The head of the non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphanius (Dumenko) at a meeting of the so-called Bishops' Council said that the Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church legally ceased to exist. About this on his Facebook page said the representative of the PCU Eustratius Zorya.
In addition, the document published after the completion of the PCU council contains a resolution concerning the head of the liquidated UOC-KP Filaret. He is called for "reconciliation" and "the end of self-isolation", and he is also guaranteed the "position of the Honorary Patriarch" and "the provision of his life and work."
Recall that the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine announced the liquidation of the UOC-KP in July 2019, noting that the church was liquidated by joining the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the “Kiev Metropolis”. The decision to liquidate on July 27 was made by the Holy Synod of the OOC.
The Synod also decided to create an organization in the non-canonical church structure in the form of a mission, which should be headed by the head of the schismatic UOC-KP Filaret after the liquidation of his church structure.
Meanwhile, Filaret himself has repeatedly stated that the UOC-KP continues to exist, although he initially agreed to the creation of the PCU through the merger of his religious organization with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The "patriarch" even accused the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of provoking a religious conflict in Ukraine.
Experts have repeatedly pointed out that Filaret, obviously, counted, if he did not stand at the head of the new “united church”, then at least play a significant role in managing this structure. When he could not achieve this, he declared that the UOC-KP was not liquidated, and tried to restore the lost ground.
According to the professor of the Orthodox St. Tikhon Humanitarian University Vladislav Petrushko, Filaret still can’t come to terms with the idea that he has lost his influence.
“After the Synod of the UOC decided to formalize the honorable resignation of Filaret, giving him a residence and a certain structure called the“ mission, ”Filaret did not accept this and stated that he would continue to fight to preserve his Kiev patriarchate. Obviously, Filaret is no longer taken seriously and those whom he fed and raised, including Dumenko himself, all now perfectly understand that man has become a burden for them. And Filaret clearly does not want to come to terms with the fact that he “did the job” and that he will no longer be at the head of this schismatic structure recognized by Constantinople, ”Petrushko said.
- Former head of the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate Filaret (Denisenko)
- © Anatolii STEPANOV
According to the expert, Filaret will try to prove something through the courts and the media for some time, but he is unlikely to succeed.
Recall that the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine arose after the merger of two schismatic structures: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The creation of the PCU was actively supported by the ex-president of the country Petro Poroshenko, advocating the emergence in Ukraine of a new local church, which would not be related to the Russian Orthodox Church.
At the same time, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate refused to participate in the “Unification Council”.
On December 15, 2018, the cathedral decided to create the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine, after which Filaret was declared the “honorary patriarch”, and the head of the PCU was the former bishop of the UOC-KP Epiphanius (Dumenko), who received the title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine”.
However, the majority of local churches did not recognize the new structure. In addition to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which decided to grant autocephaly to the PCU, only the Church of Greece and Alexandria established communion with it.
After the decision to liquidate the UOC, Filaret held a Local Council, where he announced the abolition of the dissolution of the UOC and the withdrawal of this organization from the PCU. In the same place, he stated that the tomos of autocephaly, which was given to Epiphanius by the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew on January 6, 2019, does not correspond to the status of the autocephalous churches and makes the PCU dependent on the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said in an interview with RT that the situation has only recently worsened.
“A split always gives rise to a new split. So the brainchild of the so-called “patriarch Filaret”, excommunicated from the church of Mikhail Antonovich Denisenko, undergoes new divisions instead of reunification, ”he said.
The expert added that Filaret will fight until the very end to preserve the structure that he leads.
“I can’t call the church the union of schismatics, which is headed by Sergey Dumenko, who calls himself Metropolitan Epiphanius. I think that in this hastily stitched association, internal contradictions will continue to arise and grow. This is the usual logic of the split, ”summed up Balashov.