July 29, 2014

Ukrainian Orthodox Church makes public its resolution on abortions and same-sex marriages

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"Putting a homosexual marriage on the same level with a conventional one is a conscious destruction of fundamental public morals providing a basis for a global demoralization of society." On 21 January 2010, the Theological and Canonical Commission at the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church made public its Resolution on abortions and same-sex marriages. The document is timed to the session of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) due to take place later in January to consider discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution says the PACE drafts imply to impose an extensively distorted concept of marriage. The resolution condemns propagation of homosexuality as a fancy way of life because it undermines the foundations of family relations which are an integral part of relations in society. Using slogans to protect the rights of people “with nontraditional sexual orientation” as a cover,” – the document of the Theological … [Read more...]

Ukrainian Orthodoxy ‘Very Politicized’

From the Religious Information Service of the Ukraine: MOSCOW—Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) expressed confidence that foreign structures will not interfere with church problems in Ukraine. In particular, they mean the Constantinople Patriarchate, which, according to the ROC representatives, the Ukrainian authorities hoped to engage in the establishment of a national church separate from the Moscow Patriarchate. “They (Constantinople Patriarchate) understand well that Ukraine is an integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church, that there exists spiritual unity of nations – Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovians, Belarusians,” noted the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Ilarion (Alfeiev) of Volokolamsk, at a press conference in Moscow about the visit of the head of ROC to Istanbul in early July. News.ru reports that in the archbishop’s opinion, the very tone of the past negotiations shows that the … [Read more...]

Ukrainian Church ‘rent by divisions’

On the Get Relgion blog, Terry Mattingly describes a trip he made to Kiev to speak to Ukrainian journalists "about the challenges of covering religion news in mainstream press." He looks at the divisions among Orthodox Churches in the Ukraine, which is set against the long running antagonisms that exist between that country and Russia. "You see, right now almost anything can create tensions between Ukraine and Russia," Mattingly writes. "A ceremony with clergy linked to Moscow would create tensions in some circles. A ceremony without clergy linked to Moscow would create tensions in others. The symbolism has political content either way." He also writes about his trip to Kiev for his Scripps News column. Here's how he begins: Merely saying the forest's name -- Bykivnya -- can cause strong emotions for millions of Ukrainians. This is where the secret police of Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin buried 100,000 of their victims between 1937 and 1941 in a mass grave northeast of Kiev. … [Read more...]

A Brief Roundup

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Odds and ends: Patriarchal meetings; accusations of Uniatism; clerical sauna baths. What's it all about? President Victor Yuschenko of Ukraine met with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Patriarchal Residence in Tarabya, as part of the President's working visit to Turkey. The Archons site reports that "a cordial and whole-hearted discussion on issues of common concern" took place on May 20. Discussions were held on a representative office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate opening in Ukraine in the format of a churchyard or a cultural and informational center. The two leaders also addressed ways to step up contacts between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. President Yuschenko said he wants this dialogue to be intensified at all levels and confirmed his country's interest in establishing a local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. His Excellency also said he is convinced that "the Ecumenical Church and the personal wisdom and efforts of the Ecumenical … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian Patriarchs Celebrate Baptism of Russia

Orthodox Churches have long been involved in ecumenical projects, such as the World Council of Churches, and affirm the Lord's mandate "that they all may be one" (John 17:21). Yet, I can't help thinking at times that the Orthodox Churches might work a little harder at unity in their own house. For that reason, it was encouraging to follow the progress of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios' recent visit to the Moscow Patriarchate and see Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I side by side with Patriarch Alexy II for the celebration of the baptism of Russia. The Greeks and the Russians have had some contentious moments of late, such as the controversy over who shall have jurisdiction for Orthodox Christians in Estonia. Good background here in an AP story on the tensions between the Ukrainians and Russians: Ukrainian officials are determined to use the events to lobby for autonomy for the local church from Russia, while the dominant Moscow Patriarchate will fight to retain … [Read more...]