The Holy Synod Of The Ukrainian Orthodox Church
to the archpastors, pastors, monastics, and faithful
from 17 December 2018
Your eminences and graces!
Beloved in the Lord fathers, brothers and sisters!
December 15, 2018 in the city of Kyiv on the territory of National reserve “Sophia of Kyiv” held a so-called unification Council, which announced the establishment of a new Church organization called “the Orthodox Church” resulting from the merger of the two non-canonical structures: “the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate.”
Thus, this collection is a Union of the dissenters and to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is irrelevant. For our Church, in essence, nothing has changed, because the dissenters remained in the division, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church remains a true Church of Christ in Ukraine. No one in the world questioning the validity of the Episcopal and priestly ordinations of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the fullness of grace done in our Church Sacraments, which cannot be said about the newly created structure.
With sadness we inform you that for failure in the split of the Holy Synod was forced to release from the diocese, and to impose a ban in the priesthood of the most Reverend Metropolitan of Vinnitsa and Barsky Simeon, and to prohibit in the Ministry of the most Reverend Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnevsky Alexander. We urge all of you, dear Vladyka, fathers, brethren and sisters, to pray for understanding and return to the bosom of the Church of the said lords and others, who have lapsed into schism. Our Church, as a loving Mother, with the hope of waiting for their return.
It’s a shame that one of the initiators of today’s test for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which argues its right to intervene in our Church what our Church once was in his jurisdiction. In this regard, I would like to remind you that the Russian Orthodox Church had declared its autocephaly because betrayal by the Patriarchate of Constantinople the Orthodox faith and the signing of the Union with Rome at Ferrara-Florence Council in 1439. This spiritual betrayal of the Orthodox faith was the main reason for separation from Constantinople and Kiev Metropolitanate. The Union caused a breakdown in Church relations and mistrust, which were later exacerbated by the fact that for centuries in the most hard times for Orthodoxy in our land by the Church of Constantinople was no need pastoral care and assistance. The Kievan Metropolitanate, being exhausted from the religious confrontation with the Uniates, devastated from the war, especially after the Union of Brest in 1596, with the aim of preserving the Orthodox faith became part of the Russian Orthodox Church in the late XVII century. So today the Patriarchate of Constantinople has no moral and canonical right to interfere in the internal Affairs and spiritual life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Moreover, the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has led to the fact that the possibility of the restoration of unity of the Orthodox in Ukraine dropped for a long time, if not forever.
Dear bishops, fathers, brothers and sisters! We appeal to you to continue to protect the purity of the Holy Orthodox faith, to preserve spiritual unity in our Holy Ukrainian Church, which is the canonical successor of the ancient Kyivan Metropolitanate, which brought the prayers of the Holy Apostle Andrew the first-called and the writings of the Holy Prince Vladimir, and in which they lived and pleased God our glorious ancestors.
We Express our gratitude to the bishops, clergy, monks and all lay people who in these difficult times to withstand the pressure and reaffirm their loyalty to the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “Be faithful until death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10) teaches us the Scripture.
Encourage all the faithful of our Church to pray for those who do not understand it, hates us and our Church. May the Lord forgive them. And you love your Church, love our Motherland Ukraine and do everything to ensure that our land and among our people there was peace, patience, acceptance and true Christian love.
On behalf of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
METROPOLITAN OF KIEV AND ALL UKRAINE,
THE PRIMATE OF THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH