The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has reacted to Honorable Patriarch Filaret's call for an urgent local council, saying any events held by the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) are illegal.
"Due to the fact that by the decision of the local council of the UOC-KP of December 15, 2018, which took place at the Refectory Church of Kyiv's St. Sophia Monastery before the Unification Council, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate ceased to exist as a separate religious association by merging and joining the newly-created local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Holding any events on behalf of the UOC-KP, in particular, under the names of its statutory bodies (the Holy Synod, the bishop's and local councils), is illegal," the press service of the Kyiv Metropolis of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine said in a statement.
In this regard, Honorable Patriarch Filaret has no right to solely convene the "local council of the UOC-KP" either under the statutes of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, or even under the invalid statute of the UOC-KP, it said.
"Holding an unauthorized and non-statutory meeting by an unspecified group of unauthorized persons calling it a 'council' means the church division and separation of the organizers and participants of such meetings from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine with all canonical and legal consequences. Therefore, we urge all hierarchs, the clergy and members of the church wishing the good of the church and Ukraine not to take any part in events and actions that destroy the unity of the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church," reads the report.