Kiev, June 24, 2015
On June 24, 2015, a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) was held at the St. Panteleimon’s Monastery in the Kievan neighborhood of Theophania.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church always was and still remains open to a constructive dialogue with all who today are outside the unity of the universal Orthodoxy, the message on the UOC website reads. However, cases of aggression and seizure of canonical churches by schismatics (often with the connivance of local authorities) make the restoration of the Church unity much more difficult.
The Holy Synod also noted the inadmissibility of state interference in the internal affairs of the Church.
Not only does it not further overcoming the Church schism, but it also puts obstacles on this path: “The tragic Church schism has become a bleeding wound on the body of the Ukraine. A portion of our fellow countrymen, who confess the Orthodox faith, already for the third generation have been outside communion with universal Orthodoxy. Lately there have been many attempts to seize our canonical churches and their forcible transfer to the so-called “Kyiv Patriarchate”. By now 23 churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been seized. Therefore, parishioners of the canonical Ukrainian Church are bereft of any opportunity to attend their own parish churches and freely worship in them.
“We are deeply concerned about the fact that unlawful acts against religious communities of our churches are frequently committed with the tacit consent of local authorities, or even with their assistance. All this makes the restoration of Church unity much more difficult… Once again we affirm the willingness of our Church for candid and constructive dialogue with representatives of the unrecognized Church groups within the Ukraine. The dialogue should be based on canon law and implemented without interference by non-Church (secular) factors in the process. Overcoming schisms is an internal Church matter. We understand the interest of the state authority in restoration of the Church unity, but we object to a state interference in the inner Church life,” the statement reads.