Moscow, November 15, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church sees the plans to convene a unifying assembly of the Ukrainian churches aimed at setting up a church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate as "adventuristic."
The online publication Golos.ua reported on Wednesday that the assembly could be convened as early as November 22, and Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul, the locum tenens of the Western European Exarchate of Constantinople, will arrive in Kiev on Thursday to prepare for it.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said he believes there is no great enthusiasm about the convention of this forum either in the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church or among those he called schismatics.
"Different figures, ranging from 10 to 25, were given regarding the number of canonical hierarchs who might participate at this outlaws' get-together. So far, we see only two canonical hierarchs who have disagreed with the common opinion of the canonical Church's episcopate, expressed in the decision of its bishops' assembly. But will they attend the 'unifying assembly'? It's far from certain. The adventuristic nature of this event is obvious to everyone," Metropolitan Hilarion told the Greek religious news agency Romfea.
Constantinople wants the nascent "autocephalous church" to be led by someone new and wants to throw "Kiev Patriarchate" leader Filaret onto the "ash heap of history," he said.
"After all, they recognized him not as a patriarch, but simply in some hierarchic capacity, as a former Kiev man. President Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew reached an agreement that Filaret would be discarded. But will the 'episcopate' under Filaret agree to this scenario? That's not certain, either," Metropolitan Hilarion said.