Moscow, February 28, Interfax - The Serbian Orthodox Church has stated its official positon on the church situation in Ukraine, saying that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Onufry is the only Church it knows and recognizes.
"The Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize the artificial 'confederation' of Ukrainian schismatic groups, which has been proclaimed, yet from a canonical viewpoint does not exist, being, rather, essentially forced, as 'the autocephalous church of Ukraine'," the Serbian Orthodox Church's press and mass information bureau said in a statement released in Moscow on Thursday.
According to the document, "the schismatics remain schismatics" and "someone who becomes a schismatic once will always be a schismatic, excepting instances of sincere and deep repentance." "The only Church that the Serbian Church knows and recognizes is the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine," the Serbian Orthodox Church said.
The invasion of the Constantinople Patriarchate into the territory of the Russian Church is characterized in the document as non-canonical, whilst the unification assembly called in Kiev and Constantinople's support is called "a dividing false assembly, which has dug an even deeper pit of division and societal collapse for the poor country Ukraine."
The Serbian clergy is urged to refrain from liturgical and canonical communion with the clergy of the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine", as well as with bishops and clergymen who serve with them or take communion with them.
The Serbian Orthodox Church also "asks and implores" the Constantinople patriarch to revise the decisions he has made, in order to restore "the blessed peace and unity of local holy God's Churches."