The Chairman of the Department for external Church relations, Metropolitan Mitrofan of Lugansk and Alchevsk has denied the statement of the representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archbishop job (Geci) that the UOC supposedly has no right to “expel” exarchs of Constantinople from Ukraine because of interchurch relations is not an independent unit: in correspondence with Panaram involved only the Russian Orthodox Church, informs a portal “Orthodox life”.
“That’s not true, because we are in direct correspondence with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the proof of which there are many mutual letters, which now lie in the archives as we have Kiev and in Constantinople. And the Lord of the RMA may not know it, so I’m surprised to hear such allegations,” the Hierarch said in an interview published by the outreach Department of the UOC.
According to Canon law, said the Metropolitan Mitrofan, no Bishop can act in the territory of another diocese without the permission of the local Bishop.
“In our situation, this means that the Bishop of the city of Constantinople, that is Istanbul, which is Patriarch Bartholomew, may not perform any actions on the territory of Kiev and Ukraine without the permission of the canonical Bishop of Kiev, who is Metropolitan Onufry and that no permit for the arrival of “exarchs” were not given. I have no doubt that if, hypothetically, our Synod has appointed his exarchs to Turkey without approval from the Patriarch Bartholomew, the reaction of the latter would be identical to ours. So, as you can see, double standards”, – said the head of the DECR of the UOC.
Bishop also refuted the thesis of Archbishop job that 10 years ago, in 2008, the Patriarch of Constantinople came to Kiev allegedly without an invitation of the UOC.
“It is too true. An invitation from our Church it was then. Let me remind you the words of the commentary on this subject, then Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the UOC Archimandrite Cyril (Hovorun), who told me that “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrives in Ukraine at a dual invitation from the Church and the state. This Church invitation for him is a priority, as could come to Ukraine without invitation from the President, but without a Church invitation for such a visit would be impossible.” It is a pity that today the Patriarchate of Constantinople behaves very differently,” said Metropolitan Mitrofan.
According to the hierarchy, such statements by the representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to demonstrate their inconsistency: “they think that the UOC is not sufficiently independent, but now they say that our Church does not have the right to defend their canonical territory.”
Metropolitan Mitrofan advised Fanaru “to stay, and his representatives not to kindle fire in the media and not to compromise the Church by their actions and words.”
“Not with them anticanonically, unfriendly and unilateral actions against us will not be on our side, and such a sharp reaction,” concluded the Hierarch.