KIEV, October 16. /TASS/. In its move to annul the 1686 Act confirming the Metropolia of Kiev as part of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is not seeking to unite Orthodox churches in Ukraine, but to create its own jurisdiction, Spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archbishop Kliment said in an interview posted on the website of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Tuesday.
"The decisions by the Patriarchate of Constantinople translate to the annexation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's domain. The Patriarchate of Constantinople has individually declared that the entire Ukraine is its canonical territory, while all churches, all monasteries, all movable and immovable assets, belonging to religious Orthodox organizations in Ukraine - all this belongs to it," he specified.
According to Kliment, Constantinople’s main goal was not to remedy the schism and unite the churches that are currently part of the disjointed body of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, but "to create its own jurisdiction, create certain structures that would be directly subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople with all ensuing administrative consequences, first of all economic ones, as I think".
He said the main interests in Ukraine and among the players defending autocephaly are not church unity, but to divvy up of its property.
Last Thursday, the Holy and Sacred Synod the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople 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, regard these moves as hostile and illegitimate, which can result in a profound schism within Orthodox Christianity.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement on Monday that these moves "make it impossible for us to continue the Eucharistic communion with its (Constantinople’s) hierarchy, clergy and laity.".