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Russian Orthodox Church explains the gist of Kiev Patriarch’s message

Some mass media has misinterpreted the letter of Patriarch Filaret, former Metropolitan bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate) addressed to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, said Metropolitan bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations.

He said the idea of “granting pardon” is not included in the canonical lexicon of the church and it was not mentioned in the letter. “It contained a request for cancellation of ‘all decisions, including on disciplinary punishment and excommunication… to achieve peace between all orthodox Christians and reconciliation of the nations’.”

Metropolitan bishop Hilarion said members of bishops’ council perceive the letter as willingness to launch talks to overcome the sorrowful division of the last 25 years. The council has set up a commission for negotiations, and not for ‘granting pardon.’

EADaily recalls that bishops’ council of the Russian Orthodox Church passed amendments to the Statue confirming the self-governed status of the Ukraine Orthodox Church. According to the amendments, the Ukraine Orthodox Center is managed from Kiev and General Ecclesiastical Court exercises jurisdiction throughout the Russian Orthodox Church, except the Ukrainian one. It is specified that the amendments have, in fact, confirmed “what was practiced.”

At present Ukraine has one canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that is a self-governing church in the Patriarchate of Moscow. Besides, two religious organizations not recognized by the world Orthodox Christianity operate in Ukraine: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate and Ukraine Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

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