UAOC Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy Preparing for Possible Transition to Illegal Status
The Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy of the UAOC appealed to all Ukrainian Orthodox bishops outside of Ukraine with a request for support in prayer the faithful of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine and Russia “and the accept the congregations of the Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy of the UAOC under the direct jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the diaspora if our territories are occupied and eparchial structures dissolved.”
This decision was made at an eparchial meeting.
“The invasion of Crimea by Russian troops and the dangerous occupation which looms over the canonical territory of Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy make us feel the lack of legal jurisdictional relations with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the diaspora. We do not need words of encouragement, but real brotherly presence, communion in the one church, capable of jointly resisting the new barbarian threat to Ukrainian Orthodoxy,” reads the document.
The clergy of the Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy also adopted a number of other provisions:
- To thank the episcopate, clergy, and laity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for their model of pastoral care of the members of civil protests.
- To ask the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to take the lead in coordinating the dialogue between the churches of the Kyivan tradition in Ukraine in order to restore their identity, unite in public ministry and preaching of the Gospel.
- Offer a full-scale restoration of the systematic activity of the Kyivan academic group by increasing cooperation between theologians and church historians of all the churches of the Eastern rite in Ukraine.
- To focus the parish communities’ charitable activity on helping the Ukrainian troops and those who were wounded.
- To serve the cause of public understanding, preventing party strife and discord among the Ukrainian people by praying and preaching.
- Require the Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to actively protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of believers of the Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy who are subject to discrimination by the pro-Russian organizations and officials in Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine.
- To ask the Ukrainian World Congress and other public organizations and associations in the Ukrainian diaspora to actively counteract Russia’s interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine.
- For the eparchial consistory and parish communities to prepare for the possible transition to an illegal status under temporary occupation.