The head of the schismatic church of Ukraine Filaret (Denisenko) demands from the Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople to return to him the original resolution of the local council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) of December 15, 2018, which decided to liquidate the UOC-KP. At a press conference in Kiev on January 20, Filaret stated that the Patriarchate of Constantinople demanded the liquidation of his church structure.

“We made this illegal decision, since the cathedral was not according to the prescription of the church charter of the Kiev Patriarchate. But when they saw that we had become addicted, they withdrew their signatures under the decision to liquidate the Kiev Patriarchate. And now we demand from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to return the original of this cathedral to us, ”Filaret quotes Interfax-Ukraine as saying.

He substantiated his demand by the fact that the original decision should be kept in the office of the UOC-KP, as it was adopted at the cathedral of the Kiev Patriarchate.

“But the cathedral, which was convened the same December 15, but not in Warm Sofia, but in Sofia of Kiev, it was not a cathedral of the Kiev Patriarchate, but a cathedral of the Greek Church, which became part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Ecumenical Patriarch has the right to have that decision and the original of the cathedral, ”Filaret explained.

Roman Silantyev, a member of the expert council for conducting a state religious studies examination under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, noted in a RT comment that Filaret had already repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with his position in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PCU), formed a year ago.

“Filaret realized, though not immediately, that he had been deceived. Now he is trying to win back the situation, because he did not get what he wanted, ”the expert explained.

However, such requirements will not help him restore the influence that he used as head of the UOC-KP.

“He will preserve something, but he will not restore influence,” Silantyev noted.

Association of schismatics

Recall that the schismatic church of Filaret was one of the main church structures on the basis of which the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine was formed. With the active support of Petro Poroshenko, who promoted the idea of ​​creating an Orthodox Church independent from the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the UOC-KP merged with another schismatic structure - the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

  • Petro Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew
  • Reuters
  • © Mikhail Palinchak / Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

At the same time, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate refused to participate in this project, the vast majority of hierarchs of which, with few exceptions, ignored the so-called “unification council” held in Kiev in December 2018.

The result of this cathedral was the presentation of the new non-canonical structure of the Tomos of autocephaly to the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (also called the Ecumenical), which took place during a ceremony with the participation of Petro Poroshenko on January 6, 2019. Epiphanius became the head of the newly formed PCU.

In response to the actions of Constantinople, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate severed Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In the year that has passed since the founding of the PTsU, in addition to Constantinople, it was supported only by the Alexandria and Hellas Orthodox churches. The remaining 12 Orthodox local churches did not.

On January 5, 2020, Epiphanius stated that in the first year of the existence of this church, about 600 parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate out of about 12 thousand came to it. Representatives of the UOC-MP speak of no more than a hundred parishes that voluntarily changed their charters to go to PCU. At the same time, representatives of the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine noted that some of the transitions of communities to the vocational educational institutions were illegal and are in the nature of a raider seizure.

Fighting Filaret

A few months after the founding of the PTsU, Filaret began to express dissatisfaction with its structure and its position in this church structure. So, in May 2019, Filaret said that if he knew about the contents of the tomos issued by Constantinople in advance, he would refuse to accept it. According to him, the document was drawn up in such a way that made the new church of Ukraine dependent on the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In June, the UOC-KP announced that it would not recognize its abolition following the results of the “unification council” in December 2018, and the cathedral itself has no legal force.

“We had a local cathedral of the UOC-KP, which does not recognize the decision of the cathedral on December 15 to liquidate the Kiev Patriarchate. ... Metropolitan Epiphanius (the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. - RT ) considers me to be someone in his church or does not consider it to me - it does not matter, ”Filaret quotes as saying.

In late July, Filaret issued a statement in which he asked for help from Vladimir Zelensky, urging him to prevent the liquidation of the UOC-KP as a legal entity.

“We inform you that neither the leadership of the PCU, nor the liquidation commission created by him, have anything to do with the UOC-KP. I ask for your direct intervention and stop this chaos, ”Filaret said then.

In his appeal to Zelensky, he again criticized the actions of Constantinople during the issuance of the Tomos PCC, calling the incident "direct deception", which was carried out with the "direct anti-popular participation of Poroshenko" and Bartholomew.

In addition, Filaret bluntly stated that the church under his leadership does not consider himself part of the PCU.

“Having received such an undesirable dependence, I and the faithful of the UOC-KP immediately began the fight against the enslaving deal, left the PCU and held a local council of the UOC-KP. However, a raider attack on the property of the UOC-KP is now beginning, and this raiding is personally led by Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the PCU, ”Filaret said.

In October 2019, Filaret noted that he could not name the exact number of parishes that remained faithful to the UOC-KP.

“Today we have five bishops, how many clergy and parishes, I can’t say. Now I do not know which parishes in different dioceses remained within the UOC-KP. Because all over Ukraine there are parishes that have not re-registered their charters with the PCU, ”he quoted“ 112 Ukraine ”as saying.

In early December 2019, Filaret announced that his church structure continued to exist, despite the words of the head of the PCU Epiphanius about its liquidation.

“Metropolitan Epiphanius and the Holy Synod declared that they had completed the liquidation of the Kiev Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate. It is not true! The church cannot be liquidated, ”Filaret said in a statement posted on the official website of the UOC-KP.

Split continues

After similar demarches from Filaret, the split-up PCU has practically no chance of further existence as a single church structure, Roman Silantyev believes.

“She was gathered from different parts, from two schismatic groups and traitors to the canonical church. Naturally, there is a tense relationship between them, and there is no reason to believe that they will improve. In addition, the current Ukrainian authorities are not interested in this issue, so they have not very bright prospects, ”the expert said in an interview with RT.

Today, there has been an obvious split in the recently created PCU, since Filaret, as one of the initiators of her education, did not get what he expected, said Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics of the IPPS.

“Filaret, in collaboration with Poroshenko, created this structure artificially from two non-canonical church organizations unrecognized by other Orthodox churches. It was a fraudulent scheme by which Poroshenko sought to win the election, ”the expert recalled.

As part of the campaign, apparently, he made a promise to Filaret, who hoped to maintain control not only over his church structure, but also to establish control over the entire church created, suggested Vladimir Shapovalov.

“Poroshenko lost the election, and Filaret even lost his own church structure as a result of actions that were carried out in his entourage. As a result, the promises were not fulfilled. Most likely, the Patriarch of Constantinople was also included in this negotiation process, who made certain promises to Filaret and as a result did not fulfill his obligations, ”the expert said in an interview with RT.

Despite his advanced age, Filaret will not give up so easily, as he has some support among his flock, said Shapovalov.

“Filaret will continue to fight and thereby further complicate the situation. Filaret sowed doubts among his flock, since they trusted him, he was the founder of the project of the PCU and its main engine. Now he claims that he was deceived, and thus turns the Orthodox Church of Ukraine into a dubious organization with an unclear status, ”the expert concluded.