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    » 08/13/2014, 00.00

    UKRAINE - RUSSIA

    Synod to vote for new Moscow-loyal Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan of Kyiv

    Nina Achmatova

    Tonight Vladimir's successor will be chosen. The late primate passed away on 5 July. His replacement will receive the blessing of Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow. Many fear political meddling in the selection of candidates. Bishop Onufry, locum tenens of Kyiv, and Metropolitan Alexander, a friend of President Poroshenko, are among the leading contenders.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The election process for the new primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate began today with the assembly of 74 bishops.

    Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) died on 5 July at age 78 after a long illness. The name of his successor should be known by tomorrow at the latest, this according to archpriest Gheorgi Kovalenko, head of the Synodal Department for Information.

    Vladimir's death occurred against a background of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine. In fact, the clash between Moscow and Kyiv is also reflected in the relationship between religious denominations in the country.

    In eastern Ukraine, which is still in the hands of pro-Russian separatists, many fear that the election of the new Orthodox primate could be influenced by forces outside the Church.

    The vote is secret and will be held in two phases. In the first one, applications are made and the top three continue to the second phase when the one with the most votes is elected. After approval by the President of the Holy Synod, the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, will give his blessing.

    Possible candidates

    Vladimir was considered by many as a proponent of a gradual rapprochement between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Kyiv Patriarchate. The latter represents Ukraine's second largest Orthodox community but is considered schismatic, and thus is not canonically recognised.

    On 24 February, as Vladimir's health worsened, the Metropolitan See came under the regency of Bishop Onufry (Berezovsky), now considered the strongest candidate for the succession.

    According to theology expert Dmitry Skvortsov, the locum tenens enjoys "good reputation". Like Vladimir, he "is a monk" and "untainted by any scandal." However, he is not a favourite in Kyiv's political circles because he advocates unity between the Ukrainian Church and the Moscow Patriarchate.

    Metropolitan Aleksandr (Drabinko), who has always been in favour of the union between the two largest Orthodox communities, might be a possible candidate.

    According to Skovrtsov cited in segodnia.ua, Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Mogilev-Podolski, who is very close to President Petro Poroshenko, a practicing Orthodox, might be another candidate.

    According to the well-known Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, very active in the media in Russia, Metropolitan Serghei of Ternopil is also in the running. However, he has close ties with Onufry and might throw his support behind the locum tenens.

    The enthronement of the new Metropolitan of Kyiv is scheduled for next Sunday at the Cathedral of the Dormition and will see the participation of representatives of all local religious communities.

    Elected for life, the new primate will lead the Ukrainian Church with the Holy Synod. He will also be a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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    See also

    19/01/2009 RUSSIA
    From Moscow a patriarch for the third millennium
    The death of Aleksij II provides a great opportunity for the spiritual renaissance of Russia’s Orthodox communities, opening the door to ecumenism and a common mission among Christians. But the weight of the political system and the traditional alignment between state and Church could lead to some surprises.

    14/08/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    Pro-Russian Onufry new Metropolitan of Kiev
    Elected yesterday by the Synod of Bishops, his enthronement is scheduled for August 17. Kiev Patriarchate: this marks end of any dialogue to create a single Ukrainian Church detached from Moscow.

    19/06/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    Kyiv Greek Catholic archbishop tells "Orthodox brothers" not to believe propaganda, look at the truth
    Through AsiaNews Mgr Sviatoslav Shevchuk makes an appeal for reconciliation, following Moscow Patriarchate's attacks. "It is time to recognise the dignity of the Ukrainian people and Church."

    19/02/2015 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church accuses Filaret of asking Kiev to continue the war
    The charge was made by the spokesman of the UOC-MP, after a meeting of the Christian religious communities with President Petro Poroshenko. Filaret rejects the accusations: the war is the fault of the Moscow Patriarchate, which controls the Church to influence society.

    08/08/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    Moscow Patriarchate welcomes Russian counter-sanctions
    In response to punitive measures over the Ukrainian crisis, Russia yesterday imposed an import ban on fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy product imports from the European Union and the United States. For the Orthodox Church, it is time to stop trying to meet "the standards of Western consumer."



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