Russian Orthodox Church reacts to UOC-MP's declaration of independence by stripping it of its Crimean dioceses
7 June, 2022

On June 7, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow condemned the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — Moscow Patriarchate, which declared independence from the Russian Orthodox Church, and confiscated Crimean dioceses from the Ukrainian Church, reported the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church.

It was stated at the meeting that it was possible to change the status of the UOC-MP only by a resolution of the local council of the ROC. And independent decisions to change the status of the ROC are considered a "dissent" within the church. The Russian Church also believes that the Ukrainian government and the "extremist part of the Ukrainians" are allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian Church — Moscow Patriarchate.

In addition, the Synod decided that regular communication between the UOC-MP and the Crimean dioceses, which were still subordinated to the Ukrainian Church, is currently impossible. So they decided to accept the Dzhankoi, Simferopol and Feodosia dioceses under the direct subordination of Patriarch Kirill. These dioceses should form the Crimean metropolitanate.

What preceded?

On May 28, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — Moscow Patriarchate convened a Council in Kyiv on issues of church life that arose after the start of the full-scale Russian war against Ukraine.

The UOC Council has stated that it condemns the war as a violation of God's commandment "Thou shalt not kill".

"The Council approved the relevant amendments to the Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which testify to the full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the statement read.

Despite breaking away from the Moscow patriarch, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has expressed "deep regret over the lack of unity in Ukrainian Orthodoxy" and "the existence of a schism."

To resume dialogue the UOC wants representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to "stop the violent seizure of churches and forced transfers of parishes." In addition, the OCU is required to "realize that their canonical status is in fact non-autocephalous."