Σάββατο, 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

ΝICKOLAS DENISSENKO, THE 2018 COUNCIL - A CHANCE


 
ΝICKOLAS DENISSENKO, THE 2018 COUNCIL - A CHANCE

The separation of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine began in 1918 - 100 years ago - when pro-autopcephaly delegates to the All-Ukrainian council refused to give up their aspirations for liturgical Ukrainization and autocephaly despite the conciliar decisions. They claimed that the presiding bishops violated the rules to predetermine the outcome.

Since 2018, there have been attempts to dialogue, but there has been no convocation of a council.

1922 - the patriarchal exarchate proclaimed temporary autocephaly and dialogue with the 1921 UAOC, but the conditions of the time did not permit it;

1942 - in October, a delegation of the UAOC reached a preliminary agreement for union with the autonomous church, but the autonomous bishops rejected Metropolitan Oleksy's actions;

(Note: in 1941, the autonomous Church did declare that autocephaly would be possible with the convocation of another all-Ukrainian council)

1989-today: there have been numerous calls for dialogue and some very good proposals for a new council, but these have not been realized.

So here we are, 100 years later, and there is finally a council. Many will refuse to validate the council because a large portion of the MP is not participating. That said, this council can be a beginning, the first important step toward canonical unity - healing the divisions of the UAOC and KP dating to 1992, and opening the door for the eventual reconciliation of all Orthodox Christians in Ukraine into one church.

Soon, we will know the fate of this council. Will it be another instance of a call to dialogue that dissipated after breakdowns in negotiations? Or will the participants strive to achieve the unity given freely to us all in Baptism by Jesus Christ?

If the council realizes some form of union, it can be a sign of healing in the body of Christ, like a recovery from illness or regaining strength and motion after an injury. And one can only hope and pray that those who become part of this community will desire to seek union with those who remain estranged from them.

If the council of December 15 results in a new and lasting union, 2018 will mark a reversal in the misfortunes of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine that began 100 years ago. And that would be one reason to offer thanks.