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Constantinople unleashing havoc between local Orthodox Churches, Ukrainian clergy says

On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine

KIEV, October 16. /TASS/. Constantinople’s decision to revoke the 1686 Act confirming the Metropolitan of Kiev as part of the Moscow Patriarchate is wreaking havoc among local Orthodox Churches and encourages dissenters to pursue recognition in a non-canonical way, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), chairman of UOC's Synodal Information Department Archbishop Clement told TASS.

"Since now the Constantinople Patriarchate registers its right to cancel its decisions made some 300, 500 and 1,000 years ago, this will lead to complete chaos between local Orthodox Churches, because in the history of each local church, their canonical territories had been established due to many developments," Archbishop Clement said.

Revising history after so many years will spark a number of hotbeds of conflicts and disputes.

The Orthodox Churches fear that tomorrow, similar steps may be taken against the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church or any other Orthodox Church, he noted.

"What the Constantinople Patriarchate showed us by its actions today is an incentive for many dissenters, for many unrecognized church organizations to seek recognition or legitimization in an absolutely unusual and non-canonical way," he stressed.

Instead of consolidation and finding a joint solution to the problems and challenges that Orthodoxy is facing, the Constantinople Patriarchate is "creating scores of local problems, which will force Orthodox Churches to sort out things between themselves." Meanwhile, "totally different forces will influence the minds and hearts of the Orthodox people," he explained.

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 from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine - Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.

In response, on Monday the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to sever Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.