Moscow, December 29, Interfax - The Holy Synod that met in Moscow on Friday gave its evaluation to the unification assembly held in Kiev and the Ukrainian authorities' actions aimed at renaming the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"The 'Unification Assembly' held in Kiev on December 15 composed of members of schismatic groups led by Metropolitan Emmanuel of Galle, a representative of the Constantinople Patriarchate, and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko was declared non-canonical," the Synod said in its decisions.
The hierarchs of the Russian church also expressed "deep concerns" about the entry into force of the amendments to the Ukrainian law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.
The Moscow Synod decision calls these amendments discriminatory. It also states that secular politicians intend to seek deprivation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its canonical and lawful name based on the adopted law. Members of the Synod see "this legislative act as a glaring violation of the principle of non-interference of the state in the internal affairs of religious communities outlined in the Constitution of Ukraine."
The law contradicts the fundamental international documents on the protection of human rights and freedoms, the decision said.
The Synod has made a decision to call on the heads and Synods of the brotherly Orthodox Churches to support Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the bishops, the clergy, and monastics and loyal flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church "in connection with the current trials," and also not to recognize "the community founded at the so-called Unification Assembly on December 15, 2018 in Kiev as an autocephalous local Orthodox church."