Polish Church supports Ukrainian autocephaly
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church offers its principled support to Ukrainian autocephaly. This is stated in the official communique of the Office of the Council of Bishops, reports the Church.
“On behalf of the Cathedral of the Bishops of the PAOC, in response to the letters to the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, we are clearly informing that the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church was and is for the recognition of complete autonomy - the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” the statement reads.
This was also said by the head of the Church at the All-Orthodox Cathedral in Crete. The allocation of this part of the text in bold in the communique indicates that this position of the PAOC is fundamental. The chancery also adds that the provision of autocephaly should be effected in accordance with dogmatic and canonical standards in relation applied rather to the entire Church than a group of schismatics. Those who secede from the Church and who were defrocked cannot represent a healthy church organism. This canonical action violates the Eucharistic and inter-Orthodox unity.
It should be noted that the Polish Orthodox Church cooperates with other Local Churches in order to settle the church issue in Ukraine. The Council of Bishops also responded to alleged recognition of the schismatic ordination of those who had been received to the fold of the Polish Church.
In 1990, the Polish Church received the schismatics of the ROCOR and the Greek Old-Style schism in their actual ranks. Today, the Bishops' Council of the POAC states that they have re-consecrated schismatics and only after that they have accepted them in communion. However, no documents or other material evidence (photographs) are known either to us or to profile historians, whose advice our editorial team has requested.
According to Slesarev (Belarussian religious scholar, teacher of the church history of the Minsk Theological Seminary), there were no re-ordinations effected for the Portuguese non-canonical bishops – they were accepted in their actual rank: "In the issue of canonicity of the Portuguese hierarchy that descends from the Portuguese branch of the Greek Old-Style schism, the hierarchy of the Polish Orthodox Church, was guided by the [religious- Ed.] principle of economy, by virtue of which the whole of the Portuguese clergy was adopted in their actual ranks.
In addition, the official website of the Portuguese Catholic Orthodox Church published a reference about the life of Metropolitan Gabriel (da Rocha), the Primate of the Portuguese autonomy as part of the PAOC. It is also argued there that the episcopal dignity of Metropolitan Gabriel was recognized as valid, and there was no over-ordination (“sem necessidade de ser reconsagrado, pois foi reconhecida a validade da sua Sagração Episcopal”). So, as long as the contrary is not proved (documented and not declared in words), we tend to believe that the Polish Church deliberately misleads believers and historians about their actions when accepting schismatics to their fold.