Kiev, October 11, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (of the Moscow Patriarchate) is founded on violation of the canon and should not be operating in this country, according to Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin.
"The Moscow Patriarchate has absolutely no business in Ukraine, because this is the canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church [of the Moscow Patriarchate], historically, was based on violation of the law and is the result of usurpation," Klimkin wrote on his blog on the Ukrainskaya Pravda website on Thursday.
Citing archival material recently published under the name "The Ecumenical See and the Church of Ukraine: Documents Speak," Klimkin added that, de jure, the Ukrainian Church never ceased being a canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
"We as a people have lived for three centuries in a false reality, perceiving as normal what in reality was the result of deception and usurpation, seeing ourselves not as what we are," Klimkin wrote.
A tomos of autocephaly would resolve once and for all the dispute about canonicity, because it would be issued by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has the final say in all disputes in the Orthodox world, the minister wrote.
At the same time, it is up to the devout Ukrainians to decide to which patriarchate their parish should belong, he wrote. "Entry to a local church would be purely voluntary, and neither authorities nor church hierarchs, but members of every congregation would decide to which patriarchate to belong," Klimkin wrote, adding that the last thing Ukraine needs today is more feuding.
Only a united, autonomous Orthodox Church could provide such peace and harmony and resolve the problems of the past, Klimkin wrote.