Belarusian Orthodox Church not to recognize Orthodox Church of Ukraine

Belarusian Orthodox Church not to recognize Orthodox Church of Ukraine

Orthodox Belarussians do not have the right to participate in the sacraments of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC), Sergei Lepin, has said in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

He added that the BOC considers the formation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the same way as the Russian Orthodox Church does.

"We treat them as representatives of, perhaps, another denomination, in the same way as we treat Catholics, Uniates or schismatics [...] As certain external events that are not directly related to the life of the canonical Orthodox Church," Lepin said.

At the same time, the BOC said it intended to maintain good-neighborly relations with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, without entering into Eucharistic communion with it.

"We are not looking for war, hostility. We are friends for all. Friendship is friendship, but certain issues are still separate. We're not talking about any canonical or liturgical relations. They are even impossible with this church," the BOC spokesman said.

The unification council on the creation of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine was held at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv on December 15. Metropolitan Epifaniy (Epiphanius) was elected as its head. He is to receive a tomos (decree) of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the decision on which was made on October 11 by the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (the maternal structure of all Orthodox churches in the world). The transfer of the tomos will take place in Istanbul on January 6 after a joint liturgy.

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