UOC-KP appeals for church unity

Religious Information Service of Ukraine

LVIV - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) has called upon the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) to overcome the crisis inside the Church and unite in a national Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The press service of the UOC-KP released the statement, titled "We Will Love in Deed and Truth, But not Through Words and Tongue," on March 20.

The text of the statement follows.

"With deep sorrow did the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate learn that over the last several months the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church has suffered events that aggravated the division in the Ukrainian Orthodoxy. Metropolitan Mefodii [Kudriakov], spiritual head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and Archbishop Ihor [Isichenko of Kharkiv and Poltava], responsible for managing affairs of the patriarchate of the UAOC, released documents that caused another split in the UAOC.

"The agreement on concrete measures towards unification signed by the UOC-KP and the UAOC at the Constantinople Patriarchate, working meetings on this matter both in the Constantinople Patriarchate and in Ukraine, and the approval of concluding documents gave many Orthodox believers in Ukraine hope that the division between the two Orthodox jurisdictions with similar standpoints concerning patriotism and the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would be overcome.

"Unfortunately, since that time little has been done towards unification. The Kyiv Patriarchate has repeatedly called to resume the process which had already been begun, but received no response. After the UAOC hierarchs with whom an agreement had been reached lost their unity, the current situation was aggravated even more.

"Therefore, the Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church fulfills its obligation to encourage the hierarchs and faithful of the UAOC to unite in a national Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This unification corresponds to the message and the spirit of the documents which were signed by plenipotentiary representatives of the UAOC in the Constantinople Patriarchate in the presence of His Beatitude Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. This unification will meet the demands of Ukrainian Orthodoxy and mean the fulfillment of the covenant of love given by Jesus Christ."

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, April 27, 2003, No. 17, Vol. LXXI

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