19 Nov 2018 22:16

Russian Church sees postponement of assembly in Kyiv as sign of disagreement between parties in autocephalous project

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) - The Moscow Patriarchate sees the fact that the so-called unifying assembly in Kyiv has been postponed once again as an indication that its organizers have been unable to reach a consensus between themselves.

"The statement on the Patriarchate of Constantinople's official website about the postponement of the so-called assembly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to December is a sign of disagreements between the parties involved in the Ukrainian autocephalous project," Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, secretary of the Synodal Office of External Church Links for Inter-Orthodox Relations, told Interfax on Monday.

"The schismatics legalized by Constantinople have understood increasingly more clearly that autocephaly that the Phanar is preparing for them doesn't imply absolute church independence at all, of which they dreamed so much," he said.

On the other hand, the Constantinople emissaries "have increasingly more often faced manifestations of ambitions by that dubious audience that they so hastily declared as canonical hierarchy," Yakimchuk said.

"In these conditions, it is only representatives of the Ukrainian government who have ventured to say with certainty about the dates of this get-together of schismatics, which is ironically called 'a holy assembly' in the text of the above-mentioned statement, so continuing to grossly interfere in church affairs and violate the Ukrainian constitution," he said.

Yakimchuk cited a recent statement by Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy as to when exactly the assembly should be held. He insisted that the Rada chairman said this "clearly as an official and not in his private capacity, which would have been strange, as he is not an Orthodox Christian but a Uniate."

The unifying assembly planned in Ukraine is aimed at setting up a Ukrainian church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate, to which Constantinople is expected to grant a Tomos of autocephaly. It had been announced before that the assembly would be held in early October, then it was rescheduled to November 21-22, and now it has again been postponed to December, which the Patriarchate of Constantinople officially announced on Monday.