Wednesday, November 29, 2023

    Any “bans” by UOC (MP) “bits of paper” without no canonical consequences – Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya)

    The Tomos grants the OCU full autocephaly and canonical independence in Ukraine.

    In his post on Facebook, Metropolitan Yevstratiy (Zorya) of Bila Tserkva recalled the main provisions of the Tomos of autocephaly, given by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    He emphasized that the Tomos was not given to individual bishops or religious associations, but rather to the Church – the entirety of all Orthodox believers in Ukraine, as it is laid down in the document.

    Maybe someone did not carefully read the Tomos (which, in fact, is strange because it was published almost 5 years ago), but the following is written there:

    “We unanimously define and declare that the WHOLE (emphasis mine – Yevstratiy) Orthodox Church located within the politically formed and completely independent state of Ukraine together with the Holy Metropolies, Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, monasteries, parishes, and all their ecclesiastical institutions, which is under under the patronage of the Founder of the United, Holy, Cathedral, and Apostolic Church of the God-man of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, existed hereinafter as canonically autocephalous, independent and self-governing, having the First in church affairs and recognizing each of its canonical Superiors, who bears the title ‘His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.’”

    The WHOLE Church means the FULLNESS – laity, monastics, clergy, and episcopate.

    Tomos was given not to bishops, not to a religious association created under state legislation, but to the Church – to the fullness of ALL Orthodox believers in Ukraine, writes Yevstratiy (Zorya).

    Archbishop Yevstratiy also noted that the disagreement of a part of the Orthodox faithful with the Tomos does not affect its validity and canonical significance.

    “The fact that some of them do not accept and recognize the Tomos does not in any way affect its validity and canonical meaning. The presence of those Orthodox faithful, with or without a canon, who consider themselves as belonging to another jurisdiction, contrary to the Tomos, is their violation, a canonical anomaly. All this has a practical consequence, in addition to many others: in order to be accepted from the jurisdiction of the MP to the OCU, no permissions from the MP, “dismissal letters”, etc. are needed – because canonically, the clergy and the faithful are ALREADY under the jurisdiction of the OCU, whether they admit it or not,” the Bishop notes.

    Therefore, the presence of communities in Ukraine that consider themselves part of the Russian Orthodox Church or some other jurisdiction does not invalidate the Tomos. He also noted that the bishops of the MP in Ukraine do not have administrative powers, and their “bans” or “excommunications” are just bits of paper without canonical force.

    “As for the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, all those who rejected the Unification Council, who, being called, failed to come, are bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church who LIVE in Ukraine, but do not have ANY canonical authority over Ukrainian clergy and laity.

    From the canonical point of view, the hierarchies of the MP in Ukraine are the same as hierarchs at rest, that is, they have rank, but do not have administrative powers.

    From this there is another practical consequence: NONE of the “bans”, “excommunications”, etc., announced by the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate on the clergy and laity in Ukraine, have any force. Just as they cannot “ban” or “appoint” clerics of the OCU, they cannot “ban” those who have not yet formally entered the jurisdiction of the OCU, but by virtue of the Tomos they ALL belong to it. Such “bans” are just bits of paper. They do not give rise to canonical consequences, explained Bishop Yevstratiy (Zorya).

    He urged everyone to carefully read the Tomos and not get confused.