Technically, the path to Tomos is open to Belarusians, - Expert opinion

15.08.2020, 16:26
World news
Orthodox faithful of Belarus have everything they need to get autocephaly.

Religious scholar Dmytro Horyevoy, Director of the Religious Security Center and head of projects and programs at the Institute of Religion and Society of the Ukrainian Catholic University, wrote about this in the section "Point of View" on Radio Svoboda (Radio Liberty).

Technically, the path to Tomos is open to Belarusians, - Expert opinion - фото 57038


“Orthodox faithful of Belarus have everything they need to gain autocephaly. Belarusians, along with Ukrainians, have belonged to the ancient Kyiv Metropolia for centuries. The oldest Belarusian dioceses - that of Turovo-Pinsk and Polotsk - have been subordinated to the Kyivan Throne since the beginning of the second millennium. During the formation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in the XIV-XV centuries, we were temporarily separated within the Galician and Lithuanian metropolitans. However, when the Moscow Church went into schism, Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory III reorganized Orthodoxy in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Metropolia of Kyiv, Galicia and all Rus emerged. Moreover, the Metropolitan cells were Kyiv, Novogrudok in modern Belarus, and Vilnius. This lasted until 1686 when the Moscow Patriarchate annexed this large Metropolia.

Subsequently, two years ago, in the fall of 2018, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew canceled the act by which this Metropolia was transferred to the Moscow Patriarch, and therefore, not only Ukraine but also Belarus has the right to its own Autocephalous existence," the religious scholar notes.

According to him, the autocephaly of the Church of Belarus would benefit the Orthodox Church of Ukraine:

"Such autocephaly would be beneficial to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). This would be the establishment of historical justice. Part of the Kyiv Metropolia, which was originally part of it, but now has an Autocephalous status, and is no longer a part of the Moscow Patriarchate, which annexed it. Also, the Orthodox Church of Belarus would probably be the first to receive recognition from the OCU, while the ROC would talk about "Belarusian dissenters". This would make the two Churches allies in the inter-Orthodox arena and help to defend the Church's interests.

Formally, the path of Belarusians to Tomos is open. It is a question of will and desire. Simply put, is there anyone to be granted the future Tomos? Our Northern neighbors do not have the same diversity of Orthodox Churches that we have in Ukraine. There is simply no alternative to the Moscow Patriarchate. The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (BAOP) is an unrecognized structure that has a small number of parishes and followers, and that is mainly outside of Belarus, in emigration.

So, as long as the people of Belarus do not want an Autocephalous Church independent of Moscow, none of the politicians will be able to do it. There is still no clearly articulated desire to get 'away from Moscow'.