UOC-USA Canonist (Fr. Harry Linsenbigler ) on Ukrainian Autocephaly

Fr. Anthony interviews Fr. Harry Linsenbigler (Canonist for the UOC-USA) about the Ukrainian Autocephaly and whether the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a legitimate role in it.

Here is something Fr. Harry wrote to help explain his understanding of the situation (it isn’t in the show):

Solomon’s Wisdom on Ukraine

The Bible tells the story of two mothers, each having an infant, who lived in the same house. One of the babies had been smothered and died. Both mothers came before King Solomon with the claim that the baby who lives was hers. Solomon, knowing that he could reveal the true mother, declared that the baby should be cut in two and half given to each of the two women. One mother accepted the ruling, declaring that if she could not have the baby then neither of them should. The other mother, on the other hand, begged Solomon to give the baby to the other woman, setting it free that it might live (1 Kings [3Kd] 3.16-28).

The heart of this story is that the true mother was the one willing to set the baby free before seeing it die.

I have had a lot of people ask me about the situation in Ukraine. I can tell you that I am a loyal son of Constantinople, but that doing the right thing, integrity, is far more important than loyalty. As a canonist and one who has studied these things deeply, I can assure you that Constantinople is on firm ground.

But is that enough? Is Constantinople being canonically right by itself enough for me to support her? No, it is not. It is an important element but we need to see the love of God in all this, and the love of the Church. I love Christ’s Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church be it in Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, here, and all other places it is found.

So I asked myself: who is the one who claims jurisdiction over Ukraine to keep it, and who is the one who claims jurisdiction over Ukraine to set it free?

Just like in the Biblical story of the two mothers with Solomon, the one who seeks to set the Flock in Ukraine free that it might live is the true mother. And that is why I stand in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on this issue—not because I am within her jurisdiction, nor because I love her, and I do–but because she is, quite Biblically speaking, the true mother, willing to set the child free that it might live.

Check out this episode!