OCU and UOC MP sign Declaration of Understanding
The clergy express the hope that the dialogue that began at the initiative of the clergymen of the UOC and OCU will be the beginning of a process of unity, which will be joined by church communities, clergy and all those who care about the future of the spirituality of the people of Ukraine.
The participants of the meeting in St. Sophia of Kyiv also called on the hierarchs of both Churches to start an official dialogue by the Day of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine, which last year was defined as the day of Ukrainian statehood.
We bring to your notice the full text of the Declaration:
DECLARATION OF UNDERSTANDING
(based on the results of the first meeting of the clergymen of the UOC and OCU on 05.07.2022.)
We, representatives of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, gathered in St Sophia for a dialogue on the prospects for the unity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy,
striving for unity in Christ, which He himself wanted to see in his disciples and for which he prayed to the father: "that we may be one, just as we are one" (Jn. 17:22);
following the Apostolic instruction "to preserve the unity of the spirit in the union of peace" (Eph. 4:3);
recognizing the common desire of Ukrainian society for the unity of Orthodoxy;
considering the unity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy an indispensable condition for the unity of the people and the key to the stability of the state;
wishing to promote a broad dialogue between the branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine;
considering that such a dialogue will contribute to establishing mutual understanding and establishing relations both between church communities of different faiths and between believers;
drawing attention to the decision of the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on May 27, 2022, to resume interfaith dialogue;
referring to the statement of the Holy Synod of the OCU dated May 31 2022 on the need for dialogue between the two Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine,
We note that we have found unity of views in terms of interfaith relations in the following aspects:
- condemning the war unleashed by Putin's Russia against the sovereign people of Ukraine;
- condemning the destructive position of the Moscow Patriarchate, which, ignoring the commandments of God, has become a "servant" of the Putin regime and blesses Russian aggressors for bloodshed;
- understanding the need for unity to protect Ukraine;
- understanding the need for unity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, which faces external and internal challenges of our time;
- understanding the need to abandon aggression, stereotypes, bias and the language of ultimatums and hostility in communicating with each other and in the public space;
- understanding the need to abandon the non-canonical practice of crossing;
- the need for educational work on the ground in order to overcome and prevent inter-church and inter-confessional conflicts in the future;
- the need to move away from narrow corporate interests in the inter-Orthodox dialogue;
- understanding the existence of different models of coexistence of Orthodox jurisdictions, etc.
We also recognize the possible challenges that we face and require additional efforts to overcome them, in particular, different approaches in our communities to the practice of changing jurisdiction by church communities (with a common understanding that they should occur through the free and legitimate expression of the will of its members), to the possibility of joint ministry, recognition of canonical status, sacraments, etc.
At the same time, we realize that none of the challenges is an obstacle that cannot be overcome through negotiations in the spirit of Christian love: "I can do everything in him who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).
Based on this, we declare the expediency and necessity of a constructive dialogue between the two branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
We hope that such a dialogue, initiated by the clergy of the UOC and OCU, will be the beginning of a process of unity, which will be joined by church communities, clergy and all those who care about the future of spirituality of the people of Ukraine.
We call on our hierarchs to start an official dialogue between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the day of the baptism of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine, which last year was defined as the day of Ukrainian statehood. This will be the best gift for this holiday for both the faithful of our churches and the entire Ukrainian society.
Great God, one, save Ukraine for us!
Christ is in our midst! Now and forever!
The Declaration is open for signing and discussion by the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine