Patriarch Filaret of UOC-KP  (L) & Metropolitan Makariy of UAOC (R)

Patriarch Filaret of UOC-KP (L) & Metropolitan Makariy of UAOC (R)

Unification Council of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (KP) & UAOC to be held in September 2015:

July 2015 –

The UOC-KP expressed disappointment and bewilderment with the requirements put forward by the participants of the Bishops’ Council of the UAOC on unification of the two Churches.

It is said in the statement of the press-center of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

“Kyiv Patriarchate is disappointed and saddened by the end of yet another attempt–the fifth in 20 years – to negotiate with the UAOC,” the document says.

The UOC-KP criticized the demands put forward by the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and, in particular, their 50/50 principle of selecting delegates to the Unification Council. This approach was considered unfair by the Kyiv Patriarchate, as according to statistics, the UOC-KP in Ukraine includes 4877 communities, while the UAOC only 1225.

“Also in the record contained other clearly inappropriate suggestions: chairmanship of the Ecumenical Patriarch representative at the Council (which in no way depends on the decision of UAOC); the Church name should be UAOC-KP ( in one paragraph) and UPC (in another paragraph) which contradict each other; that all bishops of the UOC-KP and UAOC were candidates for the office of the Primate of the united Church (it is not clear what are the grounds for this); the date of the Council should not be appointed  as final and obviously it could and had to be moved (such proposals were made orally),” the UOC-KP notes.

The representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate have been bewildered by the “persistent desire of the UAOC hierarchs to correlate the unification process of the two churches with the position of the Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, which has a negative bias towards this unification.”

During the talks, which lasted four hours hierarchs, the UOC-KP has put forward a compromise proposal:

– Title: the Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with preservation of the official names of the UOC-KP and UAOC as to avoid the need to immediately change all legal documents for 6,000 religious organizations;

– Election of the Primate of the unified Church out of the two effective heads by voting at the Council, the hierarch that would get a minority of votes, becomes a permanent member of the Holy Synod; it was additionally  suggested to set up one more position of a permanent member of the Holy Synod for Metropolitan Andriy or other hierarchs; while maintaining a certain principle of representation at the Council (1 delegate from 15 communities), the quota for elected delegates  of the UAOC was doubled (164 instead of the 82 delegates according to the quota).

However, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church rejected all offers. Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate who witnessed these events were discontented, the statement of the UOC-KP remarks.

“With all the demonstrative respect for the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Mother Church, the hierarchs of the UAOC actually rejected by their position all advice given to them regarding unification and finding a way out of the isolation. After such a demarche, the UAOC bishops can hardly count on the desire of the Ecumenical Patriarch to have any business with them,” said representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

The UOC-KP hopes that “the conscious priests and faithful of the UAOC will finally understand that their hierarchs are not concerned about Ukraine, but rather about their own interests and satisfaction of their ambitions” and will make respective conclusions.