Kiev, December 5, Interfax - The statute regarding Ukraine's "unified local church" drawn up by the Constantinople Patriarchate does not actually provide for this church's autocephaly, contrary to Kiev's expectations, the online Ukrainian publication Vesti reported.
According to Vesti, some key provisions of this statute show that there is no reason to expect the autocephaly (independence) of the new church; it will be fully subordinate to Constantinople as a metropolitanate.
One of the key provisions of the statute stipulates that the Ukrainian church will be inseparably linked to the Constantinople Patriarchate and, through it, to all other Churches. This is essentially the current status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is linked to the Orthodox world via the Russian Orthodox Church.
The draft statute says that the Orthodox church in Ukraine will be led by a metropolitan, not a patriarch, Vesti reported.
The Ukrainian church's assembly of bishops would be required to consult the Constantinople Patriarchate on all important matters; the latter would share whatever it saw as essential with the assembly and would not be required explain its decisions, according to Vesti.
What is more, the Ukrainian church would receive chrism used during sacraments only from Constantinople, which is regarded as one of the main indicators of the absence of real autocephaly, it said.
The "unified local church" would also be unable to canonize saints on its own, but would have to submit their names to Constantinople for endorsement.
The draft statute also stipulates that the Constantinople Patriarchate would act as the top appellate institution.
It was reported earlier that the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate had approved a draft statute for a nascent church independent of Moscow at the Synod's meeting on November 27-29.