2016-08-04 15:32:00

Archpriest Nikolay Balashov:
On 'sensational' journalistic fiction

Officials of the local Orthodox Churches often participate in celebrations dedicated to the Baptism of Russia in Moscow and in Kiev. It is especially true for the so-called 'round' dates: the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia was celebrated very solemnly when by the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church guests from all Orthodox Churches visited Moscow, Kiev and Minsk. Officials from the Constantinople Church are always given especially honorable place among the guests. As our predecessors adopted the light of Orthodoxy and the Baptism in Dnepr baptistery from ancient Constantinople (now Istanbul).

In this context recent presence of Archbishop Job of Telmissos at church celebrations in Kiev is continuation of the old good tradition. We praise the support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church during the visit. The guest of the Constantinople Church celebrated divine Liturgies together with Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine and did not participate in the events organized by schismatics on these days.

I do not know if Archbishop Job knew that he gave an interview to the notorious in Ukraine advocate of schism, former activist of Sunday Adelaja's sect The Embassy of God, if the archbishop agreed that the interview would be posted at the website of the Religious Informational Service of Ukraine backed up by Greek Catholics whose leader has recently insulted his Orthodox compatriots Ukrainians. Most likely, no. It is not likely that the Orthodox hierarch consciously chose for a conversation a journalist who criticizes in unbridled expressions not only Russian Orthodox Church, but also the Constantinople Church as she considers both of them bearers of 'backward paradigms' and praises uniatism as the way to progress: 'the unia (the whole experience of unias) is good. It is worthy as the movement aimed at overcoming the Great Schism.'

It is difficult to confide in the archbishop's words in the program of the so engaged listener. Archbishop Job is a highly educated person, an expert on canonical law. It is unbelievable that he could have claimed that "the territory of Ukraine is a canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople" - such a statement contradicts both the truth of history and the official position of the Constantinople Patriarchate, confirmed many times (including the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew officially informed Patriarch Kirill about Archbishop Job's coming visit to Ukraine.)

An attempt to negate the legitimacy of unity between the Kiev Metropolia and the Moscow Patriarchate also looks like a journalistic fantasy rather than a responsible statement made by an Orthodox hierarch. Anyway, it absolutely lacks historical and canonical grounds. The council resolution of 1686 was signed by Patriarch Dionysius IV and twenty one metropolitans of the Church of Constantinople, recognized by all Eastern patriarchs and has never been questioned all through the centuries. Even Patriarch Gregory VII, who in the difficult for the Russian Orthodox Church years of Communist persecutions, supported the Renovation Schism and violating the canons granted autocephaly to the Polish Church, did not make attempts to annulate the the Act of 1686. Any attempt to revise such an old and authoritative document would have evidently resulted in schism of global Orthodoxy.

An example of granting autocephaly to the Polish Orthodox Church by Constantinople in 1924 cited in the interview does not look very successful. It is justly noted in the text that this act was caused by political reasons and interests of the Polish government, but it was not mentioned that interference of political interest in church affairs in Poland had hard consequences. Violent murder of Metropolitan George of Warsaw, violent removal and exile of some hierarchs, who did not agree to the demand of autocephaly, protests of clerics and laymen and then many years of schism that resumed only after repentance of those who started it and their return to the plenitude of the church communication... I do not think that Archbishop Job, if he really gave the interview, believes this way is preferable for Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople believed it necessary to inform Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia about the visit of Archbishop Job of Telmissos beforehand. Archbishop Job participated in divine services in Kiev by Metropolitan Onufry's of Kiev and All Ukraine personal invitation. I think it is evidently manifests that the Constantinople Patriarchate recognizes the only canonical Church and jurisdiction in Ukraine. And let us leave "hot" facts and sensations on the conscience of journalists who post them.