On Saturday, January 5, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of Autocephaly, thereby officially granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Present for this special ceremony, which took place in the Venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George, were His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine, His Excellency Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, numerous Ukrainian government officials and members of parliament, Hierarchs of the Throne and several international press and media outlets.
Following the signing of the Tomos, His All-Holiness received President Poroshenko and his family, His Excellency Andriy Parubiy, President of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios together with this delegation, in the Chamber of the Throne, where the Patriarch bestowed the Cross of Panaghia Pammakaristos upon President Poroshenko in recognition of all his efforts and contributions toward the realization of this historic achievement. The President reciprocated by conferring the First-Class Award of Merit of Ukraine upon the Patriarch.
On Sunday, January 6, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarcah Bartholomew concelebrated the Divine Liturgy together with His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine, as well as with Hierarchs of the Throne and of the Church of Ukraine, for the Feast of Theophany at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George.
Following the reading of the Holy Gospel, His All-Holiness officially presented His Beatitude with the Tomos of Autocephaly, a vessel with Holy Myrrh from the Mother Church and an episcopal staff.
Among the many faithful in attendance were His Excellency Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine; His Excellency Markos Bolaris, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic; His Excellency Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, Former President of Ukraine; the Honorable Georgia Soultanopoulou, Consul General of the Hellenic Republic in Istanbul; archons of the Great Church of Christ and numerous pilgrims from abroad.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch, together with His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios, His Eminence Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Their Eminences Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar, Germanos of Tranoupolis, Andrew of Halych, Meliton of Philadelphia, Demetrios of Lviv and Sokal, Emmanuel of France, Michael of Lutsk and Volyn, Nikitas of the Dardanelles, Alexander of Perejaslav-Khmelnitskiy and Vyshneve, Elpidophoros of Bursa and Archbishop Efstratios of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, led the procession to the shores of the Golden Horn, where the traditional blessing of the waters and throwing of the cross took place. This year, more than thirty young men from the City, Greece and abroad participated in the annual ceremony to retrieve the cross from the water.
TOMOS OF AUTOCEPHALY OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF UKRAINE
Bartholomew, by God’s mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch:
“You have come to Mount Zion . . . and to the Church of the first-born” (Heb. 12.22–23), as the blessed Paul, apostle to the nations, declares to all the faithful, appropriately likening the Church to a mountain to affirm conviction and recognition as well as steadfastness and stability. For although the Church of God both is and is called one flock and one body of Christ—everywhere sharing the confession of Orthodox faith, the communion through the sacraments in the Holy Spirit, and the constancy of apostolic succession and canonical order—already from the earliest apostolic times it also consists of local and native Churches internally self-administered by their own shepherds, teachers and servants of the Gospel of Christ, namely, their regional Bishops, not only for the historical and secular significance of these cities and lands, but also for the particular pastoral needs of these places.
Therefore, inasmuch as the most devout and divinely-protected country of Ukraine has been fortified and magnified by heavenly providence, while also acquiring comprehensive political independence, and inasmuch as its civil and church leaders have avidly sought its ecclesiastical self-administration over more than thirty years—thereby further echoing previous similar requests periodically addressed by its people to the most holy Apostolic Throne of Constantinople, which is obliged by a lengthy canonical tradition to care for the holy Orthodox Churches facing difficulties, especially those with which it has always been associated through canonical bonds, such as the historical Metropolis of Kyiv—our Modesty, along with our most reverend Metropolitans and most honorable beloved brothers and concelebrants in the Holy Spirit, in the imperative concern of the Great Church of Christ within the Orthodox world for healing long standing schisms and divisions in the local Churches, unanimously determine and declare that the entire Orthodox Church contained within the boundaries of the politically constituted and wholly independent State of Ukraine, with its sacred Metropolitan, Archdiocesan and Episcopal sees, its monasteries and parishes, as well as all the ecclesiastical institutions therein, operating under the Founder of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, our Godman Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shall hereafter exist as canonically autocephalous, independent and self-administered, having and recognizing as its First Hierarch in all church matters its presiding canonical Primate, who shall bear the title “His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine,” without any lawful addition or deletion to this title without permission from the Church of Constantinople. This Primate shall preside over the Holy Synod, annually comprised of Hierarchs invited by rotation and seniority from those serving within the geographical boundaries of Ukraine. This is how the affairs of the Church shall be governed in this land, as the sacred and holy Canons declare, freely and in the Holy Spirit and unimpeded, far from any other external interference.
Moreover, we recognize and declare this Autocephalous Church, established within the boundaries of the sovereign territory of Ukraine by means of this signed Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos, as our spiritual daughter, and recommend that all Orthodox Churches throughout the world acknowledge and commemorate it by the name “Most Holy Church of Ukraine” with its see in the historic city of Kyiv, without being henceforth entitled to establish bishops or found extraterritorial altars in regions already lawfully dependent on the Ecumenical Throne, which bears canonical competence over the Diaspora, but instead restricting its proper jurisdiction within the territories of the State of Ukraine. Indeed, we bestow upon this autocephalous ecclesiastical Authority all the attending privileges and sovereign rights, so that from this day the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine shall commemorate “Every Orthodox Diocese” during the liturgy, while the surrounding choir of most holy Hierarchs shall commemorate his name as First Hierarch and Primate of the most holy Church in Ukraine. As for matters related to internal ecclesiastical administration, these shall be arbitrated, adjudicated and determined absolutely by the Primate and the Holy Synod, adhering to the evangelical and other teachings—in accordance with sacred Tradition and the venerable canonical regulations of our Holy Orthodox Church, as well as the teaching and injunction of Canon 6 of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, which dictates that “whereas the common vote of all is reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical canon, in cases where two or three disagree by reason of personal rivalry, let the vote of the majority prevail”—while further preserving the right of all Hierarchs and other clergy to address petitions of appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who bears the canonical responsibility of irrevocably passing judgment over matters related to bishops and other clergy in local Churches, in accordance with the sacred Canons 9 and 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon.
In addition to the above, we declare that the Autocephalous Church in Ukraine knows as its head the most holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne, just as the rest of the Patriarchs and Primates also do, while having along with its other canonical obligations and responsibilities, as its foremost mission, the preservation of our Orthodox Faith inviolable as well as the canonical unity and communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other local Orthodox Churches unwavering. Furthermore, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, as well as the Hierarchs of the most holy Church of Ukraine, are from now on elected in accordance with the provisions of the holy and sacred Canons as well as the relevant regulations of its Constitutional Charter, along with mandatory agreement in all matters on the regulations of the present Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos. All the Hierarchs have the duty to shepherd the people of God in a manner pleasing to God, advancing, in the fear of God, peace and concord in their country and Church.
Nonetheless, in order that the bond of spiritual unity and association of the holy Churches of God may remain in every way undiminished—for we have been instructed “to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4.3)—His Beatitude the presiding Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine is required to commemorate, in accordance with the ancient traditions of our holy Fathers, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and other Primates of the local Autocephalous Churches, in the sequence of the Diptychs, according to canonical order, assuming his proper place after the Primate of the Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia both in the sacred Diptychs and church assemblies.
At the same time, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, through its Primate or else the canonical locum tenens on the Throne of Kyiv, is obliged to participate in periodical Inter-Orthodox consultations on significant canonical, doctrinal and other issues, in accordance with the sacred custom of the Fathers that has prevailed from the outset. The First Hierarch, after being installed, must also immediately dispatch the necessary Irenic Letters concerning his establishment both to the Ecumenical Patriarch and the other Primates, just as he is also entitled to receive the same from these, while commencing his irenic journey as customary from the First-Throne Church of Constantinople, wherefrom it will likewise receive the Holy Myron as affirmation of its spiritual unity with the latter. In the case of major issues of ecclesiastical, doctrinal and canonical nature, His Beatitude the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine must, on behalf of the Holy Synod of his Church, address our most holy Patriarchal and Ecumenical Throne, seeking its authoritative opinion and conclusive support, while the prerogatives of the Ecumenical Throne over the Exarchate and Sacred Stavropegial institutions in Ukraine shall be preserved unmitigated.
Consequently, on the basis of all the above and on the basis of these conditions, our Holy Great Church of Christ blesses and declares the Orthodox Church in Ukraine as Autocephalous, invoking the abundant gifts of God and boundless treasures of the All-Holy Spirit upon the venerable Hierarchy, the righteous clergy and pious people throughout the land of Ukraine, and praying that the First and Great High Priest Jesus Christ—through the intercessions of our all-holy and most blessed lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary; the holy and glorious prince Vladimir, equal to the apostles; the holy and glorious queen Olga; our venerable and God-bearing Fathers, the ascetics and monastics of the Kyiv Lavra and all the Monasteries—may forever support the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, now reckoned in the body of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and grant it stability, unity, peace and increase for His glory and that of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
These things, then, are deemed and determined, joyfully proclaimed to you from the venerable Center of Orthodoxy, having been ratified in synod, whereas this Patriarchal and Synodal Tome is issued for permanent protection, being recorded and signed in the Code of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, delivered in an identical and accurate copy to His Beatitude Epifanios, the Primate of the Most Holy Church of Ukraine, and to His Excellency the President of Ukraine, Mr. Petro Poroshenko, for abiding verification and permanent confirmation.
On this sixth day of the month January of the year two thousand and nineteen, of the XII indiction
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople, hereby determines in Christ God
+ Panteleimon of Vryoula
+ Gennadios of Italy and Malta
+Avgoustinos of Germany
+ Germanos of Tranoupolis
+ Evangelos of New Jersey
+ Kyrillos of Rhodes
+ Evgenios of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos
+ Ambrose of Korea
+ Konstantinos of Singapore
+ Arsenios of Austria
+ Chrysostomos of Symi
+ Nathanael of Chicago