UOC-KP Calls on UOC of Canada to Help Church in Ukraine and in Withdrawing Kyivan Patriarchate from Artificial Isolation
“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate welcomes the efforts of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada to help the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to overcome his separation and artificial isolation,” spokesman of the Kyivan Patriarchate Archbishop Yevstratii said in regards to the results of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC) delegation's visit to Constantinople in February.
During its visit to Constantinople, the UOCC delegation explained to Bartholomew I its position that the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine should have their own autocephalous church in communion with all the Orthodox people in the world. The Orthodox Church of Canada endorsed the efforts of Constantinople in 2008 to correct this painful problem by trying to grant autonomy to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Even though these attempts were unsuccessful, the UOCC still has hope that Patriarch Bartholomew and the Mother Church will continue to support the unity among the churches in Ukraine. As the UOCC emphasized in their summary of the visit, Patriarch Bartholomew “assured his love for Ukraine, that he will continue to pray and is willing to do everything possible, following canon law, to facilitate the integration process between the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine.”
The UOC-KP, commenting on the results of the UOCC visit to Constantinople, said: “For the church in Ukraine in general and for the Kyivan Patriarchate in particular it is very important that the Patriarchate of Constantinople and other Local Churches knew the truth about the state of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, getting information not only from the hostile Moscow Patriarchate. This will allow the Local Churches to take more appropriate steps in solving the so-called Ukrainian question. We hope that the Ukrainian Church in Canada will serve to spread this truth.”
Archbishop Yevstratii said: “The Kyivan Patriarchate appreciates the historical and spiritual heritage of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, its unique identity. We hope to maintain and enhance this legacy. We believe that the future of the UOC of Canada is in the hands of its hierarchs, clergy and faithful, who jointly in the spirit being council-ruled will build its life. There are individuals and forces that want to bring into discord to our church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada by spreading the idea that the Kyivan Patriarchate seeks to subjugate the church in Canada. This is not true, and there have never been such intentions or attempts neither in the past nor now – we appreciate and respect the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada and are convinced that it should determine its future by itself as it did during the whole period of its existence.”
The bishop mentioned also the unpleasant aspects of the relations between the two churches, but noted that they should serve as a lesson and not lead to confrontation but to a better understanding of each other.
On behalf of Patriarch Filaret, Archbishop Yevstratii again thanked all members of the UOCC, with whom there were official and private meetings – both abroad and in Ukraine.
“As a church, which is under the aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada has a unique opportunity to become an effective mediator in overcoming the division in Ukrainian Orthodoxy and recognizing the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church in the Motherland,” said the hierarch.
“The Kyivan Patriarchate is open to cooperation with the Primate of the UOCC Metropolitan Yurij, hierarchs, clergy, and all the faithful of the Church in Canada. We hope that the entire UOCC will unite in helping the church in Ukraine and in withdrawing the Kyivan Patriarchate from artificial external isolation,” concluded Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn Yevstratii, the press center of the Kyivan Patriarchate reports.