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Journal #27 of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate Журнали Священного Синоду


The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate convened on December 13, 2009 at the Patriarchal Residence, chaired by His Holiness Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine Filaret.

Journal Number 27

Presented:

His Holiness Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine Filaret reported on the activities of the Most Reverend Alexander (Bykovetz), Archbishop of Uman (Detroit, USA).

Heard:

At the request of the Most Reverend Bishop Alexander (Bykovetz), and of priests and parishes in the U.S. and Australia who previously belonged to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Sobornopravna), the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate accepted [these clergy] into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate: "[The Holy Synod] Accepts into the fold of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate: Bishop Alexander, Bishop Elesei with the clergy and parishes of the UAOC (Sobornopravna) in the United States” (Journal Number 17 dated November 30, 1994).

This decision shows that the Holy Synod received into the Kyiv Patriarchate not the UAOC (Sobornoprava) itself, but rather the individual bishops, priests and parishes that had previously belonged to the UAOC (Sobornopravna), and that, as of November 30, 1994, they have been under the jurisdiction of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

This Holy Synod did not create a separate jurisdiction for the received bishops, priests and parishes. All clergy and parishes of the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate abroad (with the exception of those in the Russian Federation), including those that until November 30, 1994 belonged to the UAOC (Sobornopravna), are under the direct authority of the Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine.

The Constitution of the Kyiv Patriarchate does not provide for the existence of individual autonomous jurisdictions within the Kyiv Patriarchate or for use of the name "UAOC (Sobornopravna)”. Resolutions of the 1993 Sobor of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate granted a singular exception to those parishes which had previously belonged to the UAOC, which were granted the right to continue using their historical name on legal documents.

Upon reception into the Kyiv Patriarchate, Bishop Alexander was given the title of Bishop of Uman. Subsequently, to commemorate his birthday, Bishop Alexander was elevated to the dignity of archbishop by His Holiness Patriarch Filaret.

To improve the governance of the parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the United States, His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod formed the Vicariate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada. After the formation of the Vicariate, conflicts arose between the Most Reverend Archbishop Alexander and clergy of the Vicariate, stemming from the intervention of His Eminence Archbishop Alexander into the affairs of individual parishes on the purported grounds that he was acting as a bishop of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Clergy and parish councils sent numerous complaints of this nature to the Kyiv Patriarchate. On multiple occasions the Most Reverend Archbishop Alexander was instructed, verbally and in writing, not to interfere in the life of other parishes of the Vicariate, as these parishes are under the direct authority of the Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine and of the elected governing bodies of the Vicariate. Rather than desisting as instructed, Archbishop Alexander, identifying himself as a hierarch of the Kyiv Patriarchate, proceeded to send complaints regarding clergy of the Kyiv Patriarchate to US civil authorities, thereby greatly and unnecessarily complicating the activities of individual parishes of the US Vicariate.

During the visit of His Holiness Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine Filaret to the United States in October and November 2009, the Most Reverend Archbishop Alexander verbally stated that he considers himself the head of an individual jurisdiction, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Sobornopravna)”, which he maintains exists in the United States as a component part of the Kyiv Patriarchate possessing rights of autonomy. On November 30, 2009, a facsimile letter from him communicating this same position was received by the Kyiv Patriarchate. In response to a request from the Patriarch that he refute these oral and written statements, Archbishop Alexander on December 11, 2009 sent to the Primate of the Kyiv Patriarchate another letter in which he did not renounce his previous statements, but instead referred to a need to convene an “assembly or meeting of bishops, clergy and representatives of the parishes”.

Such statements and actions of His Eminence Archbishop Alexander have created havoc in the environment of the clergy and faithful of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and caused harm to the Vicariate of the Kyiv Patriarchate in that country.

Resolved:

1. Takes note that the Canons of the Holy Orthodox Church do not provide for the existence of one autocephalous church within another church. Therefore, there cannot exist within the Kyiv Patriarchate a separate jurisdiction with the name of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Sobornopravna)”, whose existence is not provided for in the Constitution nor by the Holy Synod. On November 30, 1994 (Journal Number 17) the Holy Synod accepted into the Kyiv Patriarchate the bishops, priests, and parishes which previously belonged to UAOC (Sobornopravna), and not the entity of the UAOC (Sobornopravna).

2. Notes that the decision of the Sobor of the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate of 1993 to allow the parishes that historically bore the name of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” in their articles of incorporation to continue using that name was adopted as a specific exception, and does not imply that those parishes, including those in the United States, have the status of a separate jurisdiction. All parishes that belong to the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate must conform to the Constitution of the Kyiv Patriarchate, and to the decisions of the Sobor, Full Synod, Holy Synod, and Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine.

3. Takes note that the only structure which is officially authorized to represent the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate in the United States is the Vicariate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada. The Vicariate operates under the direct authority of the Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine who is its ruling bishop. The Vicariate operates in accordance with its By-Laws and with the blessing and agreement of the Patriarch. Currently, due to the absence of a Vicar Bishop, the Secretary of the Vicariate is the highest authority within the Vicariate.

4. Emphasizes that all parishes and faithful of the Kyiv Patriarchate located in the United States, regardless of their origin and incorporated name, are under the authority of the Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine as their ruling Bishop, whether exercised directly or through the Vicariate.

5. Confirms the decrees of His Holiness Filaret Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine directing the Most Reverend Alexander, Archbishop of Uman, that he is only blessed to serve at the parish of St. Andrew in Detroit, USA, and may only serve at other parishes at the invitation of their pastor and parish council and with the blessing of the Patriarch.

6. Reminds the Most Reverend Alexander that he is a titular bishop of the Kyiv Patriarchate, and, as such, is subordinate to the Patriarch of Kyiv and Rus-Ukraine and may not act on his own, but only according to decrees and orders of the Patriarch.

7. Recognizes that the intervention of the Most Reverend Alexander, Archbishop of Uman, into the affairs of other parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the United States is a violation of the Canons and By-Laws of the Church, and that his verbal and written statements create havoc in the environment of the clergy and faithful of the Kyiv Patriarchate in that country.

8. Demands that the Most Reverend Alexander immediately cease all interference in the affairs of the clergy and parishes of the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate in the United States, and directs that, within one month and in clear and unambiguous form, he transmit a letter addressed to the Primate refuting claims to leadership of a separate, non-existent jurisdiction entitled “UAOC (Sobornopravna)”; in this regard, reminds the Most Reverend Alexander, Archbishop of Uman, that he has no authority to convene a church gathering or meeting of representatives of the priests and parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate concerning this or any other matter without the blessing of his ruling bishop, the Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine.

9. Gives notice that, if the Most Reverend Alexander, Archbishop of Uman does not act as required by this decision, the Holy Synod, will, at its next meeting, reconsider his status within the episcopate of the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate.

10. Instructs the Very Reverend Victor Poliarny, Secretary of the Vicariate of the UOC - Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada, to disseminate this decision to the Vicariate parishes in the United States and to the relevant civil authorities of the United States of America.

FILARET, Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine

ANDRIY, Metropolitan of Lviv and Sokal

ADRIAN, Metropolitan of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol

DYMYTRIY, Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytzky and Boryspil

EVSEVIY, Metropolitan of Rivne and Ostrih

VOLODYMYR, Archbishop of Mykolaiv and Bohoyavlensk

IOASAF, Archbishop of Bilhorod and Oboyan

MYCHAIL, Archbishop of Lutsk and Volyn

SERHIY, Archbishop of Donetsk and Mariupol

MEFODIY, Bishop of Sumy and Ohtyrka

 

 

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