Dec. 15- Independent Ukrainian Church
Soon, the Ukrainian Orthodox church will receive the Tomos of Autocephaly
Kyiv’s St Sophia Cathedral will host a historic Council of Clergy on Dec. 15. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew chose the date for Ukraine’s Church Unification Council at the Holy Synod in October.
All the bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as well as at least 10 bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, are expected to attend. They will approve the statute of the future independent Orthodox church – one of the terms for receiving the Tomos of Autocephaly.
“I think that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will carefully follow the first steps of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox autocephalous church, especially at the very beginning. Right after Tomos will be received. Therefore it is necessary to prescribe the maternal status of Constantinople in the Statute and grant the Ecumenical Patriarchate the right to resolve conflicts between bishops. Such is the guarantee that the new church will not incite inter-religious enmity and so on,” Oleksiy Panych, philosopher and specialist in cultural studies said.
The second term is selecting the leader of the church publicly and without the state’s intervention.
“There will be competition and it will provide an opportunity to chose from a large number of clergymen, the one who first of all will have the unconditional authority and secondly will be able to unite the largest number of the episcopates of all churches,” Andriy Yurash, Head of the Department of Religions and Nationalities of Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture said.
Experts don’t exclude the possibility of Russian provocations during the preparations for the Unification Council. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko guaranteed security to all the churches in Ukraine.
On Oct. 11, the Holy Synod made a decision to continue the process of granting Autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It also canceled the Synod’s letter of 1686, according to which the Ukrainian church was subordinate to Moscow. The Synod recognized the bishops of two Ukrainian Orthodox Churches: Filaret and Makariy as canonical. At the Synod’s meeting on Nov. 29, the text of the Tomos and the statute of the autocephalous Ukrainian church were approved.