Kiev, January 6, Interfax - Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland has sent a letter to the Constantinople patriarch, in which he says he is refusing to recognize the church recently created in Ukraine.
According to the canons, "schismatic church groups" can only be returned to the Church through their repentance and suspensions from service can only be lifted from clergymen, in particular, Filaret Denisenko, leader of the former "Kiev Patriarchate", by "those who suspended them," the head of the Polish Orthodox Church said in his letter to Patriarch Bartholomew, according to a report posted on the website of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"In any case, we did not see any repentance, remorse, or meekness, which normally precede the lifting of suspensions, in Filaret and his supporters! That didn't happen. And that is a problem. Therefore, they cannot be called real clergymen who can carry out rituals. So-called metropolitan Yepifaniy [the head of the new church], and in reality a secular person, has suffered damage," the Polish metropolitan said.
A copy of the letter to Patriarch Bartholomew was sent to the heads of all local Orthodox Churches, including Metropolitan Onufry, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Commenting on the document, the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said Metropolitan Sawa had addressed the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church using his full title, i.e., calls him His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.
"This means that the head of the Polish Orthodox Church continues recognizing His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine as the only canonical head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, despite the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew said in one of his letters that His Beatitude would not be able to have the title of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine after the so-called unification assembly," the synodal department said.