UOC-KP and UAOC to start talks on unity after Easter
In the nearest future the historical reunification of Orthodoxy in Ukraine will begin, which is to lay the foundation for the establishment of the one local church. It concerns the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate. Both heads of churches are positive about it and ready to start the process immediately after Easter, according to TSN.Tyzhden’s story.
As you know, the center of World Orthodoxy is Constantinople, or the Ecumenical Patriarchate. And it was here that recently Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in an interview with Ukrainian hierarchs directly stated that he believed in the unification of the Ukrainian churches in one local church and is even ready to give it the status of autocephaly.
“I firmly believe that the Ukrainian Churches will get united and Ukraine will have the one national church in the near future,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
“Last year he laid a particular stress on the fact that Ecumenical Patriarchate would not give up the problem and believed it to be its own duty and the duty of world orthodoxy to help eliminate problems in the Ukrainian Church,” according to religionist Oleksandr Sagan.
Ukrainian Orthodoxy is divided into three parts: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The latter is much smaller than the first two churches.
The UAOC has recently lost its primate Metropolitan Mefodiy. And now the Church is at the crossroads. And suddenly before Easter locum tenens Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Makariy said that their church wanted to start the process of unification with the UOC-KP.
He even indicated the time in an interview to TSN.Tyzhden - immediately after the holidays.
“Now the time has come, not to start any processes but to act. Not a single day shall pass in vain. We need to meet, talk and take practical steps. I am ready to this (association of churches). So I understand what Ukraine needs and needs badly,” said locum tenens of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Metropolitan Makariy.
The UAOC representatives even removed all the annoying terms that had been previously discussed. In particular, regarding patriarch Filaret’s resigning the office of the United Church. Moreover, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is now ready to unite with the Kyiv Patriarchate and not to claim to leadership positions in the UOC-KP.
“Certain terms exist. They will arise. Various terms. I do not claim and I will not claim to leadership. I am ready to step back. I’m ready to give up something more,” said Metropolitan Makariy.
Locum Tenens of the UAOC literally spawned the sensation. Journalists told these words to Patriarch Filaret. He was surprised and responded instantly.
"If they really want to join - let's unite, start a dialogue, discuss the union on merits, and not just talk about the union, there is no union so far. So we are waiting for them,” said Patriarch Filaret of the UOC-KP.
This merger of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate can be a tremendous step toward the establishment of one of the largest churches of Orthodox world.
“In 2005-2007, when the work on unification of the Local Council started, the Ecumenical Patriarchate advocated the union of Churches – the UAOC and the UOC-KP as one of the terms to begin the process of normalization of life in Ukraine,” said religionist Oleksandr Sagan.
"There will be also unification with the Moscow Patriarchate. But it won’t come from the top, not from the clerical hierarchy, but from people. And this process has already begun. And the Church will be both Autocephalous and in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. We must wait. The Lord himself will lead everyone to unity,” the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Patriarch Filaret.
The late Metropolitan Volodymyr (UOC (MP)) wanted to see the one Ukrainian Church. Actually, that is what he commanded in his will.
“The desire of unity has always existed in the church. Unfortunately, this process, which was initiated by Metropolitan Volodymyr does not proceed for some objective or subjective reasons,” said Metropolitan Olexandr (Drabynko), former Secretary of Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
The journalists also wanted to hear the opinion of Metropolitan Onufriy, UOC MP, what he thought about the local church in Ukraine. But he entrusted this conversation to Metropolitan Klyment.
“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is always ready to communicate and seeks to heal the wounds of schism. When we speak of a dialogue, this dialogue should be in primarily based on a desire to communicate, desire to listen to each other, to get back on something,” said Head of the Synodal Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Klyment.
As stated in the story, the gap is large so far. But I believe that with the help of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it will be overcome. Patriarch Bartholomew has extensive experience.
“He has extensive experience. Recently, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been an agent of reunification of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Although there were also two branches and very aggressive against each other,” religionist Oleksandr Sagan was reported as saying this by UNIAN.