Moscow, October 22, Interfax - The leader of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), Makary Maletich, regrets that he agreed to hand over the St. Andrews Church in Kiev to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and does not intend to be so pliant in future.
Speaking in an interview with the Espresso TV channel, Makary said that he had acted on this matter consistently, unlike President Pyotr Poroshenko who initially said that churches were the state property and non-transferrable.
"I replied that I personally agreed but would gather archbishops because this is not something I decide. We give and you should give us something in return. (...) We have St. Cyril's Church, the nature reserve, the Church of the Savior at Berestove - you are welcome. But the president said that he had promised both to Filaret and Makary to give something but that that would be one church, something one can do without. But one must be consistent. You can deceive me once, twice, but not more," Maletych said.
Strangely, none of "Moscow's" churches will be handed over but the only UAOC cathedral "can be handed over," Maletich said. "How 'fair'!" he said.
The UAOC is one of the three Ukrainian religious organizations (alongside the Moscow Patriarchate's Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the so-called Kiev Patriarchate), whose representatives, according to Constantinople's designs, were to attend the unification gathering.
Makary expressed doubt about the success of the unification, because the name, charter and model of the future church were still not determined.
"They want to unite everyone, so solemnly, the whole world. Please God that it be so, but I doubt now," he said.
Neither Makary nor his bishops or priests are ready for the gathering, he said.
"I said to the exarchs that it would take two weeks to agree upon, but they say that's too long. But I don't know how to do it faster if there is no charter and no name. I will gather priests and deacons - what will I tell them?" Makary asked
The situation could be solved if Patriarch Bartholomew appointed the head of the unified local church of Ukraine, gave him the tomos and gather around him everyone "who wants [to unite]."
Earlier President Poroshenko said that the handover of St. Andrews Church in Kiev for use by the Patriarchate of Constantinople for the operation of its mission would speed up the grant of the tomos of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.