2018-09-08 15:25:00

Russian Orthodox Church's Synod accuses Patriarchate of Constantinople of 'gross violation of canons' over sending exarchs to Ukraine (updated)

Moscow, September 8, Interfax - The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has made a special statement on Saturday due to the assignment of two exarchs, representatives of Patriarch Bartholomew, to Ukraine.

"The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed resolute protest and deep outrage over the statement of September 7, 2018, of the General Secretariat of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople announcing the appointment of two hierarchs of this church, archbishop Daniel (the U.S.) and Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton (Canada), as 'exarchs' of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Kiev," the Synod said in a statement posted on the Russian Orthodox Church's official website.

The Synod members have noted that this decision was made without an approval of Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and is "a grossest violation of the church canons, which forbid bishops of one local church to interfere with other local church's internal life and affairs."

This decision also "fully contradicts the previously unwavering stance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and personally Patriarch Bartholomew, who have repeatedly said that he recognizes His Holiness Metropolitan Onufry as the only canonical head of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine," the statement said.

The Moscow Synod pointed out that the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to take into consideration the issue of granting autocephaly to "Ukraine's Orthodox believers" was made "against the will of bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who unilaterally stood in favor of maintaining its current status."

"By means of justifying its interference with affairs of other local church, the Patriarch of Constantinople cites false interpretations of historical facts and exceptional powers he allegedly has, which no one has ever had and no one has in reality," the Synod said.

"These actions bring relations between the Russian Church and the Church of Constantinople into a deadlock and pose a real threat to the unity of the entire global Orthodox Christianity," it said.

"Whole responsibility of these uncanonical actions lies personally at the door of Patriarch Bartholomew and all persons in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople supporting them," the Holy Synod of the Russian Church said, adding that "the Moscow Patriarchate's response will promptly ensue."

On Friday, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople appointed Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon (the U.S) and Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton (Canada) as its exarchs in Kiev "within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine."