Patriarch Sviatoslav: It's Not For Us to Decide Who Is Canonical In Orthodox World
Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), expressed his astonishment that the UGCC's statement recognizing the Sacrament of Baptism administered in the Kyivan Patriarchate provoked criticism from the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP).
The hierarch said so in an interview to Independent Newspaper.
“Frankly speaking, I am surprised at this statement because serious Orthodox theologians can hardly be unaware of the fact that according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, we recognize the baptism of everyone who administers it in the name of the Holy Trinity with the use of water,” stated Patriarch Sviatoslav as he commented on the report of Metropolitan Volodymyr of UOC-MP at the last Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on the journalist’s request.
The head of the UGCC stressed that the Greek Catholics recognize the baptism of both Protestants and Orthodox.
“According to our doctrine, the denominational affiliation of the baptizer is of no importance here. From the report I got the feeling that the matter is not so much about the Sacrament of Baptism or the theological discussion regarding its authenticity as it is about the fact that I sent the letter to a so-called non-canonical institution. If I offended anyone, I apologize. But they should explain where I am wrong,” noted the hierarch.
In answer to the question if the Moscow and Kyivan Patriarchates are equally canonical institutions for the UGCC, Patriarch Sviatoslav said that it is not within his capacity to define the canonicity of others.
“In order to build correctly the dialogue between churches, one should respect the theology and canons of each other. It is not within our competence to define who is canonical and who is not in the Orthodox world,” concluded Patriarch Sviatoslav.