Moscow, June 26, Interfax - Rumors about preparations to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been denied by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the bishop's council said in a statement after its delegation's trip to Istanbul.
"In particular, it was reported that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has dismissed the reports that a canonical mechanism for overcoming the schism within Ukrainian Orthodoxy was finally agreed on and a tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church drafted," the statement said.
Nor has it been confirmed that autocephaly will be granted unilaterally soon or any at any other stage, it said.
"Instead, the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople attested to their church's readiness to join the process of overcoming the Ukrainian church's schism in consultation with fraternal autonomous Orthodox Churches," the statement said.
To that end, a Patriarchate of Constantinople delegation will soon meet with representatives from the Russian Orthodox Church, it said.
The supreme clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have expressed their concern over press reports of the possible creation of parallel church jurisdictions in Ukraine. Such a scenario would only deepen, rather than overcome, the schism, the statement said.
If turned into a Patriarchate of Constantinople entity, the Ukrainian Church would lose a significant part of the rights it has been given in the past few decades, it said.
The bishops believe that the Church's current canonical status allows it "to carry out its mission fruitfully among the people of Ukraine," the statement said.
In April, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko asked Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to grant a tomos of autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine and announced his intention to create a "single autonomous church." The parliament supported the presidential appeal.