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Metropolitan Hilarion: The Ukrainian Orthodox Chur…

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been autonomous for over thirty years

DECR Communication Service, 06.06.2022.

The Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church held in Kiev in the end of May declared its autonomy and self-governance and adopted amendments and alterations to its Statute.

In his comments given on “The Church and the World” TV programme, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, warned against sharply-worded and fast assessment of what happened. Calling the decision “quite predictable”, he explained: “The point at issue is that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church once again affirmed its Statute that was defined in 1990 by the Charter of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II granted to Filaret, the then Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine. According to this Statute, the Ukrainian Church is a self-governing Church.”

Metropolitan Hilarion reminded the audience that at the time of President Poroshenko the Ukrainian authorities, schismatics and journalists have been intent on proving that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was not self-governing and that its centre of governance was in Moscow from which it allegedly received instructions. It is against this background that a bill was passed by which the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had to re-register and be called “The Russian Church in Ukraine.” At present this bill is suspended, but not abolished. “Yet, this Church is not a Russian Church; its centre of governance is in Kiev. It is independent of Moscow, and is not accountable to the Synod in Moscow either in administrative, or financial, or any another matter. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church once again affirmed its self-governance at the Council. It declared it out loud, and the due amendments were made to its Statute,” the DECR chairman underscored.

Also, he pointed out that on May 29 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church “expressed its understanding and full-throated support for all archpastors, pastors, monastics and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is suffering unprecedented persecution by local authorities, nationalistically minded circles of the Ukrainian public, schismatics and mass media.”

“The Holy Synod once again affirmed the declaration made by the Council of the Ukrainian Church, namely, that its status of independence and self-governance is defined by the 1990 Charter of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, which means that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been independent for over thirty years,” the archpastor added.

At the same time, the Synod “stated that amendments made to the Charter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church warrant further study,” Metropolitan Hilarion pointed out.

Answering a question of the program host Yekaterina Gracheva whether one should look for an American trace in the now discussed decisions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion said: “Certainly, the Americans are exerting direct influence on the Ukrainian state politics and on the schismatic group which calls itself “The Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” As to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, it is fully autonomous, self-governing and not open to this kind of outside influence.”
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