The Kharkiv Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has declared it remains loyal to the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and its leader, Metropolitan Onufry. This diocese includes the city of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine.
“The clergy that gathered, along with the bishop, showed loyalty to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate, Blessed Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine,” the Diocese’s press service said.
It is noted that Onufry on October 1 headed the meeting of the priors of the city churches and heads of departments of the Kharkiv diocese.
Three lawsuits were filed with the Supreme Court of Ukraine against the decision of the Verkhovna Rada to support the appeal of President Poroshenko to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the provision of a tomos on autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on October 22 said the Russian side would have to accept the decision of Constantinople on the Ukrainian church issue. “Whether our Russian brothers like it or not, sooner or later they will follow the decisions that the Ecumenical Patriarch has made since they have no other choice,” he said.
Following a meeting of the Holy Synod, a decision was announced on October 11, stating that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceeds to granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. In addition, they claimed to abolish the legal standing of 300-year-old ruling by the synod, which had taken place back in 1686, thus claiming to take the Ukrainian Church out from under Moscow’s canonical jurisdiction.
On October 15, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church ruled to sever eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In response to these events, a Ukrainian Bishop has disowned any connection with the Patriarch of Constantinople, and an American priest has turned his back on him. There is also a large parish that has abandoned the Patriarch of Constantinople, in favor of the Russian Orthodox Church.
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