2016-06-16 16:22:00

Rada's draft on giving autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is doomed to failure - expert

Moscow, June 16, Interfax - Initiative of the Verkhovnaya Rada deputies on dividing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate does not have legal foundations, professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Alexey Svetozarsky said.

"It is absolute nonsense, absurd from the point of teaching about the Church, ņanons, on which relations among the Churches and relations inside any Church are based on," Svetozarsky told Interfax-Religion on Thursday.

As was reported, on June 15, the Verkhovnaya Rada called on Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew to invalidate the act of 1686 according to which the Kiev metropolitan was allegedly "in violation of canons" attached to the Moscow Patriarchate.

Svetozarsky points out that the Constantinople Patriarchate does not have any right for granting autocephaly, if it is not the matter of a part of the Constantinople Church, which has made a decision basing on canonical rules and asks to give it a status of autocephaly, an entirely self-ruled Church.

"It is not clear why Constantinople should interfere in it. And it is not clear why the Rada deputies make decisions about church order though we do not know if they are believers or not. The Rada is a state body and Ukraine always declares full freedom of confession, and state does not interfere in church affairs," professor said.

According to him, it is evident "political interference and a political project that will crush, though there may be people who will be attracted by it."

"We shall hope that the Constantinople Patriarchate will be reasonable despite the situation with the Pan-Orthodox Council, it will have enough common sense, Christian tolerance and persistence in canonical rules in order not to allow the thing that can turn into tragedy for many Orthodox believers in Ukraine," the interviewee of the agency said.

He is convinced that there would be "many persistent Orthodox believers in Ukraine who will stay in frames of the canonical Church and unite around their primate - Metropolitan Onufry, who more than once called such attempts a political project that has nothing to do with church life."

A forum that had to be the Pan-Orthodox Council will open on Crete in several days, though its status is questioned as a number of Churches refused to participate in it. The Ukrainian question is not in the agenda.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko more than once spoke for establishing a local Orthodox Church in the country. One of the goals is to divide the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate.

See more under the Exclusive heading.