Church of Serbia – 22/11/18
The two-day meeting of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church (November 6-7, 2018) was dedicated to three topics – the state in Kosovo and Metohija, the improvement of education in the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Church crisis in Ukraine after the recent decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Church’s vision of the state in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as its perspective on the struggle in preserving the suffering Serbian province within the make-up of Serbia, under the constant provocation by the leadership of the false state and the constant pressures of the great Western powers, the Assembly of Bishops has already pointed out in its encyclical here.
The work of the Assembly in the field of Church education and enlightenment is also, more or less, known to the public, but the Assembly’s position regarding the question of the Church in Ukraine is known only in part. The reason for this is the fact that, first of all, all Local Orthodox Churches needed to be informed of the position of the Assembly of Bishops, beginning with the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate, in the appropriate languages (Greek, Russian and English), a task that needed a certain amount of time. Having completed that, now is the time for the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church to be presented to the local media.
To begin with, the Assembly states that the Patriarchate of Constantinople made a canonically unfounded decision to rehabilitate and recognize as bishops two leaders of schismatic groups in Ukraine, Filaret Denysenko and Makary Maletich, together with their episcopacy and clergy, among whom the former was once canonically defrocked, and then excommunicated from the Church community and subjected to anathema, while the latter was deprived of the Apostolic succession as a spiritual offshoot of the so-called sect the self-consecrated, for which reason the Holy Assembly of Bishops considers this decision of the Synod of Constantinople non-binding for the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Assembly does not recognize the mentioned individuals nor their followers as Orthodox bishops or clergy and, consequently, does not accept liturgical and canonical union with them or their supporters.
In the end, the Assembly advises the Patriarchate of Constantinople and all local autocephalous Orthodox Churches, to discuss the issue of autocephaly and the Orthodox diaspora at a Pan-Orthodox Council in the near future, so conciliarity and unity of the Orthodox Church might be confirmed and strengthened, and temptations such as the one which Holy Orthodoxy is going through now, might be avoided in the future.
Bishop Irinej of Backa
Spokesman of the Serbian Orthodox Church