Ukraine is to receive autocephaly. This was the main outcome for the Ukrainian Church after the three-day Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, Turkey, which commenced on October 9.
“In the nearest future, we will unite and receive the Tomos about autocephaly,” said Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) after the Synod finished.
Photo credit: HROMADSKE
The next step in receiving Tomos is to hold the bishop’s council whereby a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be created. According to Filaret, this council will be attended by UOC-KP representatives, as well as representatives of Ukrainian Autocephalous Church and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), “those who want to attend,” he added.
Filaret did not clarify when this council will be held but did say that representatives of Moscow Patriarchate will get a chance to join the United Orthodox Church even after receiving Tomos.
After the Synod, it was also announced that the 1686 annexation of the Kyiv Metropolitanate by the Russian Orthodox Church is now recognized as illegal, according to a Facebook post from the UOC-KP spokesperson Archbishop Yevstratiy Zoria.
Zoria also stated that the anathema against Patriarch Filaret of the UOC-KP and the Metropolitan Macarius, Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, have been declared invalid.
“Good news from the Synod. We received information about two expected decisions of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from several sources. The first is about upholding the appeal of Patriarch Filaret. The second is about non-recognition of the annexation of the Metropolitanate of Kyiv in 1686," the Archbishop writes.
Patriarch Filaret had previously appealed to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with a request for the anathema, which was imposed by Russian Orthodox Church in 1997, to be lifted. Patriarch Filaret has stated that he believes that the anathema was politically motivated.
Commenting on the results of the Synod, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the main step to receiving autocephaly has now been made. Poroshenko also promised that the state will respect the choice of those Ukrainians who wish to continue attending Moscow Patriarchate churches.
“I can guarantee that the Ukrainian state will respect the choice of those who decided to stay with the church system that will remain close to the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same, I also guarantee that the state will protect the rights of those priests and churchgoers who decide to voluntarily switch Moscow for the United Orthodox Church,” the President said.