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Türkei: Patriarch Bartholomew denied "reconsidering" the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine

07. September 2023

On the occasion of the celebration of Indiction (ecclesiastical New Year), a meeting took place in the Throne Room of the residence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Phanar (Istanbul) on September 1st. The participants included Patriarch Bartholomew, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv, hierarchs, as well as diplomats from Greece and representatives of the leadership of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, including the President of the IAO and Polish Sejm Deputy, Eugeniusz Czykwin.

As reported by the press service of the OCU, in his speech, Patriarch Bartholomew touched upon the initiatives and efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to strengthen the unity and cooperation of autocephalous Orthodox Churches, which resulted in the convening of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete in 2016. "Unfortunately, this desire for unity and cooperation has been destroyed in recent years by a new ecclesiology that comes from the north and a new theology, a theology of war," the Patriarch noted. "This is the theology that the sister Church of Russia began to teach, trying to justify an unjust, unholy, unprovoked, diabolical war against a sovereign and independent country – Ukraine."

For almost two years now, we have witnessed a tragedy. It affects not only the relations between the two Orthodox Churches but also results in daily bloodshed in the heart of Europe. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in this war. I repeat, it's a tragedy. It also affects the relationships of the respective sister Orthodox Churches.

The severance of communion between the Russian Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is unacceptable and unjustified. One cannot use the Divine Eucharist as an instrument of pressure and coercion for other Churches to align with this new ecclesiology. The suffering from this falls upon Metropolitan Epifaniy and all of Ukraine. He sees how his flock is being destroyed, how cities and villages are being razed to the ground, and how churches, schools, and hospitals are being leveled...

Furthermore, His Holiness the Patriarch continued: "We are doing what we believe is right on our part. Various sister Churches urge and invite the Ecumenical Patriarchate to convene the Pan-Orthodox Assembly or the Synaxis of Orthodox Primates again to address the Ukrainian Church issue. Our Patriarchate rejects these proposals because we have no intention of subjecting the Canonical Act issued by our Patriarchate to the judgment and initiatives of the new ecclesiology.

I say 'Canonical Act' because the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine with its 44 million people was within the rights and duties of service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

With the exception of the ancient Patriarchates of the East, all new Orthodox Churches, starting with the Russian Church, received autocephaly from Constantinople. So why shouldn't Ukraine receive it? This is the essence, very simple and very clear. Therefore, we will not convene either the Pan-Orthodox Council or the Synaxis of Primates because we have no intention of subjecting the decisions and initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the judgment of the new ecclesiology," emphasized His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. (Quelle:, 3. September 2023)