In addition to the starlights argument to canon I post this from...... http://www.uaorthodox.info/images/mod_catalog_prod_files/20/DEKLARACIA_ENG.doc
The internal unity of the Church has external manifestations:
– unity of Orthodox faith, to profess one and the same Symbol of Faith;
– unity of Holy Sacraments and liturgical practices;
– a church hierarchy with apostolic succession;
– unity of hierarchy, church structure, and church canons (Catechism).
The Kyiv Patriarchate professes the Orthodox faith passed through the apostles and dogmas formulated by the Ecumenical Councils, including the Symbol of Faith; its teaching and execution of the Holy Mysteries and liturgical services are the same as the entire Plenitude of the Orthodox Church; its structure is identical to that of the other National Churches; and it acknowledges, and adheres to, all canons of the Orthodox Church. The Kyiv Patriarchate has introduced nothing new either in a dogma, or in practice or execution of Holy Mysteries and liturgical service, or in the canonical order of the ordinary Church life. The external indication of this is the professing of the faith and oath, which each candidate for bishop utters before the act of consecration. The text used to profess the faith and the bishop’s canonical oath are identical to those used, for example, in the Moscow Patriarchate, with the sole exception of the named National Church and the title of its Primate. Therefore, according to every visible indication the Kyiv Patriarchate is a part of the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church.
For the National Churches, it is imperative to adhere to the foundations of the canonical system that are based on dogmatic teaching; the importance of the canons is further clarified, because they result from the will or consent of the entire Church with a goal of unity, prosperity and growth. However, when considering the obligation of each canon, it is necessary to take into consideration the following important issue. The canons are not dogmas, in the sense that they are dogmatically applied to constantly changing local life conditions. The canons explicitly determine the independence of National Churches, demanding a complete unity in issues of faith, while allowing for complete freedom in the field of administration.
As could be understood from previous considerations, the canons (church laws and rules) are the external fence of the Church’s life, and are neither the core of its faith nor its internal life. The Orthodox Church lives and unites all in the unified body of Christ by faith and the action of God’s Grace and not by means of canons. For this reason, the canons assume a lower position among the signs of unity of the Church.
The Holy Scripture distinguishes the action of God’s Grace, which sanctifies a person and connects him with God, from the action of law, which guards a man against falling into evil. “What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions… For if a law had been given that could impart life, then the righteousness would certainly have come by the law… So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:19, 24-26). “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the law and the Prophets testify. The righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:20-24). The Russian philosopher V.S. Solovyov wrote: “Law is the lowest verge, the certain minimum of morality that is obligatory for all”. The task of a law, he considered: “is not that the world encircled by evil will transform itself into Heavenly Kingdom, but that in its time would not transform into hell”.
Therefore, the attempts of representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate to declare as its “Constitution” the canons and norms as the foundation of the Church’s life approaches close to the false pharisaic doctrine. Pharisees searched for acquittal through a literal implementation of orders of the God’s Law and the Holy Tradition, but the Holy Scripture clearly testifies, “that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (Rom. 3:28), that laws only assist a man on a path to salvation, and do not themselves save him.
The Law of the Old Testament was given by God Himself, but our Savior says that many of His norms were given because of the hardheartedness of people. Therefore, if the value of grace is higher than that of the Law of the Afflatus, then the sign of unity of faith stands incomparably higher than unity in interpretation and application of canons that are identical for the whole Orthodox Church.
The practice of representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate to refer to certain canons as proof of the rightness of its negative attitude toward the Kyiv Patriarchate is a practice in direct imitation of the Pharisees, who explained their lawless actions with reference to a law: “We have a law, and according to the law He must die” (John. 19:7). “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law – there is a curse on them” (John. 7:48-49). Like the Pharisees, the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate refuse even to begin a theological dialogue with the representatives of Kyiv Patriarchate: “Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, ‘Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?’ They replied, ‘Are you from Galillee, too?’” (John. 7:50-52). Like the Pharisees, the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate consider themselves to be the sole authoritative source of interpretations of the canons: “‘You are this Fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this Fellow, we don’t even know where He comes from’… ‘You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!’ And they threw him out” (John. 9:28-29, 34).
The Kyiv Patriarchate acknowledges all canonical rules whose authority is acknowledged by the Plenitude of the Orthodox Church, and applies them in the growth of practical church life. The Kyiv Patriarchate categorically rejects the accusation that it is “uncanonical”, and provides detailed substantiation of its position in this Declaration. Theology and church law do not even include a concept of a “canonical church” and “uncanonical church” as introduced by representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate as justification of their illegal actions, and to foster religious enmity and hatred against the Kyiv Patriarchate
Because I am not clergy I thought this may clear up some things...