Moscow, June 5, Interfax - Two hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople prayed at Divine liturgy celebrated on Sunday by Archbishop Makary Maletich of Lvov. He is a hierarch of the unrecognized Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC.)
An UAOC source reported Interfax on Monday that these were archbishop Vsevolod Maidansky who lives in Chicago and is a hierarch of the Ukrainian orthodox church of the USA under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and bishop Hilarion Rudnik charged by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to care for the Ukrainians living in Portugal and Spain.
‘According to the interviewee, representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople arrived in Ukraine to ‘develop brotherly elations’ with the UAOC. It is expected that a metochion (official representation) of the Patriarch of Constantinople will be opened in Lvov with the consent of city authorities in the immediate future.
The representation is to be opened in the Church of the Assumption seized by the UAOC representatives in 1989. It was a parish of the Moscow Patriarchate before the seizure. Archbishop Vsevolod and bishop Hilarion are going to celebrate a liturgy in this church and appoint archimandrite Philip its rector. Earlier he was rector of a UOC of the USA church in Indiana.
Archbishop Augustin of Lvov and Galich of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) told an Interfax correspondent he was ‘embarrassed and staggered’ by the fact that guests from the Patriarchate of Constantinople had not found it pertinent to notify him as a canonical hierarch of the Lvov diocese about their visit, but instead ‘visited the schismatics and prayed at their service thus making an impression that the Church of Constantinople is in communion with a schismatic group rather than with the canonical Church recognized by the whole Orthodox world.’
‘Brothers ought not to behave like that. Moreover, this is an obvious violation of the holy canons of the Orthodox church,’ archbishop Augustin said.
He further said that representatives of Constantinople had informed neither him, nor the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox church Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and all Ukraine about plans to open their official representation in the church seized by the UAOC representatives.
Archbishop Augustin says it is not the first event of the kind. In 2000, archbishop Vsevolod Maidansky attended the funeral of the UAOC patriarch Dimitry Jarema and said funeral prayers. ‘However, archbishop Vsevolod asked my pardon,’ archbishop Augustin remarked and added that ‘he reprimanded a Constantinopolitan hierarch for his uncanonical behaviour.’
In March 2005, archbishop Vsevolod met with the Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko and said that the Patriarchate of Constantinople did not recognize Ukraine as a part of the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Patriarchate of Constantinople has neither confirmed, nor refuted this statement when inquired by the Moscow Patriarchate.
Last spring, the chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox church Archbishop Mitrofan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky denounced ‘backstage deals’ of the Ukrainian political authorities with Constantinople and expressed his concern and anxiety about the visits to Ukraine of representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox church in the USA under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, including archbishop Vsevolod Maidansky, ‘behind the back of the primate of the largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox church’ Metropolitan Vladimir.