The media have published the statute of the Ukrainian church, which was approved in Constantinople. In particular, Vesti outlet learned from its sources about the key 9 points of this statute, from which it follows: it is not about church independence (autocephaly) of the new structure; rather, it is about the complete subordination of Constantinople (the status of the "metropolis").
Here are the crucial points of the document, which Constantinople elaborated for the new Orthodox Church (according to the sources of Vesti outlet):
- The Ukrainian church is "inextricably linked" with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and with all other churches through it (there is no different from the current position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is connected with the Orthodox world through the Russian Orthodox Church).
- The fact that the throne of Constantinople gives autocephaly is especially underlined (it turns out that the one who gave the status can take it away, as in the case of the abolition of the "Russian Exarchate" in Western Europe, adopted at the Synod of Constantinople.)
- Ukraine’s Orthodox can only be headed by the metropolitan, not by the patriarch (that is, the head of one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world will be lower in status than, for example, Patriarch Kirill.)
- The Bishops' Council of the Church is obliged to communicate with the Ecumenical Patriarch on all global issues, and the latter, in response to the appeal, will inform the Council on the "necessary" issues (The highest church authority must be coordinated with Fener and wait for its instructions.) Also, according to our data, there is a clause that Constantinople is not obliged to explain its decisions.
- The Ecumenical Patriarchate takes a question of approving the statutes of church units. (It turns out that Ukraine would not be able to approve the statutes of the monasteries without the consent of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is possible that Fener prescribed this point to get control of a number of monasteries, making them Stavropegion, that is, having received direct control.)
- The Ukrainian church will receive myrrh only from Constantinople.
- The church will not be able to independently canonize its saints but will submit them to Constantinople for approval.
- In case of problems with the election of the Metropolitan of Kyiv, which "might affect the unity of the church," the Ecumenical Patriarch would be informed about this, and it must "take steps to resolve the situation" (It is important that this is prescribed in the statute).
- The Ecumenical Patriarchate becomes the highest appellate structure. The statute states that the bishop, who is not allowed to pastor, who is under the sanctions, has the right to appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Ukrainian church will not have independence even in the matter of internal disciplinary decisions).
Theologian Oleksiy Smirnov in his commentary to Vesti draws attention to such formal points of independence of the church as peacekeeping and the right of appeal. "Those churches that practice world culture independently are truly independent. For Fener, it is important to be recognized as the center of Orthodoxy. Constantinople makes it imperative that all the created churches receive this substance from it," Smirnov explained. "Fener also seeks the status of "higher court."
"I would pay particular attention to the time of the approval of the statutes of church units. Constantinople clearly wants to have some number of monasteries in Ukraine with its own Stavropegion, different figures are voiced (from 1 to 20 monasteries). It is a question of income, property, the creation of representative offices as new points of presence in Ukraine,” political scientist Oleksiy Yakubin explained to Vesti.
The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has prepared a preliminary draft of the statute of the future Ukrainian church. After the document is approved, the Ukrainian clergy should gather at the Unification Council and select their primate.