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Historian Finds New Evidence to Prove Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church’s Initial Ordination was IllegitimateОд Ромејац,
Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession.
On January 5-6, 2019, the official delegation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) at the ceremony of the Tomos bestowal at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul included Metropolitan Andriy Abramchuk of Galicia who concelebrated with Patriarch Bartholomew and the other Phanar bishops. In 1990, the Metropolitan was ordained by the notorious Victor (Vikenty) Chekalin, a pedophile and swindler who now serves a sentence in Australian jail for document forgery and fraud. At the anniversary of the Tomos bestowal this year, Patriarch Bartholomew led a divine service together with the now former Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC, the one “restored” by Vikenty Chekalin) Makary Maletich. The latter was ordained by the hierarchs of the “Chekalin succession” – Dimitry Yarema, Ihor Isichenko and the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) bishop Methodius Kudryakov. Part of UAOC bishops who in 2018 joined the OCU also got to the “Chekalin succession” through priestly and episcopal consecrations from Andriy Abramchuk, Makary Maletich and others. Even within the OCU the attitude toward this succession is ambiguous.
Taking into consideration the necessity of discussing the issue of Apostolic succession of this part of the OCU hierarchy, Serhii Shumylo, Director of the International Institute of the Athonite Legacy in Ukraine, presented his new report titled “The self-avowed “bishop” Vikenty Chekalin and his participation in the first UAOC ordinations in March of 1990”. With the blessing of Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia this work was submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
The documents, evidence and facts presented in the study – including the ones from previously unknown archival sources – confirm that the first UAOC ordination on March 31, 1990 in Mikhailevychi village in Lviv Oblast was carried out by only two persons: Ioann Bodnarchuk, defrocked on November 13, 1989 because of his voluntary secession from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), and fraudster Victor Chekalin. Besides, according to the published certificate, this “ordination” was led by Chekalin, who has never been ordained not only as a bishop but even monk or priest.
In his research, Shumylo also studies publications that appeared at the Ukrainian site Cerkvarium.org by Dmytro Horevoy and Greek sites Phanarion.blogspot.com and Romfea.gr in August-September 2019, which stated that the bishopric ordination of Vikenty Chekalin was authentic.
Studying various versions of Chekalin’s admission to monastic vows and ordination, and attempting to understand the motives of the main parties, the historian compares the remembrance of Archbishop Eulogius Smirnov, Abbot of Danilov Monastery in Moscow, and archival documents and correspondence according to which, Chekalin wasn’t even ordained as a monk.
Also compared are the testimonies by Ioann Bodnarchuk and Victor Chekalin of various periods concerning the latter’s bishopric ordination. Thus, Chekalin’s own testimony before the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) Synod in July 1989 – January 1990 shows that Ioann Bodnarchuk didn’t take part in his ordination. The other two bishops who allegedly ordained Chekalin – Metropolitan Alexei Konoplev of Kalinin and Kashin and bishop of the Catacomb Church Vladimir Abramov – had already passed away by that moment and no confirmation of their participation in the ordination was found.
As for the first UAOC ordination of 31 March 1990, it should be mentioned that the signature of Archbishop Varlaam (Ilyushchenko) of Simferopol and Crimea of the ROC was added to Vasyl Bodnarchuk’s Certificate of Ordination after the Archbishop’s death. According to the written testimonies of Archbishop Varlaam’s driver and archdeacon, the hierarch didn’t leave his diocese and held divine services in the Simferopol Cathedral on that day. Moreover, being a member of the ROC Synod, Varlaam personally signed the Moscow Synod’s resolution of November 14, 1989 on depriving Ioann Bodnarchuk of his episcopal rank, and “no way could secretly ordain new bishops with him four months later,” Shumylo writes. This situation, with archival documents signed by Ioann Bodnarchuk, was covered in detail in a piece by Fr. Rostislav Yarema (an English translation was published by the Orthodox Cognate PAGE).
Thus, Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession. This was the violation of the first Apostolic Canon (“Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops”). The historian reminds that both Mstyslav Skrypnyk and Filaret Denisenko didn’t recognize the authenticity of the ordinations of the “Chekalin succession” hierarchs. However, many of those ordained this way were convinced in the legitimacy of their dignity and refused to be reordained, so the “Chekalin succession” still partly exists in the UAOC and UOC-KP. And in that status, many of the clergymen and hierarchs were accepted into communion by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Considering that copies of the Certificate of Ordination and the evidence mentioned in the media were provided to the Phanar and could become a basis for the Patriarchate Synod to recognize in October 2018 the UAOC hierarchy in their “current dignity” without reordination, Serhii Shumylo expresses his concern about the Ecumenical Patriarchate taking decision on the grounds of bogus documents and advocates that a detailed study of this issue should be made.
Historian Finds New Evidence to Prove Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church’s Initial Ordination was Illegitimate
THEDURAN.COM Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession.
COURT ORDERS MIGRATION SERVICE TO RETURN CITIZENSHIP TO UKRAINIAN BISHOP WHO WAS DEPORTED UNDER POROSHENKOОд Ромејац,
Yesterday, January 22, the Sixth Court of Appeal ordered the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Volyn Oblast to return Ukrainian citizenship to His Grace Bishop Gideon (Kharon) of Makarov, the abbot of the Tithes Monastery in Kiev, repots Ukrainska Pravda.
The court also recognized that the Migration Service had no right to cancel the decision to grant His Grace citizenship by territorial origin in accordance with part 1, article 8 of the Law of Ukraine, “On Ukrainian Citizenship.”
Bp. Gideon was unexpectedly detained in the Kiev Boryspil in Kiev in February last year upon returning from America, where he had spoken with Congressmen about the persecution the canonical Ukrainian Church was facing under Poroshenko’s rule. His Grace was deported, his passport was confiscated, and his citizenship was canceled.
He also holds American citizenship and ended up spending several months in California. He later filed a lawsuit against the Migration Service in the Volyn Oblast, demanded that the decision to cancel his citizenship be overturned and declared illegal.
The District Administrative Court of Kiev began proceedings in the case on April 23, and on September 19, the court ruled in Bp. Gideon’s favor, deciding not only to return his citizenship, but also to reimburse him for his court fees.
Despite the Administrative Court’s September decision, the matter continued in the Appeals Court, whose decision came into effect immediately yesterday, although the Migration Service can still appeal.
Court orders Migration Service to return citizenship to Ukrainian bishop who was deported under Poroshenko
ORTHOCHRISTIAN.COM Yesterday, January 22, the Sixth Court of Appeal ordered the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Volyn Oblast to return Ukrainian citizenship to His Grace Bishop Gideon (Kharon) of Makarov, the...
The Primate of the Alexandrian Church, Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa, in his interview to the newspaper “Ethnos”, for the first time takes a stand on the issue of granting Autocephaly to Ukraine.
Speaking about the attitude of the Archdiocese of Alexandria on the issue of the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, the Patriarch of Alexandria has clearly pointed out that he has lived the pain and schism of the Ukrainian Church, but he knows very well “the Russian Church as well, because I was nurtured there for ten years and the Patriarchate of Alexandria has emotional bonds with it”.
He acknowledges, however, that there is a huge problem, that of the Autocephaly, which “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had the right to grant” but he clarifies that what has divided the Churches is the people who took the status of Autocephaly.
He revealed the initiative of Archbishop of Cyprus to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch so as to ask for a meeting between Bartholomew, himself and the Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow. “Every problem has its solution. Our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the Patriarch of Romiosyne, who we all respect and love. Do not forget that this issue is not a dogmatic one. There is a solution to the issue of Autocephaly”.
He also added that there will soon be a new meeting in Nicosia with the participation of the Patriarchates of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and the Church of Cyprus.
“I think a solution can be found, if we let aside our personal issues and consider the interest of the Church” he characteristically said.
For the new Archbishop of Australia, Makarios, he stresses that “I know him since a kid, I love and appreciate him. I am glad that Elpidophoros is going to America, and that in France there is another Archpriest from Crete, Emmanuel”.
With regard to his work on the African continent, Theodoros stresses that the biggest challenge he faces in performing his duties is poverty: “Man is no longer happy; there are no smiles and joy anymore. Today affluence is an end in itself, so I see sad faces. However, in my own field of action, which is mainly Black Continent, I do meet happy people”.
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
The Patriarchate of Constantinople restored the canonicity of the people that was outside the Church for no dogmatic reason, the head of the Phanar said.
We consider it a great blessing from God that the Ecumenical Patriarchate managed to restore the canonicity of an entire multi-million nation, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said in an interview about his activities in Ukraine with the Bulgarian news agency “BGNES”.
At the same time, the primate of the Phanar assured that the multi-million Ukrainian nation "was outside the Church for no dogmatic reason".
"Thank God! So, the decisive factor that made the Ecumenical Patriarchate grant Ukraine autocephaly is the healing of schism and the restoration of church unity,” said Patriarch Bartholomew.
According to him, thanks to the Council of Chalcedon, the Patriarchate of Constantinople allegedly has the privilege of accepting appeals against the decisions of other Local Churches, and in the decision to grant the Tomos of independence to newly established Churches, it is not obliged to take into account the opinions of others on this issue.
"The Ecumenical Patriarchate, guided by the sacred canons (including the 9th, 17th, and 28th canons of the IV Ecumenical Council, the 36th Canon of the Trullan Council, and 1 Canon of the Council of 879/880, which was held at the Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople), assumed responsibility for granting the Tomos of autocephaly to all Churches, turning them into archdiocese or patriarchs, without discussion or cooperation on this matter with other Churches,” Patriarch Bartholomew stated.
In his opinion, the legalization of schismatics from the UOC KP and the UAOC without their repentance fits into the framework of this practice.
“In the case of Ukraine, we did nothing else. We used the same practice we have followed in recognizing all newly established Autocephalous Churches,” said the primate of the Phanar. He also reiterated that he considered Filaret and Makariy canonical bishops, despite the numerous testimonies of the hierarchs of the UOC and the ROC, that Makariy never was a bishop in the ROC but fell into schism as a priest.
Patriarch Bartholomew finds the ROC responsible for Filaret Denisenko and Makariy Miletich's schism.
"The schisms that were created in the past century and arose mainly from the desire of the Russian Church to prevent the church independence of Ukraine."
He is confident that the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate in the country is detrimental to the Ukrainian people.
“The shocking political events through which new, completely different geopolitical conditions were formed made the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate (in Ukraine – Ed.) undesirable and detrimental to the interests of the Ukrainian nation and the unity of the Ukrainian people. For this reason, it is understandable why most of the Ukrainian people want a church liberation from the Church, which helps or even serves the interests of the state that is in conflict with Ukraine,” he concluded.
Earlier, the Greek theologian Pavlos Trokados explained that the Pan-Orthodox Council can be convened by the head of any Church, and the Primate of the Phanar has no special prerogatives or "primacy". “All Primates are equally" first "in modern reality with many states and should equally care about the stability of the Church. Therefore, they are jointly responsible for the convocation of the Pan-Orthodox Council since the Patriarch of Constantinople is only one of the members of the Council (as has been said about the Apostle Peter). Or maybe Patriarch Bartholomew is already superior to the Apostle Peter?” he stressed.
The ongoing Church problem in Ukraine should be solved by all Local Churches together, not each unilaterally, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus said in an interview with Romfea in Athens yesterday.
Asked whether he thought the Greek Church would be the first to recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” Abp. Chrysostomos underlined that “a unilateral decision would not be helpful, and the result would be what I feared. I also could have made a decision in favor of one or another, but I find this to be wrong. That’s why we did not do it.”
Meanwhile, the schismatics openly expect the Greek Church to be among the first to recognize them, and an archimandrite from the Greek Church, Epiphany (Dimitriou) will be consecrated as a bishop of the schismatic church this weekend, the Union of Orthodox Journalists learned.
The Cypriot Holy Synod issued a statement on the Ukrainian problem in which they criticized the Russian Church’s’ breaking of communion with Constantinople but also expressed serious reservations about the Ukrainian schismatics being received by Constantinople without them being canonically ordained.
He also considers it fair and just that none of the other Local Churches have taken a position in favor of either Constantinople or Moscow. Otherwise “we would have a definite schism, with mathematical precision,” Abp. Chrysostomos added.
It is notable that he does not accuse any of the Churches of deciding in favor of Moscow, as Greek and Ukrainian media widely accuses the Serbian, Polish, Czech-Slovak, and Antiochian Churches of siding with Moscow for political reasons. His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Poland, however, have emphasized that their decisions to not accept the Ukrainian schismatics are based solely in the canonical tradition of the Church.
All parties involved need to think only about the good of the Church, not about personal interests, the Cypriot primate emphasized. “The Church is one, and we must all help to raise it up. We must cherish Orthodoxy as the apple of our eye,” he said.
Abp. Chrysostomos has taken up the role of mediator between the Churches, in lieu of Patriarch Bartholomew, visiting the primates of the fraternal Local Churches in order to coordinate and find a real solution to the crisis facing the Church. He noted in his interview that his recent visits with the primates of the Serbian, Bulgarian, and Greek Churches went well and were undertaken with the blessing of Pat. Bartholomew.
In his view, Moscow and Constantinople do not need to enter into dialogue together alone, but that all the Churches will enter into dialogue when the right time comes, which he is trying to facilitate.
He also explained that the idea to visit the other primates arose in conversation with His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who cannot accompany him due to eye problems and the pressure he is under.
Abp. Chrysostomos also reported that His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, will visit him in Cyprus next week.
“I do not know what he wants, but be sure that I will answer him directly,” the Archbishop emphasized.
In conclusion, Abp. Chrysostomos said he is confident that God will bless the Church’s work in solving the problem, undertaken with faith and love and for the interest of the Church as a whole.