In his decree on serving with foreign clergy, Archbishop Michael of Prague emphasized that the only canonical Church in Ukraine is the UOC.
On February 20, 2019, Michael (Dandar), Archbishop of Prague and the Czech Lands, issued a decree “On the Permission to Serve the Holy Liturgy with the Clergy of Foreign Dioceses”, which clearly defined the OCU as a non-canonical structure, with which “neither the ministry nor access to the Holy Communion can occur in the land of the Prague Orthodox Diocese.” The relevant documents were published by telegram channel Autokephalia.
According to the decree of the hierarch of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, from now on to serve the Liturgy with representatives of foreign clergy in the territory of the Prague Diocese, two documents will be required:
1. The confirmation of the supreme metropolitan, archbishop or bishop that this clergy is a full member of the Orthodox diocese of the canonical Orthodox Church, it is not banned from ministry nor is it under any other canonical disciplinary punishment.
2. The confirmation of the Archbishop Michael of Prague and the Czech Lands on the possibility of serving the Holy Liturgy with the clergy of a foreign Orthodox diocese in the land of the Prague Diocese.
It is noted that both of these documents must be supplied in writing; in exceptional cases, Bishop Michael accepts oral confirmation. The head of the religious community must make copies of the above documents and keep them in church archives.
“In the case of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, given the canons of the Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is considered canonical (Moscow Patriarchate – UOC-MP). The so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine – OCU” is considered non-canonical, whereby neither the service of the Holy Liturgy nor access to the Holy Communion can occur in the land of the Prague Orthodox Diocese,” the Archbishop’s decree says.
The document emphasizes that cases of joint church service with the clergy of the non-canonical Church in the territory of the Prague Diocese “will entail harm not only to the Orthodox religious community of the Prague Orthodox Diocese, but also to the entire Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.”
“The perpetrators will be punished for non-compliance with this order,” summarizes the decree of the Archbishop of Prague and the Czech Lands.