"It is the technical and not full-fledged autocephaly," - Archimandrite Cyril (Hovorun) on the UOC-MP statute update

"It is the technical and not full-fledged autocephaly," - Archimandrite Cyril (Hovorun) on the UOC-MP statute update - фото 1
The new Statute of the UOC has been published online after it was discussed and approved at the meeting in Feofania on May 27, 2022. Finally, the amendments can be compared against the previous version.

Theologian Archimandrite Cyril (Hovorun) wrote about it on his Facebook page.

In his view, the new Statute does not proclaim autocephaly, the desire for autocephaly can only be traced in the dynamics of changes.

"Let's compare the two main markers of autocephaly.

First: approval of the newly elected Metropolitan of Kyiv in Moscow.

The old version of the Statute goes: "The Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is elected for life by the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and is blessed by His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus" (p. V 2).

New version: "The Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is elected for life by the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church." Thus, the provision on the approval of the Metropolitan in Moscow was eliminated.

Second: unity with other Local Churches.

The old Statute says the following in this regard: "The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is united with the local Orthodox Churches through the Russian Orthodox Church " (I 3).

In the new Statute, this clause has completely disappeared.

This makes clear why the striving for autocephaly of the UOC can only be discussed in the dynamics of changes, but it does not follow from the new Statute as such" he said.

Archimandrite Cyril has noted that the new Statute still provides for the possibility of returning to the practice of approving new Metropolitans of Kyiv by Moscow and communicating with other Churches through Moscow if circumstances change.

"The possibility of such a rollback is contained in the amendment to the Statute's first paragraph, which is supplemented with a reference to the Patriarchal Charter of October 27, 1990. This reference was not included in the old Statute.

Meanwhile, the Patriarchal Charter contains the following statement: "The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, through our Russian Orthodox Church, is in unity with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." Thus, the new Statute of the UOC, rejecting the direct statement of unity with other Churches through the Russian Orthodox Church, on the one hand, confirmed this unity indirectly, by reference to the Patriarchal Charter of 1990," the theologian stressed.

"As a result, we can say that it is actually the technical and not full-fledged autocephaly being referred to. The new norms of the UOC statute do not affirm nor deny the dependence of this Church on Moscow. They are spelled out in such a way that new practices of independence are possible behind them, such as the commemoration of other Primates by that of the UOC and the rejection of Moscow's approval of new Primates of the UOC. But according to the same new provisions, it is easy to roll back to the practices of dependence on the Russian Orthodox Church, if circumstances allow and if the UOC hierarchy wants so. Such a rollback does not require any additional conciliar decisions. It is in this direction that Moscow will work to level the significance of the decisions of May 27," Archimandrite Hovorun added.