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A Sad Day for Orthodox Unity

It was announced in Istanbul on 1 October that a delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is to visit the Ukraine for talks with a small, schismatic group of nationalists, which calls itself the ‘Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church’.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople is to set up a special commission, which will visit Kiev on Saturday 3 October to carry out a ‘detailed study of the ecclesiastical situation’ in that part of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. The self-proclaimed, ‘autocephalous’ group is led by a Methodius Kudriakov. According to the Ukrainian edition of the ‘Kommersant’ newspaper, it is with him that the Constantinople commission will negotiate on 4 and 5 October. The group is asking to be received into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but remain ‘autonomous’. The group’s parishes are nearly all in Galicia, a former Polish-controlled territory in the far north-west of the Ukraine.

With this blatant and schismatic interference in the territory of another Local Orthodox Church, the situation has once more become very dangerous. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, under the Patriarchate of Moscow, which has 85% of the parishes in the Ukraine, is clearly very concerned. We recall how the tiny and fragile Patriarchate of Constantinople barged into internal Russian Church affairs in Estonia in the recent 1990s and created a small schism there. Now, once more, it risks isolating itself from World Orthodoxy, as it did in the distant past, when it sponsored such heresies as Nestorianism and Monotheletism. It may enter into communion with this group, but it will then automatically fall out of communion with the rest of the Church.

When in the 1990s also, the Patriarchate of Constantinople received uncanonical, self-consecrated Ukrainian parishes in the Diaspora into its jurisdiction, it already caused considerable disturbance. If, as in another case of its interference, the 2006 Sourozh schism, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is again to interfere in the territory of another Local Orthodox Church, the result will be disastrous. It will mean that Constantinople falls away into schism from the rest of the Orthodox Church, eventually risking turning into a Protestant-style, new calendar sect.

As was publicly revealed during the CIA-orchestrated ‘Orange Revolution’ of 2004-5, US dollars are subsidising the move to separate the Ukraine from its Mother-Church. Now, by using as a pawn the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which the abortionist President Barack Obama recently visited, many suspect that the operation is continuing.

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