UOC-KP Criticizes Proposals of Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committee on Autocephaly
KYIV — On January 23, 2010, in the Kyiv residence of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), a meeting of its synod was held. The hierarchs of the UOC-KP commented on the decisions passed at the session of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committee in Shambezi (Switzerland) on December 10-16, particularly, regarding the question of autocephaly and autonomy and ways of their proclamation. In particular, the UOC-KP representatives stated that the settlement of such questions “in the absence of representatives of the national churches whose future directly concerns that question, particularly, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate, is not in line with the spirit and tradition of the conciliar consideration of important questions of the life of the whole Orthodox Church.”
In view of the above, the Synod of UOC-KP addressed Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, and heads of the national Orthodox Churches.
The UOC-KP directed attention of the entire Orthodox Church to the fact that during the consideration of the question about the autocephaly of the church, the members of the committee discuss secondary questions but do not consider the main one, that is they “do not formulate the criteria, the existence of which grants certain national churches the right to be autocephalous, on the basis of the canons and historic experience of Ecumenical Orthodoxy.” According to the members of the Synod of UOC-KP, this can be an attempt by the recognized national churches to secure for themselves the exclusive right to freely decide whether to recognize or not recognize a church as autocephalous.” According to the press service of UOC-KP, such a decision not only fails to solve the existing problems but also deepens them.
By its resolutions, the Synod of UOC-KP once again stressed its unchanged position on the question of autocephaly, namely, that autocephaly is proclaimed by the council of the new autocephalous church if it has the appropriate grounds to do so, one of which is state independence of the nation in which the church serves. “The other national churches only recognize or not recognize the autocephaly of the new national church,” read the resolutions of the Synod of UOC-KP.
”The mechanism of proclamation of autocephaly proposed at the session of the committee in Shambezi is unrealizable and futile. The mechanism provides not the way of proclaiming a new autocephalous church but the way to not grant recognition to a church that seeks autocephaly for as long as possible,” summarized the members of the synod.