Thursday, November 7, 2013

O. Litwin - October 16, 2013 

Dear All,

It is important to determine whether the UOCC has contravened the 1929 Charter and whether it contines to be a legal entity after the signing of the1990 Agreement, that made its primate (the chief leading officer of the UOCC Corporation) and bishops (the local executive officers) as dual officers of the Corporation of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. Previous to the vote of 1990, several leading Ukrainian lawyers had warned that the adoption of the 1990 Agreement and the resulting necessary amended By-laws would be in contravention of the Charter because there were no provisions in the Charter allowing for such a structural change in the organization.

By signing the 1990 Agreement the UOCC (as the hierarchs assumed) took on the added burden of responsibility to a body of Rules that were "foreign" to the UOCC and its members, as ascribed in the Charter, where the UOCC had already outlined its own Canonicity. The EP's "Message" in the Herald is a warning to UOCC members, that they must abide by the new rules set in Moscow or they risk losing their status as part of the religious Agreement of 1990. Because the By-laws had not been separated and included both spiritual and secular aspects, the members were subject to confusing edicts from abroad, not knowing whether such edicts were legal or not. The Consistory has remained silent on the issue.

The Primate is ultimately responsible for clarifying the legality of the Agreement and its subsequent limitations on decision-making, but this has not been done in 23 years. Some UOCC members would like to be reassured that UOCC decision-making is still being made independently on such issues as: the naming of the Eastern Diocese bishop, the Decree shunning Patr. Filaret, the contentious issue of the Holodomor being a man-made or weather-based event, the postponement of decision-making on the Association with Europe, etc. 

The decisions made on these events all point in one direction: they have not been made independently by the UOCC or its officers or Consistory, but have been made to accommodate the religious Agreement of 1990, which mady have been accepted under duress by the voting delegates or was simply a vote that was taken without sufficient information as to its legality vis-a-vis the Charter. The fact that all the delegates approved a Sobor Resolution that outlined their necessary point of view in relation to the vote on the Agreement attests to their concern that the Agreement not impinge on the possibility of a unification of the Churches of Ukraine under a joint and independent leadership.

All subsequent events have proven that such concern was valid because the supposed Canonicity, as defined by the EP in the Agreement, was not the same Canonicity that was outlined in the UOCC statement in the 1929 Charter and some of the previous decison-making powers of the officers of the UOCC had been compromised by their dual position as officers of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul. It is important to clarify the legal position of the UOCC to its members prior to any other court case involving the UOCC.

O. Litwin

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