MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, when creating a new local church in Ukraine, intends to declare its rights to more than 20 monasteries, temples and other church property in the country, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Saturday.
"When preparing the so-called autocephaly, the Constantinople Patriarchate intends to state its own rights in tomos and restore all stauropegia (stauropegion - a status of subordination directly to the Patriarch of Constantinople - TASS) that it once had in Ukraine historically. There were quite a lot of them at different times: these are monasteries, temples, various buildings. The list includes more than 20 objects," he said.
According to Hilarion, the list of objects was compiled by a scholar who "simply dug up information about various farmsteads and jurisdictions of Constantinople, which were available at different times, according to different documents". The Metropolitan also added that such a position would make the autocephalous church in Ukraine dependent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Ukraine’s church crisis
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided at its meeting held on October 9-11 to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and announced plans to bring it back under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It also reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks.
On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.
On November 3, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed an agreement on cooperation to create an independent Ukrainian church.
On November 13, the Council of Bishops of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church said it will not join the Ukrainian autocephalous church the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is seeking to create. The Bishop’s Council stated that the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on Ukraine are invalid.