BELGRADE, October 15. /TASS/. Deliberating on the autonomy of churches is untimely at the moment since the Orthodox Church needs unity, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All East said on Monday.
"Why is it necessary to delve into the issues of autonomy or autocephaly right now, when what we need most is undivided and solid unity among all Orthodox Christians?" the patriarch emphasized on a visit to Belgrade.
"There is no doubt that the Orthodox Church should consider its problems at an assembly bringing together all heads of local churches," the press service of the Serbian Orthodox Church quoted the patriarch as saying on Sunday.
Earlier, Serbian Patriarch Irinej opined that new autocephalies should be created only with the consent of all local Orthodox churches, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said. He cautioned that granting autocephaly to Ukraine would split the Orthodox Christian world.
A spokesman for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople earlier said that its Holy and Sacred Synod had decided to reinstate the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks. In addition, it announced plans to bring back the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and launch the process for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church, along with some Local Orthodox Churches, have excoriated these moves as hostile and illegitimate, warning that they could result in a profound schism within Orthodox Christianity.