Patriarch Filaret, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate), is spreading ‘Russian propaganda’, a spokesman of the newly-created ‘independent’ Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) sated on June 25. He claimed that Patriarch Filaret is using in his statements publications with ‘Kremlin smell’.
HINT: The OCU was created in December 2018 following the merger between Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. In January 2019, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople granted it with a tomos of autocephaly. The internal conflict for power between Filaret, the honorary Patriarch of the OCU, and Epiphanius, the fomrla head of the OCU lead to the split of the OCU by June 2019. Kiev Patiarchate officially withdrew from the newly created entity.
Remarks by the OCU spokesman followed a press conference of Patriarch Filaret regarding the current state of the affairs between Kiev Patriarchate and the OCU. During the press conference, Patriarch Filaret confirmed that his organization left the OCU and is now re-establishing its own synod. He said that Kiev Patriarchate is an independent (including the independence from the OCU) church. He onec again accused the OCU of forceful takeovers of Kiev Patriarchate churches in the city of Kiev. This situation, according to Filaret, forced him to make an official appeal to the Ukrainian government for support.
It should be noted that the OCU does not recognize the Kiev Patriarchate withdrawal from the organization and still considers Filaret its honorary member. Nonetheless, on June 24, the synod of the UCO adpoted a decision to deprive Filaret, of the right to govern the Kiev diocese, and, accordingly, to control local temples and monasteries.
The essence of the ongoing conflict between the sides are the competition for control of financial flows and church properties of the OCU and Kiev Patriarchate. When the OCU was created in December 2018, government-backed non-canonical groups saw it as an opportunity to seize properties belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). The followed developments and the devastating failure of Petro Poroshenko in the persidential election put an end to these plans. So, the creators of the OCU are now fighting each other.
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