04.12.2009, [14:20] // Inter-Christian relations // RISU.ORG.UA
KYIV — Patriarch Filaret, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), gave his response to the conditions set out in the Address to Faithful Children recently published by the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). In his address to the clergy and faithful of the UOC-MP, Patriarch Filaret noted that he views the dialogue between the two churches as the best way to overcome the divide of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. However, according to Patriarch Filaret, the UOC-MP sets known unacceptable conditions for the dialogue, which indicate that church’s inadequate evaluation of the power of the Kyivan Patriarchate and dependence on the Moscow center. Patriarch Filaret also made known to UOC-MP that in view of such a state of affairs, the UOC-KP “reserves the possibility to consider all constructive proposals of the Constantinople Mother-Church, which would lead to the unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy” and reminded that the Moscow patriarchate “has no monopoly for ‘canonicity.’”
In his address, Patriarch Filaret called the representatives of the UOC-MP to adequately view his church. “The Kyivan Patriarchate is neither a product of politicians or a whim of a few individuals. No matter if it is recognized or not, the Kyivan Patriarchate is a national church. We firmly keep the Orthodox faith, profess its dogmas, live by the Orthodox canons,” says the document.
The address also stresses that the so-called “schism” has no “canonical reasons.” “We are convinced that the canons of the church and someone’s self-will in their interpretation are not one and the same thing… it was not us who broke that Eucharistic communion, and it was not for doctrinal reasons that it was broken,” stressed Patriarch Filaret. He also noted that the bias of some representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate in the dialogue with the UOC-KP is not understandable at least in view of the fact that the Moscow Patriarchate is currently conducting a dialogue with Old Believers, who were anathematized by it in the 17th century. “…as opposed to the Russian Orthodox Church and Old Believers, we [UOC-MP and UOC-KP: editor] do not differ either in creed or public worship,” added the hierarch.
The hierarch stated that one can conclude from the decisions of the last synod of the UOC-MP that “despite the declared ‘independent self-government,’ it is very difficult for the UOC-MP to pass any fundamental decision if that decision is not sanctioned by Moscow both formally and actually.” “And we can see well that even though the Moscow Patriarchate does not dispute the dialogue of the UOC-MP with the Kyivan Patriarchate, it [Moscow Patriarchate] does not exhort the Ukrainian senior clergy who are against the dialogue to subordinate to their head and synod,” reads the address. “Now we can again see attempts to undermine the authority of the head of the UOC-MP, again to curtail the rights ‘of independent self-government’ actually, even if not formally,” further reads the address.