Odessa, October 23, Interfax - The clergy of the Diocese of Odessa has voted in favor of preserving the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's current status and reaffirmed its allegiance to Metropolitan Onufry, the primate of the Church.
The Odessa clergy convened a general meeting during which Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmail held a secret ballot in which the attendees were asked whether they support the preservation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's current status and the stance taken by Metropolitan Onufry. Of 413 clerics representing the Diocese of Odessa at the meeting, 406 said yes, three said no, and four abstained.
Last week, the clergy of the dioceses of Kherson and Rovno reaffirmed their allegiance to Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and Metropolitan Joasaf of Kirovograd and Novy Mirgorod followed suit. Metropolitan Aleksandr (Drabinko), who was the only hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to proclaim that all its clerics are now clerics of the Church of Constantinople, took back his statement almost immediately.
Andrey Yurash, director of the Ukrainian Culture Ministry's department of religions and interethnic relations, said earlier that over 50% of communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would join the new church being created by Constantinople.
On October 11, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate abrogated the ordinance of 1686 that put the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, announced the opening of a mission in Kiev, and rehabilitated the leaders of the unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. In response, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate fully severed its relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate.