Minsk, December 21, Interfax - The Belarusian Orthodox Church has decided at a general assembly of the Minsk Diocese to declare the Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church schismatic.
The relevant decision was published on the official website of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
"The so-called Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine headed by so-called Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kiev and All Ukraine shall be declared a schismatic community," the decision said.
According to the Belarusian Orthodox Church, the general assembly of the Minsk Diocese was held "in light of the existing situation: the encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, the holding of the so-called unifying assembly in Kiev, and the establishment of a new pseudo-church structure in Ukraine."
In addition, the Minsk Diocese assembly unanimously decided to support the decision of the Russian Orthodox Church's Synod on the impossibility of further communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church is also planning "to explain to the clergy and parishioners of the Minsk Diocese that it is impossible to perform joint church service with 'the clergy' of the aforementioned uncanonical structure and participation in its 'sacraments.'"
The Belarusian Orthodox Church also expressed "sincere filial gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia" and "fraternal support to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine."
As reported, on December 15, the unifying assembly, which was held in presence of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, established a new Ukrainian church and elected the head of this structure, Epiphaniy Dumenko. Epiphaniy is expected to be granted the tomos on autocephaly by the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in presence of the Ukrainian president on January 6.