Poroshenko and Bartholomew sign agreement for Ukrainian autocephaly
The collaboration was decided in order to create an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The patriarch of Constantinople will compile the Tomos of autocephaly and deliver it to the primate elected by a local synod. Importance of the Constantinople primacy on the Orthodox Churches reiterated. The reactions of Moscow.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - Two days ago, on November 3, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko and the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I (Archontonis), signed an agreement in Istanbul "On cooperation and interaction between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ". It explicates agreement to collaborate in the creation of an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine; the ecumenical patriarchate should draft the tomos of autocephaly and consign it to the primate elected by a local synod.
The Ukrainian president has defined the agreement "historical": "What we have undersigned meets all the conditions for the start of the process that will lead to the synod, strictly adhering to the canons of the Orthodox Church. I congratulate the patriarch who wanted to agree to sign the agreement; I would like it to be remembered as a historic date for the creation of the Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox Church on November 3, "said Poroshenko.
The Ukrainian leader also added that "this historic day brings to completion a process that began in the first days of Ukrainian independence, when the Ukrainians began to pray to the Lord for an independent Church".
Patriarch Bartholomew also stressed the historical importance of this agreement for the bilateral relations between Kiev and Constantinople, but also for the whole of Orthodoxy: "just like the other Balkan nations, which received autocephaly from the Mother Church, even the Ukrainians have obtained the recognition of their right. It is in fact an exclusive right of the mother Church to grant autocephaly when it becomes necessary, and all the conditions for this procedure are fulfilled ".
Immediate reactions from Moscow: the head of the Church's synodal department for relations between the Church and society, Vladimir Legojda, said that the agreement signed at the Phanar, as part of Poroshenko's visit to Turkey, "does not yet mean the creation of an independent Ukrainian Church ". After days of accusations against Constantinople for its schismatic behavior, the comments coming from the Moscow Patriarchate intend to be more sober, underlining that autocephaly has not yet been effectively completed.
This suggests that there is work "behind the scenes", perhaps negotiations between Moscow and Constantinople, to find a solution that recomposes the fracture. On the other hand, the patriarchate of Moscow counts on the "resistance" of its own priests and faithful in Ukraine, to nullify the steps taken in the direction of autocephaly.