30 January 2019, 17:55
Orthodox Church in America refuses to recognize new Ukrainian church
Washington, January 30, Interfax - Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America have declared their support for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and refused to recognize the church created a month and a half ago with the support of Constantinople and the Ukrainian authorities.
"The Holy Synod of Bishops has determined at this time: to continue to recognize and support Metropolitan Onufry as the canonical head and Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; to withhold, with several of our sister Churches, recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine," the Synod said in an open letter.
The Holy Synod also decided that no changes will be made to the diptych of the Orthodox Church in America (the order in which the heads of the churches are mentioned in church services, in which Constantinople has recently included the head of the new Ukrainian church), noting that the Orthodox Church in America has not been formally requested to make such changes.
The administration of the Orthodox Church in America said that issues related to church jurisdiction should never be resolved "through governmental interference."
The Synod said that the crisis in Ukrainian church life can only be resolved through unity, adding that other local Churches also support this viewpoint.
The Orthodox Church in America expressed "deep sorrow and distress" over the Constantinople Patriarchate's creation of "an ecclesial body consisting of two schismatic groups" and called on its faithful to exercise restraint in public discussions of these issues.
The creation of the local Orthodox church of Ukraine backed by the Constantinople Patriarchate and independent of the Moscow Patriarchate was announced at the unification assembly in Kiev on December 15. The new church is made up of representatives of the country's uncanonical church structures. Yepifaniy received a tomos on autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew on January 6. No other Orthodox Churches have recognized the new church or agreed to send a delegation to the enthronement.
The Holy Mount Athos Kinot, which is in the jurisdiction of Constantinople, recently refused to attend this ceremony. Out of the 20 Athos monasteries, only five were in favor of sending a delegation.
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