Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America Comment on Situation with Patriarch
Religious Information Service of Ukraine 11.08.2005, [23:28]//Orthodox/
RISU received on 11 August 2005 the statement of Archbishop Ioan (Miles) of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America regarding separation from the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical (UAOC-C). The statement follows below in its entirety.
STATEMENT OF +IOAN, METROPOLITAN PRIME BISHOP OF THE AUTONOMOUS UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA REGARDING SEPARATION FROM THE UAOC-C
The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all.
While I would personally ask for solitude at this time, I feel it incumbent upon me to respond to the recent press releases in which it was disclosed that three of my Ukrainian brother bishops had asked to come under my mantle as Bishop of the Midwest for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical.
The allegations raised by my beloved brother bishops were so grave and were supported by the subjective experience of my fellow American bishops and/or clergy that I had no choice but to grant them their request. Much thought, consultation and, above all, prayer went into the decision I had found it necessary to make, because of the heretical teachings and blatant lack of due process practiced by Moisei Kulyk.
While [deposed Patriarch] Moisei chooses to reason by virtue of Canon 34 of the Apostolic Rules, he neglects Canon 15 of the First-and-Second Council which states, unequivocally:
“But as for those persons, on the other hand, who on account of some heresy condemned by holy Councils, of Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodal verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers, and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.”
Our Synodal investigation also found Moisei Kulyk to have been in violation of Canons 38, 40 and 68, among others, of the Apostolic Rules and also to have been in violation of the Statutes of the UAOC-C. But another acute problem arose from the fact that Moisei had never even met some of the bishops (and bishops-elect) whom he had incardinated into his Church. The fact remains that many of these men are “Internet bishops/bishops-elect” with dubious reputations, little or no theological education and with suspect Apostolic Succession. The problem also remains that although many bishops have written to Moisei Kulyk and his UAOC-C that they have removed themselves from his jurisdiction, he still continues to maintain their photographs on his website as though he still holds them as some sort of “trophy," and fails to respect their right to freedom of conscience.
I had made suggestions in the form of a plan to maintain unity to the head of the UAOC-C, Moisei Kulyk, but these suggestions were ignored. I was personally condemned as being disobedient and of being a “Judas.” The Canons and the Statutes of the UAOC-C were sacrificed, as I was told by Moisei Kulyk that the Patriarch alone was the supreme authority of our Church, that he was “above the Canons and Statutes of our Church, as God had made him Patriarch.”
For me, precious human lives and souls were at stake, and so I continued to pray to the Holy Spirit for a solution to the problem eating-away at my Ukrainian brother bishops: Vasylii, Isaakii and Vsevolod.
Our Bishops have the reasonable expectation that their brother bishops are free of heresy and agree to the Synodal structure of our Church. They also have every right to expect holiness of life, wisdom and sound doctrinal teaching of each other, as bishops, and of him who is their leader as first among equals.
They should also be assured that whatever the jurisdiction to which one belongs, the fact remains that all are brothers and sisters within one, holy, catholic and apostolic Orthodox Church, and that no one has the right to claim that his “jurisdiction” is the one, true Church of Jesus Christ, and, because of this erroneous belief, to ridicule and/or cause divisiveness within Orthodoxy.
There has to be mutual love and respect between the Churches.
The Ukrainian Bishops, Isaakii, Vasylii and Vsevolod have chosen to depose a heretical Bishop, Moisei Koulik, and the substantive evidence which they have collected and presented in this regard has left no choice other than to invoke Canon 15 of the First-and-Second Council and to preserve the Orthodox faith through this separation. We here in the United States have given them a home in the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, and we all pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us on our journey of faith, Christian charity and growth in holiness, and we extend our fraternal support for our brothers and sisters of all truly Orthodox jurisdictions.
Metropolitan Prime Bishop
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America
Source and previous related RISU story: Press Office of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America
Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America - Archdiocese of Ukraine Synod in Kyiv Names Prime Bishop from US
Religious Information Service of Ukraine 10.08.2005, [23:07]//Orthodox /
—The Holy Synod of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America (formerly the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical) has unanimously agreed to elevate Bishop Ioan of Milwaukee and the Midwest [USA] to archbishop and to be prime bishop of the church. The meeting was held in Kyiv on 5 August 2005.
The synod met under the guidance of its president, Archbishop Isaakii of Cherkasy and Odesa.
According to the minutes of the synod, the members wished
“To express sincere gratitude to His Excellency Ioan, archbishop of the United States and prime bishop of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, for his firm and principled stance during the canonical disputes that appeared around the odd person of [Patriarch] Moisei and his heretical beliefs and which brought irreparable damage to Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, the episcopate and clergy.”
The synod also wished “To express the hope that Archbishop Ioan will work for the development of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, Ukraine and the diaspora and will adhere strictly to the holy canons of the Orthodox Church and that he will be a good archshepherd before Almighty God.”
The minutes were signed by Archbishop Isaakii, Archbishop Vasylii of Lutsk and Volyn, and Archbishop Vsevolod of Ternopil and Bukovyna.
Source: Press Office of the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America-Archdiocese of Ukraine (formerly known as the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - Canonical)
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical Bishops Separate from Patriarch
Religious Information Service of Ukraine 09.08.2005, [02:06] // Orthodox //
—The Sobor [Assembly] of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical [UAOC-C] approved an address to the faithful about the impossibility of Eucharistic communion with the church’s head, Patriarch Moisei. The document, approved on 29 July, was received by RISU on 8 August 2005.
The document was signed by Archbishop Vasylii of Lutsk and Bishop Isaakii of Cherkasy and Odesa. The members of the sobor also ask other Orthodox denominations of Ukraine for spiritual forgiveness and understanding regarding the necessity of spiritual union. The document lists the following reasons for the decision regarding breaking communion with Patriarch Moisei:
1. Numerous public statements and sermons of Patriarch Moisei on reincarnation
2. Condemnatory statements of Patriarch Moisei on issues of the internal and external policy of other Orthodox churches that are officially registered in Ukraine, [namely] the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, and also structures of government authority
3. The UAOC-C and its communities are forbidden to register by the court structures of Ukraine, which makes impossible the further activities of the UAOC-C under the leadership of Patriarch Moisei
4. The members of the sobor consider invalid the decisions of Patriarch Moisei regarding a number of bishops and priests of the UAOC-C who have been forbidden to serve and stripped of their status
5. The sobor has addressed the faithful with a warning about the spiritual harmfulness of the teaching of Patriarch Moisei and requested that the government forbid religious services and lectures that take place with his participation
Source: Press service of the UAOC-C
3 Bishops Leave Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical
Religious Information Service of Ukraine 05.08.2005, [22:10] // Orthodox //
-On 3 August 2005, three of the four Ukrainian Bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church-Canonical in Ukraine (UAOC-C), Archbishop Wasyliy (Luts'k-Volyn Eparchy), Bishop Isaakiy (Cherkassy-Odessa Eparchy) and Bishop Vsevolod (Ternopil' Eparchy), along with their clergy and people, have left the UAOC-C. Notice of their departures was served on Patriarch Moisei both individually and personally. According to the Centre for Orthodox Unity it is believed that more priests from other regions have also expressed their intent to leave the jurisdiction of Patriarch Moisei. The entire press release of the Centre for Orthodox Unity follows:
Among the collective reasons for their departures, the Ukrainian hierarchs are unanimous in their condemnation of:
1. The alleged public heretical and unorthodox teachings of Patriarch Moisei which have expressed his belief in reincarnation. Substantiated proof, they allege, was given in written extracts of Patriarch Moisei's lectures to people in Kyiv as well as in a video in which they say Patriarch Moisei clearly supports belief in reincarnation. Consequently, many of the faithful in Ukraine are looking at the UAOC-C as a sect rather than as a Church.
2. The allegation that Patriarch Moisei has become a divisive figure among the churches in Ukraine, and, because of this behavior, a court in Ukraine recently refused registration to the UAOC-C on the grounds that the UAOC-C, through the person of Patriarch Moisei, has caused extreme tension and conflict among the churches of Ukraine and will not be registered by the government of Ukraine.
3. The allegation that Patriarch Moisei has not followed the constitutions of the UAOC-C which were approved and implemented by the General Sobor [Assembly] of the UAOC-C in Kyiv on 18 June 2005. Among examples of this they stated that Patriarch Moisei suspended a priest without the right of this priest to due process in an ecclesiastical court as mandated in the constitution of the UAOC-C within 30 days of any such "suspension," as well as his not following the constitution of the church in having full synodal approval in the election and incardination of new bishops and in the fact that he ordained bishops in their twenties contrary to the 35 year of age requirement mandated by the constitution of the UAOC-C.
4. The allegation (which the Ukrainian bishops are asking to be investigated by the government of Ukraine) that Patriarch Moisei has solicited and received contributions from priests and faithful for the building of a church building and the collected monies for which (they allege) he has put into personal, not church, bank accounts abroad.
5. The allegation that Patriarch Moisei considers himself the sole authority in the UAOC-C, without question and that he has acted without synodal approval in most matters. They claim that despite the fact that the constitution of the UAOC-C states that the chief governing body of the UAOC-C is the synod of bishops, in reality, the UAOC-C is governed despotically by one person rather than by the synod of bishops. As an example, the bishops state that Patriarch Moisei proclaimed himself patriarch without formal synodal approval and through intimidation. The bishops state that the synod was neither asked nor permitted to put forth any additional candidate(s) for patriarch to run against the then Metropolitan Moisei. Many bishops, they say, were against the election of a patriarch, in the first place, due to the added political division which this would bring in Ukraine, but these bishops had no opportunity to voice their concerns and/or reservations.
6. The ordination of men to the diaconate and priesthood without any formal theological training, a factor which could lead to horrific consequences once these priests and deacons begin preaching and teaching the people of God.
7. The accumulation of many "paper bishops" who have no real knowledge of Orthodoxy and who can celebrate only the novus ordo Roman Catholic Liturgy and one Latin American Bishop who had been convicted of child molestation and who was subsequently defrocked when he ministered as a Roman Catholic priest. This bishop's vicar is also publicly known to be his lover, and
when this matter was brought to the attention of Patriarch Moisei, nothing was done to correct it and/or to protect the UAOC-C.
8. The allegation that Patriarch Moisei has made slanderous, libelous and unsubstantiated lies against any bishop who disagrees with Patriarch Moisei or departs from the UAOC-C. The bishops ask that if these horrific allegations which Patriarch Moisei raises against bishops and/or priests who leave to enter other jurisdictions had been true, why, then, did Patriarch Moisei accept them under his mantle to begin with?
The Ukrainian bishops have called for (1) all to return to the true teachings of Orthodoxy, (2) to work with and not against the other churches of Ukraine as sister churches to achieve peace and brotherhood, (3) to follow the canons of the Orthodox Church and (4) to respect the dignity of each person and his/her inherent rights to due process.
It is rumored that the Ukrainian hierarchs have appealed to Bishop Ioan, Bishop of the Midwest in the United States (UAOC-C) to come under his mantle and to grant their appeal to form a new, American-based jurisdiction under his protection. However, the Press Office of Bishop Ioan has not been able to be reached for comment at the time of this press release.
Source: Centre for Orthodox Unity