy from severe ecclesiastical consequences on an international scale."[368][369]

Serbian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch[edit]

Not so long before the schism, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, considered the presumable schism between Moscow and Constantinople would be the hardest of all those that have ever been, even greater quantitatively than the schism of 1054. He stated that the Serbian Church does not accept the existence of two Orthodox Christianities - "Fanariotic" (i.e. Constantinople's) and "Moscow’s". He added his church did not stand for Moscow nor was against Constantinople, but supportsed the established order and opposed any decisions that would certainly lead to dire consequences. He also declared that if non-canonical churches were recognized, a similar phenomenon would happen "in Macedonia, but also in Montenegro, Abkhazia, and wherever the contracting authorities and perpetrators have imagined, even, perhaps, in Greece."[370]

After the schism, Patriarch Irinej gave an interview in which he condemned the 11 October decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In his opinion, this decision increases the risks of new divisions in the Local Churches, while the Ecumenical Patriarch had no right to recognize the schismatic church and grant it an autocephaly.[371][372][373][374][375] Some Serbian Church officials also expressed concerns that this decision would be followed by recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which had previously split from the Serbian Church.[376]

On 20 October, the Serbian and Antiochian patriarchs made a common declaration in which they "appeal to their brother, His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, to restore the fraternal dialogue with the Orthodox Church of Russia in order to, with the fraternal assistance and participation of all the other primates of the Local Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, resolve the conflict between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow and to restore back the bond of peace in the Orthodox Church".[377][378]

On 12 November 2018, the synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church published a communiqué in which they declared they considered the reinstatement of Filaret and Makariy as "non-binding for the Serbian Orthodox Church" and that they would therefore not communiate with them or their supporters. Synod also requested convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Synod over the issue.[379][380][381]

Georgian Orthodox Church[edit]

Although Ukrainian parliament chairman Andriy Parubiy stated after an October 5 visit to Tbilisi that the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) was in support of Kiev, Georgian Patriarch Ilia II later denied this, and church spokesman Mikhail Botkoveli said: "We need more time to discuss the arguments of the Russian Orthodox Church, after which the Georgian Orthodox Church will announce its position". It is reported that there are sharp divisions within the Georgian Orthodox Church, which analysts see as "the most pro-Russian institution in an anti-Russian country". A major factor in the dispute within the GOC is the role of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church (AOC) which itself broke from the GOC, the Russian Orthodox Church has offered to mediate the dispute between the GOC and the AOC. Some clerics see this as a reason to maintain the goodwill of the Russian Orthodox Church and others viewed the Abkhazian church as already "under the control of Moscow"; some accused Moscow of hypocrisy, with one theologian arguing publicly that "The (Moscow) patriarchate is betraying the biblical principle of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you'".[382][383]

Romanian Orthodox Church[edit]

The Romanian Orthodox Church on 26 October called for Constantinople to co-operate with Moscow in resolving the issue, and stated that "unity is preserved through co-responsibility and cooperation between the Local Orthodox Churches, by cultivating dialogue and synodality at the pan-Orthodox level, this being a permanent necessity in the life of the Church."[384]

On 23 November 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch arrived in Romania to lead the consecration of the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral which was planned on Sunday 25 November; the Ecumenical Patriarch was officialy welcomed by Patriarch Daniel of Romania.[385][386] On Sunday 25 November, the Ecumenical Patriarch and Patriarch Daniel of Romania consecrated together the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral.[387][388][389] The Ecumenical Patriarch chaired the first mass of the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral.[390][391][392][393] Both the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Patriarch Daniel of Romania led the church service this day; it was the very first church service in the cathedral.[394][393][395][396][397] The presence of Bartholomew and the absence of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at the cathedral inauguration "appears to suggest that Romania is siding with Constantinople in the dispute."[398][399]

Albanian Orthodox Church[edit]

On 10 October, Archbishop Anastasios, head of the autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church, sent a letter to the Moscow Patriarch. Extracts of this letter have been published on 22 November on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. In those extracts, the head of the Albanian Church declared that granting autocephaly to Ukraine was a "dangerous undertaking" and that "instead of the unity of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, there has appeared a danger of schism in the unity of the universal Orthodoxy". He also said they should do everything to hold a pan-Orthodox Council.[400]

The next day, the official website of the Albanian Orthodox Church published the full text of the letter of October 10, as well as the second letter, dated November 7,[401] through the hosting service DocDroid, in English[402][403] and in Greek.[404][405] In his first letter, Archbishop Anastasios declared the 14 September decision of Moscow had "dangerously complicated the whole matter" concerning Ukraine[402] - this passage had not been released among the extracts on the official website of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. In his second letter, Archbishop Anastasios disagreed with the decisions of the Moscow Patriarchate to break communion with the Church of Constantinople, stating: "It is unthinkable that the Divine Eucharist [...] could be used as a weapon against another Church. [...] We proclaim it is impossible for us to agree to such decisions." He also added that recent developments have made the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox synaxis "extremely difficult" but that the Albanian Orthodox Church was willing to participate in it, if the Pan-Orthodox synaxis was convoked canonically.[403][406] The second letter was not published by Moscow.[401][407]

Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia[edit]

On 10 November, the head of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (OCCLS), Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov (cs), met with the head of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Onufry. On this occasion, Archbishop Rastislav of Prešov declared his concern about the situation in Ukraine and condemned the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions, stating that "it is impossible to create even a temporary good on the violation of the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church".[408]

On 24 November, Archbishop of Prague of the OCCLS, Michael, met with Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa of the UOC-MP. Said Archbishop of Prague declared to the UOC-MP members: "We have arrived to show our unity with you, as representatives of an autocephalous Church".[409][410][411][412]

Other Orthodox churches[edit]

The Bulgarian,[413] Macedonian and Montenegrin (latter two being uncanonical) Orthodox churches have stated that they cannot yet comment.[414]

The Macedonian Orthodox Church has asked to be canonically recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch but was met with a harsh refusal, "Constantinople insisted on drawing a distinction between the situation with the Ukrainian Church and the Macedonian church[:] Constantinople had never given up its own jurisdiction over Ukraine in favour of Moscow, whereas it did so with the Macedonian eparchies in favour of the Serbian Church in 1922, when a Macedonian state did not exist."[415]

Responses from churches under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church[edit]

Belarusian Orthodox Church[edit]

On 11 September 2018, the synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (the Exharcate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus) issued a statement proclaiming their "unanimous support" for the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, protesting the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[416]

On 5 October, the Metropolitan Pavel of the Belarusian Orthodox Church "urge[d] the Patriarch Bartholomew [of Constantinople] and the synod of the Church of Constantinople to review their decisions and do everything possible to either disavow the previous decision or withdraw it, stopping this process, which [...] is taking absolutely distinct forms of church schism throughout Eastern Orthodoxy[.]"[417]

After the schism the Belarusian Orthodox Church has not released an official statement about the break of communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Since it is the exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, it obeys the decisions of the Holy Synod of the ROC.[383][418]

Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia[edit]

On 25 September 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (an autonomous church of the Moscow Patriarchate) (ROCOR) "suspended concelebration with the bishops of the Constantinople Patriarchate and participation in the work of the Episcopal Assemblies with their membership".[419][142]

On 10 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has "express[ed] [its] profound indignation at the blatant violation of the Holy Canons by the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. The decision of its hierarchy to send its ‘exarchs’ into the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, without the agreement and permission of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, is a gross and unprecedented incursion by one Local Church into a distant canonical territory[.]"[420]

On 18 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has expressed "complete support of the position taken by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, following its meeting of 15th October 2018" and severed Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[421]

On 8 December 2018, the ROCOR released a communiqué in which it states that if fully supports Onufriy and considers the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions in Ukraine as illegal.[422][423]

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)[edit]

On 13 September, secretary for Inter-Orthodox Affairs of the Department for External Church Relations of the ROC, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, urged the UOC-MP believers to unite around Metropolitan Onufriy.[424] The eparchies who pledged support to Onufriy were (in chronological order): Rovno,[425] Odessa,[426][427] Zaporozhye,[428][429] Poltava,[430][431] Sievierodonetsk,[432][433] Kamenskoye,[434][435] Kharkov,[436][437] Lugansk,[438][439] Alexandria,[440][441] Mukachevo,[442][443] Zhitomir,[444][445] Kirovograd,[446][447] Chernigov,[448][449] Crimea,[450][451][452] Izium,[453][454] Novaya Kakhovka,[455][456] Nikolaev,[457][458] and Nezhin.[459][460] The three dioceses of Sumy, Konotop, and Romny, also declared their support for Onufriy.[461][462]

On 13 November, the synod of the UOC-MP (an autonomous church of the Moscow Patriarchate[463]) officially declared in a resolution that they considered the 11 October declaration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate "invalid" and canonically "null and void", and that the communion between the UOC-MP and the Ecumenical Patriarchate "is deemed impossible at present and thereby ceases"[281][464] Two bishops of the UOC-MP did not sign the resolution, one of them being Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia and Bar.[465]

In an interview given on 14 November to the Vinnytsia Press Club, Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia and Bar of the UOC-MP said he did not sign the UOC-MP resolution as he disagreed with some statements in the resolution and considered this resolution as "bad".[466] He also said he would participate in the unification council.[467][468] On 15 November, most of the clergy of Vinnytsia of the UOC-MP met in emergency, spontaneously and without the prior consent of its hierarchy. Most of the clergy of Vinnytsia publicly expressed its support to the 13 November resolution of the UOC-MP, and made an appeal to Metropolitan Simeon to ask him to hold a general meeting of the Vinnytsia eparchy.[469] On 17 November, in a semon, Metropolitan Simeon clarified that his refusal was his own decision, because, he stated, "not a single bishop represented the opinion of his eparchy or people at the Council, everyone spoke for themselves".[470] On 20 November, an official monthly general meeting of the Vinnytsia eparchy chaired by Metropolitan Simeon was held; the Eparchial Council "categorically condemned the unauthorized assemblies held in the Vinnytsia eparchy" and "stated that the Resolution of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, taken on November 13, 2018, is a document binding on all bishops, clergy and laity of the UOC and confirmed its readiness to comply with the Resolution by the entire Vinnytsia eparchy."[471][472][473]

On 16 November 2018 Metropolitan Sophroniy (Dmitruk) of Cherkasy and Kaniv in his interview to BBC expressed his support for the creation of an autocephalous Church in Ukraine. He also said that he was going to participate in the unification council, and perhaps he would join the new autocephalous Church.[474][475]

On 20 November 2018, chancellor of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, declared in an interview that "[s]anctions will be applied to the members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate] who participate in the 'Unification Council'".[476][477]

Archdiocese of Chersonesus[edit]

The Archdiocese of Chersonesus (fr) is an archidiocese under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Archdiocese of Chersonesus takes charge of the Orthodox communities of the Moscow Patriarchate in France, Swiss, Portugal and Spain.[478] On 22 November 2018, during its annual session, the Archdiocese of Chersonesus unanimously declared its support of the decision made by the ROC on 15 October 2018 to break communion with Constantinople. On the next day, this decision was announced throught an official communiqué on the archbishopric's official website in which they stated that the action of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine was "anti-canonical".[479][480]

Responses from churches under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate[edit]

Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe[edit]

The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe (AROCWE) was an exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[481][482] On 18 October 2018, in reaction to the 15 October decision of the Russian Orthodox Chruch to severe communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the AROCWE released a communiqué. In this communiqué, the AROCWE declared that the AROCWE, "Archdiocese-Exarchate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate", was "in full communion with the whole Orthodox Church. Indeed, the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not break communion with the Patriarchate of Moscow and continues to commemorate it according to the order of the diptychs. All the Orthodox faithful can therefore participate fully in the liturgical and sacramental life of our parishes." The communiqué concluded by asking all the priests, deacons, monks, nuns and faithful of the AROCWE to pray for the unity of the Church.[483][484][485]

On 21 November, the rector of the Russian Church of the Transfiguration in Stockholm expelled 16 faithfuls from the parish because they had publicly "ceased to recognize the legitimacy and spiritual authority of [...] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and [...] Archbishop John of Chariopoulis" after the 15 October.[486]

Defection of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ[edit]

On Sunday 28 October 2018, the Archpriest George Blatinsky of the AROCWE, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ and Saint Nicholas the Thaumaturge (fr) in Florence,[487][488] ceased commemorating during the liturgy the canonical authorities to whom he is responsible, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the archbishop of the AROCWE John of Charioupolis (ru).[489][490][491] At the end of the celebration, he told the faithful present that from that Sunday onward the parish had been placed under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) of the Patriarchate of Moscow. He justified this change of jurisdiction by saying that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had fallen into "schism" as a result of its intervention in Ukraine. According to the AROCWE's information, this decision, which was taken unilaterally by George Blatinsky, was thereafter been presented as being the result of a unanimous vote of a "general assembly of the parish", which was contrary to ecclesiastical norms and the civil statutes of the parish since no assembly had been convened for that day in accordance with the rules.[492][493][494] Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR assured archpriest George Blatinsky by telephone that he did not need any letter of canonical release from the AROCWE in order to be received into the ROCOR's jurisdiction since, according to Met. Hilarion, "all those who depend on Constantinople are schismatics"[492]

Archbishop John imposed the sanctions of a ban a divinis (suspension of priestly functions), which took effect on 1 November 2018, upon Archpriest George Blatinsky and Priest Oleg Turcan, the second priest of the parish; on 1 November, a commmuniqué announcing their suspension was published on the AROCWE's official websites.[495][496] Archbishop John also sent a letter of protestation to Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR, in New York, on 5 November 2018. On 22 November, the AROCWE released a commmuniqué explaining the situation;[492] in said communiqué, the AROCWE also published the letter Archbishop John had sent to Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR, in French,[497] Russian[498] and English,[499] and said the AROCWE had not yet received an answer from Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR.

Dissolution of the archdiocese[edit]

On 27 November the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided unanimously to dissolve its exarchate of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (AROCWE).[169][170][500]

On 28 November, a communiqué concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision to dissolve its exarchate of the AROCWE was published in French on the Phanarion blog[501] and on the official Facebook page of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[502] The communiqué says the Ecumenical Patriarchate "decided to revoke the patriarchal tomos of 1999 by which it granted pastoral care and administration of orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to His Archbishop-Exarch. [...] [T]he ecumenical patriarchate has decided to integrate and connect parishes to the various holy Metropolises of the ecumenical patriarchate in the countries where they are located."[171][172] On the same day, a communiqué on the website of the AROCWE exarchate was published. In the AROCWE communiqué, it is stated: that the AROCWE had "in no way" requested the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision, that the AROCWE primate, Archbishop John of Charioupolis,[489][490][491] had not been consulted prior to this decision being taken, and that said primate had learned about the decision during a private conversation with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. The communiqué also asked the faithfuls of the AROCWE to maintain their calm.[503]

On 29 November, after the synod had ended, the same communiqué which had been released one day prior concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision to dissolve the AROCWE was released, in French, on the official website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[504]

On 30 November, the council of the AROCWE declared in a communiqué that this decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was "unforeseen". The communiqué added that since the AROCWE had not requested this decision, two things should be done before the AROCWE would comply to this decision: Arbishop John of Charioupolis, as the head of the AROCWE, will have to "invite the priests of the Archdiocese to a pastoral assembly, on December 15, 2018, to discuss with those who carry with him the spiritual responsibility of the parishes and faithful of the Archdiocese" and the AROCWE council will have to "convene a general assembly of the Archdiocese, in which all the clergy and lay delegates elected by the parishes and communities, which are the adherent associations of the Diocesan Union, will take part." The dommuniqué concluded that since John of Charioupolis had not requested this decision, he still remained fully in pastoral charge of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.[505][506]

American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese[edit]

2 priests of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese left the Ecumenical Patriarchate to join the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision concerning Ukraine.[507][508]

Canonical issues[edit]

The schism has its root in a dispute over who between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Constantinople has canonical jurisdiction over the See of Kyiv (Kiev) and, therefore, which patriarchate has canonical jurisdiction over the territory of Ukraine. "[T]he principal argument proposed [concerning the granting of the ecclesiastical status of autocephaly to Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate] is that Ukraine "constitutes the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow” and that, consequently, such an act on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would comprise an "intervention" into a foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction."[509] The Patriarchate of Moscow's claim of canonical jurisdiction is based mostly on two documents: the Patriarchal and Synodal “Act” or “Letter of Issue” of 1686, and a 1686 Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia. Both those documents are reproduced in the "Appendix" section of a study published by the Ecumenical Patriarch called The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church - The Documents Speak.[509] The Church of Constantinople claims the Church of Constantinople has canonical jurisdiction over the See of Kyiv and that the documents upon which the Russian Orthodox Church bases its claim of jurisdiction over said See of Kyiv do not support the ROC's claim.

On 1 July 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that Constantinople was the Mother Church of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and declared that "Constantinople never ceded the territory of Ukraine to anyone by means of some ecclesiastical Act, but only granted to the Patriarch of Moscow the right of ordination or transfer of the Metropolitan of Kiev on the condition that the Metropolitan of Kiev should be elected by a Clergy-Laity Congress and commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch. [It is written] in the Tome of autocephaly, which was granted by the Mother Church [Constantinople] to the Church of Poland: “[...] original separation from our Throne of the Metropolis of Kiev and of the two Orthodox churches of Lithuania and Poland, which depend on it, and their annexation to the Holy Church of Moscow, in no way occurred according to the binding canonical regulations, nor was the agreement respected concerning the full ecclesial independence of the Metropolitan of Kiev, who bears the title of Exarch of the Ecumenical Throne...”"[510]

Ecumenical Patriarchate's claims[edit]

The Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a document authored by various clerics and theologians called The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church - The Documents Speak.[509] This document analyzes canonical historic documents (namely the Patriarchal and Synodal "Act" or "Letter of Issue" of 1686 and the 1686 Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia) to see if the claim over the See of Kyiv by the Patriarch of Moscow is canonical or not. The date of publication of this document is unknown, but the earliest online version can be found on 28 September 2018 on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archidiocese of America[511] in PDF in English[512] as well as in Greek.[513] In September 2018, the Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta issued a translation[514][515] which was on 17 October published on the official Italian website of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.[516] The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church was translated in Ukrainian as of 6 October 2018.[517]

The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church concludes that:

"[T]hrough the autocratic abolition of the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch by each Metropolitan of Kyiv, the de jure dependence of the Metropolis of Kyiv (and the Church of Ukraine) on the Ecumenical Patriarchate was arbitrarily rendered an annexation and amalgamation of Ukraine to the Patriarchate of Moscow. [...] All these events took place in a period when the Ecumenical Throne was in deep turmoil and incapable “on account of the circumstances of the time to raise its voice against such capricious actions[.]” [...] The Church of Ukraine never ceased to constitute de jure canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. [...] The Ecumenical Patriarchate was always aware of this despite the fact that, “on account of the circumstances of the time”, it tolerated the arbitrary actions by the Patriarchate of Moscow. [...] [T]he Ecumenical Patriarchate is entitled and obliged to assume the appropriate maternal care for the Church of Ukraine in every situation where this is deemed necessary."

Constantin Vetochnikov, two PhD in theology, PhD in history and member of the Collège de France,[518] who participated in Augustus 2016 to the 23rd International Congress of Byzantine Studies in Belgrade where he made a report on the subject of the transfer of the See of Kyiv,[519] and who helped the Ecumenical Patriarchate on The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church,[520] declared on 27 December 2016 that the transfer of the See of Kyiv from the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church "never took place"[521]

Later, Vetoshnikov made an analysis of the arguments of the Russian Orthodox Church. He pointed out that, according to the strict dogmatic approach (akribeia, ἀκρίβεια), the whole territory of Russia was originally subjected to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the Muscovy had gone into the schism in the XV century, it received autocephaly according to a more flexible approach (oikonomia, οἰκονομία) to heal this schism. The Metropolitan of Kiev at the same time remained within the jurisdiction of Constantinople. Then, also according to the oikonomia approach, the right to ordain Metropolitans of Kiev was transferred to the Patriarch of Moscow. This was not a change in the boundaries of the Moscow Patriarchate eparchy, as it was issued by a document of a lower level (ekdosis, ἐκδόσεως), which was used for various temporary solutions. For pastoral reasons, the Ecumenical Patriarchate subsequently did not assert its rights to this territory. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a split among the Orthodox of Ukraine and the Russian Church for 30 years failed to overcome this split. And now, also for pastoral reasons, the Ecumenical Patriarchate was forced to act in accordance with the principle of akribeia, and so it decided to abolish the right to ordain Metropolitans of Kiev which had been earlier transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate in accordance with oikonomia.[522][523]

Arguments against the Ecumenical Patriarchate's claims[edit]

On 20 August 2018, the pro-Moscow anonymous site Union of Orthodox Journalists[98] analysed the Ecumenical Patriarchate's claim of jurisdiction over Ukraine and concluded the See of Kyiv had been transfered to the Patriarchate of Moscow. They added that even if the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to abrogate the 1686 transfer, the territory covered in 1686 by the See of Kyiv's territory was "a far cry from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of today" and covered less than half of Ukraine's current territory.[524]

In its 15 October 2018 official statement, the Russian Orthodox Church gave counterarguments to the Ecumenical Patriarch's arguments.[2]

Metropilitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, declared in an interview that Constantinople's plan to "grant Autocephaly to a part of the Russian Orthodox Church [...] that once was subordinate to Constantinople [...] runs counter to historic truth". His argumument is that the entire territory of Ukraine has not been under Constantinople’s jurisdiction for 300 because the Kiev metropolis that was incorporated into the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686 was much smaller (it did not include Donbass, Odessa and some other regions) and therefore does not coincide with the present-day territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.[525] A smiliar argument was given on 13 November in a live phone interview to Radio Liberty by the Head of the Information and Education Department of the UOC-MP, Archbishop Clement.[526][527]

Archbishop Clement of the UOC-MP considers that "to revoke the letter on the transfer of the Kiev Metropolis in 1686 is the same as to cancel the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils of the 4th or 7th centuries."[528][529]

On 8 November the pro-Moscow anonymous website Union of Orthodox Journalists[98] analyzed the same documents as The Ecumenical Throne and the Ukrainian Church (the Patriarchal and Synodal "Act" or "Letter of Issue" of 1686 and the 1686 Patriarchal Letter to the Kings of Russia) and concluded that the See of Kyiv had been "completely transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church in 1686".[530]

Possibility of a pan-Orthodox synaxis on the question of Ukraine[edit]

The possibility of a pan-Orthodox synaxis has been raised before and after the official break of communion.

On 29 September 2018, the Reverend Alexander Volkov, the press secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow, declared the "[l]ocal [national [- TASS]] Orthodox Churches may initiate a pan-Orthodox Synaxis - consultative assembly or conference - on the problem of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s decision to grant autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine", however the problem was that conveneing such a synaxis is "a prerogative of the First among the Equals, that is, the Ecumenical Patriarch". Volkov noted there was "[o]thers forms [of pan-Orthodox synaxis]. There are the elders of the Church who can take this task upon themselves. [...] If you look at the Diptychs [the table specifying the order of commemorating the Primates of Orthodox Churches - TASS], the next in line [after the Ecumenical Patriarch - TASS] is the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. Or else, there is the so-called synaxis of the eldest Patriarchs - of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch[.]"[531]

Thus far, Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch,[532][377] Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church,[377] Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the Church of Cyprus,[533] the Polish Orthodox Church primate Metropolitan Sawa (Hrycuniak),[534] the Orthodox Church in America primate Metropolitan Tikhon,[d][535] Archbishop Anastasios, primate of the Albanian Orthodox Church,[402][403][404][405] and three hierarchs of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Metropolitans Gabriel of Lovech, John of Varna and Veliki Preslav, and Daniel of Vedin)[536] have expressed their desire for a pan-Orthodox synaxis or pan-Orthodox council over the question of Ukraine in various statements. On 12 November 2018, the synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church published a communiqué in which they requested the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Synod.[379][537]

On 7 November, answering the question "Who could, for instance, convene a Pan-Orthodox Council and chair it?", Metropolitan Hilarion declared in an interview, which was published on the official website of the ROC Department for External Church Relations, that it was "obvious" that the Ecumenical Patriarch could not chair a Pan-Orthodox Council since "the most important problems in the Orthodox world are linked with precisely his [Ecumenical Patriarch] anti-canonical activity"[198]

On 4 December, in an interview, when asked about the fact that convoking a pan-Orthodox council was "according to the canons" a prerogative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Metropolitan Hilarion replied: "which canons ? [...] I believe those canons do not exist, the Ecumenical councils were not convoked by the Ecumenical Patriarch, they were convoked by the emperor. The fact the Patriarch of Constantinople has been given the right to convey councils in the 20th century is the result of a consensus reached by all the local churches. It is not at a personnal initiative that the council is convoked, but only with the consent of all the local churches. We had, until recently, the first among equals, that is the Patriarch of Constantinople, who convoked the councils [...] in the name of the local Orthodox churches. Now, the unifiying element is no more the Patriarchate of Constantinople which, so to speak, autodestroyed itself. It is its decision. [...] We have to think about the future: who will convoke the councils, will it be the Patriarch of Alexandria, or another Patriarch, or else we will generally not have a council? Whatever. The Patriarch of Constantinople, as long as he stays in schism, even if he convokes a council the Russian Orthodox Church will not take part in it."[538]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Russian: Раскол между РПЦ и Константинопольским; Ukrainian: Розкол між РПЦ і Константинопольським, lit.ROC–Constantinople split
  2. ^ Russian: Раскол Православной церкви; Ukrainian: Розкол Православної церкви, lit. split of the Orthodox Church
  3. ^ There are some discrepancies concerning where the meeting had been planned to take place: either it was planned to take place in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra[273][274][275][276] or at the Ukrainian House.[277] The meeting was planned since October 8.[278] Either President Poroshenko decided on 13 November that the meeting would take place at the Ukrainian House[279] or the UOC-MP decided after their council on 13 November[280][281] that the meeting with Poroshenko would take place at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.[277]
  4. ^ Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in America was granted by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970 and is not yet fully recognized by all the other Orthodox Churches (including the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Moscow weighs up the consequences of Orthodox Church schism". The Independent. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  3. ^ a b MacFarquhar, Neil (15 October 2018). "Russia Takes Further Step Toward Major Schism in Orthodox Church". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  4. ^ Zhukovsky, Arkadii. "Stauropegion". Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  5. ^ a b "Announcement (11/10/2018). - Announcements - The Ecumenical Patriarchate". www.patriarchate.org. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Tomos ante portas: a short guide to Ukrainian church independence. Euromaidan Press. 14 October 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018. the Synod ... of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ... gave further confirmation that Ukraine is on the path to receiving church independence from Moscow. ... Although President Poroshenko triumphantly announced that in result of the meeting Ukraine had received the long-awaited Tomos, or decree of Church independence – a claim circulated in Ukraine with great enthusiasm, this is not true. ... Constantinople’s decision will benefit other jurisdictions in Ukraine – the UOC KP and UAOC, which will have to effectively dismantle their own administrative structures and set up a new Church, which will receive the Tomos of autocephaly. ... Right now it’s unclear which part of the UOC MP will join the new Church. 10 out of 90 UOC MP bishops signed the appeal for autocephaly to the Ecumenical Patriarch – only 11%. But separate priests could join even if their bishops don’t, says Zuiev.
  7. ^ "The Ecumenical Patriarchate recognises the independence of the Orthodox metropolis of Kiev". OSW. 2018-10-12. Retrieved 2018-10-31. The recognition of the canonical legitimacy of the two church structures (the KP UOC and the UAOC), which had hitherto been regarded as schismatic, may be assumed to be just a temporary step, aimed at facilitating the reunification of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into a single organisation.
  8. ^ a b Polityuk, Pavel; Dikmen, Yesim (11 October 2018). "Ukraine wins approval for historic split from Russian church". Reuters. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-31. To admit into communion schismatics and a person anathematized in other Local Church [Filared, head of the UOC-KP] with all the ‘bishops’ and ‘clergy’ consecrated by him, the encroachment on somebody else’s canonical regions, the attempt to abandon its own historical decisions and commitments – all this leads the Patriarchate of Constantinople beyond the canonical space and, to our great grief, makes it impossible for us to continue the Eucharistic community with its hierarch, clergy and laity. From now on until the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s rejection of its anti-canonical decisions, it is impossible for all the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church to concelebrate with the clergy of the Church of Constantinople and for the laity to participate in sacraments administered in its churches.
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  29. ^ a b ERR, Jason Van Boom, PhD candidate, University of Tartu | (2018-10-21). "Moscow-Constantinople split highlighting Estonia's role in Orthodox church". ERR. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  30. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 39-41.
  31. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 87-88.
  32. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 94.
  33. ^ Rowell, S. C. (1994). Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire Within East-Central Europe, 1295–1345. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45011-9.
  34. ^ Hosking 1991, p. 4-5.
  35. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 124-129.
  36. ^ Shubin 2004, p. 130-132.
  37. ^ Shubin 2005, p. 17,35.
  38. ^ Jenny Berglund; Thomas Lundén; Peter Strandbrink (19 May 2015). Crossings and Crosses: Borders, Educations, and Religions in Northern Europe. De Gruyter. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-61451-655-2.
  39. ^ In Russian translation Патриарх Московский и всея России и северных стран
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  52. ^ "Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church 8 November 2000 : Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-11-01. Patriarch Bartholomew issued an ‘Act’ on 20 February 1996 on the renewal of the 1923 Tomos of Patriarch Meletius IV and on the establishment of the ‘Autonomous Orthodox Estonian Metropolia’ on the territory of Estonia. Temporal administration was entrusted to Archbishop John of Karelia and All Finland. A schismatic group headed by the suspended clergymen was accepted into canonical communion. Thus the schism in Estonia became a reality.
    On 23 February 1996, in response to the one-sided and illegal actions of Patriarch Bartholomew the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church resolved to recognize them ‘as schismatic and compelling our Church to suspend canonical and Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople… and to omit the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople in the diptych of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches’.
  53. ^ "Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church 8 November 2000 : Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-28. The text of the memorandum was agreed upon and included into the decisions taken by the Synods of the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople and Moscow on 16 May 1996. The document restored the interrupted communion between the two Patriarchates.
  54. ^ "CNEWA - The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church". www.cnewa.org. Retrieved 2018-11-01. On May 16 both Holy Synods formally adopted the recommendations made at the Zurich meeting. The agreement provided for parallel jurisdictions in Estonia, and allowed individual parishes and clergy to join either the Estonian autonomous church under Constantinople or the diocese that would remain dependent on Moscow. For its part, Constantinople agreed to a four-month suspension of its February 20th decision to re-establish the Estonian autonomous church. Moscow agreed to lift the penalties that had been imposed on clergy who had joined the autonomous church. Both Patriarchates agreed to work together with the Estonian government, so that all Estonian Orthodox might enjoy the same rights, including rights to property. As a result of this agreement, full communion was restored between Moscow and Constantinople, and the name of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was again included in the diptychs in Moscow.
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  67. ^ The Russian Orthodox Church. "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-31. By the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which took place on May 27, 1992, in Kharkov, Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko), for his failure to fulfil the promises he gave on oath at the cross and the Gospel during the previous Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, was removed from the see of Kiev and suspended.
    The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, by its Resolution of June 11, 1992, confirmed the decision of the Council of Kharkov and deposed Philaret Denisenko depriving him of all ranks of ministry according to the following accusations: ‘Cruel and arrogant attitude to the clergy under his jurisdiction, diktat and blackmail (Tit. 1: 7-8; Apostolic Canon 27; bringing temptation to the community of the faithful by his behaviour and private life (Mt. 18:7; the First Ecumenical Council Canon 3, the Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 5); perjury (Apostolic Canon 25); public slander and blasphemy against a Bishops’ Council (Second Ecumenical Council Canon 6); exercising divine offices including ordinations in the state of suspension (Apostolic Canon 28); causing a schism in the Church (Double Council Canon 15). All the ordinations administered by Philaret in the state of suspension since May 27, 1992, and the suspensions imposed by him were recognized as invalid.
    In spite of repeated calls to repentance, Philaret Denisenko after his deposition continued his schismatic activity, also within other Local Churches. By the decision of the 1997 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was anathematized.
  68. ^ "Statement by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Church | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-31. In spite of repeated calls to repentance, Philaret Denisenko after his deposition continued his schismatic activity, also within other Local Churches. By the decision of the 1997 Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was anathematized. These decisions were recognized by all the Local Orthodox Churches including the Church of Constantinople.
  69. ^ "Metropolitan Hilarion: Filaret Denisenko was and remains a schismatic | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-30. For us Filaret was and remains a schismatic. [...] [T]he decision of his excommunication in 1997 was correct in every respect. It was recognized by all Local Churches without any exception, the Patriarchate of Constantinople including.
  70. ^ a b "Announcement (11/10/2018). - Announcements - The Ecumenical Patriarchate". www.patriarchate.org. Retrieved 2018-10-27. 3) To accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko, Makariy Maletych and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above-mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.
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  103. ^ "UPDATE: Ukraine asks Constantinople to allow creation of independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church". UNIAN. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-31. A number of elements are needed for the process to see success. First, a corresponding appeal from UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which has already been [...] in a rare united move of the two churches, according to Poroshenko.
  104. ^ "President and the Ukrainian Churches officially ask Ecumenical Patriarch to grant the Tomos of autocephaly". risu.org.ua. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  105. ^ "Poroshenko signs appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch to provide autocephaly to Ukrainian Orthodox Church". 112.international. Retrieved 2018-10-31. 'I've made a decision, as a president, to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness (Bartholomew) with a request to provide a tomos of the Ukrainian independent, actually, local autocephaly church', Poroshenko claimed. Also, the president urged the Ukrainian parliament to support the appeal. 'I would ask you, my dear colleagues, as there are the things that unite us, because the president is the representative of the Ukrainian nation and the parliament is the representative of the people to support this appeal as soon as possible', the president added.
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  107. ^ "President and the Ukrainian Churches officially ask Ecumenical Patriarch to grant the Tomos of autocephaly". risu.org.ua. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-31. Petro Poroshenko also said that all the bishop of the Kyivan Patriarchate had signed a similar appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew. Representatives of other churches supported this idea. "I met with the Metropolitan of the UAOC Makariy and he informed me that the Hierarchical Council of the UAOC today also supported the appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch and the President," he said.
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    1) To renew the decision already made that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. [...]
    4) To revoke the legal binding of the Synodal Letter of the year 1686 [...]
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  162. ^ a b "New Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine: Explained". Retrieved 2018-10-27. Press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) says [...] nearly 10 bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) support the unification process, and it will be clear how many will take part in the unification council in the process of its preparation. Zorya predicts that after receiving a tomos, the majority of those who are now part of the Moscow Patriarchate will join the Ukrainian Church. "According to my forecasts, this will continue for several years and, as a result, at least two-thirds of those who are with the MP will join the Ukrainian church," he said.
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  189. ^ "Is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fine with St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv? - Modern Diplomacy". moderndiplomacy.eu. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2018-10-27. On October 20, the UOC KP Synod changed the title of its head [Filaret]. Now the Church’s Primate will also be called the Archimandrite of Kyiv-Pechersk and Pochaiv Lavras, which seemingly reflects Filaret’s desire to get them at his disposal. At the moment both Lavras belong to the UOC MP [the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)], so it looks like the “Archimandrite” doesn’t want to comply with the fifth point of the Constantinople Synod decree in which the Patriarchate appeals to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties.
  190. ^ "Metropolitan Hilarion: Filaret Denisenko was and remains a schismatic | The Russian Orthodox Church". mospat.ru. Retrieved 2018-10-27. Filaret’s appropriation of the title of archimandrite of the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras falls in line with his many times announced claims to these monasteries sacred for the millions of Orthodox Ukrainians. When Constantinople took decision on reinstating him (though it is not clear in which rank – patriarch? metropolitan?) it called upon “all involved parties to avoid the appropriation of churches, monasteries and other property, and any other acts of violence and retaliation.” And Ukrainian President Poroshenko has assured that no property redistribution would occur. However, can one believe these calls and assurances when the chief leader of the schism, now justified by Constantinople, does not hide his plans of seizing the main holy sites of the canonical Ukrainian Church, while the nationalistic groups are ready to commit the seizure with his ‘blessing’? It seems that only the absence of tomos of autocephaly still deters from violent actions those willing to do away with the canonical Church as quickly as possible.
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    The priest was commenting on Patriarch Bartholomew's remark on Monday that his privileges are based on Ecumenical Council canons, that everyone in the Orthodox world has to respect them, and that the Russian Orthodox Church will therefore follow Constantinople's decisions on Ukraine sooner or later.
    The priest argued that the canons mentioned by Patriarch Bartholomew ranked the bishop of Constantinople second, following the bishop of Rome, on a list of Churches existing when the canons were drawn up, on the grounds that Constantinople was the seat of the czar and the Senate.
    "Given that the Byzantine Empire long ago ceased to exist and that Istanbul is not even the capital of Turkey now, there are no more canonical foundations even for the symbolic primacy of the Constantinople Patriarchate in the Orthodox world," he said.
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  209. ^ "Is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fine with St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv? - Modern Diplomacy". moderndiplomacy.eu. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2018-10-27. Besides, a special agreement will be signed between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the sanctuary complex according to which the church will operate both as a place of worship and a museum (like the Refectory Church of St. Sophia’s Monastery where services are held from 8 till 10 AM, and later it is open as a museum). [...] The representatives of the world Orthodox leader would reside in a museum – and that, as politicians think, also shouldn’t confuse the Phanar. Moreover, the church won’t be owned but only used by Constantinople.
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  211. ^ "UAOC leader: I can be deceived once, twice, but it'll no longer work". spzh.news. Retrieved 2018-10-30. Also, Makariy Maletich noted that he had acted consistently in the matter of transferring St. Andrew's Church to the Constantinople Patriarchate unlike President Petro Poroshenko, who on the eve stressed that the temples belong to the state and will not be transferred to anyone.
    "I replied that I personally agreed, but I will gather the bishops, because it’s not solely I who makes decisions,” explained the "metropolitan". "We give it away, but you have to give us something in return.<...> There is a church of St. Cyril, there is a reserve, there is a church of the Savior on Berestov – here we go. And in the ZIK program, the president said he’d promised to make it up for both Filaret and Makariy, but it will be one church to get by. So, one has to be consistent. I can be deceived once, twice, but it will not work anymore."
    "Moscow (temples – Ed.) won’t be transferred, whereas the only cathedral of the UAOC can be. Such justice we have, complained Makariy. " Filaret also has monasteries, churches, serves in Little Sofia. So the president is not acting in good faith, even though I praised him."
  212. ^ "Is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fine with St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv? - Modern Diplomacy". moderndiplomacy.eu. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2018-10-27. Now it is the cathedral of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), but it’s a state property and part of the Sophia of Kyiv National Sanctuary. That is why the decision to hand over the church was reviewed by members of Parliament. [...] Obviously, the UAOC’s consent was also obtained. Its primate Metropolitan Makarios said that if the UAOC was part of the new Local Orthodox Church he agreed to give his cathedral to the Exarch of Constantinople.
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    I say:
    - Your Holiness, we have no statute to convene the Council.
    “I’ve got the statute,” replies Filaret.
    - I also have, but two of them have to become one.
    - No, we’ll take mine.
    2015 is repeating itself,” Metropolitan Makariy summarizes.
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    Тож прошу послуговуватися першоджерелом, а не коментарями чуток, поширення яких лише перешкоджає досягненню рішень, прийнятних для всіх учасників процесу. В чому, власне, на моє переконання, і є мета поширення таких чуток. Чим особливо зараз перейнялися засоби московської масової дезинформації.

    P.S. З наближенням Собору число «релігієзнавців» та коментаторів теми росте в кубічній прогресії. «Каждый мнит себя стратегом, видя бой со стороны». Хоча є низка речей, які коментувати ще не час, бо праця триває, і шум навколо них зчиняється не для її успіху, а якраз навпаки.
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    [...]
    He also noted that the Serbian Orthodox Church does not accept the existence of two different and bickering Orthodox Christianities, one "Phanariotic", and the other of "Moscow" - but instead believes in one, holy, communal and apostolic Church of Christ.
    "In short: we are not for Moscow, but for the full respect of the centuries-old canonical order, and we are not against Constantinople, but against any initiative that, even independently of good intentions, would certainly cause even more severe shocks and divisions than we already have," he said.
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Literature[edit]