2008-07-29 10:14:00

Constantinople's jurisdiction over Ukrainian Orthodoxy would deepen religious split in Ukraine - cleric

Kiev, July 29, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) doubts that the possible introduction of parallel jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine is capable of re-uniting Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

"We think that this model will not work because instead of promoting church unity, the two jurisdictions will in fact remain parallel for a long time, deepening the split in the Ukrainian society," head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Church Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun) told reporters in Kiev.

The prospect of creating a single Church in Ukraine under two parallel jurisdictions is highly unlikely, he said.

As for the possible unification on the basis of the secessionist "Kiev Patriarchate" and other secessionist structures, that is even less probable, Father Kirill said.

As soon as there emerged an opportunity for the "Kiev Patriarchate" to come under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it immediately relinquished its struggle for the status of the only canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the metropolitan said.

"The idea of uniting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the basis of the "Kiev Patriarchate" or unrecognized jurisdictions has suffered a fiasco," he said.

In his opinion, the Ukrainian Orthodoxy can only be united "on the basis of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church - [which is] the most numerous and enjoys the widest support worldwide," Metropolitan Kirill said.