15 December 2005, 17:47
Ukrainian schismatics ask Bartholomaios I to recognize ‘the Kievan Patriarchate’ as Local Church
Moscow, December 16, Interfax - The Kievan Patriarchate, which is not recognized in the Orthodox world, has appealed to Patriarch Bartholomaios of Constantinople to recognize this schismatic structure as ‘the Local and Autocephalous Church of Ukraine’.
The authors of the appeal, signed by Archbishop Dimitry Rudyuk, a vicar of ‘Patriarch’ Philaret, and People’s Deputy Lilia Grigorovich, maintain that the recognition of the Kievan Patriarchate by Constantinople and other Local Churches ‘is expected by millions of the Orthodox’ in Ukraine.
According to the schismatics, it ‘is the largest Church in our country’, while the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate ‘is approximately half as large according to the number of the faithful’. This statement is made with a reference to ‘numerous sociological surveys’.
At the same time, according to the official state statistics, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is three times as large as the Kievan Patriarchate according to the number of parishes and five times as large according to the number of monasteries and twenty times as large according to the number of monastics. Ukraine does not reckon parishioners by head.
According to experts, it is difficult to understand the grounds on which the Kievan Patriarchate followers base their expectations. During the recent celebrations on the occasion of the 70th birthday of the UOC head, Metropolitan Vladimir, Archbishop Gregory of Thyateira, a representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople, stated that Constantinople recognizes only the canonical Ukrainian Church.
Interfax was informed by the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations that as far back as four years ago, on December 14, 2001, the official letter of the Synod of Constantinople stated that Patriarch Bartholomaios ‘resolutely refutes’ the allegations made by Ukrainian Parliament Deputy P. Movchan a month earlier that he received assurances in Istanbul that ‘the Ukrainian Church will be granted autocephaly and ‘Patriarch’ Philaret’s group will be recognized as canonical’.
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