EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: October 24, 2018
An American priest leaves the Constantinople Patriarchate in a sign of solidarity with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Priest Mark Tyson, Rector of Holy Dormition Church in Bluefield, WV, transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as reported by Interfax. He writes that he celebrated his last Divine Liturgy in his former church, which is under the jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchate, and “will no longer commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew.”
“My conscience will not allow me to stay… I decided simply but firmly to ‘walk away’ and unite in communion with the suffering Ukrainian Church, which was marginalized by the puzzling actions of Patriarch Bartholomew… A few days ago, the Patriarch, whom I devotedly and prayerfully honored over more than two decades, took the unprecedented step towards restoring the canonical status of a troublesome band of defrocked and discredited [former] clergymen in Ukraine,” wrote the clergyman to his ruling bishop.
The priest emphasized that “the amoral and uncanonical actions of Patriarch Bartholomew in Ukraine has enabled violence towards the canonical Church.” In Fr Mark’s opinion, the conflict is growing.
“Before our very eyes, an ecclesiastical civil war is developing… and our Patriarch gave his official approval. The new and independent ‘church’ he created consists of idolaters. They worship not the Holy Trinity, but a false God called ‘free Ukraine,’” he writes.
The Constantinople Patriarchate declared its intention to unilaterally grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and appointed its own exarchs. As a result, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed its decisive protest against these actions and adopted a decision to cease concelebration with hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate. An analogous decision was made by the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia called upon the primates of the Churches to a pan-Orthodox discussion of the situation in Ukraine. The unilateral and uncanonical actions of Constantinople have been condemned by almost all the heads of the Local Churches.
On October 11, 2018, the Synod of the CP adopted the decision to rescind the anathema of the heads of two uncanonical churches in Ukraine—Philaret of the “Kiev Patriarchate” and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, and expressed its desire to return the Kievan Metropoliate to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, negating the “legal obligation of the Synodal letter of 1686, which granted the Moscow Patriarch the right to appoint the metropolitan of Kiev.”
The Synod of the ROC then adopted the decision to break Eucharistic communion with the Constantinople Patriarchate. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia supported the decision of the ROC on the Ukraine and Constantinople matter.