11 October 2005, 12:48
Ukrainian Church - it is destructive for Yushñhenko’s soul and the canonical Orthodoxy to open Constantinople’s church representations in Ukraine
Kiev, October 11, Interfax - The clergy of the Kherson diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church made an open appeal to President Victor Yushchenko expressing concern over the intention to open a church representation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine.
“We beseech you, our brother in Christ, to stop and abandon the sinful ‘pseudo-church-building’”, they ask in the open letter communicated to Interfax on Tuesday.
The authors remind the president that ‘the power to govern the Church and to build it was given (by God - IF) two thousand year ago not to secular rulers but exclusively to Holy Apostles and to bishops of Christ as their canonical successors’.
The appeal was signed by Archbishop Ionafan of Kherson and Tavrida and the diocesan clergy.
It was prompted by the Ukrainian president’s statements about the need to unite the faithful in the country ‘into one Local Church’ and by circulating reports that the government intends to set up church representations of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in churches belonging to the unrecognized Kievan Patriarchate and the self-styled Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
‘Your invitation to representatives of the Church of Constantinople to come to Ukraine without the knowledge of the God-established hierarchy’ is ‘arbitrary’, the authors of the appeal note.
They are convinced that this step is ‘an evidence of arrogance’ and as such ruinous for the salvation of Yushchenko’s soul, while the plan developed by the authorities ‘violates the age-old ethical and sacred canonical norms adopted in relations among the Orthodox sees of Local Churches’.
The clergy reminded the Ukrainian president that despite the power to govern the state entrusted to him, he ‘as a Christian is only a son of the Church’, not its head.
Forgetting about that, ‘Brother Victor’, in their view, has approached ‘the edge separating the true sheep of Christ’s flock from the sons of perdition’.
The authors point out that they also favour ‘speedy reunification of our fallen-away brothers and sisters in the UOC/KP and the UAOC in the fold of one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ’, but remind that the these religious organizations are not recognized by ‘the canonical plenitude of the Universal Church of Christ’.
‘The Kievan Patriarchate’ in particular, the clergy of the UOC believe, is a ‘sinful schism, a fruit of political passions, a mirage in a desert’, and the Orthodox world sees in it a ‘schismatic sinful structure’.