Moscow, July 9, Interfax - Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, said he hopes that the Constantinople Patriarchate's decision on granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will not go beyond the frameworks of church canons.
"We believe that any actions by Constantinople will be within canonical logic, which Fener [the neighborhood in Istanbul where the residence of Patriarch Bartholomew is located] has repeatedly emphasized," he said in an interview published in the newspaper Izvestia on Monday.
The Ukrainian authorities' initiative on autocephaly is an attempt to add a political component to a purely canonical issue, he said.
"The authorities are following political logic: if there is an independent state, there should be an independent Church within its borders. But the canonical rules are different," the church official said.
There is the ancient Alexandria Patriarchate, whose canonical territory is not determined by state borders, and the Russian Church now unites Orthodox Christians of 16 states, he said. "There are no internal grounds for tearing this living tissue," Legoyda said.
"There is a canonical Church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, which is an organic part of the Moscow Patriarchate. It has never asked for autocephaly," Legoyda said.