Thank God, we can’t call each other heretics

The legal basis and historical precedents for the granting of the Tomos of the Patriarch of Constantinople Ukraine reflects the doctor of juridical Sciences, state Councilor of justice of the Russian Federation of the second class Alexey Velichko.

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The procedure changes. The benefit of the Church remains

– Can the Moscow Patriarchate to grant autocephaly? Is there a procedure Declaration?

Alexey Velichko

– Of course. But in the history of the Church, these procedures range. Autocephaly can be granted by a Mother Church, as was the case with the Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian Churches. But we know examples of the granting of autocephaly by the decision of the Church body. For example, at the Third Ecumenical Council, it was decided to give the autocephaly of the Cypriot Church, which retained the status of a metropolis.

To say that there is only one, strictly the established procedure would be wrong. The procedure changes. Another thing, there is a principle that lies at the basis of all decisions – the good of the Church. This is the highest criterion that determines will not cause the solution to a particular Church body trouble christomanou another society with which they are in Eucharistic unity.

In a situation of granting of the Tomos Ukraine, alas, to discuss the implementation of this criterion is not necessary even regardless of whether rights were the Patriarch of Constantinople the Synaxis or right behind our Synod and Patriarch Kirill.

Levity does not paint our hierarchy

– If the Moscow Patriarchate granted autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church could unite believers, or this decision will exacerbate the split?

– Autocephaly can be granted in different amounts. What it is essentially? It is only the independence of a particular Church community. You can save Ukraine the status of a metropolis, which would have autocephaly, but would support closer relations with the Moscow Patriarchate.

Here I am reminded of a story as was granted autocephaly of the Russian Church. It is possible to allocate two episodes. The first of them – when the Cathedral of Russian bishops, on the initiative of Grand Prince Ivan III made the decision that from now on the Metropolitan of Moscow is not sent from Constantinople, and will be elected from among the Russian bishops. In fact, that’s when we gained independence. Our head in any way on the Constantinople cathedra-more independent: not consistent and not even hirotonisan. Formally, the Russian Church arrived in the part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The second episode happened later: during the reign of Fedor Ioannovich, it was decided to give the Russian Church the status of a Patriarchate. It is already possible to speak of full autocephaly. Of course, the Greeks for some time resisted, but under pressure went for a meeting.

In other words, do not have autocephaly means the final rupture of relations between Moscow and Kiev. From our side it would be possible to provide greater autonomy of the Kyivan Metropolitan, but keep in the part of the Moscow Patriarchate. These options would be possible if we premeditate them and not relied on the fact that our credibility is firm and will remain the same.

– What legal grounds (may be historical precedents) was the Patriarch Bartholomew to the appointment of the Exarch to Ukraine?

– This is an extremely serious and very difficult question. By and large we are talking about the fundamentals: who is the Mother Church for the Kyivan Metropolitanate? Patriarch Bartholomew came from the fact that the historical tradition of Constantinople was and retains the status of the father of the founder of the Kiev Metropolitanate. The direction of his legates (exarchs) looks in this sense it is a natural thing to do.

Our side comes from a different premise: in 1686 the Kyiv metropolis was joined to the Moscow Patriarchate. This means that the only legal head of the Kyivan Church is his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. If we are talking about formal legal side, the answer to your question should be sought in the event of ancient antiquity. If to speak about my personal opinion, it is far not unconditional, that there is no single answer.

To some extent, the Greeks are right when they say that the Cathedral in 1686 was not without a violation of established traditions. But, dear brethren, for nearly 250 years, you have saved the practice and accept the fait accompli, did not protest against it! Why? Yes, because all these years, Moscow is not only the material contained Eastern Patriarchates: Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria, helping money. It is politically provided the foundations of our brothers in the East. In such circumstances, the Greeks did not dare to challenge the act of the Cathedral. That is, freeze the situation indefinitely. Agree that it’s not the most respectable position.

In my opinion, ought not to be guided by formal legal grounds, but still the good of the Church. Unless there was something supernatural? Something impossible, demanded suddenly, and now collect the Synaxis and make the decision to provide the Ukrainian Church from our staff? I’m not versed in all the nuances of the internal life and inside a relationship, but it seems to me, as a Christian, which is hardly the situation was so acute that it was necessary to go to such drastic step.

Our posed position, when we didn’t even try to imagine what a cloud suddenly shut us from the sun, I have not sympathy. This levity, which does not paint the Church authorities from among those who, because of job responsibilities is intended to carefully explore what is prepared for us as the opposition can form. It’s too flippant attitude, in the hope that Patriarch Bartholomew will frighten but would never accept such a solution. We made a mistake. Obviously.

Constantinople decided to give us back the debt in full

– The spread of influence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is an attempt to obtain control of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church? Why is this even necessary? It is a revision of spheres of influence and an attempt to establish “Eastern papism”?

– For the sake of objectivity let’s say that the “Eastern papism” is dangerous and unpleasant phenomenon for the East of the Church existed a long time. It often happens that the Eastern papacy was manifested in a much more rigid form than the Latin papacy. It is the absolute truth. With regard to the ambitions of the Church of Constantinople, that they are always varied over time. Originally the Church of Constantinople, even after the status of the Patriarchate, was among the lowest of the departments. Only thanks to the initiative of the Byzantine emperors, who wanted to have a “helper at Church” in the person of the Bishop of Constantinople, the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople is constantly expanding, from century to century.

At first, it was the Second Ecumenical Council where Constantinople was called the second chair of the honor after the Roman. This caused an uproar in the West, and Alexandria and Antioch, which puzzled looked at that little child, which have the widest preference.

Then there was the Fourth (Chalcedon) Ecumenical Council and the famous 28 rule. Then Council in Trullo, which the 36th Canon of the lead figures of the Department, indicating that she cares and the nearby metropolis. At some point, in the ninth century, four hundred and fifty Metropolitan was subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Subsequently, when the first Arabs and then Turks conquered Syria, Egypt, Palestine, the influence of the bishops of these faculties are weakened.

The Patriarch of Constantinople began to appoint Patriarchs in its decision in the form of the Synodal acts. This was, of course, and the objective necessity: how else to choose the Patriarch in Jerusalem or Alexandria, if it is ruled by sovereigns of other faiths?

There was even a titular Patriarchs, for example, the famous canonist Theodore Balsamon that in Antioch has never been, but was regarded as the Patriarch of Antioch. There is always the sanctity of struggling with sin. In the right hands these powers gave a very high result, and in some seduced – has led to the fact that the Patriarch of Constantinople began to consider themselves the only and chief Bishop on earth, a vicegerent, a vicar of Christ. Not accidentally, the Latins expressed the criticism in the address of the Greeks, they say, your claim is much deeper than ours.

In the subsequent, despite the fact that the flock of the Patriarch of Constantinople had decreased, remained the Church’s tradition and the tradition that this Department has become to many of the Christianization of Russia, the Balkan peoples, the peoples of America. Whisk this Department from the Board only because of the small size of the flock and of the inferiority of the situation, of course, impossible.

Another thing – what did Patriarch Bartholomew provides Tomos? I do not presume to judge motives, but the answer is obvious. To some extent this is an extreme revenge for the fact that in the 60-ies of the Moscow Patriarchate recognized the autocephaly of the American Church, which was part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In fact, then, the Greeks had rejected a lot of rich and influential parishes and dioceses. Of course, Constantinople didn’t forget and decided to give us back the debt in full.

Other explicit motives I do not detect except, perhaps, interpersonal. Do not rule out that Patriarch Bartholomew is not especially pleased with our Patriarch. As always happens in the conditions of human mingled social, spiritual and sinful. I’m sure there is a totality of the circumstances.

Until the heretics

– Do You have an understanding of how a lawyer, what could be the way out of the situation? Can such a conflict be a step towards revising the format of relations between the local Churches at all?

–Well, how to review them? There was a time when Catholic, that is Universal, the Church existed in the world, the States of the Holy Roman Empire. There were five Patriarchs and the Roman Emperor, who together with them carried out the overall management of the unified Church. But even then there were tensions between departments due to different motives: the personal, the doctrinal difference is canonical and liturgical practices. Not to say that earlier all was good. No, of course.

Now, when the Universal Church as a single value is missing when there is a collection of local Churches, everything is much complicated. To talk about what other forms of rejection of each other can be quite difficult. Thank God, in today’s conflict we are not talking about heresy. We and Constantinople, and Ukraine confess one doctrine and undamaged. Thank God, we can’t call each other heretics, although someone already offers.

You can, of course, to suspend Eucharistic communion. Unfortunately, it happens often and not only between us and Constantinople, but between the Jerusalem and Antioch Church and the Jerusalem of the Romanian, Serbian and Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian. Alas, it’s very common precedents.

I don’t think our threat to suspend Eucharistic communion is something unprecedented, then Constantinople will change his mind and everything will return to normal. Alas, the leverage in the situation we have left.

– No levers of influence?

– What is it? Constantinople To Anathematize? I can’t because anathematise still, the heretics, who bear the dubious dogmatic ideas. Fortunately it is not.

– What can happen?

– Anything you want. For example, the Council will meet Ukrainian bishops and accept the decision that the Primate of the Ukrainian Church is not the Lord Onufry, and, God forbid, someone else. Suppose the Council of bishops decides to go to Constantinople with a request to keep the Ukrainian Church the status of a metropolis, but Autocephalous, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This is a relatively bloodless version. Sure, in this case, the overwhelming majority of parishes will take the salute “is” and no blood will be shed.

For the layman, for the most part, externally, the transition from one state to another will vary, and only those that remember will not during the Liturgy his Holiness Patriarch Kirill and his Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. The rest will remain the same: the same priest, same Church, same language services and order.

Frankly speaking, the progress and development very much depend on the personal authority of the Primate of the Kyivan Metropolitanate and of our Patriarch. Will they have his authority to convince the wards that if given to someone autocephaly, it is not the parishes, which have previously been part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and someone else, unknown. Then this “gift” of Constantinople will be rejected and the Ukrainian bishops, priests, and the Ukrainian flock. For example, they will say: “we do not need your autocephaly, it is convenient in the framework of the Moscow Patriarchate to live, and who wants to let him detaches and moves to you.” This will be one story. But you must admit that no formal and legal ways here will not solve anything.

If the Ukrainian parishes do not want the Russian Church to be in Church unity, it will and all. If we say that Moscow is dearer to them than Constantinople, so among the Greeks it will not work.

I think that weak and separate the echoes of a critical nature to the Patriarch Bartholomew, who heard from Jerusalem and Greece, of course, nice and comfort, but, in fact, from a practical point of view, no serious consequences are not entail. This disparate individual opinions. Why should anyone respond to them?

Alas, there is no formal legal means to resolve the situation unambiguously in one direction or another. The final solution of the situation depends on how powerful authority that our hierarchy in the eyes of the Ukrainian parishes and Ukrainian hierarchs, what direction they want to take.

Interviewed By Olga Lunina

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