Presidential adviser Pavlenko: If Orthodox Church of Ukraine acts in accordance with tomos, it won't be 'taken away'
Q&A: Adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Director of National Institute for Strategic Studies Rostyslav Pavlenko comments on issues related to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) to the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency
Q: Could the Ecumenical Patriarch take away the tomos from the OCU?
A: If the OCU does not act in violation of the tomos, for example, introducing changes (provisions) to the OCU Charter, contradicting the tomos, then there are no grounds for 'taking away' the tomos.
Q: Please, comment on the situation of dual authority, which has arisen in the OCU.
A: The OCU has a primate – Metropolitan of Kyiv and All-Ukraine Epiphanius. There is a Synod formed according to the Charter. This does not resemble dual authority.
Q: How do you assess statements by Honorary Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret about the need to preserve the Kyiv Patriarchate*?
A: The Kyiv Patriarchate, as a church, a religious organization, does not exist de facto or de jure. Ukraine's Culture Ministry has commented on this matter.
Q: Are assertions made by Filaret about the existence of agreements between him, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Epiphanius and archbishops that Filaret continues to manage church in Ukraine together with Epiphanius, who will represent the OCU abroad, correct?
A: The president cannot interfere in issues involving the internal organization of the OCU. Poroshenko promised that Ukraine's church would receive a tomos on autocephaly, that it would be independent, and ecumenically recognized and equal to 14 local churches. He has kept his promise.
*Before the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as an independent church with Epiphanius as its leader, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine was represented by two patriarchates – the Moscow Patriarchate, controlled by Russia, and the Filaret-led Kyiv Patriarchate whom the Moscow Patriarchate called "schismatic."