01/07/2020, 14.41
TURKEY - UKRAINE
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Bartholomew: Constantinople, the Mother Church of the Orthodox world

by NAT da Polis

One year ago the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople granted autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Makarios: the division from Moscow stems from the refusal to be subject to the political will of others and of not to being able to serve the Ukrainian people.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - A solemn liturgy (pictured) recalled that yesterday was one year since the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople granted autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The act was of the granting of autocephaly resulted in the unilateral rupture of the sacramental communion of Moscow with the Ecumenical Patriarchate first, and later, for the same reason, with the Church of Greece and the patriarchate of Alexandria.

It should be remembered that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which until 1991 was part of the Moscow Patriarchate, following the end of the Soviet Union and the consequent birth of the Ukrainian nation, was divided into three Orthodox entities.

One led by Philaret, self-proclaimed Patriarch of Kiev, that of Vladimir, who remained faithful to Moscow, succeeded by the current Onuphrius and that of Archbishop Makarios, self-proclaimed head of the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church.

After several attempts to recompose the schism, Constantinople, in order to overcome the splits and elect a single primate, proceeded a year ago to the formation of a single constituent synod of the new autocephalous Church, eliminating the existing Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, according to its prerogatives, sanctioned from cannons in the Orthodox world.

In this attempt to recompose the faithful of Philaret, Makarios and two bishops of Onuphrius, proceeded to elect the new Orthodox primate of Ukraine, Epiphanius.

Of note, most of the dioceses and monasteries belong to the metropolitan Onuphrius of Moscow, who with the birth of the independent Ukrainian state in 1991, had expressed himself in favor of autocephaly, while most of the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful attended new Ukrainian autocephalous church.

It was on Sunday 5 January, on the eve of Epiphany, that the ecumenical Patriarchate, like the majority of the Orthodox autocephalous Churches, celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar, Mass was celebrated in the presence of the delegates of Kiev, in memory of the autocephaly granted to Ukrainian church a year ago.

In his thanksgiving speech, the head of the Ukrainian Church's delegation, Metropolitan Makarios of Lviv, recalled that for centuries the Orthodox Church of his country was waiting for the granting of its autocephaly, finally obtained on January 6, 2019, thanks to the courage of the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew.

It was a very difficult year, said Metropolitan Makarios, during which “we were immediately offended and heard that we were subjugated to Constantinople”. On the contrary, the metropolitan stressed "those who made these accusations against us are those who have truly been historically dominated by the various political powers". He then reminded those who accused them of not being canonically ordained, that the late metropolitan Vladimir (linked to Moscow) always welcomed them with gifts and never spoke of non-canonical ordinations, but only invited them to reject Constantinople. He then recalled that their division from Moscow stems from the refusal to be subject to the political will of others and of not being able to serve the Ukrainian people, according to the Constantinopolitan tradition. Finally he thanked the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew for freeing the Ukrainian Church.

In his speech, Bartholomew stressed that the Mother Church of Constantinople has always exercised its diaconate with maternal affection, as a mother Church and not as a stepmother Church, for the sole purpose of contributing to the solution of management questions of the Orthodox Churches, which did not enjoy complete freedom, as the representative of the Ukrainian Church also pointed out. In its millennial history, added Bartholomew, the seat of Constantinople has sought, having as a compass its duties sanctioned by sacred canons, to strengthen the Body of Christ, his Church, without ever affecting his theandric nature.

On the contrary, Bartholomew stressed, some are acting to transform the Church of Christ into a secularized institution, which is why they face various questions with criteria devoid of theological foundations and ecclesiological considerations. The ecumenical patriarch finally praised the patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros for recognizing Ukrainian autocephaly, but at the same time considered the Theofilos’ of Jerusalem’s proposal for a meeting to restore unity among the primates of the Orthodox Churches in Amman Jordan, to be an unhappy one. Bartholomew invited him to address this message to those who unilaterally interrupted sacramental unity with the other Churches, in short, Moscow.

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