Moscow Patriarchate may refuse to participate in the Pan-Orthodox council, according to UOC (MP) Head
On December 28, in the Refectory Church of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra a diocesan meeting of the Kyiv Diocese was held under the chairmanship of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Onufriy. Participants of the meeting received information from the Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate on probable refusal to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council, the correspondent of Religion in Ukraine reports.
The Pan Orthodox Council, which is to be attended by all the bishops of local Orthodox Churches all over the world, is scheduled for the coming year of 2016. Metropolitan Onufriy, who returned from the session of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, held on December 24 in Moscow, outlined the ROC's position on this issue, as the UOC is not subject to inter-church relations and cannot be an independent member of the Council.
The position of the Russian Orthodox Church is the requirement for full consensus in decision-making, i.e. if at least one of the local Churches does not approve an issue, it should be removed from the agenda. The main issues to be discussed at the all-Orthodox council, according to Metropolitan Onufriy, are the issue of diptych (the order of remembrance of heads of orthodox Churches at the divine service), the procedure for granting autocephaly, the issue of the calendar, and the stance on the second marriage of the clergy.
According to the UOC Primate, a matter of fasting has been developed and agreed by all participants of preparation of the Council. However, he continued, the process of decision-making in the Council causes distrust. In his view, it may happen that the one version of the document will be voted for and a different one will be submitted for signature, and therefore, Metropolitan Onufriy said, there is an idea to refuse from participation at all – otherwise there will be lots of temptations and divisions.”
The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said that according to his information, the Greek, Antioch, Russian and probably Serbian Churches may refuse from participating in the Pan-Orthodox council. "We have to cave in for the faith, and not get the faith adjusted for ourselves, Metropolitan Onufriy expressed his negative attitude for the Council, which is being prepared.
As it was previously reported, on October 27, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church addressed the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with a message, which contains an appeal to members of the future Orthodox council: “We deem it our pastoral duty to say a few words about our concern over the situation, which emerged in the preparation of the Pan-Orthodox council. We ask everyone involved in this preparation to do everything to keep the rules, traditions and customs of the Holy Catholic Orthodox Church, which are the basis for our Pan-Orthodox unity.”
This paragraph was included in the text of the appeal at the suit of Metropolitan Onufriy and despite of refusal of some Synod members, who gathered on the eve of the meeting, the journalist of Religion in Ukraine website reported.