The “neverending story” of the ‘independent’ Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) with yet another interesting accusation.
In an interview from August 19th, the Filaret, primate and Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) claimed that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople wished to destroy the UOC-KP so that he could influence the Ukrainian church.
As of July 31st, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture announced that Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) ceased its activity. It was supposed to join the OCU’s “ranks,” headed by Epifaniy.
Filaret, during his August 4th sermon asked for help from the followers, saying the following:
“For 53 years he [Filaret] has been serving in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kyiv, and now he is thrown out into the street,” and urged the parishioners to use all legal means in order to “protect the Kyiv Patriarchate from the OCU and the Ministry of Culture.”
In the interview with 112, Filaret said that the liquidation of the UOC-KP was illegal, since the Patriarch didn’t agree on it.
“Why did Metropolitan Epifaniy form a liquidation commission? Because Patriarch Bartholomew insisted on the quick liquidation of the Kyiv Patriarchate. And therefore, fulfilling the request of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Metropolitan Epifaniy created an illegal liquidation commission. But in order to liquidate the Kyiv Patriarchate, firstly, you need to have the consent of the patriarch [Filaret], there is no such agreement, and we do not recognize any liquidation commissions.”
Despite the independence decision, on June 20th, the UOC-KP convened and decided to reverse the decision made on December 15th, 2018 to liquidate it.
Following that, the UOC-KP effectively withdrew from the independent OCU, and thus it cannot be liquidated since it doesn’t fall under its jurisdiction.
“That is, you don’t recognize the decision of the Ministry of Culture to eliminate the UOC-KP?
They have no right to do it because it is not their church.”
Filaret further attempted to contact the OSCE and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but there was no response, just a unilateral decision by the Ministry of Culture for the liquidation of the UOC-KP.
Filaret has, since Zelensky became president, met him once and he assured him that he would support all churches equally and not meddle into their affairs.
Filaret further said that Former President Petro Poroshenko had not spoken to him once since the Tomos of autocephaly was granted.
“But he achieved his goal: Tomos was received, but which Tomos was that – he was not interested in it.”
Despite the attempts against it, Filaret expects that the UOC-KP would not cease to exist.
“I expect that the UOC-KP will exist in Ukraine, and it would be independent of Moscow and Constantinople. Now there is a struggle for the liquidation of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Why do they want to eliminate it? Because patriarchy cannot be part of another patriarchy, and the metropolis can be part of it. And since the Patriarch of Constantinople wants the Ukrainian Church to be under his influence, he demands that the Kyiv Patriarchate be destroyed. Because he cannot have any influence on the patriarchy. And in order to have influence, it is necessary to eliminate the UOC-KP.”
Filaret then said that the UOC-KP wished for independence such as the one for the Romanian, Serbian and Bulgarian churches, as well as the Greek. But it is a strange comparison, since it means comparing the local non-canoincal church (created to serve political interests of its leaders) with an 800 year canonic one, in the case of the Serbian church or 1,000 years in the case of the Bulgarian church.
According to the head of the UOC-KP, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has too few followers in Constantinople and he needs to “increase his flock.”
“And the dream of the Ecumenical Patriarch is that all Orthodox emigrants do not belong to their churches, but belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Therefore, he wants our Ukrainian parishes to belong to him, and he wrote this in the Tomos. We are not satisfied with this.”
Additionally, Filaret said that no such as internal communication existed in the OCU – Epifaniy hasn’t communicated with him at all.
“We do not communicate and have not communicated. Because after he was elected head of OCU, he never chanted the liturgy with me. Even on the day of my 90th birthday, when many bishops came to chant, he did not come. And the fact that we never chanted a liturgy with him is an anomaly. And if he wants other heads of churches (other local churches) to chant with him, then why did he never chant with his patriarch?”
He didn’t consider Epifaniy’s decision not to communicate with him as influenced by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, but as his personal one.
Finally, he said that Ukraine may have an independent church, but this was not it and under the current conditions the OCU would soon implode.
“We must first create one Orthodox Church in Ukraine. I am convinced that all Orthodox will unite in one church. And when there will be one Orthodox Church, and it will be necessarily patriarchy, not a metropolitan, then we will not ask to recognize us, but they will come to us and chant with us. Because this church will be big.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Canonic Orthodox Ukrainian Cuhrch Keeps Growing In Ukraine Despite Pressure From Kiev Government: Report
- ‘Independent’ Ukrainian Orthodox Churh Continues Attempts To Expand Its Influence By Force