Kiev, November 9, Interfax - A unification assembly on the creation of a new Ukrainian church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate will not be held before the end of November, Afanasy Shkurupiy, an official with the self-proclaimed Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, said.
The negotiation commission, which is supposed to discuss the agenda of the assembly, has not held any sessions yet, he said on ZIK television.
"When the commission is working, negotiators should work together, work on the charter and other documents on how the church will live after unification. But we have not received any proposals from the Kiev Patriarchate or even from the administration (if it started this whole process, it should also be an arbiter in this process)," Shkurupiy said.
There have been reports in Ukrainian and Russian media that the unification assembly has been scheduled for November 21. Verkhovnaya Rada Speaker Andrey Parubiy said the same.
However, Shkurupiy said he is certain that nothing will happen by that date. "I am convinced of this. The only thing that can take place is an assembly of the Kiev Patriarchate. But a unification assembly: on the basis of what?" he said.
In October, there was friction between the leaders of the two non-canonical churches of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Kiev Patriarchate, in the process of preparation for the unification assembly. Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church leader Makary Maletich said due Filaret Denisenko, the leader of the Kiev Patriarchate, was unwilling to make concessions and was insisting on the adoption of the charter he proposed for the future church. The status of the new organization - whether it would be a metropolinate or a patriarchate, as Filaret wants - remains unclear.
Archbishop Job (Getcha), who represents Constantinople at the World Council of Churches, said a week ago that Patriarch Bartholomew would convene a unification assembly in Ukraine when he decided it was time to do so.