Editing – translation: Romfea.gr
Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 24, 2023, according to information from the Ukrainian media, the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine will be held, where a draft of the “Statutory Charter” will be approved, which posted by the Ukrainian channel Telegram Churcher.
It should be mentioned that the AEO has until today observed the Volume and the Statute of the Ecumenical Patriarchate approved in 2018.
When comparing the old “Statute” of 2018 with the new “Statute” of AEO, a series of amendments regarding the internal administration of the Church can be seen.
A characteristic modification which is obvious is the aggressiveness of the new Statute towards the competitors.
Specifically, Section A “General Provisions” is much more aggressive in its content than the older AEO documents.
In par. 1.4 it is stated that the presence on the territory of Ukraine of “Ecclesiastical Provinces, Holy Monasteries and Communities” of the Moscow Patriarchate (i.e. the body of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) “constitutes a violation of the principles of canon law and a distortion that requires correction”.
Also, the AEO does not want any dialogue with the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Mr. Onufrios, while demanding the “normal unity of all the Orthodox of Ukraine under the omophorion of Metropolitan Epiphanius.
Under the conditions of the persecutions, which the Ukrainian state almost declared against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the text is judged as an ultimatum to all Orthodox Christians of Ukraine with the dilemma to join the AEO, otherwise the communities will be dissolved and the churches will be occupied.
In essence, the Church of Metropolitan Epiphanius claims the right of all Orthodox Holy Monasteries and Parishes, to which jurisdiction they may be subject.
Even the new Charter of the AEO once again declares that the so-called “Patriarchy of Kyiv” does not exist and that the successor of all its communities is assumed by the AEO (par. 1.5).
It also “reserves the right to the exclusive name” of the organization “Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Kyiv”, which according to analysts looks like a hint of a future Patriarchate.
It is interesting to compare the new “Statute of AEO administration” of 2023 with the old text of the “Statute Charter” of 2018, which was drawn up with the assistance of Hierarchs and Experts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In the new “Statute” the mutual relationship with the Ecumenical Throne is reflected much more simply, while certain privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding cooperation are ignored.
1. The right of appeal by hierarchs and clerics through the exercise of petition before the Ecumenical Throne, which was previously mentioned in the “Statute Charter” of 2018 (par. 1.4, 11), is missing from the new “Statute” of 2023. The last judicial degree for the bishops the “Local Clergy and Laity Assembly” is established, i.e. Assembly of the clergy and laity (Statutory Charter of 2023, par. 12.3.1), while for the clergy the “Hierarchy Synod” of the AEO (par. 12.3.2), and for the monks and laity Holy Synod of the OEO (par. 12.3.3).
2. The new Charter of 2023 no longer provides for the creation of a Joint Committee together with the Ecumenical Patriarchate to deal with issues that are not included in the Charter (Statutory Charter of the AEO of 2018, par. 1.3). Also missing from the new Charter is the reference of the “Holy Synod of the Hierarchy” to the Ecumenical Patriarch “for major ecclesiastical matters” (Statutory Charter of the OEO of 2018, par. 4.3). On the contrary, the new Charter repeatedly emphasizes that the “Clerical Assembly” is the “last stage” for dealing with all issues important for the ecclesiastical life of the AEO.
3. Also missing from the new Charter of the AEO is the reference from the old one of 2018: “The Orthodox Christians in the Orthodox Diaspora are shepherded among the above by the provincial Bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate” (par. 1.4). In par. 1.4 of the new Charter it is emphasized that the AEO exercises its jurisdiction not only “over the entire territory of Ukraine”, but also “over the entire Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. This can be interpreted broadly, as interpreted by e.g. the Patriarchates of Moscow, Romania and Serbia, which establish the ecclesiastical provinces and parishes abroad. After all, if a cleric of the AEO is found e.g. in Amsterdam or Brussels, he will, as before, be subject to the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, even if he establishes his own Ukrainian parish there…
4. The new “Statute” lacks the need to report to the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the issue of the inclusion of new Saints in the Calendar (2018 Statutory Charter, par. 4.9). The new Statute defines the inclusion of Saints in the Calendar by the “Holy Synod of the Hierarchy” and the “Clerical Assembly” of the AEO (2.5.4, 3.8.5).
5. Somehow the beautiful wording of the old Statute of 2018 (par. 1.2) regarding the “granting of its status (of the Autocephalous s.s.) in a vacuum from the martyred Hieroanonic body of the Mother Church in Constantinople” were somehow eliminated from the new Charter. . Dependence on the Ecumenical Patriarchate is limited to the simple commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s name together with other Primates (4.26.2), the presence of the crucifixes of Constantinople in Ukraine (1.4) and the reception of the Holy Myrrh (5.9.22).
Most of all, the “Akroteleution” section of the new “Statutory Charter” (par. 13) complicates the situation.
There it is stated that both the Autocephaly Volume of 2019 and the “Statutory Charter of the AEO” of 2018 and the new “Statutory Charter of Management” are “the statutory documents” of the AEO and at the same time “have superior force”.
With all this, it is not understood how those principles of both Statutes, which conflict with each other, will be related to each other.
L.g. on the “Clerical Assembly” of the AEO as the last jurisdictional level and on the right of its hierarchs and clergy to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Finally, church sources clarify that the text of the new “Management Statute” was designed for “internal” consumption by the Ukrainians, in order to demonstrate to Ukraine and the citizens the maximum possible independence of the AEO, while the old “Statute Charter” of 2018 remains to be demonstrated to the “external agent” the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
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