Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Revival of a Long Closed Show

When I was being encouraged to create this blog, I had no intention of making this the subject of my first installment. However, be things as they may, I cannot help but make another attempt to help English-language readers understand the absurdity of the topic at hand. (I have addressed this matter in multiple articles over the past several years.)

In a letter of December 15, the "Brotherhod of St. Andrew the First Called" (Bratsvo) of the Lviv region of Ukriane, once again makes their preposterous requests for irregular changes to the ecclesiastical structure of the UAOC. The members repeat their tired insistence that the church be placed under the leadership of Metropolitan Konstantyn Bahan of the Ecumencial Patriarchate of Constantinople, with Archbishop Ihor Isichenko, long dismissed from the Synod of the UAOC in Ukraine as "administrator."

Most people are already familiar with the facts surrounding this weary request, so I will spare the details here. Let it suffice to say that from as long ago as 2003, Archbishop Isichenko has not belonged to the UAOC, but instead, runs an small, independent eparchy from Poltava.

Anyone experienced with ecclesiastical polity, knows that it would be impossible for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, a self-governing entity, not in communion with Istanbul at present, to be headed by a bishop of that church. In addition, if the UAOC were to follow the model of the Brotherhood's candidates, it would cease being the UAOC, ie: autocephalous and Ukrainian and become merely another subordinate entity of a foreign church.

As for Metropolitan Konstantyn, who resides in the USA, one must feel a certain sense of sympathy. The good man's name is continually dragged into the ambitions of the "Brotherhood" precipitated by the urgings of Archbishop Isichenko. Vladyka Konstantyn has remained silent. He has never accepted the positions and titles which the Brotherhood's organization repeatedly offered him. How could he? He himself is merely a bishop of the Constantinople Patriarchate, with jurisdiction over a modest number of parishes in the USA and a scattering of presences in other places of the Diaspora. By this arrangement, he is not in communion with or a part of the UAOC.

And the "Bratsvo," while they may have historical significance for the annals of Ukrainian history, having been "stavropigial" to the Ecumenical Throne centuries ago, it is not a secret that in many ways there is no longer a "brotherhood" at all. It's principal players include mostly older and women members. Collectively, few if any, are theologically educated or familiar with church practice. It is therefore an auspicious task for them to singlehandedly attempt to reorganize the structure of the UAOC and undermine the authority of its Predstoyatel (Primate) and Synod of Bishops.

There is irony in a repeated request from the Brotherhood. A frequent visitor to Ukraine and to the "Bratsvo" was Archbishop Vsevelod Maydanskyj, may he rest in peace. He was a known supporter of and key player in the model of unification taken by the bishops of the UOC-USA, becoming titular bishops of Constantinople and an eparchy thereof. The Archbishop died just this past December 16. Was there a deathbed call for another Brotherhood letter? Or was it simply the universal powers that brought together the two events? We can not know for sure, but can only wonder what the Brotherhood will do without their episcopal supporter and advocate before the Byzantine court.

We have a strong leader in the person of Metropolitan Mefodiy, Predstoyatel (Primate) of the UAOC worldwide. He is also a man of wisdom, holiness and vision. I have seen so for myself more than several times. It is he who can lead us into a new time of growth for the church.

May the Archbishop's memory be eternal, and may the members of the Bratsvo learn that the way to real unity in the UAOC is to cooperate together, under the prayerfully wise leadership of our Predstoyatel, Metropolitan Mefodiy.

Lviv Brotherhood Recommends National Assembly of the UAOC Autocephalous Orthodox to Overcome Church Crisis

UAOC Autocephalous Orthodox Call upon Lviv Country Brotherhood of St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle for “Christian Moderation and Meekness”

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