Kiev, November 16, Interfax - The clergy in Vinnitsa have decided not to support their ruling bishop, Metropolitan Simeon (Shostatsky), who said he intends to attend the unification assembly on the creation of a Ukrainian church independent of Moscow.
"We support the support the current status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a self-governed Church with independent rights. We condemn the rude anti-canonical interference by the Constantinople Patriarchate in the life of our Church, and we express full support for His Beatitude Onufry, the head of our Church and Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine," the emergency assembly of the Vinnitsa clergy said in its decision.
The decision was signed by 42 of the 44 participants, that is, an overwhelming majority of the city's clergy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church's press service said on Friday. Among the participants were the secretary of the diocese, the vicegerent of the Lemeshevsky Monastery, and the hegumenesses of the Brail and Bar Convents.
Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Bar Simeon, the ruling bishop of the Vinnitsa Diocese, was invited but did not come.
He was the only Ukrainian Orthodox Church bishop who refused to sign the final document adopted by its Council of Bishops on November 13. He said he disagreed with decisions such as the severance of eucharistic communion with Constantinople and the call on Ukrainian schismatics to repent as an indispensable condition for overcoming the church schism. On the same day, Metropolitan Simeon, along with two other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, met with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko behind closed doors.
The clergy of the Vinnitsa Diocese, for their part, said in their address to their ruling bishop that they fully support the decisions made by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council on November 13. The clergy of Vinnitsa and eparchial monastics also asked Metropolitan Simeon to call an assembly on November 19 to "support these decisions of the Council of Bishops by an eparchial vote and manifest church unity in the face of future trials."