Can we try discussing the Orthodox Church in Ukraine again?

If it turns out to be impossible, I'll trust the hosts to close the thread.

But, in the US, Sunday is going to be a really interesting day for the OCA. On Sunday, the Ecumenical Patriarch will give the tomos of autocephaly to Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine. At that point, the Metropolitan of the OCA will either include Metropolitan Epifaniy in the chanting of the diptychs, or he won't.

Neither choice is good for the OCA. Details here.
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Comments

  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    No takers, even after seven hours? I’ll chip in.

    Seems the OCA is buggered if they do, and buggered if they don’t. I suppose this is what happens when a church, or a communion of churches, or a non-communion of churches, puts territorial concerns and influence above the core message.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    The argument is even more basic than that. The ROC can't agree that the Ukrainians aren't Russian anymore, and the Ukrainians see the ROC as an extension of the government they're at war with.

    WW1 saw the British Royal family change its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, and many German immigrants also change their names, to avoid association with the enemy, even though they were as British as Smith, Jones and McDonald. It strikes me that this is a similar situation. Perhaps Orthodox Ukrainians would have been content with being overseen from Moscow, had not Russian government invaded them, annexed their land and killed their fellow citizens.

    In the cirumstances, and given what appears to be a marked lack of solidarity with their Ukrainian brothers and sisters, the ROC should simply accept the Ukrainians' decision and acknowledge their culpability in it, lamentable though it may be.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Is there a compromise? Can both Moscow and Constantinople be assuaged? Or would a via media (medaios dromos, srednyaya doroga) fall between both stools?
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    I don't think anyone can view the current situation as anything other than a failing. On one hand, a country is being hacked up and people killed, and the church that should be about peace and brotherhood has seemingly done nothing to prevent it, and on the other you have a centuries old union between believers being sundered.

    Perhaps if Kiril had denounced any Orthodoxen fighting their kin in the Ukraine, the Ukrainians would have seen him as an ally, not as an enemy. I suppose he still could.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Not a chance in hell.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Perhaps if Kiril had denounced any Orthodoxen fighting their kin in the Ukraine, the Ukrainians would have seen him as an ally, not as an enemy. I suppose he still could.

    Like he would bite the hand that pets him.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited January 5
    A terribly sad situation.

    I haven't been to an Orthodox church for a while, but I can envisage this is also a thing that could break apart or weaken friendships, given previous issues or beliefs I encountered in various parishes (e.g. Russian Orthodoxy was true Orthodoxy and others were suspect; Bartholomew meeting with Catholics as a sign of heresy) often had people on opposite sides.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Perhaps if Kiril had denounced any Orthodoxen fighting their kin in the Ukraine, the Ukrainians would have seen him as an ally, not as an enemy. I suppose he still could.
    opens weather app, types in location as Hell
    Still hot as, so nope.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited January 5
    It's horribly sad. A vast - thousand year - opportunity for Christ-like behaviour by either party, lost.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Again!
  • I am thinking of writing the following
    Dear Pope Francis

    Given the current state of various church families and the infighting going on, if you are looking for a partner for ecumenical discussion on a worldwide basis may I suggest you consider the Methodist Church. I know not quite who you expect but...
    • They are large - 3rd after the Orthodox*
    • They are on the whole fairly unified, yes they do have an international body
    • While not agreeing with all Catholic Doctrine they equally have no record of fighting politically over territory with you

    Thanks
    Jengie

    * If every church that claimed the Reformed tradition would unite in a single body this would, of course, be different. However, Satan will be building snowmen before that happens.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    There’s a sort of double irony in the OCA's uncomfortable decision tomorrow, as it, a church which exists thanks to a Tomos of Autocephaly almost no one else recognises, has to decide whether or not to recognise a Tomos of Autocephaly that bites the hand which, as @mousethief says, pets it.

    I wonder if any of the parties involved have thought to consider what Jesus might want.
  • David wrote: »
    There’s a sort of double irony in the OCA's uncomfortable decision tomorrow, as it, a church which exists thanks to a Tomos of Autocephaly almost no one else recognises, has to decide whether or not to recognise a Tomos of Autocephaly that bites the hand which, as @mousethief says, pets it.

    I wonder if any of the parties involved have thought to consider what Jesus might want.

    What would Jesus want in this situation? That everyone set their divisions aside, ignore their disagreements on Autocephaly, remain in communion with each other, and let the Kiev Patriarchate and Moscow Patriarchate parishes coexist without pushing the question of which is a legitimate patriarchate in Ukraine and which is not?

    What would be a Christlike way to resolve disputes over church property? Let the congregations vote on which Patriarchate they want to belong to? Let the priest or local bishop decide?

    What about the potentially sizeable number of people in each parish who disagree with that decision? Should they continue to worship there or go to another parish? What if there is no parish nearby that agrees with them? What would Christ want them to do, and what would Christ want parishes of the Patriarchate they disagree with to do for them?

    Love and unity sound great when we talk about what Christ wants, but it is often difficult to discern how to put them into practice.
  • Could someone please explain just how independent the Ukrainian Orthodox churches under the Moscow Patriarchate have been both officially and in practice? How has this independence compared with the independence of other relatively autonomous but not autocephalous churches in Orthodoxy?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited January 5
    It's hard to determine what "independently" means in the EOC since there aren't a lot of directives from on high. The liturgy and the hierarchy are pretty much set in stone. The biggest difference is where the money goes. As always, follow the $$.

    ETA: I suppose if a patriarch doesn't like a bishop or priest they can defrock them. So you keep your mouth shut. That does matter.
  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    edited January 5
    mousethief wrote: »
    It's hard to determine what "independently" means in the EOC since there aren't a lot of directives from on high. The liturgy and the hierarchy are pretty much set in stone. The biggest difference is where the money goes. As always, follow the $$.

    ETA: I suppose if a patriarch doesn't like a bishop or priest they can defrock them. So you keep your mouth shut. That does matter.

    How dependent are Ukrainian Moscow Patriarchate parishes and other institutions on money from Russia?

    Has the Moscow Patriarchate ever disciplined a priest in Ukraine over a political issue or a political issue masquerading as something else?
  • First Q: The money flows up, generally, except to fledgling "missions" (new parishes).
    .
    Second Q: That I do not know. I have seen it done in the OCA.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    From outside, the relationship between Orthodox jurisdictions and secular national self-determination seems somewhat odd.

    AIUI, the original 'ancient patriarchates' were chosen because they were (or claimed to be) the most significant cities in the Empire, rather than for any political independence. Moscow I assume got autocephaly for reasons of distance.

    Then in the nineteenth century it became a rule that if you got a new country you also got a new Orthodox church to go with it (Greece, Serbia, etc). But that doesn't seem to have carried through to the twentieth or twenty-first centuries, in that although I know there are such things as the Macedonian and the Montenegrin Orthodox Churches, none of the 'established' Orthodox churches recognise them.
  • I am not making any excuses for the Moscow Patriarchate or the Russian state, but the Ukrainian government has been engaging in what looks like religious harassment or persecution lately, according to this NYT article.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/world/europe/ukraine-russia-orthodox-church-schism.html
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    We've known that for weeks.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited January 5
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    I am thinking of writing the following
    Dear Pope Francis

    Given the current state of various church families and the infighting going on, if you are looking for a partner for ecumenical discussion on a worldwide basis may I suggest you consider the Methodist Church. I know not quite who you expect but...
    • They are large - 3rd after the Orthodox*
    • They are on the whole fairly unified, yes they do have an international body
    • While not agreeing with all Catholic Doctrine they equally have no record of fighting politically over territory with you

    Thanks
    Jengie

    * If every church that claimed the Reformed tradition would unite in a single body this would, of course, be different. However, Satan will be building snowmen before that happens.
    [tangent]

    Are you sure about that? I can’t confirm the accuracy of any numbers, and granting there will be some overlap because of united and federated churches, but Wikipedia says:
    • The World Communion of Reformed Churches—233 member denominations representing 100 million members.
    • The Anglican Communion—85 million members.
    • The Lutheran World Federation—145 member denominations representing 74 million members.
    • The World Methodist Council—80 member denominations representing 40.5 million members.

    [/tangent]

    Can someone help me understand how autocephaly has traditionally worked, as in who decides whether a church should be autocephalous? Is it historically the Ecumenical Patriarch, the patriarch under whom the church falls, a council of patriarchs, or some other entity?

  • josephinejosephine Shipmate
    Nick, the answer to your question is, "it depends."

    Here's a PDF from the Ecumenical Patriarch explaining the EP's understanding of the relationships, precedents, etc., that apply in Ukraine. It's long.
  • I could just make the point that the ROC does NOT consider Ukraine to be a part of Russia - it claims that Ukraine is part of the Patriarchal Jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church - that is not the same thing.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    It's a difference without a difference, considering Kiril's very close links with the Kremlin.
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    Mark Betts wrote: »
    I could just make the point that the ROC does NOT consider Ukraine to be a part of Russia - it claims that Ukraine is part of the Patriarchal Jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church - that is not the same thing.

    Why?
  • How dependent are Ukrainian Moscow Patriarchate parishes and other institutions on money from Russia?

    Has the Moscow Patriarchate ever disciplined a priest in Ukraine over a political issue or a political issue masquerading as something else?

    The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is actually an autonomous church is it's own right (it has full administrative independence from Moscow). So it doesn't look to me as if they are at all dependent financially on Moscow.

    The UOC has disciplined two Bishops who attended the recent Unification Conference, as it was agreed that the UOC could not support it - however, these two bishops had already been accepted into the Ecumenical Patriarchate (without formal release from Moscow).
  • josephine wrote: »
    Nick, the answer to your question is, "it depends."
    That shouldn’t surprise me. Thank you, josephine. And thanks for the link.

    josephine wrote: »
    But, in the US, Sunday is going to be a really interesting day for the OCA. On Sunday, the Ecumenical Patriarch will give the tomos of autocephaly to Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine. At that point, the Metropolitan of the OCA will either include Metropolitan Epifaniy in the chanting of the diptychs, or he won't.
    So does anyone have an update on whether the Metropolitan of the OCA included Metropolitan Epifaniy in the chanting of the diptychs today?
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    It's a difference without a difference, considering Kiril's very close links with the Kremlin.

    You might find the article below interesting:

    The Russian Orthodox Church: Putin Ally or Independent Force?
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    josephine wrote: »
    Nick, the answer to your question is, "it depends."
    That shouldn’t surprise me. Thank you, josephine. And thanks for the link.

    josephine wrote: »
    But, in the US, Sunday is going to be a really interesting day for the OCA. On Sunday, the Ecumenical Patriarch will give the tomos of autocephaly to Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine. At that point, the Metropolitan of the OCA will either include Metropolitan Epifaniy in the chanting of the diptychs, or he won't.
    So does anyone have an update on whether the Metropolitan of the OCA included Metropolitan Epifaniy in the chanting of the diptychs today?

    If they did include Epifaniy, then they haven't updated their website yet:

    OCA: World Churches
    OCA: Diptychs

    Other than that, I don't know as no statement has yet been made.

    Incidentally, I did notice that in the Diptychs they do not pray for Metropolitans of Autonomous Churches by name, only Autocephalous Churches. This means that Metropolitan Onufriy (UOC) would be included in "all Orthodox Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops."
  • Mark Betts wrote: »
    How dependent are Ukrainian Moscow Patriarchate parishes and other institutions on money from Russia?

    Has the Moscow Patriarchate ever disciplined a priest in Ukraine over a political issue or a political issue masquerading as something else?

    The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is actually an autonomous church is it's own right (it has full administrative independence from Moscow). So it doesn't look to me as if they are at all dependent financially on Moscow.

    The UOC has disciplined two Bishops who attended the recent Unification Conference, as it was agreed that the UOC could not support it - however, these two bishops had already been accepted into the Ecumenical Patriarchate (without formal release from Moscow).

    As an outsider, I am not sure exactly what "full administrative independence" means, and how it compares with the status of other autonomous but not autocephalous churches. What is the difference between

    I have read that some UOC-MP priests have opposed the annexation of Crimea, so there does seem to be some independence to speak on political matters.

    It seems unfair for small countries with no long history of autocephaly to have autocephalous churches now when others do not. It just seems to be a good principle that, in an ideal world, if there are enough Orthodox in a country and if the government does not interfere in religious affairs, the country should have its own autocephalous church. I am not sure if these conditions are being met in Ukraine, but the fact that Ukraine is in a de facto war with Russia seems to imply to me that those Ukrainians who wish to worship in a church that has no relationship with the Moscow patriarchate whatsoever should be allowed to do so. Maybe the ROC is independent of Putin and maybe it really wants to not interfere in the Ukrainian church. However, given Putin's propensity to use any means of social manipulation at his disposal to undermine his enemies, I worry that it will be too hard for him to resist to interfere in the UOC-MP however he can, even if it is not with the approval of the ROC.

    Ukrainian Orthodox Christians should be able to choose between the two autocephalous churches at the moment, depending on which government's intervention in religious affairs they are more concerned about. If the ROC recognized the existence of two legitimate Orthodox churches in Ukraine, it would undermine the Ukrainian government's argument that UOC-MP priests are acting as agents of a foreign power.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Mark Betts wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    It's a difference without a difference, considering Kiril's very close links with the Kremlin.

    You might find the article below interesting:

    The Russian Orthodox Church: Putin Ally or Independent Force?

    It was interesting. Thanks for posting it. My chief comment is that Kiril appears very concerned with the economic aspects (especially church buildings having been seized by the Soviet state, and not yet returned) but considerably less so (at least, in public, where it actually counts) about the bloodshed in the Ukraine.

    If the ROC is to be an independent force - one that ordinary Ukrainians could conceivably owe fealty to - then silence on the matter of the Donbass and Crimea is as good as collusion.
  • Maybe the ROC is independent of Putin and maybe it really wants to not interfere in the Ukrainian church.

    :killingme: :killingme: :killingme: :killingme:
  • Some thoughts of my own:

    The OCA seems to be taking a similar line to most other local churches - namely, that they disagree strongly with Bartholomew's actions, but do not stand with the ROC in breaking communion with Constantinople.

    Orthodox Church in America will not break eucharistic communion with Constantinople because of Ukraine

    My own thoughts are that Poroshenko and Bartholomew expected many from the OCU to just switch over to the new church after the security forces exerted a little pressure. This did not happen, thanks to the loyalty of most of the OCU clergy and laity.

    The whole "Unifying Council" and Tomos signing therefore appeared to most of the Orthodox world as nothing more than gatherings of schismatics - which is what they were.
  • So, you speak for most of the Orthodox world?

    Most Orthodox I've spoken to on this one just wish both sides would sort themselves out. But what do I know?
  • According to the reports coming from "Orthodox Christianity," NO Local Orthodox Church has yet accepted the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine. I accept that the authenticity of the site is unverifiable, but I can't find any other report which contradicts that statement:

    Pressure on Jerusalem Patriarchate continues with visit from Poroshenko

    This would mean that no Local Church outside of Constantinople will at present include Metropolitan Epifaniy in the chanting of the diptychs (see OP).

    I also found an old article about the 2016 Council of Crete. I noticed how mention was made of the Phanar's two main backers; "the US State Department, that ensures its mere survival in Turkey, and the Vatican."

    I can't prove that this is so, but it would explain Bartholomew I's extraordinary actions in Ukraine, with no consultation with any other Local Churches (the truth is that Constantinople did a survey of the Local Churches' opinions concerning their upcoming project but ignored the responses, none of which were positive.)

    If this is not so, as no doubt many will assert, Constantinople's strategy makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Is the Phanar about to Fall into Schism? (June 11th, 2016)
  • mousethief wrote: »

    I've seen that - but does it contradict anything in the above link? I think not.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    You mean, apart from the bit where you said not one ROC parish had moved to the UOC?
  • Mark Betts wrote: »
    According to the reports coming from "Orthodox Christianity," NO Local Orthodox Church has yet accepted the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    This is either mistaken or a lie. You tell us.

  • mousethief wrote: »
    Mark Betts wrote: »
    According to the reports coming from "Orthodox Christianity," NO Local Orthodox Church has yet accepted the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    This is either mistaken or a lie. You tell us.
    Maybe not being Orthodox, the distinctions are lost on me, but I translated “local” here as autocephalous or autonomous. The reference to the chanting of the dyptichs seemed to me to indicate that, not parishes, was what he meant.

  • I'm not familiar with that understanding of "local" but maybe because I'm not into church politics.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    I'm not familiar with that understanding of "local" but maybe because I'm not into church politics.
    I’m not familiar with it either, and it may not be a proper usage. Among my people, “local church” would mean “parish.” I’ve seen the RCs use it to mean “diocese.” I was working off context here.

  • Fair enough. If the claim is merely that no autocephalous or autonomous church has acknowledged the fait accompli, then it seems it would be easier and less confusing to just say that.
  • OK - "Local Church" means another autocephalous Church, such as Romania or Bulgaria.
  • In answer to the OP, it looks like the OCA have finally made a statement. I have also linked the letter to the OCA website:

    OCA rejects recognition of Ukrainian schismatic church, continues to support, recognize only Met. Onuphry

    Holy Synod of Bishops issues Archpastoral Letter on Ukraine
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    I am not a fan of the Russian government or their religious intelligence agency the Moscow Patriarchate but the issues at stake here go well beyond the geopolitics. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is essentially claiming to be the final and supreme arbiter of all disputes in Orthodoxy, with the ability to intervene in any local Church's affairs as it sees fit. Setting aside the merits of having an autocephalous church in Ukraine, the EP's increasingly unhinged assertions about itself are raising eyebrows even among churches that typically get along very well with it, such as the Church of Albania.

    Meanwhile the primate of the new Ukrainian church publicly declared his admiration of Stepan Bandera, whose organization the OUN-UPA was a vicious fascist outfit that enthusiastically assisted the Nazis and murdered countless Jews, Poles, and any Ukrainians who wouldn't get with the program. In doing so, the OCU is not even pretending to be a unifying church for all Ukrainians (quite a few Ukrainians, especially in the east, have no love for Bandera's legacy). (Note the above link is from the OCU's official website, not any kind of pro-Russia or pro-MP media outlet)
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Putting myself in a Ukrainian's shoes any time in the past 100 years I can see why.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 3
    I am not a fan of the Russian government or their religious intelligence agency the Moscow Patriarchate but the issues at stake here go well beyond the geopolitics. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is essentially claiming to be the final and supreme arbiter of all disputes in Orthodoxy, with the ability to intervene in any local Church's affairs as it sees fit. Setting aside the merits of having an autocephalous church in Ukraine, the EP's increasingly unhinged assertions about itself are raising eyebrows even among churches that typically get along very well with it, such as the Church of Albania.

    Meanwhile the primate of the new Ukrainian church publicly declared his admiration of Stepan Bandera, whose organization the OUN-UPA was a vicious fascist outfit that enthusiastically assisted the Nazis and murdered countless Jews, Poles, and any Ukrainians who wouldn't get with the program. In doing so, the OCU is not even pretending to be a unifying church for all Ukrainians (quite a few Ukrainians, especially in the east, have no love for Bandera's legacy). (Note the above link is from the OCU's official website, not any kind of pro-Russia or pro-MP media outlet)

    Having just read about the guy, I'd say that any church whose leader expresses support for him is a church for no-one who's not a complete and utter bastard. From where I'm sitting the Russian and Ukrainian churches appear to be two cheeks of the same arse. It's enough to make one an anabaptist.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Have you been a Ukrainian in the past century?
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