KIEV, December 5. /TASS/. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) will not take part in the unification council to create an autocephalous local church in Ukraine scheduled to be held on December 15, Archbishop Clement, Chairman of the UOC Synodal Information Department, told TASS on Wednesday.

“Our stance has not changed. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will not take part in that council, since the creation of the Ukrainian autocephalous church does not meet canonical norms,” he stressed.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said that the unification council to create the Ukrainian autocephalous church would be held on December 15. According to Poroshenko, “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has sent letters to bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church constituent of the Moscow Patriarchate inviting them to take part in that historic event.”

Church crisis in Ukraine

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided at its meeting held on October 9-11 to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and announced plans to bring it back under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It also reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks.

On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.

On November 13, the Council of Bishops of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church held its meeting in Kiev Pechersk Lavra (the Kiev Monastery of the Caves). The Ukrainian Orthodox Church announced after the meeting it did not recognize Constantinople’s decisions on Ukraine and said it was severing full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church also spoke out against joining the process of granting autocephaly to Ukraine’s church and said it opposed its name change.

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