07 June 2022, 15:01
Only Local Council can change status of Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Synod
Moscow, June 7, Interfax - The Holy Synod underscored at its meeting in Moscow on Tuesday that the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) can be changed only by a decision of the Local Council of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on May 27 expressed dissent with the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia over the hostilities in Ukraine and approved changes to the charter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, signifying its full independence. It became known later that several dioceses, including the Donetsk, Gorlovka and Crimean dioceses, did not support the amendments to the charter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This means that the independent status decision will not apply to the whole Ukrainian Church.
"A decision on changing the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church may be adopted only within the framework of canonical procedure, including a resolution of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church," according to the minutes of the Holy Synod's Tuesday meeting.
"Single-handed actions" to change the status of the UOC could lead to a new split within it, the Synod said. The same idea was highlighted by the UOC Synod, which said in its May 12, 2022 statement that any debates around the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church must abide by canonical rules and must not cause any new divisions.
Pressure on the bishops, priests, monks, and laypeople of the UOC persists on the part of representatives of the Ukrainian authorities and extremist-minded members of Ukrainian society, the Synod in Moscow said.
The Synod reiterated its support for all bishops, priests, monks, and laypeople of the UOC who "have realized the need to abide by the canonical rules" and who continue to mention the Moscow Patriarchate in their church services.
The Synod also called on all bishops, priests, monks, and laypeople to "pray fervently" for the preservation of church unity.