MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. Statements of the unrecognized Kiev Patriarchate that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate should be renamed as the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine are absurd, Reverend Alexander (Volkov), spokesman for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, told TASS on Friday.
Earlier, the head of the uncanonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate Filaret (Denisenko) had said that the congress, which is expected to be convened to establish one local Orthodox Church in Ukraine, would have to rename the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate as the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
"These statements prove once more that a task has been set to seize or, to say simply, to steal historical reality - as sons of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - from millions of Ukrainian faithful. However, these attempts are absurd, as none of schismatic persons are capable of remoulding the history of the Ukrainian Church," he said.
Nevertheless, Reverend Alexander voiced concern that such words might provoke action and churches belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church might be seized.
"Regrettably, such statements will be evidently followed by action. Now they are talking about changing names, but tomorrow they will be coming to churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Ukraine tragedy is deteriorating with each word coming from Ukrainian politicians and schismatic persons," the priest added.
On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed with granting autocephaly (self-governance) to the Church of Ukraine." The Synod revoked a legally binding status of the 1686 letter, which empowered the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. In addition, the Synod decided to re-establish the office of the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev, which means its head would be subordinate directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Moreover, the Synod lifted an anathema on the heads of two uncanonical churches in Ukraine - Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
In response, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said on October 15 it had been left with no choice but to sever Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.