00:08 GMT31 October 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The unifying Synod of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine will only cause further discord among believers in the country, former Primate of the Orthodox Church in America metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) told Sputnik on Friday.

    "It will not make peace, but only cause further discord, as the Ukrainian regime persecutes those who do not submit to its religion. How does such an organization have anything to do with Jesus Christ?" he said.

    Metropolitan Jonah pointed out that the only canonical church in the country — the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — declined to participate in this event.

    "This will not unite the various factions, as the canonical Church will not participate, which constitutes 2/3 of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine," he said.

    The cleric described the gathering in Kiev as "a conglomeration of schismatics united on the basis of ethno-phyletism, nationalism and hatred."

    The Ukraine church’s status, he added, falls fall short of true autocephaly given Constantinople will remain in charge.

    On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that the "unifying Synod," which should declare the establishment of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine, approve its composition and elect its head, would convene in Kiev on December 15.

    His Grace said he hopes a Pan-Orthodox council will be called to resolve this situation and diffuse the tension in Ukraine and with Moscow. He noted that this is an ecclesiastical matter, and called on involved governments and other parties and their sponsors to let the competent authorities resolve this within the church.

    In October, the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate announced that it would proceed with granting independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Church severed diplomatic ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the decision.


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