Text version of the press conference “The actual purpose of the Jubilee Council of the UOC” (+ VIDEO)

6/7/2011

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We bring to your notice the answers of the official spokespersons of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the questions asked by journalists during the press conference “The actual purpose of the Jubilee Council of the UOC”. Note that it was held on 1 July at the Kyiv Lavra of Caves.

Video of the event click here>>>

What is the purpose of convening the Council of the UOC?

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC:

As you know, the decision on holding the Council of the UOC was adopted at the last session of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, as provided by the Statute on governance of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Since 1992 the Council has not convened in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Since its last assembly our Church has undergone considerable changes: the number of parishes, churches, monasteries, dioceses, religious schools and synodal institutions has significantly increased, internal and external activities have intensified.

Therefore conducting of the council is prompted by the following reasons: all the decisions that have been adopted by the Holy Synod and the Bishops’ Council should be confirmed in a conciliar way to amend the Statute on governance, to assess the activity of the Church during this period, to outline future plans. Now we are preparing to hold such an important and necessary forum in the life of our Church.

What is the reason to convene the Council so quickly and even urgently?

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC:

No need to worry that the Councils are convened quickly. It all depends on how quickly the organization committee works. Immediately after the session of the Holy Synod of the UOC we set down to work. Diocesan assemblies are already held throughout the dioceses, at which the delegates from each diocese are elected, including one representative of the clergy, one of the monastics and one of the laity. A set of important documents to be adopted at the Council, is already selected and sent to the bishops.

There are no secret plans to hide from people because at the Council all the members of our church will be represented – from a bishop to a simple layman. And those documents and decisions proposed for adoption at the Council will either be adopted or rejected. However, one should not see any backstage games in quick convening of the Council of the UOC.

Archbishop Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy and Vishneve, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of UOC:

It should be kept in mind that this is the Jubilee Council, which is dedicated to the special date – July 9, the 45th anniversary of episcopal consecration of Metropolitan Volodymyr. Moreover, the decision was not actually urgent. It was already discussed as early as in 2007, 4 years ago, when the new version of the Statute of the UOC was adopted. But then there were circumstances that did not allow to hold the Council. At present there are no existing obstacles for its conducting, and thus the plenitude of the Church will assemble and glorify the Orthodox Church with its voice.

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC:
I would like to add. Next year the Church will mark the 20th anniversary of the Kharkiv Council, the 1150th anniversary of the Kyiv Metropolis and the 20th anniversary of the primatial ministry of Metropolitan Volodymyr. It will be extremely difficult for our Church to conduct the Council next year, when these three important dates will be celebrated, also from financial and organizational point of view. So we decided to hold the Council earlier.

Archpriest George Kovalenko, press-secretary for the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, secretary of the Supreme Church Council:

Modern technologies allow not just to prepare quickly for the Council, but to conduct it quickly, so the delegates have already received all the documents to be discussed at the Council. In addition, the Council will meet not in order to conduct discussions and to pass actual decisions on certain number of issues.

Today the general public reacts very acutely to the Council, what are the reasons for that? Is it planned at the Council to adopt the papers on healing the schism of the Church?

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC:

I think one should not overreact to the Council, because the life moves on, and conducting the council is a natural phenomenon in the life of the Church. Among the painful issues to be discussed by the plenitude of the Church are the issues of ecclesiastical split. And according to the results of the discussion the address to brothers and sisters who remain now in schism will be adopted.

What documents are to be presented for consideration of the Council?

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC:

Among the key documents – the report of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, by the results of its discussion will be adopted the final document of the Council of the UOC. Among the documents to be adopted are the address to those who are in schism, an appeal to all plenitude of the Orthodox Church, a document concerning amendments to the Statute on governance of the UOC, a final document summarizing the issues raised at the Council and etc.

A few days earlier the Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church declared to seeks understanding and dialogue with the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine. Do you think that such a dialogue is topical, for your church has lots of misunderstandings with the Greek Catholics?

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC:

We have much to discuss with the Greek Catholics. Indeed, there are issues which create now some problems in our relations. I think that we can cooperate in defense of Christian moral values ​​, but so far we have many unresolved burning issues. However, we won’t avoid them at the Council.

There are already lots of rumor and gossip about the Council. Do you think the articles like the one in the newspaper “Today” regarding the office of Locuum Tenens have a right to exist?

Archbishop Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy and Vishneve, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of UOC:

That is the question you have to answer yourself as a journalist. When I read this article to His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, His Beatitude said that we already learnt it in the 70s. There are certain people who live by gossip. But the truth is the truth. Today we do not have any problem to get accurate first hand information from authorized representatives of the people, both from the Council and from the Primate of the Church. Just go to the Kyiv Metropolis and ask the Secretary for the Primate, administrator of the UOC, the press secretary and others officials the questions that worry you.

It is also important to say and to tell it to everyone: Drabynko will not be a Locuum Tenens. Moreover, the question of the office of the Locuum Tenens is not and will not be on the agenda. Metropolitan Volodymyr is healthy enough to exercise in full measure his authority as the head of the Church.

Is the present Council connected with the 20th anniversary of Independence of Ukraine?

Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, administrator of the UOC: Actually, the Council is not convened for the civil and public reasons, but the Council will not ignore the 20th anniversary of independence, this prominence date of the public life.

Your Eminence Alexander, how do you find strength to always behave professionally and tolerantly with journalists?

Archbishop Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy and Vishneve, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of UOC:

Treat the other the way you want to be treated. Already for 10 years we have worked with Father George Kovalenko working on the media and with the media, including creation of TV-channels, Internet resources, TV and radio programs, and we fill the entire information space of the Church with the Word of God as the Lord gives us strength. As it was said by the apostles: go and preach the Word of God. Secondly, the life of our Primate serves a model for us when talking to journalists and colleagues etc.

Do you plan holding one more press conference on the eve of the Council?

Archpriest George Kovalenko, press-secretary for the Primate of the Orthodox Church, secretary of the Supreme Church Council:

It depends on the interest of the journalists. By the way, now the accreditation to Jubilee Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churchbegin which will last to July, 6 included. You must send a letter to e-mail: presschurch@gmail.com. The letter should include: the name of the media, the position, name and patronymic of the journalist and the passport data.

On the program:
– taking ceremonial photos of the Council – 14:00
– coming to the press of the spokesman for the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archpriest George Kovalenko – 14:15
– Briefing on the results of the Council – 16:00

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