The Moscow Patriarchate (MP) does not abandon attempts to prevent Ukraine’s receipt from the Patriarch of Constantinople of a Tomos on autocephaly.
By UNIAN Information Agency
The closer the date of the decision-making by the Patriarch of Constantinople to grant Ukraine the Tomos on the autocephaly to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church, the larger the caliber of “artillery” used to oppose the positive decision. “I have already written about five main propaganda theses, on which the information campaign against the recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) is based,” Oleksandr Sagan, religious scholar, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, wrote in an article on LIGA.net.
Moreover, on June 23, 2018, permanent members of the Synod of the UOC-MP, consistent opponents of not only the idea of the autocephaly of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, but the whole policy of Constantinople in general, visited the Patriarchate of Constantinople to personally exert personal influence on Patriarch Bartholomew on the issue. This is evidenced both by their statements and the disregard of church rules and customs regarding the church leader’s visit to the territory of another Church – for example, being in the patriarchate with crosiers, wearing two panagias by Metropolitan Agafangel, etc. Metropolitans Agafangel (Savvin), Illarion (Shukalo), Theodore (Gayun) Anthony (Pakanich) tried to persuade the Ecumenical Patriarch that granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox may only harm the unity of Orthodoxy in Ukraine. The lack of a “pro-Moscow” stance obviously led to the replacement of Mitrofan, Metropolitan of Luhansk and Alchevsk (he was presented as a negotiator on the official page of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) for Illarion, Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol, Sagan said.
Judging by comments of another negotiator, odious in his intervention in the church affairs, MP Vadym Novinsky (who speaks about the state’s interference in church affairs, and that “autocephaly can be granted only to the canonical church,” etc.), Patriarch Bartholomew was invited to grant Tomos only to the UOC-MP, and on the terms of the Moscow Patriarchate. That is, in fact, creating another ally for the Moscow Patriarchate, and therefore – another opponent of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, rather restrained comments by Moscow-Ukrainian clerics following the talks show that the delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate has not succeeded.
Despite the “good vibes,” which Novinsky’s Facebook page radiated. It should be noted that the visit of the delegation of the UOC-MP took place after their insistent request, not at the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch. At the same time, they were received not in St. George’s Cathedral, as the delegates of the UOC-MP said, but at the residence of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the quarter of Fener, Istanbul, where the Cathedral is located. And to be even more precise, the meeting was not held in the Throne Room for honorary guests on the second floor of the residence, but in the hall of archbishops on the first floor.
But the Patriarchate of Constantinople, for its part, received an important argument against possible accusations that the Ecumenical Patriarchate acted without consulting the Moscow Patriarchate. On the official website of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the delegation of the UOC-MP is indicated as a delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate – this is its present canonical status in the Universal Orthodoxy, which clearly corresponds to the Charter of the Russian Orthodox Church.