“Isn’t it time for you to stop escalating the church confrontation?”: figures of science, culture and sports asked Patriarch Bartholomew to postpone his visit to Ukraine

“Isn’t it time for you to stop escalating the church confrontation?”: figures of science, culture and sports asked Patriarch Bartholomew to postpone his visit to Ukraine

Scientists, cultural and sports figures of Ukraine have appealed to the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with a request to postpone their visit to Ukraine for a more favorable time in order to prevent causing a new church schism. Here is the full text of the appeal.

On August 24, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada – the highest legislative body of the Ukrainian state-adopted a historical document-the Act of Proclaiming the Independence of Ukraine. Since then, this day has been a holiday for every Ukrainian family, for every conscious citizen. You are among those invited to the holiday.

The history of Ukrainian statehood is well known to you, because it is very closely connected with the history of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy of Holy Russia.

One of your decisions – significant in the context of the establishment of Ukrainian statehood – was the official public refusal to support the schism that occurred in Ukrainian Orthodoxy immediately after the declaration of Ukrainian independence. This church schism was and, unfortunately, is still a deep wound for every conscious Christian, millions of citizens of Ukraine.

On January 6, 2019, your balanced and historically justified official position changed – you signed the Tomos, which was intended to provide autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox, but in fact caused the seizure of Orthodox churches by representatives of radical organizations, the unpunished beating of priests and believers. Most of these cases are recorded at the level of the UN, OSCE and other international organizations. Your Holiness is well aware of this, but, unfortunately, you have not condemned any of these cases, nor this shameful trend in general. It’s time to do this, because de jure it was you who took personal responsibility for treating the schism in Ukrainian Orthodoxy, which de facto could not be cured, but on the contrary led to civil conflicts.

You are also well aware of the historical consequences and risks of this, to put it mildly, unsuccessful operation. We are sad to state that the provision of the Tomos took place without taking into account the position, contrary to the will of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is completely autonomous and united among the Ukrainian ones, canonically recognized by all the Orthodox Churches of the world. Most of them are in no hurry to recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, organized with your blessing. As, by the way, most of the monasteries of Mount Athos, which we continue to visit with pleasure in your canonical jurisdiction, are in no hurry to recognize the clerics of this structure.

We are sad to state that none of the official representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will take part in the solemn events in honor of the Independence Day of Ukraine on August 24, at which Your Holiness is expected to be present. Shouldn’t you reconsider your plans? After all, firstly, according to the Constitution, religious organizations in our country are separated from the state, and, secondly, there are well-founded expectations that your arrival to celebrate the Day of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine may cause an aggravation of the religious situation. Even taking into account the completely peaceful nature of your intentions, there is no reason to doubt that.

Isn’t it time for you to stop on the way of escalating the church confrontation in Ukraine and in the world, and postpone the visit to a more favorable time, until the Conciliar resolution of all differences, with the fullness of world Orthodoxy?

We are convinced of the approving response and the vital wisdom of your All-Holiness.

Among the public figures who signed the appeal are Anatoly Peshko-academician and First Vice-President of the Academy of Economic Sciences of Ukraine, Vitaly Zhuravsky-Doctor of Political and Legal Sciences, Professor, Academician of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Vladimir Seminozhenko-public and political figure, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, ex-Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Pyotr Tolochko-historian, professor, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, member of the Academy of Europe and the International Union of Slavic Archaeology, Oleg Karamazov – head of the international public organization “Day of the Baptism of Rus”, poet, musician, producer, Elena Bronitskaya – international expert of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics, Rostislav Valikhnovsky-surgeon, Honored Doctor of Ukraine, etc.