Thursday, September 28, 2023

    ROC not to grant “autocephaly” to UOC (MP) due to plans to run pro-Russian policies in Ukraine – SFU analysis

    On the eve of the Conference of Bishops of the Russian Church, opinions emerged on social media and in mass media about the possibility of the Moscow Patriarchate granting “autocephaly” to its branch in Ukraine, the so-called UOC.

    Such a move by the Russian hierarchs would finally remove all accusations off the UOC itself regarding its subordination to Moscow. However, such “autocephaly”, even if proclaimed, would have no canonical force. It must be recalled that according to the Orthodox tradition and canons, autocephaly is granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. And, as is known, he has already granted autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This happened in 2018.

    At the same time, the latest actions of the Russian Orthodox Church regarding the annexation of Ukrainian dioceses make one strongly doubt the readiness of the Moscow Patriarchate itself to let its structure in Ukraine float freely. We can say with great likelihood that no autocephaly will be proclaimed at the upcoming meeting! And the meeting itself has no legal authority to do so.

    And the Russian clergy is not ready, or rather, not even going, to do it. They will retain control of their Ukrainian dioceses at any cost, waiting for the victory of the Kremlin, in order to then completely absorb all of Ukraine. This was confirmed by today’s sermon of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.

    Most of it was dedicated to the Ukrainian issue, which Gundyaev reflected on through the prism of the so-called illusory “historical Russia”. In particular, he stated that this “historical Russia” is now held together exclusively by the unity of the Russian Church, although this unity, in his opinion, “is not sufficiently pronounced or strong enough.”

    “And today, the same forces that sought to divide the country and our people are doing everything to separate the Orthodox Church in Ukraine from the Fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church,” Kirill claimed.

    All this reminded him of the times of the October coup, when “the godless authorities saw danger in the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church and inspired all kinds of splits and divisions.” According to him, with the loss of state support, all these divisions were eliminated.

    Recalling all this, Kirill expressed hope that with the loss of government support, the religious split in Ukraine will disappear, and that’s when “the Church of Holy Russia will be reunited again.” Kirill and his entire religious community are praying for these times to come. “We are not thinking about any political goals today, but we are praying for the restoration of the strong spiritual unity of all of Russia, which would be expressed in the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, which canonically unites all Orthodox people of historical Russia,” Kirill emphasized.

    After such a speech, it makes no sense to talk about any kind of autocephaly for the UOC (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate) to be granted by Moscow. After all, the Church in Moscow itself, in the person of its leader, only prays and cheers for the “unity of the Russian church.” However, such a path will certainly lead to the complete collapse of this entire religious organization.

    Spiritual Front of Ukraine