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  5. How the Council of the UOC was held and what decisions were made

How the Council of the UOC was held and what decisions were made

On May 27, 2022, the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held in Kyiv. The meeting began with an address by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry. The primate read out a report on the current state of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – on the challenges and difficulties that we are experiencing, on the war, on how the Church is helping the people of Ukraine in this war.

The Primate also spoke about the persecutions that have arisen in many regions of Ukraine, where they are even trying to legally prohibit the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the territory of certain UTOs.

His Beatitude said that all these challenges and difficulties in the conditions of military aggression of the Russian Federation caused a sharp reaction among believers, and it is no longer possible to live the way we lived. From everywhere, his name receives many appeals with a request to respond to these challenges, because society identifies the UOC with Moscow, with the actions or inactions of the Patriarch of the Russian Church, with various statements of the Russian clergy. Such requests are received in large numbers.

Metropolitan Onufry noted that all the letters were personally read and processed by him. In one folder he has collected those in which people ask and plead for autocephaly and independence of the Ukrainian Church, in the second – those in which people want to leave the status of the UOC unchanged. And in the first folder, the number of hits is many times greater than the number of those that are stacked in the second. There was also a third folder – with letters in which people wrote that they fully trusted the Primate and hoped for his wise decision.

After that, they gave the floor to the diocesan bishops. First of all, those who are located in the territories affected by the warfare spoke. Bishops from the eastern dioceses and Crimea, those territories of Ukraine that are not yet controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, spoke via video link. Basically, the opinion was expressed that there is no need to change the status of the UOC, and the one that is now suits everyone.

The metropolitan, who heads one of the departments in the East of Ukraine, noted that in his diocese the voices of the clergy were divided in half: those who are for and against the change in status.

It was said that the current meeting of bishops, clergy and laity should become a Cathedral. Moreover, the composition is just right. An argument was also made that we ourselves in Kyiv need to brew myrrh, because now there is no connection with Moscow, but myrrh is necessary. In addition, before the revolution of 1917 in Kyiv they brewed myrrh – Kyiv had such a right, and this tradition was interrupted only as a result of revolutionary events.

Most of the representatives of the clergy, who, as they say, work “in the fields”, literally on the front lines, spoke out that the aspirations of the people were in the maximum separation from Moscow, because indeed many parishes are now practically on the verge of destruction.

They gave the word to the laity. In one of his speeches, it was said that Patriarch Alexy II once said that “you need to grow to autocephaly,” and right now we see that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has grown to autocephaly and should have an independent status.

A short meeting of the Holy Synod of the UOC was held, after which the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church met, and at it the amendments to the Charter of the UOC regarding the connection of the UOC with the ROC were worked out point by point. All items that make the UOC dependent on the ROC were removed. The vast majority of bishops were “for” the changes, and only a few literally voted either “against” or abstained.

After all the points were worked out by the Council of Bishops, the Council of the UOC began with the participation of the laity, monastics and clergy. In the same way, one by one, the items were submitted for discussion, clarification and voting. They voted for everyone – moreover, the vast majority of the participants were in favor.

95% of the Council participants voted “for” changing the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. There were discussions, clarifications, but on the whole the Council was unanimous.


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