The founder of the non-canonical UOC-KP Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko. - RT ) was absent in absentia a member of the synod of the newly formed church. This decision was made during a meeting of the synod of the PCU, at which Filaret himself was absent "without good reason."
Although Filaret was left as part of the episcopate of the PCU, he lost the canonical rights and obligations associated with the administration of the diocese.
“The Synod stated that the Honorary Patriarch Filaret, as a bishop at rest, is canonically forbidden to perform any ordinances (ordinations. - RT ),” the PCT synod said in a statement.
In addition, the honorary patriarch was decided to recall the call of the bishops' council of the PCU for "reconciliation and an end to self-isolation."
- Meeting of the synod of the PCU
- © pomisna.info
As Roman Lunkin, head of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted in an interview with RT, after sending Filaret “to retire,” the PCU is trying to overcome schismatic tendencies within its own structure.
“The PCU is mired in internal strife. The young leadership of the PCU cannot refuse Filaret the status of the founder of the church, but since he constantly criticizes the new church, they want to send him to rest, ”the expert said.
Roman Silantyev, a member of the expert council for conducting a state religious studies examination under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, in turn, considers the decision of the PCU to be the next stage in the struggle between the church and Filaret.
“The decision of the synod does not mean anything, because Filaret quarreled with them for a long time,” the expert noted.
From split to split
The history of church schisms in Ukraine stretches from the last century. In the early 1990s, against the backdrop of political disintegration in Ukraine, the Uniates intensified, unrest began in the local Orthodox community. The authorities of the newly-formed state put forward the idea of supplementing the political "independence" with a religious one - it was proposed to create an independent local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This idea was actively supported by Metropolitan Filaret - already in 1991 he became the leader of schismatic sentiments in Ukraine.
In 1992, the constituent council of the Ukrainian Church of the Kiev Patriarchate was held, which declared illegal the transfer of the Kiev Metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, which took place at the end of the 17th century.
- Assumption Cathedral of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev
- RIA News
The Russian Orthodox Church reacted to the speeches of the schismatics, depriving Filaret of the dignity by the decision of the Council of Bishops, excommunicated him and anathematized. Founded by the schismatic, the UOC-KP continued its activity as a non-canonical church.
The dream of Filaret and Ukrainian nationalists about autocephaly for the church of Ukraine came true partially after the 2014 coup.
By merging the UOC-KP with another schismatic structure - the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - a new organization was created: the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The structure received a tomos of autocephaly from the Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople. The award ceremony was held in January 2019 with the participation of Petro Poroshenko, who at that time served as president of Ukraine.
The PCU was headed by Epifaniy (Sergey Dumenko), who previously had the rank of bishop in the structure of the UOC-KP, and Filaret received the status of “honorary mentor” of the newly formed church.
However, he was not satisfied with his new status and started a conflict already with the leadership of the PCU. In June 2019, he organized a “local council” of the previously abolished UOC-KP, at which he announced the annulment of the bishop’s decision to liquidate it.
As stated in the resolution of the “cathedral”, the liquidation of the UOC-KP at the end of 2018 was conditional. This decision was allegedly taken not by the local council, but by collecting the signatures of the bishops, one priest and two laity exclusively at the request of Constantinople.
“Without the conditional liquidation of the Kiev Patriarchate, there could not have been a unifying council of Ukrainian Churches on December 15, 2018 and the provision of a tomos about autocephaly,” the resolution said.
Also, the participants in the “cathedral” stated that the received Tomsk Church Center does not comply with the charter of the autocephalous Churches, therefore, makes the UOC dependent on the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“We thank the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople for providing the Tomos to the Ukrainian Church, but he does not suit us, because instead of unity he led to church unrest and separation,” the appeal of the “local council” says.
According to Filaret's supporters, the tomos does not meet the interests of Ukrainian believers, nor the Ukrainian church tradition.
It is worth noting that the leadership of the PCU tried to reconcile with the rebellious "patriarch." In December 2019, the synod of the PCU decided to create a structure in its composition specifically for Filaret. According to this idea, after the completion of the liquidation process of the UOC-KP, a special mission was to be created, which would be headed by Filaret. In addition, the synod decided to grant the honorary patriarch a life-long right to reside in the buildings of the patriarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kiev, as well as to perform services in the Vladimir Cathedral. The PCU emphasized that "the repeatedly disseminated thoughts, allegedly the Orthodox Church of Ukraine" wants to throw Patriarch Filaret out into the street, "do not correspond to reality."
However, Filaret did not agree to accept this proposal. In January 2020, the abolished UOC-KP again held a council, following which it reiterated its existence, citing the Ukrainian law on freedom of religion. And the attempts of the PTsU to declare the UOC-KP an abolished structure, Filaret's supporters called “interference in the affairs of another Church, a religious organization” and an attempt to seize church property.
Unlike the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, who took an active part in the creation of the CCP, the current authorities of the country are in no hurry to intervene in the internal church conflicts.
Earlier, Filaret tried to appeal to Vladimir Zelensky. He appealed to the head of state with a request to protect the rights of the UOC-KP and the interests of the Ukrainian people. According to Filaret, the UOC-KP was deceived with the participation of ex-president of the country Petro Poroshenko when the PCU received a tomos. In this regard, Filaret asked Zelensky to intervene in order to stop the "lawlessness" with raider attacks on the property of the UOC-KP by the leadership of the PCU, and also to influence the liquidation process of the UOC-KP, initiated by the Ministry of Justice.
- President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky
- RIA News
- © Valentyn Ogirenko
However, attempts to stand up for Filaret and his structure in Ukraine have not yet been made.
According to Roman Lunkin, the country's political leadership will not interfere in church life.
“However, individual departments may have their own position. For example, the ministry of culture, in whose structure there is a service for religious and ethnic affairs. Some officials may support the PCU in its fight against Filaret, ”the expert said.
It is worth noting that back in July 2019, the patriarch told the media about the lawsuit that the UOC-KP filed against the Ministry of Culture because of the decision of the department to remove the schismatic church from state registration.
In September, the Kiev District Administrative Court suspended the liquidation process of the UOC-KP pending consideration of the organization’s claim. But in the end, Filaret lost the case - the court sided with the ministry.
“With the end of the presidency of Petro Poroshenko, Filaret lost both church and administrative support. He, the founder of the new Ukrainian church, turned out to be worked out material for her, they have been wanting to retire him for a long time, ”Lunkin noted.
According to the expert, the time of the schismatic patriarch is over.
“He will not be able to recreate and support the UOC-KP. By its decision, the PCO deprived him of the opportunity to ordain new bishops. Thus, the leadership of the PTsU prevented Filaret’s attempts to create parallel church jurisdiction, ”the expert added.
In turn, Roman Silantyev believes that Filaret still has enough supporters to continue the activities of the UOC-KP, although this may turn into a new split.
“In fact, Poroshenko at one time misled Filaret, promising that he would retain his influence after the creation of the PCU. But this was not fulfilled, and now Filaret is trying to win back his positions. He sees himself only as a patriarch, he does not agree to other options. In practice, his actions lead to another split, this time among non-canonical churches of Ukraine, ”the expert summed up.