How many canons were violated by the Patriarchate of Constantinople by creating a parallel jurisdiction in Ukraine.
The modern ecclesiastic situation in Ukraine, provoked by the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, appears as a crucial challenge vis-à-vis the plentitude of World Orthodoxy. One option is to accept the point of view of Constantinople and finally destroy the canonical law system that has developed on the foundation of the apostolic vision of the Church. The other is to remain faithful to Orthodox ecclesiology and reject Phanar’s unilateral actions.
Despite the fact that Constantinople positions itself as a keeper of the apostolic tradition and a guarantor of the inviolability of genuine Orthodox theology, its actions destroy the centuries-old entrenched model of the Church of Christ and the most fateful step in this direction is the creation of parallel hierarchy in Ukraine.
The unity of the Church of Christ being a fundamental principle of ecclesiology was realized through the unity of the episcopate. In one city there is only one bishop: this decree of the I Ecumenical Council, fixed in its 8th canon, was always strictly observed, and the existence of parallel hierarchy was considered a sign of a split.
This is due to the fact that the unity of the episcopate is inextricably linked with the unity of the Eucharist and therefore, with the belief in One Lord Jesus Christ.
The single legal canonical bishop was the head of the Eucharistic Assembly for the local Christian community. From the point of view of the Church, he is not just an administrator, preacher or manager, he is a performer of the Sacraments, the one with whose lips the whole community offers God their prayers and via whom God answers these prayers. Consequently, the presence of two primates, two bishops with equal rights in one community, involves two Eucharists, two Bodies and two Chalices, which inevitably leads to the recognition of two Churches and two “Christs”. Such a scenario contradicts the Christian faith, breaks the inner connection and divides the community.
That is why, from the apostolic times until the 21st century, the principle of the unity of the episcopate was always sacred and unshakable in Orthodoxy.
Despite the fact that Constantinople positions itself as a keeper of the apostolic tradition and a guarantor of the inviolability of genuine Orthodox theology, its actions destroy the centuries-old entrenched model of the Church of Christ.
But in 2018, the Patriarchal See of Constantinople, which occupies the first place in the diptych of equal Local Orthodox Churches, undertook an unprecedented move.
It not only revised the historical events of three hundred years ago; not only unilaterally decided to change the boundaries of the territory of canonical jurisdiction, which is prohibited by the 2nd rule of the II Ecumenical Council and the 8th rule of the III Ecumenical Council; not only unilaterally cancelled the results of the judicial acts of the Council of Bishops, the correctness of which it used to recognize; it not only considered the appeal of schismatics who did not recognize the authority of the canons as significant, which is prohibited by the 4th rule of the Council of Antioch; it not only initiated the communion with the defrocked schismatics, which is prohibited by the 16th rule of the holy apostles; not only recognized all illegal consecrations and ordinations, which contradicts the 4th rule of the II Ecumenical Council; it not only accepted foreign clergymen under its omophorion without a relevant letter, which contradicts the 17th rule of the VI Ecumenical Council of Trullo; not only recognized the episcopal consecration of persons without apostolic succession, which is generally unthinkable.
The Constantinople See laid the foundation for a parallel hierarchy.
Until 2018, Constantinople, like all Orthodox Churches, recognized the only canonical Church in Ukraine – the UOC, led by Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, whose correct and legitimate election was evidenced by the “Peace Letters” of all Orthodox Primates, including the Patriarch of Constantinople.
However, on December 15, 1918, under the leadership of the then President of Ukraine and the legates of Constantinople, the so-called “Unification Council” takes place, which, on the basis of undercover agreements, lies and dirty manipulations, de facto creates a parallel church structure, a parallel hierarchy.
And here, from the point of view of Constantinople, there begins a split personality, canonical schizophrenia: in Ukraine there is already a recognized canonical structure with hierarchs, clergy, monasteries, theological schools and lay people. But as a result of the “Council”, a new structure immediately arises.
This state of affairs is completely contrary to canon law and ecclesiological thought. But this does not bother Constantinople, and its legates legalize the schism, moreover, accepting all schismatics “in bulk” in the existing rank, without examining the canonical aspects of their consecration. To make matters even worse, it “elects” schismatic Epiphany Dumenko to the Kiev See against the existing legal and universally recognized Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev.
Constantinople has provoked canonical schizophrenia: in Ukraine there is already a recognized canonical structure with hierarchs, clergy, monasteries, theological schools and lay people. But as a result of the “Unification Council”, a new structure immediately arises.
Such an act completely contradicts the 16th canon of the Constantinople Council of 861 year (in the Church of the Holy Apostles), according to which it is impossible to elect and appoint a bishop to the holy see while its current bishop is alive and retains his rank.
At the time of the so-called “Unification Council” and until today, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine has been a legitimate bishop of the capital’s arch-see and the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He was not convicted, deposed, or forbidden in his ministry. His canonical dignity is impeccable and recognized by the plentitude of Orthodoxy. Consequently, according to the canons, it is impossible to elect another Kiev Metropolitan.