Archpriest George Kovalenko, Press-Secretary for the Primate of the UOC

by OCP on March 22, 2009

in News

The publication of the Letter of the UOC-KP letter on their official site, regarding “the practice of second baptism for those baptized in the Kyivan Patriarchate” is a positive fact. It marks the departure of the schismatic leaders from the political subject matter and their return to the canonical and ecclesiological subjects, i.e. essentially churchly subjects.

Indeed, there is a practice in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, though not generally accepted, to receive those coming from schism through Baptism. However, at the same time, there are cases when a person, baptized in the Kyivan Patriarchate, is received through Chrismation or even merely through the Sacrament of Penance. In other words, at presence we have a practice to leave the choice of the rite of admission to the Orthodox Church for those coming from the UOC-KP to the discretion of a diocesan bishop, the choice made between the church akriveia (strictness) and oikonomia (lenience), being guided first of all by pastoral considerations. It is largely due to this fact that the absence of the official document of the UOC on the subject is explained.

I guess that this question is to be elaborated further on by the Theological Canonical Commission to the Holy Synod of the UOC, in order to provide official answer to the church community and representatives of the UOC-KP. I hope that the dialogue on the canonical status of the schismatics and the ways of their admission to the Orthodox Church will work for overcoming of split and restoration of unity on the Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

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