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Ecumenical Patriarchate Responds to Charges Regarding Ukraine Autocephaly

July 16, 2019

NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America forwarded the following News Release issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding “misinformation circulating on the Internet” which it characterized as “slanderous” pertaining to the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

“Following questions by the Press regarding offensive statements against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which were allegedly made recently by a member of the autonomous presence of the Patriarchate of Moscow in Ukraine, the Director of the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Nikos Papachristou, said:

“Allegations or information from anyone claiming that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in order to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, allegedly sought and received, or requested, any form of compensation, financial or other, whether from political or ecclesiastical persons, is absolutely false, unsubstantiated and slanderous. At the same time, such allegations are also highly offensive to the Mother Church of Constantinople, from which nine other local Churches, including Moscow, received their Autocephaly, through analogous and similar processes.

It is characteristic that the Ecumenical Patriarch, in a recent speech referring to the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, pointed out that ‘the proper ecclesiological response given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate was and is always based on the eternal tradition of the Church, inspired by the Gospel, with respect to the sacred canons and free from any political and diplomatic pressure. Indeed, this must be made clear in the light of the accusations and misinformation circulating on the Internet, the well-known fake news, which is used against the canonical rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.’

“…On January 6, 2019 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew handed the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Epiphanios, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, which was formed by the Unification Synod of December 15, 2018. From that day on, the new Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine is completely self-sufficient and has the absolute freedom to manage its internal affairs through the judgment and decisions of its Holy Synod. Her relationship with the First-throned Church of Constantinople is a relationship of a Mother to her Daughter, a strong spiritual bond that has been preserved for centuries, from the time of St. Vladimir’s baptism to this day. A relationship that endures no matter how many people, obviously for their own purposes, have tried and continue trying to disrupt it, for the Mother Church of Constantinople always cares, with a sacrificial spirit and self-denial, for all her spiritual children.”

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