Rep of Kyivan Patriarchate: Decision of Synod of UOC Is Step Toward Liquidation of Its Independence
Representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) questioned the legitimacy of the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) of February 21, which was held under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Agafangel of Odesa despite the written prohibition sent by Metropolitan Volodymyr to the Synod members on February 17. According to them, the dismissal of Archbishop Oleksandr (Drabynko) is only the tip of the iceberg and can lead to the complete loss of independence of the UOC from Moscow.
“It is about more fundamental things, namely, the fulfillment of an old dream of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to deprive the UOC-MP of its independence and self-government,” wrote Archbishop Yevstratii (Zoria), the Secretary of the Synod of UOC-KP in an article What is happening in UOC-MP? “The Kremlin would like to exercise as much influence on the UOC-MP as possible, including the possibility to use it against the state leadership of Ukraine if necessary,” he noted.
Representatives of the UOC-KP are convinced that Patriarch Kirill himself, who seeks to rule the Ukrainian Church, is interested in strengthening his direct control over the life of the UOC-MP. Archbishop Yevstratii stressed that a constructional defect was laid in the structure of theUOC, which was bound to result in its destruction sooner or later. It is the fact that it was designed to have two steering wheels, the Moscow one and the Kyiv one. The letter was increasingly growing in significance under Metropolitan Volodymyr. He began to resist the Moscow schemes actively. However, the authority of Metropolitan Volodymyr did not allow Moscow to openly oppose him and, therefore, it chooses another way, “it strikes Metropolitan Volodymyr in the most vulnerable area, which is Archbishop Oleksandr. For they understand well that the head of the UOC-MP, who is seriously ill, is not able any more to hold or protect the steering wheel without the help of the young secretary.”
According to Archbishop Yevstratii, the main problem for Moscow is to remove the Kyiv steering wheel. The independence and self-government of the UOC-MP is based on the fact that its leadership elects, appoints and rotates bishops independently. If these three functions are lost, the UOC-MP will lose its independent status and will be transformed into an exarchate of the Russian Church again.