Kiev, October 25, Interfax - The clergy of the Zaporozhye Diocese have written an open letter to Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, reaffirming their unanimous support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"The address was fully supported and understood by the clergy, as is indicated by the words signed by the priests," the diocese's press service told Interfax.
The clergy of the diocese said in their letter that the canonical Church is now going through "a difficult period in its history - disrespect of the opinion of the clergy and laymen" as well as "unprecedented encroachment" by the Constantinople Patriarchate on the rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to self-governance and independence, which it was given in 1990.
"We, faithful children of our spiritual Mother, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led by You, testify that we do not recognize the decisions made on October 11, 2018 by the Synod of the Church of Constantinople, and we reaffirm our support and filial obedience to You, Your Beatitude, and together with You we remain 'with the Church that is being persecuted but maintaining the right position, the position of the true Church,'" the letter said.
Commenting on this letter, the Zaporozhye Diocese said it is obvious that "despite the misinformation regarding the alleged massive wish of the clergy to go over to the artificially created chimera, reality proves the opposite: faithful children absolutely do not want to part with their Mother, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."
According to earlier reports, the clergy of the Odessa Diocese almost unanimously spoke in favor of maintaining the current status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and reaffirmed their allegiance to Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine amid attempts by Constantinople and the Ukrainian authorities to create a parallel church. The clergy of the Dioceses of Kherson and Rovno and Metropolitan Joasaf of Kirovograd did the same earlier.
Andrey Yurash, director of the Ukrainian Culture Ministry's department of religions and interethnic relations, said earlier that over 50% of communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would join the new church that is being created by Constantinople.
On October 11, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate abrogated the ordinance of 1686 that put the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, announced the opening of a mission in Kiev, and rehabilitated the leaders of the unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. In response, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate announced the full severance of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate.