Istanbul, Turkey, Oct 11, 2018 / 12:00 pm
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, leader of the global Orthodox Church, has issued a statement confirming plans for an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and restored ties with the previously schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate.
The announcement, released Oct. 11, also removed the traditional right of the Russian Patriarch to ordain the Metropolitan of Kyiv, a move which will likely be perceived as a deliberate slight to Moscow.
Fr. Alexander Laschuk, a Byzantine Catholic priest, canon lawyer, and professor at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, told CNA that the announcement was an “incredibly bold move” by Bartholomew, one likely to have real consequences for the global Orthodox Church.
The announcement was released by the office of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, following a regular session of the synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, held Oct. 9-11.
The meeting included bishops of the ecumenical patriarchate itself and its other territories, such as Greek Orthodox bishops in the United States, but was not inclusive of the wider orthodox community as each self-governing Church is independent.
“The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length the ecclesiastical matter of Ukraine,” the statement said, introducing a number of resolutions on the future of the Orthodox Church in that country.
The first of these was to “renew the decision already made that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.”
The statement also said that Metropolitan Filaret Denisenko, leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, had been restored to full communion along with its members.