First page of the draft statutes of the “New Autocephalous Church” of Ukraine

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According to the Greek site Romfea, it seems the model of the new “unified Church” of Ukraine will be that of the Orthodox Church of Crete [which is autonomous and under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate – note by the translator]. His head will be a metropolitan, and not a patriarch, as Filaret Denissenko now claims.

The church news agency Romfea publishes in facsimile the first page of the draft charter of the Ukrainian Church. According to the same source, it has been endorsed by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarch. According to Romfea again, it would be explicitly mentioned that the Stavropegic monasteries are under the control of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, while the holy chrism would be received by the new Church exclusively from Constantinople. The Church of Ukraine could not proceed to any canonization [which is the case for the Autocephalous Church of Greece], but would submit relevant requests to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who would give their final approval.

Archpriest Nicolai Danilevich, the Vice President of External Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, commenting on the drawing of the charter, said, “It is very surprising that the charter was not drawn by the Church itself [ie the “new” Autocephalous Church] which has established its charter. So far, all the churches which received autocephaly had established their own statutes”.

Finally, it should be noted that President Poroshenko declared he will go to Constantinople with the elected head of the new local church, on the occasion of the delivery of the tomos of autocephaly.

Besides, according to Orthodoxia.info, the “Unification Council” will take place in the Saint Sophia Cathedral (Kyiv) on Saturday, December 15. It will be convened by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France.

Please find below our translation of the document published in facsimile by Romfea:

“Draft charter of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

a. General provisions

1. The Orthodox Church in Ukraine, headed by our Lord Jesus Christ, is a member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It is inseparably connected with the Mother Church of Constantinople and through it, with any other Orthodox autocephalous Church.

2. The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is autocephalous, [this status] having been granted to it by the Mother Church of Constantinople, namely the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is led on the foundation of the teaching of the holy Scriptures, of the prescriptions of the holy canons, of the patriarchal and synodal tomos of +++ [date], of the principles of the ecclesiastical tradition, as well as on its constitutive charter, in line with the latter.

3. The members of the autocephalous Church in Ukraine are all Orthodox Christians of this country regardless of their nationality. Ukrainian Orthodox Christians of the Orthodox Diaspora belong to the pastoral care of the diocesan hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in accordance with the holy canons (28th canon of the 4th Ecumenical Council; see the 8th canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council).

4. The autocephalous Church in Ukraine, with legal validity in accordance with the provisions of the Ukrainian Constitution and laws, cooperates with the civil authorities within the limits of the constitutional and canonico-ecclesiastical legislation, as regards the promotion of ecclesiastical unity, the defense of religious freedom, as well as other matters of common interest.

b. Holy Synod of Hierarchy

1. The supreme ecclesiastical power is the Holy Synod of Hierarchy [i.e. the assembly of bishops, note by the translator], convened by the Metropolitan of Kyiv, as its chairman, and of all the diocesan hierarchs, canonically elected and ordained, and in active service.

  1. The Seat of the Holy Synod of Hierarchy is located in Kyiv.”

Sources in Greek1 and 2

This post is also available in: Français (French)

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Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/