3 Apr 2019 18:09

Ukraine's new church fears possibility of tomos revocation

KYIV. April 3 (Interfax) - Ioasaf Vasilikiv, the head of the Ivano-Frankivsk and Galicia diocese of the new Ukrainian church, has criticized unauthorized changes in its charter, which he believes may lead to the revocation of the tomos.

"Someone really doesn't want our church to have a future," Ioasaf said in an interview with the publication Kyiv Orthodoxy.

The clergy is happy with the charter of the new church, which was written in Constantinople, the hierarch said. "The main principles of our church's activities outlined in the charter of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine fully satisfy the diocese hierarchs. The charters of the dioceses contain good descriptions of the fundamental principles of interaction between the metropolitanate and dioceses, dioceses and parishes, and therefore it is unreasonable and premature to make any changes to the charter of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, they will only lead to the revocation of the tomos," the hierarch said.

He said he concerned by the fact that the efforts made by the administration of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will turn its Synod into a "metropolitan political bureau." The hierarch said he means the plans to include in the synod permanent members contrary to the rule stated in the charter so that all diocese archbishops take turns at sitting in the Synod and are responsible for church development.

Such policies of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine lead "to a new division of the Church, and we can't let that happen," the hierarch said.

When the new Ukrainian church was created, Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew insisted that all changes to its charter should be approved by Constantinople and that there should be rotation in its Synod. In the meantime, in mid March, three months after the foundation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, its honored patriarch Filaret (Denysenko) said he did not like the charter proposed by Constantinople.

"Personally, I am not happy with the charter. And therefore we should hold a meeting in the next Local Assembly and adopt the charter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Not the Kyiv metropolitanate in the Constantinople Patriarchate, because we are now using this charter, a Greek charter. We as an autocephalous church need to have our own, Ukrainian charter," Filaret said.