KIEV, December 17. /TASS/. The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has deposed Metropolitan Simeon (Shostatsky) of Vinnitsa and Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky for taking part in the so-called ‘unification council’ on December 15 at its extraordinary meeting, Archbishop Clement, Chairman of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) Synodal Information Department, has said.
"The Holy Synod had to make appropriate decisions regarding the two bishops, who, despite the bishops’ council’s decision, took part in the December 15 council. The Synod dismissed Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar as diocese head and deposed him and dismissed vicar bishop Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnevoye and deposed him," he said.
The archbishop noted that the Holy Synod also commented on the so-called ‘unification council.’ "Taking part in that event were two non-canonical, schismatic groups, and its decisions are of no importance to us. Just like before, there is one canonical church in Ukraine, and all Local Orthodox Churches recognize that," he concluded.
On December 15, Kiev hosted the so-called ‘unification’ council held under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and brokered by the Ukrainian authorities. After the council, Pyotr Poroshenko, the president of a secular Ukraine who had attended the schismatic gathering, declared the establishment of a new church, the Autocephalous Local Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Epiphany of Pereyaslav and Belaya Tserkov who had earlier served as a bishop of the non-canonical Kiev Patriarchate, was elected as its head.
The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate declined Constantinople’s invitation, stressing that both the ‘unification council’ and the newly-founded church were illegitimate.