04 September 2018, 12:16
Constantinople cannot proclaim Ukrainian Church's autocephaly on its own - Ukrainian Orthodox Church (updated)
Moscow, September 4, Interfax - If the Constantinople Patriarchate unilaterally proclaims the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's autocephaly, this decision would not be valid until all local Orthodox Churches ratify it, Archpriest Nikolay Danilevich, a deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said in an interview with the church's Information Department.
"If Constantinople makes such decision, it must be recognized by all local Orthodox Churches. Let's put it this way, this requires ratification by all local Orthodox Churches. Therefore, it makes no sense for one Church to make some decision if it knows beforehand that the other Churches might not recognize it. It's stupid," the priest said.
The decision-making system in Orthodoxy is different from that used in the Catholic world, he said.
"The Constantinople patriarch is the first in the diptych, but he is not like the Pope for us. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope decides everything on his own, and everyone agrees with his decisions. Our decision-making system is not vertical but horizontal. Therefore, any of them must be agreed upon with all local Churches, or otherwise this might cause certain schisms, up to the termination of full communion," he said.
The granting of a tomos of autocephaly in itself does not solve the problem of schism, which, according to a report presented at a Synaxis in Istanbul, the patriarch of Constantinople decided to cure, he said.
"A tomos is like a family status stamp in a passport. All of us perfectly understand that a stamp in a passport doesn't keep people together. People first fall in love with each other, date, then decide to live together and then have the stamp put as the end of this way. And what's been proposed to us is just the opposite: 'We'll grant you a tomos, put a stamp in your passport, and then you try to make it up and try to love each other'," the priest said.
On the whole, "a key toward resolving the Ukrainian church problem is not in Constantinople and not in Moscow - it is in Ukraine, particularly in Kiev," because "the problem itself emerged not in Constantinople and not in Moscow, the problem emerged here."
"For instance, we want Ukraine to act as an agent in political processes. However, in ecclesiastical terms it acts like a subject, not like an agent in these processes. A decision should be made here and reconciliation should be here. We see the aggression with which our churches have been seized in the west of Ukraine. About 40 churches have been seized. We know how people treated each other, and this is a problem and this is why we are not making steps that could produce splits inside the Church itself," he said.
It had been reported earlier that, speaking at a Synaxis (council) in Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew described Moscow's "interference" in Ukraine's ecclesiastical affairs as uncanonical and reserved this right for the Constantinople Patriarchate as the mother church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.