The synod of the Russian Orthodox Church transferred three dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the annexed Crimea under the direct control of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. About it says in the official journal of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“To accept the Dzhankoy, Simferopol and Feodosia eparchies into direct canonical and administrative subordination to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church,” the message says.
The documents of the Synod note that this was done in response to the appeal of the Crimean bishops to “maintain effective communication with the central church authorities” and due to the impossibility of their regular communication with the Ukrainian Church.
As reported in the magazine, the 83-year-old Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea Lazar (Shvets) will be appointed head of the Crimean Metropolis. He was born in Volhynia, ordained priests and bishops in Kyiv, headed parishes in South America, the Ternopil region, Odessa and Kherson, and Simferopol.
In Kyiv on May 27, the Local Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was held, which decided to completely abandon the ROC. The participants of the council condemned the hostilities in Ukraine as a violation of God’s commandment “Thou shalt not kill!” and expressed disagreement with the position of Patriarch Kirill. All references to the Russian Orthodox Church were removed from the charter of the religious organization, while leaving the ROC was never announced.
What does this mean in practice and is it possible to consider that the UOC has become a new independent church? Explains religious scholar Dmitry Gorevoy especially for the Present Tense.
After that, the ROC did not rule out a new split within the UOC due to “unauthorized actions” to change its charter. The decision on the status of the church can only be made within the framework of the canonical procedure, the press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia noted.
The Crimean parishes of the UOC were formally subordinate to Kyiv even after the annexation of the peninsula in 2014. Lazar is a member of the synod of the UOC, it is still indicated on the church website.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has not yet commented on the resubordination of the Crimean dioceses.