Saturday, September 30, 2023

    UOC (MP) bishop admits his Church dependent on Moscow Patriarchate

    Archbishop Sylvester (Stoychev) of the UOC (MP) explained the status of his church and admitted that it does not in fact have any autocephaly. This self-proclaimed “autocephaly” would not be recognized by any Local Church, the bishop explained.

    “The Council (held in Feofania) did not follow the path of self-proclaimed autocephaly. Such a step would not settle the problems of the UOC, but would only complicate its situation. It is quite obvious that such autocephaly was not recognized by any of the Local Orthodox Churches. Moreover, other local churches could even sever communication with the UOC, which would mean the canonical isolation of our church,” Stoychev writes in his oped.

    Sylvester further explains that the UOC (MP) has only declared that it seeks to be independent from Moscow, but will not implement its aspirations yet.

    “Therefore, we can say this: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPC-MP – ed.) clearly declared its intention to be autocephalous, but refrained from self-proclaiming autocephaly. Of course, it can be said that the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not fully understood and formalized. However, in the current situation, one could hardly expect any other decisions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” Archbishop Stoychev said.

    Stoychev’s words reflect the uncertain position of the UOC (MP) regarding its status and future. The bishop of the UOC MP demonstrates an understanding of the problem of the dependence of the UOC MP on the Russian Church, but believes that a complete solution to this problem is currently impossible.

    That is, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) expresses an understanding of the problem, while only declaring it without concrete actions. Instead, in the second year into the full-scale war, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) “feeds” the faithful with promises of its “declared intention to be autocephalous.”

    It will be recalled that Stoychev also suggested the resumption of dialogue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.