15 June 2006, 12:59
Archbishop of Lvov complains against hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople
Lvov, June 15, Interfax - Archbishop Augustin of Lvov and Galich asked Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and all Ukraine to help with opposing the ‘anticanonical activity’ and ‘criminal moves’ on the territory of his diocese by archbishop Vsevolod (Maidansky) and bishop Hilarion (Rudnik), the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who have recently visited Lvov.
‘God is my witness, I have forgiven archbishop Vsevolod for many insults put upon me as a bishop of the Church of Christ by his actions in Lvov and the Lvov diocese, ‘ archbishop Augustin wrote in a letter, a copy of which Interfax received on Thursday.
However, the recent actions of the Chicago-based hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (archbishop Vsevolod - IF) ‘have been aimed not against me personally, but against the entire Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that is a part of world Orthodoxy,’ the letter says further.
Archbishop of Lvov considers it his duty to ‘make known the lawlessness acts committed by bishops Vsevolod and Hilarion’ and asserts that their behavior ‘tempts the flock and directly hurts the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.’
Archbishop reports that representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople arrived in Lvov earlier last March and ‘in violating the canons, contacted schismatics - representatives of the so called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), which is not recognized in the Orthodox world.’ They have not informed either the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Vladimir, or the ruling bishop of the Lvov diocese about their arrival.
They performed acts that ‘could have been expected of a schismatic, a sectarian or any other enemy of Orthodoxy, but never of the brothers - hierarchs of the holy church of Constantinople.’ They visited the church of the Assumption in Lvov occupied by the adherents of the UAOC, where ‘they not only prayed and celebrated a prayer service together with schismatics (for this action alone they should be defrocked according to the canons), but, as we have learned from reliable sources, were preparing to celebrate Divine liturgy in this church on June 6,’ archbishop Augustin writes.
He thinks that ‘archbishop Vsevolod and bishop Hilarion gave up their intention only because it had been made public.’ They were also going ‘to open a representation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in this church. This move can be considered as an irresponsible and glaring disregard of the canons of the Orthodox church.’
The UOC bishop believes that the ‘lawless contacts with schismatics help flaring up the ecclesiastical schism in Ukraine rather than overcoming it.’
The letter also contains doubts in the sincere behavior of the Church of Constantinople, since some of its hierarchs recognize the UOC as the only Orthodox Church in Ukraine, as archbishop Gregorios of Thyateria and Great Britain said, when representing Patriarch Bartholomew at the celebration of the 70th birthday of Metropolitan Vladimir last November,’ while the others ‘have direct contacts with schismatics.’
Archbishop Augustin demands that the behavior of archbishop Vsevolod and bishop Hilarion in Ukraine should be considered by the UOC Synod, which ought to demand investigation of their actions in Ukraine and bringing them to church trial.’